After all of the performance enhancements we added to our Corvette during the "C5 on a Shoestring" series, it was easy to underestimate just how much power the car had gained. Factor in a set of worn-out rear tires, and it was just a matter of time before disaster struck. While accelerating through a corner as part of a photo shoot, we put the car into a spin, slid off the road, and did quite a bit of damage to the body. The rear bumper fascia got the worst of it, suffering several tears that necessitated the unit's repair or replacement.
The only question was, did we want to mend the damage or use a new fascia to create a more modern look? Although the factory C5 bumper is a stylish piece, our natural tendency is to change things up a bit. But while aftermarket front fascias and hoods are quite common, distinctive body mods for rear of the car are harder to come by. After poring over our stockpile of parts catalogs, we decided to replace the old bumper fascia with a new Tiger Shark unit from Corvette Central.
Here's the Tiger Shark bumper...
Here's the Tiger Shark bumper fascia as it arrived from Corvette Central. Shipping was fast, and the fascia was well packed.
The Tiger Shark is made from a urethane composite and comes with an installation kit that includes two taillamps, a license-plate bezel, and a pair of black-out grilles. It also features a spoiler that is an integrated part of the bumper, providing a clean look you won't get from a bolt-on piece. The smaller license-plate opening also adds to the sleek appearance, and the taillamp-panel insert provides plenty of options for painting.
Once the package arrived from Corvette Central, it was time to introduce the Tiger Shark to the C5. As you'll see in the accompanying photos, installation was easy. CC even offers step-by-step instructions on its website, so if you get into a jam, help is just a click away. After fitment, we made a quick trip to the paint booth, then attached the bumper to the car.
When we chose the Tiger Shark fascia, we knew our C5's exhaust system would need to be replaced or modified to work with the new fascia's narrower exhaust opening. Since our old exhaust was also damaged in the accident, the best choice was to replace it with a Corsa system designed specifically for use with the Tiger Shark fascia.
Follow along now as we lend a fresh new look to our C5's rear aspect.
The Tiger Shark comes with...
The Tiger Shark comes with an installation kit that contains everything needed to complete the project. Notice that the two inner tail-lamp assemblies are equipped with integrated backup lamps. These lamps must be installed to maintain compliance with state and federal regulations.
Removing and installing the...
Removing and installing the rear fascia isn't complicated. Corvette Central supplies step-by-step directions as well as the tools required to do the job.
Fully unpacked and ready to...
Fully unpacked and ready to install, the Tiger Shark impresses with its sleek lines and superior build quality.