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Please Review: Ten Rules For Buying Your First C3 Corvette

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Old 08-19-2011, 02:05 PM   #41
Paul Borowski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vettebuyer5869 View Post
ALWAYS bring someone with you.

The rookie desperately needs a mechanically-inclined or more importantly, a Corvette-experienced eye to tell them what they are looking at. The pro still needs to have a "second set of eyes" to pick up on stuff the buyer just might miss. Corvettes buyers are emotional animals, and quite often that split window gleaming in the sun just right or that perfect favorite color paint refects just right.... enough for you to miss the spliced section in the frame rail. Trust me... I've been buying Corvettes since the 70's and I always try to have another set of eyes with me whether its a proven Corvette friend or just a trusted ally like my wife who is smart enough to remind me, "don't get too excited just 'cause it's black."

....couldn't have said it better. When a buyer is all giddy with excitement and falling in love(kinda like a woman)it's very easy to overlook the problems and issues.

...one reason why I have so much fun at Carlisle is looking at all Bubba's work there.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:52 PM   #42
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I broke rule 1, item 2 on my 82.

You might want to add that no matter how many pics are sent by the seller, it's still wise to go look first if at all possible. The definition of "mint" varies widely.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:40 AM   #43
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Here are a few others:

1. RULE NUMERO UNO: Any automotive repair or restoration will take twice as long and cost twice as much as originally planned.

2. Once you have your car, first thing to do before you start removing anything and tagging and bagging is to purchase an AIM and Service Manual.
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:16 AM   #44
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I bought mine knowing it had a few issues like cracked fiberglass and little frame rust because im making it a hotrod nothing more.
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:42 AM   #45
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What do you do if the seller will not let you remove the kick plate or some windshield weather-stripping? Is this a sign to run away?

Honestly, and I am new to this, but I would be against some stranger dismantling parts of my car.
Yes it is a sign to run away. Any Corvette owner would understand your concerns and would appreciate your knowledge. The owner without hesitation would want to put your mind at ease if there was no rust and allow you access to the kick panel to see the bolt.
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:22 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by ~Stingray View Post
What do you do if the seller will not let you remove the kick plate or some windshield weather-stripping? Is this a sign to run away?

Honestly, and I am new to this, but I would be against some stranger dismantling parts of my car.
I guess if I was a seller I wouldn't want you to rip off the weatherstripping but something like unscrewing the door sills or the doors to the mounts in front of the rear wheels.....why not? These are things that you can screw back on with no problems...unless the screws are rusted and you're going to strip them. Kick panels are also a little difficult to take off....flimsy plastic could break, this also means you may need to pull the carpet off the floor a little, if the carpet is in good shape and stuck to the floor, as a seller I would have a little bit of a problem with you pulling it off.

I just bought my first c3 and let me tell you...there is a lot you can tell about the car from the outside, make a checklist and go step by step or else you will miss things or forget to check certain areas. When it comes to the inside...try to check as much as possible. Before you make the drive to see the car, ask the seller if he is OK with you looking at or taking off part A, B and C. This way you know exactly what the seller is comfortable with and will let you look at.
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:35 AM   #47
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"How much surface rust on the underside is ok? Does surface rust indicate a lack of structural integrity? "


Surface rust is OK. You can tap with a ballpeen hammer to see if it is surface rust too. Strong metal pings. Rot does not. If you find spots on the frame that thud instead of ping, that's not surface rust. Metal-to-metal contact will tell you a great deal. If you can get under the car tap any darker spots on the frame particularly thoroughly. And you don't have to tap hard. It's the sound you are checking - you aren't trying to see if you can beat the hammer through the car!

Last edited by Vettebuyer6369; 10-30-2013 at 03:35 PM. Reason: add question
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:46 AM   #48
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Here is a link to some of the pictures sent to me. Tell me what you think. I know this is not "hammering" but knowledgable opinions are always welcome.

http://photobucket.com/YellowVett

Most specifically is #7.
That rust is nothing really. Rot and bad rust is pretty obvious because the surface of the frame etc isn't smooth. Even with that said, I do the ballpeen hammer trick, because it isn't unheard of for a person to cover frame repairs with bondo. I have seen it done more than once
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:53 AM   #49
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What do you think about pic 7, is that typical and I shouldn't worry about it?
I wouldnt. Take a look at one of the cars I parted out. I know this is an extreme example, but this is that rust looks like. Also, that car has metal floor boards, so check those too
http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c3-g...the-world.html
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:58 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by chstitans42 View Post
I wouldnt. Take a look at one of the cars I parted out. I know this is an extreme example, but this is that rust looks like. Also, that car has metal floor boards, so check those too
http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c3-g...the-world.html
If I buy this car, would it be good/vital to clean off the rust and paint the spot, or something, to prevent further destruction?
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:49 PM   #51
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Pic seven is the one I was referring to. It definitely looks darker. Could be a shadow in the pic though. It's easier to see in person.

You can't really rust-proof a part that already has rust. Whatever you put on probably won't stick. You'd have to sand-blast the frame first. This car doesn't need that. If you ever do a frame-off restoration, that's when you think about coating the frame and bird-cage.
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:09 PM   #52
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I would like to add to drive the car but not just around the block take it on the highway for a few miles and cruise at 65 and listen to the car and see if there is any play in the steering. Also hit the brakes and see if it pulls. driving the car will tell you a lot.
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:52 AM   #53
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Thank you for this post! As someone in the research stages of my first Corvette purchase this post contains some much appreciated information.

Since I am not familiar with the details of Corvettes (I'm learning fast though!) the photo of the rusty birdcage scares the crap out of me. From what I can tell it's a hard item to really get a good view of without taking parts off of the car (most sellers wouldn't be to happy about that I'm guessing). This is my biggest "oh-crap-what-if-that-happens-to-me-when-I-buy-one" concern. Whew... OK - deep breath.. it will be fine...
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:30 PM   #54
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What is wrong with that suspension? Aside from looking really rusty.

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Last edited by Domobomb; 02-14-2012 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:35 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Stingray View Post
What would you all think a 1980 corvette, with 165K miles rebuilt at 120K, and not a rust problem would be worth? I know there are plenty of other things to consider, but I am trying to get a simple ballpark number.

I do know I will have to fix the AC and replace the dash if I want. It has some cracks in it.
If it needs a dash then the rest of the interior probably isn't far behind. With no more info and no pics figure around 5 or 6. Would go up or down a bit depending on other factors but you wanted a ballpark so that is what I'd say
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:32 AM   #56
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The biggest disappointment I've tried to avoid is to sacrifice the year Vette or option list that I personally like in order to save money on the initial purchase price. Especially curious to me are those who buy coupes and later want to convert to a ragtop. I bought my first '69 at age 26 after researching C3s from the age of 16. I finally decided on a very specific option list and waited until that car came around. Despite this, I still did an engine swap on my first '69, and am now on Vette number 2. I searched far and wide and finally found one 1/2 mile from my home the day before I left for Germany for a 2 month work trip. When I found it I knew it was the one. As this list brings to light, if you are not purchasing a trailer queen and plan to actually drive the car you're in for a lot of expense no matter the initial condition, and regardless if you do the work yourself. Also be wary of dealerships. There are certain areas with Vettes that may look fine and appear to work well in the lot, but fall apart when you get the car home. With my current Vette I had asked the seller very pointed and educated questions about the various systems that tend to fail and was assured they were all in working order. This turned out to be false but when you buy as-in there is little you can do except start writing checks or turning wrenches. That being said, there is nothing worse than dumping money and time into a car that you're not in love with and regretting it later, not to mention not being able to drive it while it's up on a lift. Despite my careful Vette dealings, I learned this from a hot rod Caddy project, from which I got about 15 cents on the dollar when I sold it (was a badass car though). Also agree that like making business decisions, it is best to try to remain as unemotional as possible when making a purchase. Easier said than done. Learn from others mistakes and also their successes.

Last edited by cicconjo; 05-06-2012 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:56 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdx-vette View Post
I'm in the initial stages of fulfilling my childhood dream: purchasing a 1980 Corvette.

This thread is extremely helpful, but I admit that it concerns me. I realize that a 30+ year old car will require more maintenance, but I don't want to get trapped into a money pit. Unfortunately, I'm not a mechanic, so any work would need to be done by a shop.

What's a fair price range to pay for a stock/original '80 with under 75k miles, that shouldn't need major repairs beyond expected maintenance for a while?

I appreciate your knowledgeable input in advance.
It really depends on what you buy. If you want it to be a project car than it will be a money pit. If you get one in great condition that has been taken care of then it won't as much. Mine has a rebuilt engine and a mostly new interior. I have owned it over a year now and have not put any money into fixing things yet. Granted there are some things I want to fix but nothing that really keeps the car from looking good or from being drivable. Sure at some point down the road I am sure something big will need to be replaced, but as long as you take good care of the car it shouldn't be too bad.

A good deal should be around 11K or more. It will depend how much work has actually been done. If the car has been completely restored and looks new, then it will be a couple thousand more. The ones that are 4 and 5K I would stay away from. Be patient, you will find exactly what you want. Don't loose the logic because you know your getting one now. Also, whatever you do, when you are talking to a seller or looking the car over....don't kick the tires. haha

Keep in mind, if something does need to be replaced, try to fix yourself before taking it to the shop. It is not your daily driver so if it is out of commission for a month while you try to do it yourself its ok. This site and many online resources should give you the knowledge you need. You just have to be wiling to take the plunge into mechanics.

If you need to talk privately, send me a PM. I am not an expert but I went through this just over a year ago.

Last edited by ~Stingray; 01-19-2013 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:30 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by DC3 View Post
You might mention something about checking the date of tires even if they look good.

This thread: http://forums.corvetteforum.com/show...light=tire+age

made me realize the tires on my recently acquired '73 are actually 11 years old even though they look brand new.

Old tires shouldn't keep anyone from buying an otherwise sound Vette but it would let you know what needs to be added to the priority list of things to do.

DC

I have a question about tire age since I wasn't around during bias ply days. My daily driver tires get sidewall cracks and stuff with age but my good year eagles on the vette do not show any wear at all, still have some rubber "nipples" on them, the car is not lifted or rolled back and forward during storage (7/8 months) is there any signs I have to pay attention to? they look new even though they are quite old... do I risk a blow-out?
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:35 PM   #59
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Yes 11 year old tires can blow out with little or no warning! Many years ago I attended a tire seminar by Goodyear and we were told that the rubber preservatives are mixed in the rubber compounds and are only released when the tires roll and get hot. Causing cars that sit to have tire dry rot problems. Maybe someone else can shed some light on this as well.
Mark
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:49 PM   #60
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well... that was my question - I don't have dry root and the rubber looks nice. my daily drivers always get sidewall cracks close to the rims from hard cornering but the decade or more old bias ply corvette tire looks better than a 3yo Michelin on my RL...
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