I think that he's referring to a pulley-belt coming off and not a non-existent timing belt.
The 97 had both the LT1 in early models and the LS1, so make sure it has the LS1.
The 97 was redesigned from the ground up. I have a 98 Sebring Silver Convertible. Other than a twin intake and Magnaflow stainless exhaust, it's stock motor wise.
These are fantastic cars. I have owned C3s, and they are beautiful 68-72, but overall the C5 and up are incredible. Extremely reliable, fast and turnkey.
I went to Gatorback pulley belts. I have newer C5 factory chrome spoke wheels with huge calipers, Grand Sport stripes, Z06 side vents and a Indy Race Cap. It's been a consistent show winner over the years.
I have done most maintenance myself. Mobil 1 oil changes are simple and easy access. I replaced the fuel filter in the rear. New Kumho run flats and new TPMs. New Optima Gel Battery. I replaced a couple of modules.
The only weak point is the battery, and that issue is resolved with a battery maintainer with a quick plug hidden under the right side cowl.
Gas isn't really a concern with Corvette owners I know. You can get 28 plus MPG on interstates due to the aerodynamics and 6 speed trans. I see 17 as average (city and highway) on the readouts. There are duplicate gauge and digital readouts on everything.
The Bose sounds superb, even with the top down.
I really like the reintroduction of the center seat panel with C5 logo, like early Vette convertibles. The top is fast to drop and raise. Windows lower automatically when you press the hidden top button.
Overall, these are great cars.