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Sensational C5

A show winning C5 convertible 'Vette with the works!

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images

At a glance...

  • C5 convertible Corvette
  • LS1 power-up mods
  • Fully detailed body and interior
  • Winning show car
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Early this year we presented Tim X’s stroker C4 Corvette – undoubtedly one of Australia’s gruntiest ‘Vettes (see Vet Injection). Well, take a look at the other beast that lives in Tim’s garage – an absolute show-stopping ’98 C5 Corvette convertible that’s detailed to perfection!

Tim bought this C5 from the ‘States in 2000. It was a 6000 mile (9600km) rental car that had been stolen, stripped and then clad with multiple replacement panels – none of which were the same colour... Understandably, Tim had some reservations about purchasing the car, so he had a reputable US-based Corvette tuner - Doug Rippie Motorsports (DRM) - give it a full inspection. Everything passed with flying colours.

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Tim bought the car and immediately treated it to a DRM C5R kit comprising a new intake, modified heads, upgrade camshaft and enhanced suspension. Next, the ‘Vette was shipped to Australia and the Corvette Clinic performed a left to right-hand-drive conversion.

At last, Tim had a late-model convertible ‘Vette he could cruise around in. But that multi-colour body wasn’t exactly flattering...

A respray was urgently required - but Tim didn’t want a plain ol’ spray job. The initial plan was to paint the car white at the front and purple at the rear, but after much discussion the current paint scheme was chosen. The existing paint base is silver at the front and a distinctive blue/purple at the rear.

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In addition to the graduated silver and blue/purple paint base, the C5 body is further enhanced with a chequered flag theme that appears to sprout from the front side vents. There are also a set of yellow stripes down the sides to add an extra splash of colour.

Look closely and you’ll see the bonnet (which is a DRM item with a heat extraction vent) features small flames, and the paint detail extends into the door jambs. Of course, the detailing also includes the colour-matched engine bay. This is one of the most impressive paint jobs we’ve ever seen. Not surprising, given the 300 hours of professional labour invested...

And with the body sorted, next came the interior.

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The standard Corvette interior has been hauled out to make way for an all-new trim to match the exterior. The C5 ‘Vette seats were trimmed in a combination of blue, silver and yellow leather and a blue leather section was inserted into the rim of the airbag steering wheel. Blue vinyl trim covers the lower section of the dash, while dark blue carpet and blue seatbelts ensure an integrated look.

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Subtle touches inside the cabin are the airbrushed flag theme along the door trim and raised flames on the centre console lid. A Corvette emblem is also stitched into the seat backrests.

With the body and interior treated to one of the most elaborate make-overs we’ve ever seen, Tim recognised that there was something missing. There was still room for improvement...

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The normally boring underside of the bonnet now features an airbrushed skull wearing a Corvette bandanna while the underside of the boot is airbrushed with the theme of a chequered flag burning away to reveal the American flag. It’s now fair to say that nothing has been left untouched!

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The LS1 V8 mechanicals have also come in for some more mods since the initial DRM C5R kit. The engine management has been custom tuned by ChipTorque and the auto trans shift points have been tweaked. The induction system has also been swapped to a Vara-Ram set-up while a custom CES extractor and exhaust system reduces back-pressure. The car’s best quarter mile time is a 13.4 at 112 mph – but note that this was before fitment of the new exhaust, intake and modified management. A flat 13 now seems likely.

Putting power to pavement are chrome 17 and 18 inch C5 rims wearing huge 245/40 and 275/40 Dunlops. Note that a tasty set of aftermarket wheels were bolted on not long after our photo shoot. The polished appearance of the existing C5 wheels match well with the custom fabricated stainless steel roll-over hoops.

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Since completion of the vehicle’s intense build-up, Tim has entered his C5 in several car shows and won several major trophies. But probably the biggest thrill is participating in the parade lap at Indy for the last two years – he’s even taken Paul Tracy for a ride around the track (though presumably not at race pace!)

With so much effort invested, it’s only natural that Tim has grown particularly attached to his show ‘Vette. But when he looks at it now he says there’s not a lot left that can be done – keep in mind he already has the stroker C4 ‘Vette and another older ‘Vette (which we won’t go into here...)

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If you’d like a slice of American automotive perfection, Tim is willing to take offers around AUD$125,000. What price would you put on a professional art piece such as this?


ChipTorque                      +61 7 5596 4204

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