1999 Chevrolet Corvette Targa (C5)

Highlights


• Mechanically and aesthetically excellent
• Enthusiast owned
• A head-turning modern classic

The Background


Debuting in 1997 as a fixed-profile targa coupé and later available as a hardtop and full convertible, the fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette (designated the C5 for obvious reasons) also saw the now-revered first-generation LS1 engine utilised for the first time, which would go on to be famed for its simplicity, reliability and tuning potential.

Whilst mechanically the C5 was largely sticking to the tried-and-tested muscle car recipe of big, V8 power and straight-line performance, the C5 was technologically very advanced for its day, featuring a heads-up display, active damping and switchable driving modes, numerous on-board computers and other cutting-edge electronic advancements. 

Interestingly, given it’s advanced electronic features, the C5 was one of the last production cars to feature pop-up headlights, alongside the Lotus Esprit, with pop-up lights confined to automotive history with the cessation of C5 production in July 2004.

The History


This particular 1999-registered C5 was originally delivered to Japan, where it stayed for the majority of its life, until it was imported to the UK by the previous owner, and then purchased by our vendor - a serial car collector and enthusiast - during December 2018.

Being a child of the 90’s, the C5 was an obvious choice as an addition to his collection, as it featured heavily in games such as Gran Turismo, which undoubtedly provided an entire generation of gamers their gateway into the automotive world.

In the two-or-so years that our vendor has owned the car, it has enjoyed regular drives, including several trips up to the Lake District from its home in West Berkshire, performing typically faultlessly throughout, with no mechanical issues reported.

Naturally, for such a technologically-advanced car, there were a few electrical issues throughout his ownership relating to the on-board computers and systems, though these have all now been resolved, with the exception of the air-conditioning system which is inoperable at the moment due to a leak, though as our vendor states, the removable targa top makes it all but redundant anyway. 

During our vendor’s ownership, the car has always been dry-stored, wether in a garage or a carcoon. It should be noted that these carcoons are of a double-layered construction and provide excellent insulation, equivalent to or better than that of a traditional home garage.

Other than standard servicing and a couple of minor issues that needed attention - carried out by Corvette specialists - this C5 has virtually wanted for nothing during our vendor’s ownership, proving itself to be an enjoyable, comfortable and reliable head-turning modern classic.

The Paperwork


Unusually for a Japanese import, this C5 comes with a wealth of paperwork and documentation from its time overseas, including service documents, handbooks, warranty handbooks, manuals, service stickers on the inner doors, and other miscellaneous paperwork.

From its time in the UK, there is the V5 showing one former keeper, several invoices, two sets of keys and a semi-tailored car cover, along with the original Chevrolet book wallet.

The Interior


Whilst never necessarily known for being the last word in luxury, the C5 interior was nonetheless very well laid-out and considerately designed, and we’re pleased to report this example was also remarkably well screwed-together by GM, and has worn its years with apparent ease.

Truthfully, there was very little in the way of obvious wear-and-tear to the interior of this C5, which is testament to both GM’s build quality of the period, and of the care and attention the car has received both overseas and in the UK.

There are a few scuffs on the seats and some loose stitching on the embroidered ‘Corvette’ text on the seat backs, along with some light usage marks on high-traffic areas such as the steering wheel, shifter and door cards, but the wear is remarkably minor for the car’s age and mileage.

Looking closer, even the soft-touch window switches, buttons and instruments have fared remarkably well, and the story is the same in the rear, with only the lightest wear noted to the luggage area, which also doubles up as a smart storage solution for the impressively light targa panel.

According to our vendor, and as far as we could tell during our photo shoot, all systems - including the active ride settings and heads-up display - are working as they should, barring the aforementioned air-conditioning system issue.

The Exterior


Finished in metallic silver, the exterior of this C5 is in outstanding condition, having clearly been cared for and cherished by all of its owners.

During our inspection and photo shoot, we noticed no signs of any impacts, indentations or mis-aligned panels, nor any notable signs of wear, scuffs or major scratches to the paintwork.

Naturally, for a high-performance, low-slung car such as this, there are numerous small marks to the front end from stone chips and some wear visible to the lower nosecone area, though all three of the lower hinged air-dams are present and correct, whilst the only discernible wear to the rest of the bodywork is a few light parking marks along the door trims, and perhaps the odd stone chip - it really is fantastic! 

Being really picky, there are perhaps a couple of window seals that are starting to show their age, and one that is not quite seated properly along the lower offside edge of the windscreen, but there are no water ingress issues to report, so this is a small job that can be done as-and-when the next owner wishes to do so.

All four wheels are in very good order, though there are some minor kerb marks and chips to the paintwork, so a fastidious owner may wish to have the wheels refurbished. Similarly, the tyres are now beginning to perish with age, and a new set would be advised, especially given the high-performance nature of this Corvette.

The Mechanicals


The 5.7-litre, naturally aspirated LS1 V8 engine - or should that be ‘motor’ in this case - is renowned for its reliability, and this is no exception.

Starting on the first turn of the key with ease even on a sub-zero morning, this C5 is in utterly fantastic condition from a mechanical standpoint, and drives superbly with near-imperceptible gear shifts when on the go, excellent brakes and a silky-smooth V8 engine, which is nice and quiet on idle (meaning your neighbours won’t hate you in the morning) yet letting out a wonderful, characteristic growl at higher RPMs. 

Looking underneath the hood, the bay, block and ancillaries all present wonderfully, and have been kept in top condition by the vendor, with no reported faults making themselves known during their ownership, nor any outstanding issues. 

The active suspension system is also fully functional, and shows no sign of any issues other than a slight squeak during low-speed manoeuvres whilst in ‘sports’ mode, but according to Corvette specialists this is a characteristic of the C5s.

The most recent MoT exam - dated 25 June 2021 - resulted in a pass, with advisories related to the tyre condition on all four corners (as we’ve already mentioned) and brake pipes being corroded or covered in grease, though the vendor suggests this is likely to be waxoyl, rather than actual corrosion-related issues.

Underneath, the chassis, suspension components and exhaust system all look to be in excellent condition, with nothing that caused any concerns for our photographer during the inspection.

The Appeal


Timelessly cool styling, a V8 soundtrack and a reputation for dogged reliability and performance, it’s no wonder that the Corvette is a staple among any performance car enthusiast’s dream cars, thanks to its accessible nature and excellent ability as both a straight-line performance and long-distance GT car.

This 1999 Japanese-delivered C5 Targa is presented in outstanding condition throughout both aesthetically and mechanically, having clearly been cherished throughout its life. Coming from fastidious enthusiast ownership, this is an opportunity for any muscle car enthusiast to tick a car off their bucket list in style - good luck!

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1999
  • Make Chevrolet
  • Model Corvette Targa C5
  • Colour Silver
  • Odometer 58,688 Miles
  • Engine size 5660
  • Town Reading
  • Location Berkshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
  • No bids

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