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You’ve heard the jokes about older men in jean shorts and blindingly white New Balance sneakers touting the collectible nature of their Nassau Blue C5 Corvette. In all seriousness, the fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette doesn’t deserve the jokes. In fact, the C5 was an evolutionary step for the American sports car nameplate and one of the best performance bargains on the market– for now. 

The C5 Chevrolet Corvette is an affordable V8 sports car with lots of potential

A blue C5 Corvette Z06 shows off its rear-end styling.
A C5 Corvette Z06 | General Motors

At its core, the C5 Corvette Base is a fuel-injected V8-powered sports car with a six-speed manual transmission option and a top speed of over 170 mph. Under the hood, the fifth-generation Corvette popularized the LS1 V8 engine and its lightweight aluminum block, a perennial favorite among hot rodders and builders.

That formula made the fifth-gen Chevrolet Corvette fast. Real fast. A six-speed manual C5 with a solid operator behind the wheel could coax the Corvette to 60 mph in under five seconds. What’s more, if a sun-soaked soft top convertible isn’t your flavor, the C5 offered a rigid hardtop coupe and a removable roof panel model. Better yet, that removable panel stows away behind the cabin. 

Furthermore, the C5 is still affordable. According to, the average sales value of a C5 is around $26,589. Not bad for a 345-horsepower V8 sports car. Moreover, earlier models with higher mileage are much more attainable. For instance, the KBB value of a 1997 Corvette Coupe is just $12,532. Of course, the range-topping Z06 demands a bit more. 

ModelAverage value
C5 Base$26,589
C5 Z06$30,200

Beyond the base model, the C5 Z06 is fast by today’s standards

The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 produced up to 405 horsepower from its 5.7L LS6 V8. The power was enough to catapult the Z06 to 60 mph in four seconds flat. That’s quick enough to contend with a much newer, more powerful 2024 Ford Mustang GT. 

What’s more, with an average value of around $30,000, it’s much cheaper than comparably quick sports cars of later years.