Should You Buy a C5 Chevrolet Corvette?

There are everyday cars, and then there are the go-to cars of the driving enthusiast. Mustangs, Camaros, Mazda Miatas, BMW M3s, and the like. Standing high atop that list however—if not at the very tip-top—is the famed Chevrolet Corvette, the world’s longest-running continuously built sports car, going strong since 1953. Corvettes aren’t just transportation, they’re a lifestyle, a status symbol, and a stepping stone towards sports car nirvana. So should you buy one? More specifically, should you buy one of these? A “C5” fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette, which ran from 1997 to 2004. As the folks at Regular Car Reviews point out in the latest installment of their witty series, they’re truly fantastic cars and they offer plenty in the way of bang-for-your-buck performance… just don’t buy one because “it’s an investment.” RELATED: You Can Buy a Corvette "Wagon" By the End of 2016
As is the way with so many popular used sports cars, their value will drop long before it begins to rise again. Part of the “problem” has to do with their rarity, there’s literally thousands of great examples out there, and finding one won’t be hard. The other side is the C5’s rather reserved demeanor. When the C4 arrived in 1984, it was an impressive departure from the long-lived C3 Corvette and it offered up the super-speed ZR-1 package. The new-for-2005 C6 Corvette got significantly hotter still, bringing with it an all-new ZR1 package and a rorty 7.0-liter Z06. By comparison, the C5 is clearly the more tame of the late-great Corvettes. That said, it’s not exactly a bad mark. They’re still incredibly fun to drive, relatively cheap to maintain, simple to modify, and if you do have issues, very active Corvette forums offer a wealth of information and parts availability is excellent. Decent to great examples also trade online anywhere from $12,000 to $25,000, so you’re bound to find one within your budget. All told, if you don’t care about doubling your money someday and just want a great, fun, inexpensive, sports car, the fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette is a tantalizing buy. RELATED: Here's What the Next-Gen Corvette ZR1 May Look Like