: Is there such thing as a "cheap" Corvette?



I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-04-10, 12:13 AM
I dunno why, but I was thinking about the possibility of a Corvette in the (distant) future. Even though I've always preferred four seaters, it would be cool to have a copy of America's premiere sports car.

Even though my favorite years are the 66-67's, and the 68-72's, those are very hard to come by nowadays and very expensive. But, what about an L98 or LT1 4th generation? Aside from the late C3 models, which don't have nearly the power of these, they're probably the most affordable Corvettes to get into.

Now I remember my days from the Chevy dealer, that the C5 and C6 models are quite expensive to own, because they're so much more complicated than any other Chevrolet model, so I'd assume this is normal for any other Corvette? As far as overall cost to own of the car it's self, not including insurance and stuff, are Corvettes closer to Cadillacs or Z28 Camaros?

Sevillian273
04-04-10, 12:24 AM
http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/merc892003/DSCF0290.jpg

:D

Jesda
04-04-10, 12:25 AM
The C4 with the 4+3 automatic is the cheapest one, for a reason.

CadillacCastle
04-04-10, 12:26 AM
1983s were cheap

Yeqon
04-04-10, 12:47 AM
See you need to go to the Meccum auction! I have seen a few go there for 12k and under.

Cadillac_Fan
04-04-10, 12:50 AM
The Pontiac Fiero! (Then again, the Fiero makes me think about Depp hair gel, parachute pants, WHAM!, Max Headroom posters, and the Brat Pack.)

Stingroo
04-04-10, 01:05 AM
1983s were cheap

:histeric:

I'm like, a Corvette fanatic, and probably one of the only people who got that reference. :thumbsup:

You sir, are a winner.

mharker
04-04-10, 01:10 AM
OK time for a serious answer. I would say yes in my case.

I am primarily a Cadillac/Buick enthusiast but like you, still kinda dug Corvettes. So I started investigating them and took the plunge in 2006. I ended up with a 1992 M6 coupe with under 60,000 miles for about $12500.

Let's look at the main costs of having a car and you'll see why it's cheap.

DEPRECIATION
I got my car for $12500 and have had it for 4 years. If I had to sell in a hurry I could likely get most of my money back... and with a bit of time to prep the car and time it right I could possibly profit a little.

MAINTENANCE
I chose the C4 and LT1 because of its reliability. In 4 years I have spent under $2000 in maintenance and repairs. That's shop rates - I don't even do my own oil changes. A lot of Corvettes are money pits, but if you buy right you'll do OK.

INSURANCE
Where I live you can get collector insurance for cars over 15 years old. I pay $300 per year for full coverage, but I'm not allowed to use it for work or commuting, which I don't.

FUEL
The LT1 with the M6 is no Prius but it is surprisingly efficient. Oh and while it's "only" 300HP (compared to 500HP+ on newer vettes) I find it totally flies. But then again I'm a Caddy/Buick guy.


So... yes they're cheap if you get the right one.

HAZZARDJOHN
04-04-10, 01:52 AM
I wouldn't pay more than $2500 for a Corvette between 1975 and 1987. Don't care if they are worth more than that to someone, that is what they are worth to me.

BTW, I got the '83 reference also LOL.

~HJ

Koooop
04-04-10, 03:01 AM
$2,500 might get you a Vette... A 1980, 305 car that had a Gaggle of Geese living in it in Grampa's barn.

The C5 cars are extremely reliable, if they are in your price range you can't go wrong. If not I would get the newest, lowest mile C4 I could. A fun option in either of those two Vettes would be the performance Axle, but in the C5 if you can get the active handling (I'm not talking traction control, the handling!) GET IT! Any yahoo in a C5 Vette with Active handling is Mario Fuking Andretti! Either is cheap to tweak more HP out of, both are fun to drive, fast, stop good... In addition to being reliable, the C5 turns in surprisingly great MPG. The C5 is miles better than a C4. The C4 is miles better than a C3. C3's handle like poop.

If you are under 10k for price, you can easily lay away your choice of a low mileage C4 (I'd bet you could even get a real nice C4 Vert under 10k), it'll probably take 14k to get a real nice low mileage C5.

I think the ticket in these Vettes is to get a one owner car with the original paint. Most of the original owners are nuts about keeping them nice. You just don't want one that's had to many owners, it just takes a Bubba owner a moment to ruin a Vette.

C&C
04-04-10, 07:10 AM
I think they made three '1983's', non-production and only one remains (the others destroyed). Either GM or the Corvette museum has the lone survivior.

The cheapest used are probably the C4's (1984-1996) and can be relatively cheap if you get a good one.

c5 rv
04-04-10, 07:43 AM
I've owned a C5 (02) and a late C3 (81). I agree with the other folks, that a C4 is a good choice. If you don't like the C4 styling (my barber calls them rolling doorstops), consider a mid-to-later C3, say 74-80. Pre-74 C3s had chrome bumper(s) and are quite expensive. 81 & 82 C3s had the start of computer controlled engines. My favorite late C3s are 79 & 80, but I needed the power seat for my back that was offered in 81 & 82. If I were buying another vette, I'd look for a C5 as they had power, handling, comfort, and safety.

Good luck in your search. Take your time and remember that the cheapest part of the Corvette hobby is the search.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-04-10, 10:54 AM
Aside from the C5 and C6's, Corvettes weren't ever comfortable or spacious. I remember C4's as being very cramped and hard to get into, especially for anyone that's not short and skinny like me. Tough to work on too, with really limited space under the hood, and I don't remember them having a fair amount of luggage space under that hatch. When the C5 came out, it had a lot more room inside, without having to climb over those HUGE sills, and it rode smoother and was an all around better car. The C6 just improved on that even more.

I always considered myself more of a Camaro person...they're aimed at a younger audience, and they've got room for me and some friends (but, just for a short distance), and they're cheaper to own too. Plus, aside from the second generation Camaros compared to the C3 Corvettes, I always thought the Camaros were better looking, overall.

billc83
04-04-10, 12:02 PM
Define cheap. Are you talking under $10K? $15K? $5K? As always, buying the best example you can afford remains the golden rule for things like this. Buy what you like and like what you buy.

Aparently with summer on the way, cheaper Vettes seem harder to find (at least from my quick online searching right now).

orconn
04-04-10, 12:04 PM
Well, Chad, I think you answered you own question ... you are not a Corvette guy! So, for you, there is no such thing as a "cheap Corvette." From all that you've written, I am not surprised, your preferences have always leaned heavily toward large luxury cars; i.e. anyone who would lust after a Continental Mark IV would be very unhappy with any two seat sportscar.

But thanks for asking the question, as I learned from the answers about the various models and will keep the info in mind dhould the spirit ever move me in the direction of a Corvette.

Meanwhile, I suggest you get started on growing a mullet and get on the waiting list down at the trailer park (just kidding, we had a silver '77 Firebird)!

96Fleetwood
04-04-10, 12:20 PM
My Father had 3 C4 Vettes, a C5, and C6 Z06... the only one worth a damn was the C6.

The C4s were rattling plastic and fiberglass junk.

I would buy a 1999+ Fbody (they rattle too) or '04+ GTO for the same money anyday.

Yeqon
04-04-10, 12:52 PM
How soon are you looking to buy?

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/cto/1675748005.html
http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/dak/cto/1675147538.html
http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/cto/1674931311.html

orconn
04-04-10, 02:43 PM
I second 96Fleetwood's recommendation of the '04+ GTO; a car that provides a good degree of road performance, comfort, and a modicum of build quality .... and no mullet necessary! All in all, a competent GT automobile at bargain basement prices.

77CDV
04-04-10, 03:08 PM
Meanwhile, I suggest you get started on growing a mullet and get on the waiting list down at the trailer park!

:lol:

My sister had a 1985 Corvette she bought in 1989, just before she got married. She left it at our house while she went off on her honeymoon, which meant I got to drive it. I was used to my dad's (later mine) '77 CDV, but was curious about the 'Vette, as any self-respecting 17-year-old would be. I drove it once, about 10 miles, and hated every mile of it. Felt like sitting in a bathtub rolling on iron casters over a log road. And the seats were so flat and uncomfortable! I've never had even the inkling of a desire to drive a Corvette since.

My brother had a 1991 Camaro RS he bought new. Sweet to look at, didn't ride or drive any better than my sister's 'Vette.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-04-10, 05:52 PM
Well, Chad, I think you answered you own question ... you are not a Corvette guy! So, for you, there is no such thing as a "cheap Corvette." From all that you've written, I am not surprised, your preferences have always leaned heavily toward large luxury cars; i.e. anyone who would lust after a Continental Mark IV would be very unhappy with any two seat sportscar.

Well, I like the big land yachts, but I've always wanted a muscle car, ever since I was a kid. In a perfect world, I'd have a LT1 FWB, the Mark IV and the muscle car. These Mark IV's and stuff aren't really "fun to drive" but rather great cruisers. I drove an LT1 Z28 two years ago and loved every second of it, even if it's crude and unrefined.


My Father had 3 C4 Vettes, a C5, and C6 Z06... the only one worth a damn was the C6.

The C4s were rattling plastic and fiberglass junk.

I would buy a 1999+ Fbody (they rattle too) or '04+ GTO for the same money anyday.

Yeah, I remember the C4 Vettes having an awful interior. Cramped, rattly, poorly designed, ugly, and made of poor materials. I liked the digital dash they used in the 84-89's, but when they tried to make it more analog and normal in '90 by redoing the dash, it didn't look as good to me.

Did your dad ever have a ZR1?


I second 96Fleetwood's recommendation of the '04+ GTO; a car that provides a good degree of road performance, comfort, and a modicum of build quality .... and no mullet necessary! All in all, a competent GT automobile at bargain basement prices.

Yeah, I remember them being quite nice, especially for a Pontiac. They were very well balanced, had nice interiors and a great drivetrain. Their subtle looks would fare well with the police, and the only problem I could see is it might be hard to get parts because of the australian source and short lifespan.


:lol:

My sister had a 1985 Corvette she bought in 1989, just before she got married. She left it at our house while she went off on her honeymoon, which meant I got to drive it. I was used to my dad's (later mine) '77 CDV, but was curious about the 'Vette, as any self-respecting 17-year-old would be. I drove it once, about 10 miles, and hated every mile of it. Felt like sitting in a bathtub rolling on iron casters over a log road. And the seats were so flat and uncomfortable! I've never had even the inkling of a desire to drive a Corvette since.

My brother had a 1991 Camaro RS he bought new. Sweet to look at, didn't ride or drive any better than my sister's 'Vette.

Yeah, I remember hearing that the early C4's, while being one of the best handling cars for sale back then, were incredibly rough riding and harsh.

To me, Corvettes were always the "old man's" sports car. 90% of the Corvette owners at the dealer I used to work at were over the age of 50. That's partially why I like Camaros more.

A friends' brother has a '92 Camaro RS Coupe, it doesn't seem to ride too firm.

96Fleetwood
04-04-10, 06:22 PM
Did your dad ever have a ZR1?

Nope, at that time he had the 944 S2 which I later inherited.

Destroyer
04-04-10, 09:44 PM
I'd go for a C4 LT1 car. Cheap as hell to buy right now. Do yourself a favor and come to Florida or other southern state to pick one up. I'm see low mile cars going for $5-$8k. Great deal. No they are not of high quality inside but they are fun and I think you would grow to like them.

Stingroo
04-04-10, 09:51 PM
^ I second that notion. C4's are plentiful and cheap here in the Sunshine State.

c5 rv
04-04-10, 10:36 PM
I found that northern states seem to have the best low mileage vettes because many owners never used them as daily drivers. Many never saw rain, let alone snow.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-04-10, 10:38 PM
Yep. Many Corvettes up here, atleast the ones I saw at the dealer, had less than 75,000 miles on them, regardless of year.

mharker
04-04-10, 11:31 PM
I found that northern states seem to have the best low mileage vettes because many owners never used them as daily drivers. Many never saw rain, let alone snow.

I agree... for sports cars the north is where it's at. I ended up buying in Canada where I live but looked at many in the Northeast US while shopping. Always lower mileage than the South or California because they aren't driven in winter. Typically garaged in summer too so no sun damage.

Another point I should have made about Corvette ownership - the cars are extremely impractical and there is almost always a reason to NOT use your Corvette. Like...

-need 3 or more passengers
-need to haul 2 people plus a few items
-need to haul something too big
-need to haul something valuable you want to hide while parked
-need to drive a kid - most models you can't turn off front airbag
-need to park somewhere where it could get dinged/keyed/etc.
-might rain
-might snow


It's no wonder they have low miles most of the time - there are so many reasons to use your other car instead. For me it is simply about a driving experience - for practical trips it is almost never appealing.

Aron9000
04-05-10, 02:02 AM
For cheap speed I really like the 98-02 f-body more than any Corvette. You get the awesome LS1 motor, which is superior to the LT1 in the 92-96 Vette. Personally I think the styling is bitching on both the Trans Am and Camaro.

As far as the interiors go, I give the nod to the fbody. Ergonomics are spot on in the fbody, you sit low and everything falls right into hand. The materials in a C5 Vette are just as crappy, and its even worse in a C4. You also get a back seat and a decent amount of trunk space in the fbody, so it is more practical than a Vette.

As for the pricing, a good condition fbody can be had for 6-12k, depending on year, miles, etc. Trans Am WS6, Firehawks, and SS models command a price premium. You can't touch a decent C5 for that type of money, and a C4 runs around the same price. Honestly I think the fbody is a much better built car than any C4.

Kick94sts
04-05-10, 04:07 AM
I would love something like this-

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/wsh/ctd/1674841800.html

Eric Kahn
04-05-10, 10:31 AM
if you are looking at 80's vette's with the 4+3, make sure you get service records showing they changed the fluid in the overdrive part, which is just a powerglide with no torque converter and uses ATF in it, most people did not realize that it had to be changed and was separate from the 4 speed part

I would get a C5 with a manual, I had an 84 for awhile, was fun to drive

CIWS
04-05-10, 10:37 AM
This one looks pretty "cheap"

http://www.fquick.com/blog/This_Corvette_Proves_Money_Doesn_t_Buy_Taste/3771

Stingroo
04-05-10, 12:40 PM
WTF they put a Ford V8 emblem on the hood.


I wish to learn the address of that individual, and smack the living shit out of them.

77CDV
04-05-10, 02:37 PM
Yep. Many Corvettes up here, atleast the ones I saw at the dealer, had less than 75,000 miles on them, regardless of year.

Chad,

The only problem with you owning a Corvette is you're not a divorced, middle-aged, gold-chain-dripping orthodonist. I think it's required if you really want to own one.

Craig

Stingroo
04-05-10, 03:11 PM
^ I resent that. I want a Corvette. :(

I'd have gobs of fun with a C4/5 after college. :)

V-Eight
04-05-10, 03:39 PM
This one looks pretty "cheap"

http://www.fquick.com/blog/This_Corvette_Proves_Money_Doesn_t_Buy_Taste/3771

That's what happens when someone who should be driving a Civic gets their hands on a Corvette :duck:

billc83
04-05-10, 05:56 PM
This one looks pretty "cheap"
http://www.fquick.com/blog/This_Corvette_Proves_Money_Doesn_t_Buy_Taste/3771

That is one hacked together piece of crap...

The off-center "DRAGON" script really sets that one apart.

Koooop
04-05-10, 06:06 PM
^ I resent that. I want a Corvette. :(

I'd have gobs of fun with a C4/5 after college. :)

Me too! I had my Corvette when I was in High School.

I'll be putting my Dad's 1999 C5 up for sale in a couple of weeks. Original owner, original paint, White on Red, Glass top, Active Handling and Traction control, factory chrome wheels, the leather seats were recovered (custom colors) and are perfect, 80,000 miles, Hawk intake, good tires and brakes, Automatic (I think it has the performance Axle) Books, records... Total garage queen in showroom perfect condition.

I'm thinking $16,000

Koooop
04-05-10, 06:09 PM
:histeric:
That is one hacked together piece of crap...

The off-center "DRAGON" script really sets that one apart.


Ouch. :histeric:

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-05-10, 08:13 PM
This one looks pretty "cheap"

http://www.fquick.com/blog/This_Corvette_Proves_Money_Doesn_t_Buy_Taste/3771

Holy god, that should have been cash-for-clunkered. It would have had died a more dignified death.


For cheap speed I really like the 98-02 f-body more than any Corvette. You get the awesome LS1 motor, which is superior to the LT1 in the 92-96 Vette. Personally I think the styling is bitching on both the Trans Am and Camaro.

As far as the interiors go, I give the nod to the fbody. Ergonomics are spot on in the fbody, you sit low and everything falls right into hand. The materials in a C5 Vette are just as crappy, and its even worse in a C4. You also get a back seat and a decent amount of trunk space in the fbody, so it is more practical than a Vette.

As for the pricing, a good condition fbody can be had for 6-12k, depending on year, miles, etc. Trans Am WS6, Firehawks, and SS models command a price premium. You can't touch a decent C5 for that type of money, and a C4 runs around the same price. Honestly I think the fbody is a much better built car than any C4.

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I like the F-bodies more. Working at the Chevy dealer, I always liked to drive the Camaros more, unless it was a Z06 or ZR1, and that was just because of the cool factor. We actually saw WAY more Corvettes than Camaros too, probably because the average Corvette owner is more apt to spend big money on their cars than the average Camaro owner is.


I agree... for sports cars the north is where it's at. I ended up buying in Canada where I live but looked at many in the Northeast US while shopping. Always lower mileage than the South or California because they aren't driven in winter. Typically garaged in summer too so no sun damage.

Another point I should have made about Corvette ownership - the cars are extremely impractical and there is almost always a reason to NOT use your Corvette. Like...

-need 3 or more passengers
-need to haul 2 people plus a few items
-need to haul something too big
-need to haul something valuable you want to hide while parked
-need to drive a kid - most models you can't turn off front airbag
-need to park somewhere where it could get dinged/keyed/etc.
-might rain
-might snow


It's no wonder they have low miles most of the time - there are so many reasons to use your other car instead. For me it is simply about a driving experience - for practical trips it is almost never appealing.

Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Corvettes are terribly impractical. Much like a Porsche, they're usually owned by wealthy people as a third car for the express purpose of being driven on nice days.

orconn
04-05-10, 08:24 PM
Yeah, I think you've got that right! My son's next door neighbor drove home a new Ferrari last week. Given that my son is not really Ferrari literate, we don't know which model Ferrari it is. But I bet the guy got it to impress his fellow anesthesioligist and other doctors down at the Doc's only parking lot! Probably gave himself a much deserved present when he made his last payment on his education loans. I think every car guy should have at least one sportscar during their life!

Koooop
04-05-10, 08:31 PM
Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Corvettes are terribly impractical. Much like a Porsche, they're usually owned by wealthy people as a third car for the express purpose of being driven on nice days.

You nailed it, they are nothing but a toy. The upside is, it's easy to find one that has been well cared for that never saw salt, rain, snow or a night outside.

There's plenty of time to drive something practical, you may as well have a fun ride. For most of us there's a sedan with a baby seat in back in our future. (i.e CTS-V)

notld67
04-05-10, 09:11 PM
i've seen alot of the vette you don't want, 84-86, around here in decent running shape for $3k-$4k. I actually contemplated buying one. 6-8k around here you can pick up a late 70's or mid 90's in decent shape...

96Fleetwood
04-06-10, 07:49 PM
Corvettes are terribly impractical. Much like a Porsche, they're usually owned by wealthy people as a third car for the express purpose of being driven on nice days.

On the contrary... you should see how many physicans I work with that daily drive their 911s and Caymans....:thumbsup: Our head ER doc drives a 2007 911 Turbo year round.. he puts snow tires on for the winter.

hueterm
04-06-10, 08:08 PM
Your insurance payments will run amok from the ass if you get a 'Vette...

c5 rv
04-06-10, 09:21 PM
Your insurance payments will run amok from the ass if you get a 'Vette...

As a middle-aged adult with a clean driving record and using my vettes for leisure, rather than commuting use, my insurance was quite reasonable.

hueterm
04-06-10, 09:32 PM
Yes, but Chad is a 22 year old single man.........

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-06-10, 09:47 PM
Yes, but Chad is a 22 year old single man.........

With a recent speeding ticket for doing 79 in a 60.

hueterm
04-06-10, 09:50 PM
Oh, well then.... ;-)

notld67
04-06-10, 10:42 PM
Your insurance payments will run amok from the ass if you get a 'Vette...

whats funny is on my insurance a C5 vette is $5 cheaper a month, a C6 is $8 more. Not too bad. I did a liability only quote if I added an 88 corvette and it went up $31 a month...

Koooop
04-06-10, 10:49 PM
whats funny is on my insurance a C5 vette is $5 cheaper a month, a C6 is $8 more. Not too bad. I did a liability only quote if I added an 88 corvette and it went up $31 a month...

Full coverage on my '69 is about $350 a year.

Aron9000
04-07-10, 03:40 AM
As an interesting note, it is cheaper to insure a Vette than a V8 fbody. I got a quote for both a 99 Vette and my 98 Z28, Vette was $100 less every six months, even though the Vette I was looking at cost twice as much.

V-Eight
04-07-10, 09:51 AM
As an interesting note, it is cheaper to insure a Vette than a V8 fbody. I got a quote for both a 99 Vette and my 98 Z28, Vette was $100 less every six months, even though the Vette I was looking at cost twice as much.

Kinda makes sense though, as a teenager is more likely to have an F-body rather than a Vette.

Stingroo
04-07-10, 10:26 AM
Yeah, but Aron isn't a teenager, I don't think.

That's good for me though. :thumbsup: If we supposedly get the C7 in the next 4 years or so, C5's will go down a bit more, and I'll scoop one up while you have your V. :)

V-Eight
04-07-10, 03:48 PM
Yeah, because unlike me, you could drive it all year :D

Aron9000
04-07-10, 03:51 PM
Yeah, but Aron isn't a teenager, I don't think.

That's good for me though. :thumbsup: If we supposedly get the C7 in the next 4 years or so, C5's will go down a bit more, and I'll scoop one up while you have your V. :)

26 here. Insurance dropped somewhat when I turned 25 last year too.

Stingroo
04-07-10, 04:25 PM
Yeah, because unlike me, you could drive it all year :D

Indeed, and I totally would too.

notld67
04-08-10, 08:12 PM
C5's are reasonably priced around here, i've seen some with decent miles for around 14-15k. I've seen some beat up high mile ones for 10k. I'd rather have a 98-02 T/A Ws6 then a C5 though.....

Koooop
04-09-10, 02:14 AM
I got to use one of those TA's with the LT1, manual, Harley Davidson edition and all that there good stuff. I kinda thought it was as big a rattle box as my 40 something year old 600k mile Corvette. It did a big smokin' burn out, but it was a wallowing hog in the corners.