Fifth-best Corvette ever: 1997 Corvette C5

This model gets the nod mostly because at the time of its introduction, it was the first completely redesigned Corvette that Chevrolet parent General Motors ( GM) had rolled out in more than a decade.

"The Corvette had sort of gotten a lot of gray around the temples by 1996, but then the '97 Corvette came out and suddenly the line was relevant again -- in a grand way," Oldham says.

The 1997 Corvette featured a more comfortable ride than the brand had offered, as well as a revolutionary new LS1 V-8 engine. Oldham says the 345-horsepower LS1 was the first all-aluminum V-8 that GM had used in the Corvette, as well as the first new "small-block" engine the automaker had rolled out since 1955.

"Corvettes still benefit today from some of the choices Chevrolet made for the 1997 model," Oldham says. "It just reinvigorated the brand as a desirable car for a whole new generation of people."

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