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Old 03-06-2015, 02:41 PM
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Please Review: Ten Rules For Buying Your First C3 Corvette

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Old 01-16-2016, 01:27 PM
  #121  
bruceg2016
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Would having all original glass mean less likely car was ever in accident? My 79 has JA code on all of the glass except driverside glass says GA i'm wondering if this means all original, also would this be a good thing to look for when buying

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Old 01-18-2016, 03:45 PM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by SuperBuickGuy View Post
Right, because it's so much better to drive a sensible Camry...

If you think buying a C3 is a fiscally responsible decision; you really need to get back into your Camry and motor on out of here.

A 69 Convertible. Nothing special.
Okay, I probably could've phrased that better. My point was it's not a big block or anything else that makes it a little more rare. Remember, it's not my car, I'm just the guy who's going to have to work on it and I don't want to marry it. I already have my own money pit, a 64 Falcon with a built 289 so I'm well versed in how much it costs to put/keep an older vehicle on the road...if I got incredibly lucky I might get fifty cents back on the dollar but it's a blast to drive.
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:04 PM
  #123  
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Default Thanks for the insight!

I will soon have the '71 home for further inspection, and need a couple locations clarified, please. 1: the birdcage areas where rust can be an issue; and the location of the VIN tag (I looked around the base of the windshield on the drivers side to no avail...could the windshield have been resealed, obscuring the tag? Or is it in a different location altogether?)


I'll have the car on my trailer which is open in the center for access to the underbody. I'll be able to take pictures to better report it's condition.


Also, I would like to determine if the engine is free, but hesitate to crank it with the starter. If I use a breaker-bar on the crank, do I risk hurting anything IF it will turn? I'll remove the plugs and squirt some oil down the into the cylinders first...


I need to get a good description of this cars condition for future sale, so any other wisdom from the "brotherhood" would be welcome and appreciated!
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:58 AM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by Dale_z28 View Post
I will soon have the '71 home for further inspection, and need a couple locations clarified, please. 1: the birdcage areas where rust can be an issue; and the location of the VIN tag (I looked around the base of the windshield on the drivers side to no avail...could the windshield have been resealed, obscuring the tag? Or is it in a different location altogether?)


I'll have the car on my trailer which is open in the center for access to the underbody. I'll be able to take pictures to better report it's condition.


Also, I would like to determine if the engine is free, but hesitate to crank it with the starter. If I use a breaker-bar on the crank, do I risk hurting anything IF it will turn? I'll remove the plugs and squirt some oil down the into the cylinders first...


I need to get a good description of this cars condition for future sale, so any other wisdom from the "brotherhood" would be welcome and appreciated!

I just went through this with a 69 I'm working on for a friend. Here's the story so far;

You won't hurt anything if you use a breaker bar to turn the engine and if it's been sitting a while it'll probably be stuck. I used a liberal amount of WD-40 in each cylinder, let it sit for a day and then began rocking the crank with a breaker bar /socket. I eventually got it unstuck, that was the first step. I put a new battery in and found out the starter wouldn't turn because of the tarnish on the commutator. Cleaned that and got the starter working..step two was complete. At that point I found out why the car was parked some 25 years ago...the timing chain had called it quits, or more accurately, the timing gear on the cam had shredded in typical 350 fashion. I now have it running but the gas tank is trash, waiting for that to come in.

On your car, the VIN should be on the A pillar on the driver's side. Birdcage corrosion will probably be most noticeable where it attaches to the frame just forward of the door openings. You'll be able to see it when you pull the kick panels. Also, the windshield frame is probably going to be an issue.

I don't claim to be an expert on any of these topics, this is just what I've learned working on a 69. I'm not sure how much help you'll get here, this site seems to attract more than its share of snarky comments. Good luck with your project.
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Old 06-23-2016, 12:26 PM
  #125  
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These are awesome tips, thanks !
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:55 PM
  #126  
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FYI for new Forum Members: Three years into my $5,000 week-end basket case '68 convertible project.....add on $7,000 in aftermarket parts.....it will get new paint soon. Moral of the story......A reliable daily driver chrome bumper Vette will cost $15,000 or more whether it is "turn-key" or DIY.....It just depends on how soon you want to drive it.

It's two tons of fun either way!

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Old 09-30-2016, 11:14 PM
  #127  
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Originally Posted by doorgunner View Post
FYI for new Forum Members: Three years into my $5,000 week-end basket case '68 convertible project.....add on $7,000 in aftermarket parts.....it will get new paint soon. Moral of the story......A reliable daily driver chrome bumper Vette will cost $15,000 or more whether it is "turn-key" or DIY.....It just depends on how soon you want to drive it.

It's two tons of fun either way!
You can build one for under 15k, as long as you don't mind paying with your time instead of money. I have about 12k in mine total, car was 5k and put 7k in it. Me and my brother did all the work, and found ways to save money, for example building our own center console and rewraping/dyeing original interior trim pieces instead of buying new, which saved a LOT of $$$ but it probably took 100x longer that just buying new parts and bolting them in. So it can be done but I think most people would rather just spend the extra money to get her on the road faster.


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Old 07-10-2017, 04:11 PM
  #128  
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I definitely broke some of these rules, particularly falling in love with it. I think I knew as little about the car as the seller, but so far so good. It was also nice to see that that original owner got almost every single option. For 8700 it runs strong, but has some dashboard ground issues, rusty suspension, and definitely likes to leak...Hope all is well! So far I have driven it over 500 miles in two months and it just gets better.
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Old 07-10-2017, 04:27 PM
  #129  
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If you don't love it, you'll never get through the list of things that will need attention over time. It's like a woman if you don't love her, every little thing will annoy you..
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:21 AM
  #130  
chstitans42
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added #s matching video.
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Old 03-30-2018, 12:50 AM
  #131  
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It would appear that I have violated several of these rules, but I'm committed now, so I'll keep going.
And on that subject, does anyone know of a video or possibly a sequence of photos that show how to align the front clip?
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Old 04-19-2018, 05:09 PM
  #132  
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I'm on my second C3 now, so I knew all about what to look out for. As a result, I violated your Rule #1 (sorry). I hope these aren't the "10 Commandments of Corvette Ownership" or something like that. Anyway, I'm very pleased with my '73 and I LOVE your videos. Keep up the great work!!! —Mark
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:43 PM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by chstitans42 View Post
Please review my list. Feel free to leave comments and suggestions for improvment or addition.


Ten Rules for Buying Your First C3 Corvette

RULE #1
Before you even think about buying a C3 Corvette, you must know two VERY important facts:
1.No matter what condition of car you buy, no matter the amount of money you spend, your car WILL eventually need work.
2. NEVER NEVER buy a Corvette with out looking at it in person. EVER! If you must (like if you live overseas) only buy a car that you have recived sufficient picture documentation of the problem areas listed below. If you dont have positive proof, stay away

Do not expect just because you spent $50,000 on a vette that you will never have to put more money into it. Remember, the newest C3 Corvettes are still 26 years old. If you can accept the fact you will have to put additional money into your Corvette, continue reading.

RULE #2
Decide what kind of C3 Corvette you want before you buy your first one. If you don’t, you will always wish you had bought ‘that chrome bumper car’ or ‘that ’75 vert’ you always wanted. Decide which year Corvette speaks to you.
Here are some general examples:
Chrome bumper VS Rubber Bumper
All Original VS Custom
Big Block VS Small Block
Coupe VS Convertible
Automatic Transmission VS Manual Transmission
Flat Rear Glass VS Bubble Rear Glass

RULE #3
Before you buy your first C3 Corvette, you need to know your personal mechanical abilities. Are you a complete novice when it comes to turning wrenches? Do you have a mentor or teacher that can teach you skills if you can’t afford to have other people work on the car for you? It would be wise to purchase a C3 corvette that falls within your mechanical ability to restore. Many people buy a car, and then find out they are in over their head to complete their project. For example:
Buy a car that is what you want. i.e.
-Buy a show car if you want a show car.
-Buy a car someone drives every day if you want something to drive.
-Buy a project if you want something to work on.

RULE #4
Know your financial ability to pay for a car, and your financial ability to put money into the car on a monthly basis. How much can you spend on the car per month? Also are you able to put money into the car if something drastic goes wrong? It’s always a sad thing to see a project Corvette sit in the garage because the owner ran out of money to put into it. Of course some of these situations are unavoidable, but wouldn’t you want to avoid it if you could?

RULE #5
When you find a potential project Corvette, there are a few main condition related items that your car should have if it is to be considered for purchase. Your car should ALWAYS have a solid frame, birdcage, and suspension. First let’s talk about the birdcage.
Birdcage:
Here is a picture of the Birdcage removed from a C3.
Attachment 48163095
In simple terms it is the metal frame that surrounds the cockpit area of your C3. It is vital that you have a solid birdcage because it supports a lot of your car. An easy way to check the condition of the birdcage is to remove the kick panels near your feet.
Here are some pictures of how the mounts SHOULD NOT look like:
Attachment 48163096
Attachment 48163097
If you find a Corvette with body mounts looking like this, RUN. They are a pain and expensive to fix, and there is always cars out there with sound birdcages for sale.
A second area of rust that you can find on the birdcage is around the windshield. These areas can be accessed by removing the chrome trim and weather stripping around the outside of the windshield.
Here are some pictures of what your windshield frame SHOULD NOT look like:
Attachment 48163098
Attachment 48163099
A simple test to see if the birdcage has rust around the windshield frame is to place a white towel in the foot wells of the car and **** the doors a few times. If there is major rust it will have fallen onto the towel and you will be able to see it.
Frame:
Another important area to check for rust is the metal frame that makes up the support for everything on your car. Find a car with a solid, rot free frame. This means less money and headache to restore the car. It can be very costly to repair or even replace a rusty frame.
Here are some pictures of what your frame SHOULD NOT look like:
Attachment 48163100
Attachment 48163101
Attachment 48163102
A good technique to determine if the car you are looking at has a good solid frame is to take a coin like a quarter and give the frame a few good taps with it wherever you can reach. When you hit the frame, hear a metallic sound, and only put tiny nicks in the metal, than your frame is good. If you can gouge deep in the frame and/or poke holes into it, than the frame is not what you want. You can also put your fingers into the "eyelet" holes long the frame and feel inside for rust ans scale. The same technique can be applied to later model cars that have metal floors in them.
Suspension:
Since C3 Corvettes are so old, the suspension should almost always be overhauled as a safety measure unless you can verify it has been done recently. Get a reliable mechanic to check it out if you can. As a general rule to the suspension AVOID suspension that looks like this:
Attachment 48163103

RULE #6
Before buying your first C3 Corvette, another important area to look closely at is the condition of the fiberglass body. It can avoid you headaches in the future if you can find a body that has not had the chance to be poorly repaired by bubba. Tricks to seeing if you have a fiberglass body in good condition is to move your fingers around the inside lip of each wheel well. They should be smooth with no cracks. You can also look at the condition of the inside of the wheel wells. Also, check for cracks where to body mounts to the frame in the wheel wells.
Body mounts SHOULD NOT look like this:
Attachment 48163104
Also avoid cars that have large damaged areas on them. Yes, they could be easy to repair, but you never know what kind of botched past repairs lurk underneath the paint, especially if the car clearly shows it’s been neglected.

RULE #7
When searching for a car, try to avoid cars that have been left outside or in a field for a long time (especially if you live in the colder climates). Cars outside deteriorate very very quickly, plus 99% of C3s leak. Also avoid cars with windows that have been left open for extended periods of time. This will ruin any chances of usable interior parts, or and hope of a solid floor.
Attachment 48163105
Attachment 48163106

RULE #8
Familiarize yourself with the different options and small changes that occurred to C3 Corvettes over the years. It will increase your ability to determine what is stock or not, what has been replaced or not, and what has been “bubba’d” or not. A quick way to tell if bubba has visited your C3 is by looking at the engine compartment. Lots of vacuum plugs? Twist ties? Crusted on oil? I think its so simple to just pop the hood, and can pretty much gauge the "bubba"ness from what that compartment looks like.

DO NOT buy a car if it looks like this:
Attachment 48163107
Attachment 48163108

RULE #9
Write down the VIN number and also the trim tag information to determine some of the options the car came with, such as interior color, exterior color, and engine information. It is also a good idea to bring a Black Book with you to check the correctness of the VIN, trin tag vs colors and engine data. Also, compare the numbers on the block to the VIN to determine if the engine came with the car or not. This might be a deal breaker to some, but might be what some others want. Also, try your hardest to bring someone who knows vettes, especially C3s, and can be your second set of eyes while you look at the car.
SEE VIDEO BELOW TO LEARN HOW TO CHECK IF YOUR POTENTIAL PURCHASE IS NUMBERS MATCHING


RULE #10
After looking at the car you are contemplating about purchasing, make a list of items you think will need replacement. Take a look at catalogs and corvette supplier’s websites at prices for these items. This can give you an idea of what certain repairs will cost you. Also, after you go and look at the car, post real detailed pictures of what you saw so we can tell you if you should buy it or run away.
This is excellent.
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