DETROIT -- The fifth-generation Corvette, in its third model year, adds a new sibling to the stable -- the '99 Corvette hardtop, the first fixed-roof Vette offered since the legendary second generation Sting Rays of 1963-1967.
The Corvette hardtop joins the coupe (with removable roof panel) and the convertible in the 1999 Corvette lineup. According to Corvette Brand Manager **** Almond, the newest Vette has a character all its own.
'Part of our potential customer base really wants a simpler, more elemental, yet high-performance machine,' said Almond. 'The new hardtop is the ultimate hot sports car, yet it will carry the lowest base price in the Corvette family. Those factors combined should make the consumer appeal for Corvette even greater.'
The hardtop features a subtle silhouette distinction that sets it apart from the coupe and convertible, while still preserving the classic Corvette lines. Corvette hardtop standard features include:
Z51 suspension, designed for sanctioned racing competition or for drivers who demand the ultimate Corvette handling package. Z51 features stiff springs, large stabilizer bars and large monotube shock absorbers. (F45 Real Time Damping Suspension Package not available on hardtop.)
Six-speed manual transmission (automatic transmission not available).
Limited-slip rear axle with 3.42 ratio.
The hardtop is a rarity among the many iterations of Vettes offered through the years. The only other fixed-roof coupes offered in the '60s are among the most collectible -- the most memorable of which is the first, the 1963 'split-window' Corvette Sting Ray.
'The '99 hardtop is most certainly 'legend' material,' said Almond. 'There's a historical significance surrounding this car that's hard to come by these days. While it's impossible to predict, there's an excellent chance that the Vette hardtop is going to be one of the classic Vettes in an already legendary lineage.'
1999 Corvettes are Big on Power, Handling and Comfort
All three Corvette models are designed to provide a high-level of performance and convenience, contributing to Corvette's standing as the premier American sports car.
The 5.7-liter LS1 V8 engine is standard on all models. The aluminum small-block V8 delivers an incredible 345 horsepower and features a deep-skirt design, lightweight aluminum cylinder heads and composite intake manifold.
Optional new for '99 features include:
Head-Úp Display (HÚD), which projects key instrumentation readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view vehicle vitals without taking their eyes off the road. (Available on coupe and convertible only.)
Twilight Sentinel (not available on hardtop), with delayed shutoff of the headlamps, allows for exterior illumination after the ignition is turned off.
Power Telescoping Steering Column, allows Corvette drivers to more acutely tailor the position of the steering wheel to their specific needs. In conjunction with the standard manual tilt feature, the driver is able to better create an optimum driving position. (Available on coupe and convertible only.)
Additional standard performance features include: Heavy-duty four-wheel disc/four-wheel antilock brakes, Electronic Throttle Control, Traction Control and Goodyear Eagle Extended Mobility Tires (EMT) and tire pressure monitor system.
The optional Active Handling System (introduced mid-1998 model year) available on all Corvette models is one of the most advanced stability-control systems of its kind.
Active Handling operates in harmony with the ABS and Traction Control systems to selectively apply any of the four brakes in an effort to help the driver counteract and diffuse potentially dangerous handling characteristics, such as severe oversteer or understeer.
Active Handling offers three settings. 'On' for everyday driving, in which case Active Handling, ABS and Traction Control all function. 'Off,' which disables all three of these functions. And for high performance driving, a 'Competition Mode' setting, in which Traction Control is disabled, while Active Handling and ABS continue to function.
In addition to its high-tech performance features, all '99 Corvettes benefit from a wide door opening and low sill for easy entry and exit, and a long list of standard interior features such as air conditioning, leather seating surfaces, power door locks/windows, Remote Function Actuation (RFA) with Remote Keyless Entry, PASS-Key II theft-deterrent system, electronic speed control, AM/FM Stereo with cassette player and the electronic Driver Information Center.Source - GM Corporation
Corvette and the Marketplace
he name alone is synonymous with performance. Corvette is the powerful sports car with a celebrated heritage. In fact, Corvette has become so ingrained into late-20th century Americana, it even has its own museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Coming off of its high profile debut in January of 1997 and followed by the convertible in mid-year, the fifth-generation Corvette now unveils the third jewel of its performance crown: the hardtop. It's in response to customers asking for a simpler, no frills Vette, which doesn't sacrifice powertrain performance.
In its simplicity, the Corvette expands its price portfolio and thus, its customer base, yet it does so without forsaking the performance Corvette is legendary for.
The hardtop comes to market with great bloodlines. Corvette coupe and convertible were named Motor Trend Car of the Year for 1998 and the Corvette took North American Car of the year honor in January 1998 at the North American International Auto Show.
When it comes to the high performance sports car segment, Corvette delivers value in terms of power and technology.
Motor Trend - Car of the Year for 1998
North American Car of the Year for 1998
CAR and DRIVER -- 10 Best Cars for 1998
Popular Science -- 'Best of What's New Grand Award,' Cars Category (Corvette convertible)
Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine -- Best Resale Value, Cars over $35,000, December 1997
Automobile Magazine -- 1998 Technology of the Year, LS1 5.7 V8 engine
Ward's Auto World -- 'Best Engines of 1998' award for new LS1 5.7 V8 engineDemographics
Median Age: 45 Years
Median Income: $100,000
Attended College: 89%
College Graduate: 66%
Post College Grad.: 36%
Professional Mgr.: 60%Source - Chevrolet