Chevrolet Corvette: 1997 – 2004
The C5 Corvette marked the model’s serious return to extremely high performance. After languishing from roughly 1975 to 1991 while GM figured out how to build high performance engines capable of meeting the era’s new strict emissions standards, the C4 Corvette of 1992 was the first model in some 16 years to have a 300 horsepower engine as standard equipment.
There were a few optional engines in between that eclipsed the 300 horsepower mark, most notably the 1991 Corvette ZR-1 (345 horsepower) and the 1991 twin-turbo model (450 horsepower); but your basic garden variety Corvettes barely cleared 250 horsepower in those days. This all changed with the introduction of the C5, whose third generation of the small block V8 delivered 345 horsepower, 350 ft-lbs of torque and remarkably, 28 miles per gallon on the highway.