The Best Corvettes of the 1990s: No.2 – The 1999 Corvette FRC

1029

The Best Corvettes of the 1990s: No.2 - The 1999 Corvette FRC

Photo Credit: CorvetteImages.com


For our second-best 1990s Corvette award, we decided to go to the end of the decade and get a bit obscure with the 1999 Hardtop, Fixed Roof Coupe, or simply “FRC.”

After debuting the C5 with a limited run of 9,752 coupes in 1997 and introducing the Convertible in 1998, Chevrolet introduced a third body style for model year three. The idea was to create a lighter weight and more performance-oriented model at a more attainable price. Engineers achieved all of this by attaching a fixed fiberglass roof to a convertible body. The resultant car shaved more than 90 pounds from the coupe while also improving rigidity by 12%.

The Best Corvettes of the 1990s: No.2 - The 1999 Corvette FRC


The FRC was only available with a 6-speed manual transmission and the Z51 Performance Handling Package came standard, all for about $400 less than a base coupe and $6,800 less than the convertible on which it was based.

The model only accounted for 4,031 of the 33,270 Corvettes built for ’99 and each of them was missing several items that you could get on the other two C5 variants.

The Best Corvettes of the 1990s: No.2 - The 1999 Corvette FRC


Base, non-power adjustable, black leather seats were the lone option and optional colors shrank to just five choices – Torch Red (1,245 produced), Arctic White (311 produced), Nassau Blue (the rarest at just 202 produced), Black (1,227 produced), and Light Pewter (1,040 produced).

The hardtop was powered by the same 345 HP LS1 as the rest of the ‘Vette range but its lighter weight allowed it to be slightly quicker. The sprint to 60 MPH took 4.7 seconds and it could rip through a quarter mile in 13.3 seconds at around 108 MPH with a top end of 175 MPH. These numbers were almost negligible compared to a base coupe but the Corvette team’s insistence in building the FRC anyway was an important harbinger of their serious intentions towards world-class performance.

The Best Corvettes of the 1990s: No.2 - The 1999 Corvette FRC


One final note: 1999 was also the year that Chevrolet finally allowed the Corvette to return to factory-backed competition with the introduction of the C5.R. Lessons learned from this eventual championship-winning project along with the rejuvenated desire at General Motors to return America’s Sports Car to its former glory led us to where we are today, in a new, unprecedented era of breathtakingly fast, unbelievably powerful Corvettes built out of exotic materials with an engine sitting behind the driver that need zero excuses when compared toe to toe with the finest vehicles that the rest of the world has to offer. Thank you, C5.R and thank you, Fixed Roof Coupe!

The Best Corvettes of the 1990s: No.2 - The 1999 Corvette FRC


Check out all of our Best Corvettes of Each Decade features:

The 1950s

The 1960s

The 1970s

The 1980s

The 1990s

The 2000s

The 2010s

 

1 COMMENT

Comments are closed.