To mark the Corvette's first half-century of
production, Chevrolet offered a 50th Anniversary Special Edition 2003 Corvette.
Available only on coupes and convertibles, the package included a handsome
metallic-burgundy Anniversary Red exterior with champagne-painted wheels and
specific badges; a shale interior was highlighted with embroidered emblems on
the seats and floor mats, armrests, and grips. The 50th Anniversary convertible
also had a shale-hued top. As many as 10,000 Anniversary cars would be built,
based on customer demand, and the package -- RPO 1SC Preferred Equipment Group
2 -- added $5,000 to the cost of a base coupe or convertible.
The 50th Anniversary Edition was an option for the 2003 Corvette hatchback and
convertible. Included were Anniversary Red paint, shale leather interior,
"50" logos inside and out, and new Magnetic Selective Ride Control.
See more pictures of Corvettes.
F55 suspension was designed to make such adjustments at the blinding rate of
about 1,000 times per second, governed by a dual-processor computer chip and
based on the car's speed, steering-wheel angle, wheel travel, lateral
acceleration, braking, and even the outside temperature. The system was
designed to isolate and smooth the action of each tire to help minimize
bouncing, vibration, and noise. The result was a quieter, flatter ride with
more responsive and precise handling, especially during sudden high-speed
maneuvers. The system worked in tandem with both the Corvette's
traction-control and antilock braking systems to afford maximum balance and
stability over a full range of road conditions. For the heartiest motorists
willing to trade some ride comfort for additional road feel, a console-mounted
switch afforded a change from "Tour" to "Sport" mode.
Enthusiast-magazine testers came away duly impressed by the F55 system's ability to maintain control and reduce ride harshness when traversing large bumps or dips at speed, and its ability to absorb pavement imperfections and eschew superfluous suspension travel without sacrificing road feel. The alternate "Sport" mode was appreciated, but its greater degree of control and subsequently harsher ride was noted to be more appropriate for running hot laps on a race track than it was in daily driving. The Magnetic Selective Ride Control's added heft, just over 13 pounds, precluded the new system from being offered on the high-performance Z06, however, where every ounce of added weight was looked upon with disdain.
Production on the 2003 Corvette 50th Anniversary Edition was limited only
by the number of orders for the $5,000 package, a small price to pay for such
a fitting tribute to the 50th anniversary of "America's only true sports car."
Prices went up again for 2003, partly due to the birthday trimmings and other added features. The coupe now started at $43,255, the ragtop at $49,700, the Z06 at $50,485. Despite the hikes, sales held steady on model-year production of 36,026, a slim 88-unit gain over the '02 tally.
Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:
|1997 Corvette||1998 Corvette||1999 Corvette|
|2000 Corvette ||2001 Corvette||2002 Corvette|
|2003 Corvette||2004 Corvette|
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