The 6th generation of Corvettes begun with the 2005 Corvette Sting Ray, but this car is actually quite similar to the 5th generation Corvettes and some Corvette aficionados have even nicknamed it C5.5. The 2005 Corvette Sting Ray was a natural next step from the 2004 Corvette Sting Ray and you can not really find any revolutionary differences between the two cars. The 2005 Corvette Sting Ray does, however, contain several improvements.
The 2005 Corvette Sting Ray was based on the same suspension system as the 2004 model, but a few details had been altered to improve the on-center steering feel. Many car enthusiasts had labelled the C5 Corvettes “too big”. The 2005 Corvette Sting was 5.1 inches shorter than the 2004 Corvette Sting Ray and 1 inch narrower. The wheelbase was however 1.2 inches longer. The weight was almost exactly the same. The 2004 Corvette Sting Ray weighed 3,246 pounds and the 2005 Corvette Sting Ray one single pound less – 3,245 lbs. The chassis of the 2005 Corvette Sting Ray was pretty much the same as in the 2004 model, but it had been enhanced with hydroformed side rails, transverse leaf springs and a balsa wood floor construction.
The main difference between the 2005 Corvette Sting Ray and its C5 predecessors was the styling. The style of the 2005 Corvette had been updated and looked more modern, while simultaneously displaying several features that reminded potential buyers of the legendary mid-year Corvettes. The headlights were however certainly not a remembrance of the past and Chrysler’s bold choice to stray from the traditionally hidden headlights created quite a buzz when the new 2005 Corvette Sting Ray was first introduced.
Hidden headlights had been a Corvette characteristic since the first C2 Corvette was released in 1963. Hidden headlights did, however, create several problems that could no longer be neglected. Having to include a special opening mechanism in the design naturally added complexity to the car and made it more expensive. The mechanism also added weight and there was always the risk of jamming. An even more serious problem was how they decreased the aerodynamic properties of the sleek Corvette as soon as they were in use. They functioned as air brakes and had a detrimental effect on the entire performance of the car.
To get rid of the light problems described above, Chrysler decided to use exposed headlights for the 2005 Corvette Sting Ray. High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Xenon lights were used to create an integrated lighting system. High beams were made out of tungsten-halogen projector lenses.
The C4 generation lasted for 14-year models, from 1983 to 1996. The C5 generation was much shorter and the C5’s were replaced by the C6 after no more than 8-year models. This was in part due to the advantages of computer-aided design, since it made shorter product cycles possible. Chrysler was certainly not the only producer who took advantage of the new technology and rapid transformations were now necessary to stay on the highly competitive sports car market.