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The C5 Corvette: America’s Miata?

Motortrend

What do us Americans love? Football? Oversized guns? Hot dogs and a large Coke on the side? Well if you guessed a fire breathing 5.7 V8 spewing out 350 horsepower to the brakes, you would be right. The 2001 Chevrolet Corvette… my car was something I wasn’t actively looking for, but yet I stumbled upon it.

I originally was looking for an E46 BMW, something cheap but fast, I intended to trade in my modded 2019 Kia Optima for something a bit more sportier than a mid-size sedan, with a naturally aspirated 4 banger. However, as I narrowed my search, one car seemed to pop out at me, a huge V8, and an American icon, the C5 Corvette.

I purchased the car two weeks ago, from a dealer in Flower Mound, TX, and it’s been my daily driver since. After some paperwork that felt like ages and the I-35 would be finished before we were done, I took it home and showed everyone the new purchase. It’s been two weeks, I’ve put 800 miles on it, and these are my thoughts.

First, we can start with some of the tangible flaws, the left pop up headlight oscillates, rendering it more annoying than a mosquito on a hot summer night. Small fix, no big deal, but parts are hard to find nowadays, and taking it to multiple Corvette specialty shops around the DFW area proved to be of no help. In addition, the harmonic balancer is wobbling, early 21st century GM was not exactly a premier quality control specialist, and these are known to go bad, I’d say I have a couple months to a year to get this fixed, this is not an ordinary joe fix. It would require taking the entire steering assembly apart, and taking the front of the engine piece by piece like a jigsaw puzzle. Oh, and the wind noise… don’t even get me started on the wind noise. It sounds like everyday is a category 5 hurricane on the highway. It’s a 20 year old car, I lucked out with the small amount of issues I have, but it’s still something to look after.

Driving it is amazing. 800 miles in and I have absolutely fallen in love with driving this beast. The LS1 motor spews out all 350 horsepower masterfully, with beautiful throttle control. It handles perfect on North Dallas streets and I can get the backend out no issue. Spinning it around the city makes every other car look like a peasant with the roar of the titanium exhaust beneath me. The vette takes off in a burst from 0-60 at stoplights in 4.8 seconds, and is a blast to launch. I’ve taken it out on some spirited backroad cruises and it’s been a blast. The interior ride control selector allows for three different ride modes, tour, sport, and performance. The tour mode allows for pure comfort around town, and for a car this low, it’s a surprisingly comfortable ride, especially over the heavy construction areas of North Texas. I used sport mode for my spirited driving, and the ride gets a lot stiffer, however, I should mention, it is still very bearable, nothing too bad, but it makes for a blast of a drive. Traction control can be turned off at any time, and can be put into competitive driving mode, which turns off all driving assist features and I’ve used it a couple of times on the street and boy oh boy does it get awesome! Scary, but awesome!

The interior does leave something to be desired however, it is pure plastic. Creaks and moans everywhere, it sounds like it’s constantly crying. The leather seats are cheap, and are mended easily. I do intend to replace the seats in due time with nice, sturdy leather seats. The power seats and power features work great however, and the vehicle itself is fully loaded, with a great Bose sound system and a Kenwood Audio head unit. Paired with a 10 inch JL Audio subwoofer in the back makes for a great driving experience. The C5 also came up with a heads up display, which displays your speed, your revs, and some other various info, it’s always helpful, and was one of the first cars to have them. Overall, this has been my favorite car I’ve ever driven by far, it’s such a blast to drive everyday.

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