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I keep coming back to C1

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Old 02-22-2018, 04:50 PM
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Randy_in_MD
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Default I keep coming back to C1

Hi everyone. I am a diehard Corvette guy. I have owned 5 over the last 15 years. My financial situation has improved to the point that #1. I can have the corvette as a second fun car and #2. I can seriously consider a C1 for that role.

I bought my latest vette...a 2011 convertible in October. It's a great car. Fast, reliable and beautiful. I have to admit that I was interested in a C1 prior to buying the C6 but some forum members kinda talked me out of the idea by reminding me of some of the C1s shortcomings....size, ride comfort, old technology, iffy reliability, etc.

The problem is that I am in love with the idea of, the looks of, the allure of, the mythology of the C1. I would love a 1957-1962. Should sub $50k examples be avoided like the plague? Is it possible to get a decent one in the mid to upper fifty thousand dollar range ($58,000ish)?

I'm obsessed. Thanks in advance for your time and input.
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Old 02-22-2018, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Randy_in_MD View Post
Hi everyone. I am a diehard Corvette guy. I have owned 5 over the last 15 years. My financial situation has improved to the point that #1. I can have the corvette as a second fun car and #2. I can seriously consider a C1 for that role.

I bought my latest vette...a 2011 convertible in October. It's a great car. Fast, reliable and beautiful. I have to admit that I was interested in a C1 prior to buying the C6 but some forum members kinda talked me out of the idea by reminding me of some of the C1s shortcomings....size, ride comfort, old technology, iffy reliability, etc.

The problem is that I am in love with the idea of, the looks of, the allure of, the mythology of the C1. I would love a 1957-1962. Should sub $50k examples be avoided like the plague? Is it possible to get a decent one in the mid to upper fifty thousand dollar range ($58,000ish)?

I'm obsessed. Thanks in advance for your time and input.
I don't believe that part to be true no more than any old car.

There have been several C1s for sale lately for under $50K listed here on the forum or in the CL thread that is ongoing here.

The below link in post #11 is my 57 I bought last Feb. with description, price paid and pictures.

https://www.corvetteforum.com/forums...post1594846350
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:08 PM
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Just FYI 68Hemi, iffy reliability was how it was described to me. I don't claim to know the first thing about the overall relative reliability of the C1s....come to think of it that lack of knowledge is problematic.

Thank you for the info and for posting the link.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Randy_in_MD View Post
Just FYI 68Hemi, iffy reliability was how it was described to me. I don't claim to know the first thing about the overall relative reliability of the C1s....come to think of it that lack of knowledge is problematic.

Thank you for the info and for posting the link.
then that person has no clue what they where talking about. if properly maintained with good parts and common sense used it can be very reliable
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:34 PM
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I agree. If maintained, hard to find a more reliable old car. Chevy small block V8, manual trans, manual steering, drum brakes. About as simple (and crude!) as it gets. It's an old Chevrolet with a fiberglass body is all.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:35 PM
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All corvettes are reliable. Like mention, you have to maintain it to keep it running like any car. I love the looks of the C1's but they are a PITA to get in and out, esp if it had a hardtop. That's why I went with a C2 coupe. But if Arnold can get into one (movie true lies) anybody can. Although I would bet there is no seat in the car.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by MOXIE62 View Post
All corvettes are reliable. Like mention, you have to maintain it to keep it running like any car. I love the looks of the C1's but they are a PITA to get in and out, esp if it had a hardtop. That's why I went with a C2 coupe. But if Arnold can get into one (movie true lies) anybody can. Although I would bet there is no seat in the car.
me being 6' 4" getting in a mid year is no picnic either
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:41 PM
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Also hard to get in with the rag top up. The trick for me is to go in head 1st into the passenger seat and then swing your legs in as you straighten up behind the wheel. Either on this site or the other, there was a video a couple years back showing this entry style. Showed it to my wife and she quit laughing at me when I get in. Much prefer top down, though! Get one . You will not regret it.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by MOXIE62 View Post
All corvettes are reliable. Like mention, you have to maintain it to keep it running like any car. I love the looks of the C1's but they are a PITA to get in and out, esp if it had a hardtop. That's why I went with a C2 coupe. But if Arnold can get into one (movie true lies) anybody can. Although I would bet there is no seat in the car.
That is one of the reasons I bought a 65 Coupe as a 2nd Corvette, my "winter car." I will now just use the 57 as a top off only car.

Here is the proper way to get in a C1:

I was told years ago by a long time C1 owner that you are supposed to lean in head first with your right fist on the transmission tunnel. Then, while crossing your right calf over your left shin twist CCW into the seat then unfold the right leg and pull the left one in.

Sounds a bit zany but it works. (previously post on this site by another member?
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:00 PM
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6'4" would look like Herman Munster in a C1
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:08 PM
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Lots of debate and discussions about the very early Corvettes. But as mentioned above, and it is EXTREMELY true, the 56-62 Corvettes (and really the 53-55) are ULTRA basic Chevrolets with a glass body. If you are a good mechanic and like to work on basic, early technology, they are as simple as it gets. I do everything, I mean EVERYTHING except paint/body work (only because I don't like it). There is not anything I cannot and have not done to these early cars-----------------but that is a personal choice for some people.
Yes, brakes are basic drums. Properly rebuilt and adjusted, they work quite well.
Front suspension and steering can be frustrating if the suspension and steering box have not been properly rebuilt ----------------BY A KNOWLEDGEABLE PERSON!!!! Once rebuilt properly, and with radial tires (and I'm a firm believer of converting the front wheel bearings from ball to roller bearings), they steer and track very well. YES, the steering is manual. But with a good rebuild, radial tires aired up to 33-34psi, a good alignment, the steering is ONLY kind of stiff when standing still or moving real slow. I'm 75yrs old, and I steer, drive, shift and beat the crap out of my 56-----------but I take care of it.
Seating is tighter and head clearance is less with the 53-60 models than it is in the 61-62 models. The 58-62 steering columns are shorter than 53-57 columns. So if you are over 5'11", the 61-2 would be the more comfortable choice.
With a good flowing heater core, the heaters are VERY good in cold weather. Air cond was not available, so if you insist on AC, and aftermarket unit is the only choice. Tunes?????????????????? Well, an AM radio is all that came in these cars. I NEVER listen to the radio, so it's a non issue for me. A healthy Chevy rumble is all I need to hear. I'm still a 17yr old hotrodder---------------------just stuck in this damn 75yr old body.
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JRRHINO View Post
6'4" would look like Herman Munster in a C1

I tried and relized I could never own one.
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:36 PM
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Hey ! Got that, posi workin good . NICE !
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:48 PM
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Ride in one, drive it if you can first, you may find your obsession abates a little. They are a primitive handful with power nothing, but they are reliable as all hell...who ever told you they aren't is not somebody to listen to. I can regale you with stories about driving mine for months and months without touching a thing, so can others...

Your price range is not that off the mark to procure a nice example - I sold my no-excuses, turn key 61 dual quad, solid lifter car in the summer of 2016 for $65K if that gives you any indication...

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Old 02-22-2018, 07:07 PM
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Thank you for the responses.

I would not be a stickler for a numbers matching car. I think that may increase affordability.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:19 PM
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Frankie's '61 was extremely nice and a very high quality, numbers matching car. I paid less than half that price for my '61, which is a non-matching numbers car of considerably less quality. It has a 383 stroker engine running the original 270HP dual carbs. I had to perform a complete brake overhaul, along with some pretty major engine repair, but ended up with a driver-quality C1 that is a joy to drive and own. If I had not done the work myself, it would have cost a lot more $$$ than I spent. For 45-55k, you should be able to get a pretty nice driver quality C1 that is turn-key, but not numbers matching. Here's mine, 'as purchased' and after I cleaned it up, with mom behind the wheel.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:20 PM
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Definitely drive one first so that you can determine whether or not you can get in & out and drive it comfortably. As for reliability, these are about the simplest, most reliable cars you can own. Decent basic maintenance will keep them on the road with few issues. I have owned a few C1s, and have decided that a 1962 is best for me - it's the first year for the 327 engine, arguably the best motor Chevy ever made. The cockpit is a bit roomier and more comfortable. Also, it's the final year for the C1. I find the hardtop gives the car an additional dimension, and a nice look that always gets complements. If you're not too much of a stickler for NCRS-type numbers and details, your 50K figure is not unrealistic. Just make sure that if someone has dropped a newer Chevy 350 in it that they knew what they were doing. Good luck, and keep us apprised of what you decide.

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Old 02-22-2018, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Randy_in_MD View Post
Thank you for the responses.

I would not be a stickler for a numbers matching car. I think that may increase affordability.
yes but some are cobbled together with a bunch of miss matched parts and questionable parts and workmen ship that will lead to reliable issues
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by GTOguy View Post
Frankie's '61 was extremely nice and a very high quality, numbers matching car. I paid less than half that price for my '61, which is a non-matching numbers car of considerably less quality. It has a 383 stroker engine running the original 270HP dual carbs. I had to perform a complete brake overhaul, along with some pretty major engine repair, but ended up with a driver-quality C1 that is a joy to drive and own. If I had not done the work myself, it would have cost a lot more $$$ than I spent. For 45-55k, you should be able to get a pretty nice driver quality C1 that is turn-key, but not numbers matching. Here's mine, 'as purchased' and after I cleaned it up, with mom behind the wheel.


Both are beautiful....car and mom. Thanks for the pics and info.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:19 PM
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I really can't see why you couldn't purchase a nice example for the money you're talking about.

Just be patient, and take a knowledgeable person with you when you go look at one. You definitely don't want to purchase a problem, and taking someone else along can help you look deeper into the car.

Also, my friends, as well as others, laugh at me when driving my '62. I still get in it and fit pretty well once inside. Love owning it, and it's always a blast to drive!

Pat

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