Corvette: Year by Year1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965
1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978
1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
The C5 Corvette's floor is constructed using two layers of an aircraft type composite material wrapped around a balsa wood core. The balsa wood helps filter out noise and vibration, and makes the floor 10 times stiffer than the use of composites alone. Numerous "high tech" synthetic fillers were tried, but none matched the stiffness, light weight and damping performance of natural balsa wood.
The chassis side rails were shaped through a process called hydroforming, as opposed to the multiple stampings and welding of the C4 Corvette. The new design was part of the reason why the designers were able to lower the door sill by about four inches. Using seamless tubular steel contributed to the strength of the chassis.
Of the many innovations of the C5, the rear transaxle was at the top of the list. With a transaxle design, the transmission and the differential are located in a combined case at the rear axle. This was the same layout used in the Porsche 944 and Ferrari Daytona. The goal was improved balance; with the weight shifted more to the rear a better front / rear weight distribution was possible. In the case of the C5, weight distribution was 51% front / 49% rear which is close to ideal and an excellent statistic for a front engine car. Another advantage of the rear transaxle was more space in the cockpit area, which resolved a complaint from C4 owners who felt that the footwell areas was too small. Note the torque tube in front of the transaxle and to the right in the above photo. It mechanically coupled the engine to the transaxle which improved handling response, delivering that wonderful and often elusive "sports car feel".
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