A cool, hot ride for exploring beautiful Florida!
Dateline: 7.10-18 (Photos by K. Scott Teeters) – For a good long time I have been asked, “So, when are you going to get another Corvette?” My standard answer was, “I’m working on it.” And I was, really. But, as we all know, life gets in the way sometimes, and sometimes for a long time. But it gave me time to really think about what I wanted.
For the longest time, I was focused on a 1996 Collector Edition Corvette with the optional LT4 330-horsepower engine and a six-speed transmission. I liked the car for several reasons. 1996 was the last year for the C4 generation and was the most refined of all of the C4s. The LT4 was the end of the line for the classic small-block Chevy engine and stands as the most developed of all of the small-block Chevy engines. While my favorite color for Corvettes is white, I also like silver Corvettes, as many experimental and prototype Corvettes have been silver. And I like the Collector Edition’s silver ZR-1 five-spoke mag-style wheels.
But as I trolled around on Craig’s List, CarGurus.com, and eBay, I noticed that 1996 Collector Edition Corvettes were going for as much as mid-year C5 Corvettes. Anyone who has studied Corvettes knows that while the C4 was a vast improvement over the C3, that was riding on a frame/chassis designed in 1960. By 1996, the C4 was riding on a frame/chassis that was designed in 1980.
The C5 is arguably the most radical generational change in Corvette’s history. Not only was the body, interior, structure, and suspension all-new, so was the LS1 engine, plus the C5 had a transaxle that helped provide perfect weight distribution. Another plus with the C5 is that it has nearly 1,400 fewer separate parts than the C4. (I’m not knocking C3 or C4 Corvettes, I love them too.)
So I changed my search parameters and started looking for a mid-year C5 Corvette. I still in my heart wanted a white Corvette but learned that white was consistently one of the least popular colors for C5s. Silver was my second choice and red my third. I looked at a lot of cars online and two possible candidates slipped away before I could get to see them.
Then early on the evening of June 28, I was scratching my mental itch after wrapping up a graphics project. I visited Craig’s List. Nothing. The same cars I had seen the night before. Then I jumped to CarGurs.com and BAM! There it was! A white 1999 Corvette Coupe, 6-speed, power everything, lowered one-inch, chrome C5 Z06 wheels and tires, short-throw shifter, stock engine, and 92,000 miles. The price was right, so I sent the seller a message, “Is your Corvette still available and can I come see it?” He got right back to me, “Yes, I just put up the listing today, when do you want to see and test drive the car?”
I told Karen, I think I found THE Corvette for us!
The following day I drove to Fort Myers, Florida from our home in Lake Placid, Florida, looked the car over, drove it, and said, “I’ll take it! The A/C had to be repaired and we had Independence Day coming up the following week. By July 5th the A/C was repaired and we drove back to Fort Myers to get our Corvette. That’s how it all came together.
This will be a Project Car, as I plan to make the car a comfortable Grand Touring car with some distinctive and tasteful visual modifications. We will be launching a new website/blog this month called TropicalVues.com and will be exploring beautiful Florida in our Corvette.
Since we live very close to Sebring, Florida, I’m considering calling the car, the “Sebring Special” because Sebring is a special place for Corvette racing and my 1999 Corvette will be sporting a few racer-like details. It’s already lowered and wearing chrome Z06 wheels, I’m almost there! So let the fun begin! – Scott
PS – UPDATE 11-5-20: Well it’s been two years and five months since we bought our 1999 Corvette. I have completed some minor projects, but not as many as I hoped for. I’m still loving the car, absolutely no regrets! All I have to say to Karen is, “Want to take a Corvette ride?” and I always get a “YEA! Let’s go!” She doesn’t want to drive the car, but she sure loves riding in it!
As the cooler weather is upon us here in central Florida, I’ll hit it hard to get some projects done this fall and winter. Updates to come!