Building a Collectible
What this reader learned when he ordered a special Millennium Yellow 2000
By Tom Russo
Until the Z06
model was introduced in 2001, C5s were mostly carbon copies
of one another, with few distinguishing characteristics. You
could purchase a coupe, a convertible, or a hardtop with a
variety of options.
Millennium Yellow paint was an immediate hit when it was introduced
in 2000. Production showed this option paint scheme as a “constrained”
item, meaning that the production quota had been met and no
more would be produced in a particular week. A few intrepid
owners and dealers braved GM Distribution and ordered this
non-recommended color combination in an attempt to differentiate
their C5s from the pack.
According to my research, 1,600 Corvettes were painted Millennium
Yellow in 2000, and only 37 were ordered with the Torch Red
interior. Fifteen were built with black convertible tops,
while the balance was coupes. Hardtops could not be ordered
in Millennium Yellow in 2000.
Why such limited production? GM policy regarding non-recommended
combinations conflicts with Corvette brand policy. Corvette
brand policy is clear—the customer may order the combination
he wishes, and the plant will build it. But GM’s order
system rejects non-recommended combinations, so when a dealer
submits a customer’s order, GM Distribution rejects it.
In my case, the Corvette brand manager had to intervene and
instruct GM Distribution that, indeed, this was the correct
customer order—”Build the car!” And it takes
a strong customer-service-oriented dealer to stick with it.
In a model series with few remarkable product differentiations,
will this C5—affectionately dubbed “the Ronald McDonald
Corvette” by Bowling Green Assembly Plant workers—emerge
as the first Corvette collectible of the 21st century? Whether
it does or not, it’s the combination I was willing to