12/24/00:Just posting a couple pictures and some notes would not do the experience justice. So I have created this page.

I had originally planned to buy the car in March of 2001 but due to recent problems with my 2000 Grand Prix GTP blowing a transmission I decided to demod the car and sell it sooner. No sooner then the Grand Prix was up for sale I strolled over to Corvetteforum.com and went to the "For sale\wanted" section which I had gone to at least once a day for the previous 3 weeks. The first post I saw I clicked on it. It was Mark Wittry's from Karl Chevrolet. The very first car listed was almost exactly what I had been looking for. Why not exactly? It was lacking silver painted wheels, Z51 suspension and a 3.15 performance axle. Its hard to find Corvettes for sale that's EXACTLY what you want unless you order it from the factory like that. Mostly because there's so many options you would drive yourself crazy looking. The price looked reasonable and then I scrolled to the bottom of the post and saw the dealer was in Iowa. Oh my god Iowa....do you know how cold it is back there this time of year I was telling myself. I sent a couple e-mails back and forth and called Mark the salesman a few times. I ended making the deal. He was willing to budge on the price a little which helped pay for the airfare but didn't cover all of it. So a purchase agreement was faxed over and a hold was put on the car for me. I booked a flight which was worked into my 4 day holiday weekend and figured even with bad weather I would only have to average 40MPH to make it back on Christmas. No sooner then my flight was booked I started telling my friends about the big trip. Jeremy Flowers one of my friends that I had met from this years Grand Prix Gathering had heard me talking about the trip. He was actually due in the same area as the car dealership in Ankeny at the same time I was going to be there. Then a few days before I left I found a deal on some 3.15 gears that a fellow Corvette owner had replaced with 3.42's. He happen to be near my friend Tony Lauer who runs the Grand Prix Gathering. Tony was also on my way through to get to California because I chose to take the southern route to Oklahoma City then west to avoid the weather in Colorado. Man everything's coming together.......going to get to see Jeremy and Tony....those Grand Prix owners really come together in time of need :). So I leave after work to catch a plane on the 21st. After arriving in Des Moines at 1:30am local time I hit the hotel and slept until about 8:30. At 9am I got a call from the front desk and it was Mark from the dealer. I checked out of the hotel and we where on our way. Mark was nice enough to give me a ride to Ankeny in his own car which was about 10 miles away. Along the freeway I couldn't help but notice cars upside down and on their sides on the side of the freeway. I thought to myself.......Aaron what the hell are you doing here driving a 350HP rear wheel drive car in snow and ice conditions 1900 miles back to California. I joking let Mark in on my thoughts of this and he reassured me most of these where from nighttime when people would hit untreated black ice. I met Jeremy at the dealership and he actually got to see the car before me (bastard). You couldn't have found 2 people happier about a car in all of Iowa for the couple hours we where there. The paperwork for the car was done very quickly by Jim Jones the sales manager, it took probably all of 15 minutes. Then we went back to Mark where he had pulled the car into service for the all important pictures. At the same time he went through the whole car with me and explained how everything worked. The car was flawless inside and out. With just 4200 miles the original owner hadn't even used the 12 disc CD changer cassette that was in the trunk cubby. After getting everything adjusted how I wanted it I set off for home at 11am! I headed to Kansas and picked up the gears from Tony Lauer and had lunch with him. Then off through Wichita and finally ending up Santa Rosa New Mexico at about 3am. The weather was cold (-1F when I left the dealership) but the roads where not icy. I started off through Iowa doing about 70MPH tops but then the rest of the way 80+MPH. After about 4 hours sleep I woke up and started off on my trip. This time I had a tag-a-long red 97-99 C5 from Oklahoma join me for the trip. I had seen his car in the Holiday Inn parking lot where I stayed and I guess he caught up to me. I waved and he waved back and we ended up driving back all the way to Flagstaff AZ right behind each other......taking turns leading. Its also a interesting note that I made out from Santa Rosa NM to Flagstaff AZ on 1 tank of gas. I was amazed and when I clicked to see the trip distance it came to 413 miles......amazing. From there I continued driving until I got in Saturday at 6pm. 1900 miles covered in 34 hours that included 4 hours of sleep and 2 hours of stopovers and not a single speeding ticket, not bad. It was a really great experience buying this car and Mark Wittry from Karl Chevrolet in Ankeny and I would recommend him to anyone. I wouldn't think twice about doing this trip all over again if the occasion should ever come up again. Thanks Mark!!!

Below are some pictures of the car and some parts waiting to go on click on the picture to get a larger view:

At the dealer in Ankeny Iowa:

The check Jeremy and I in the car

Back in California with a fresh coat of Zaino polish:

The factory mag wheels

Why are the factory magnesium wheels being replaced with forged aluminum ones? The mag wheels where introduced as a option when the 97-99 thick 5 spoke style rims where out. The wheel weights for the years are as follows:

*97-99 painted cast aluminum
*2000 early forged aluminum
*00-01 high polished
*00 2nd gen cast-01 cast aluminum
*98-01 Magnesium

As you can see the mag wheels where indeed a weight savings at the time but with the introduction of the 2000+ wheels they turned out to be even lighter then the mag wheels. I am told roughly every 1lb of rotating mass reduced on the C5 is like taking 6lbs off the lightness of the car.

When I came home from the trip with the C5 I had new rims waiting for me as well as a aftermarket air filter and the gears I had brought along:


2000 Sebring Silver metallic C5, Black leather interior, Automatic, Active Handling, HUD, dual power sport seats, dual zone air, fog lamps, heated mirrors, dual removable roof panels (1 painted and 1 transparent), memory package, luggage shade and parcel net, floor mats, body side moldings, 12 disc changer plus 1 in the dash, BOSE stereo. Basically everything but 3.15 axle and Z51 suspension, which are both being added very soon.

So far the car has been fantastic. I'm still waiting for my Z51 swaybars and my Z06 Titanium exhaust to come in to put on the car. I've decided not to add any mods to it until I can dyno it so I can see some before and after numbers. I also plan on taking it to the track in the upcoming couple weeks. I will post pictures as things begin to happen.


Aaron Lephart

UPDATE 12/27/00: I reviewed the option codes in the glovebox and found the car already has 3.15 gears (G92 code) AND Z51 suspension! Fantastic! More money for modifications. I will forgive Mark for not noting this in the listed options of the car :).

UPDATE 12/29/00: The car was dynoed today completely stock. It put out 301HP and 319 torque at the wheels. Roughly 355HP at the crank. Either GM underrated the engine more then people thought or I got a good engine from the plant. Usually the automatics are making about 290 at the wheels. I put a aftermarket air filter on after the dyno runs and awaiting installing my Z06 exhaust. Then back to the dyno to see what it picked up. I'm not expecting much on the exhaust.....maybe a couple ponys. The stock GM system is well designed but this is more of a weight savings\sound thing to me.

UPDATE: 1/14/01: Z06 exhaust installed along with the silver rims. I really love the sound of the exhaust and am glad I didn't get a louder one.....this is enough. The rims look better then the Mag wheels and are at least easier to clean. The 3.15 gears and Mag rims are already sold as well so that frees some money up for car mods. I hope to make it by this week to the dyno and get some updated numbers!

UPDATE: 2/1/00: With the exhaust and air filter on it was off to the dyno. Very impressive results 18HP gain and 13ft lbs of torque. In addition to that a nice 25ft pounds torque increase through midrange. With the new found power it was off to the track. I only got 2 runs in but I did manage to get a 13.2@105.90MPH traction was a huge issue. View the dyno chart here.