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I Have Finally Driven a C3...and it wasn't good

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I Have Finally Driven a C3...and it wasn't good

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Old 03-10-2018, 08:52 PM
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JohnRogers
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Default I Have Finally Driven a C3...and it wasn't good

I really want a C3. Prior to this afternoon I never drove one. I owned a 96 LT4 and have driven a C5.

I seem to feel the 82 will be the best fit for me, as I find the CE attractive that is what I'm looking at. Today at a Jaguar dealer I finally drove one. Driver quality paint and supposedly 32,000 miles. The rear hatch wouldn't stay up, chalked that up to age. I found entering the car takes effort, short fit people probably don't complain. Close the door and I find you don't enter the C3, you wear it like a snug sweater. Seat all the way down and sent rearward my head no longer hits the T-top. Now its making an electronic sound with slight thumping, the power seat? Dang it doesn't start, yet I overheard the dealer say someone drove it today. Give it jump, twist the key and the Cross-Fire barely comes to life. We let it idle after goosing the gas peddle a few times. The idle doesn't inspire confidence, tap the gas the Cross-Fire roars I'm almost impressed with the sound. We let it idle some more, what seems like forever doesn't help the situation. Time to drive Plastic Fantastic we don't have all day, 45 degrees BTW. In drive it feels like it will stall any second now, Cross-Fire technology keeps the Chevy small block running. Whoa, peddle feel is non-existent, peddle travel is a lengthy trek. As I pull out into traffic I'm convinced the car will stall or not stop when needed, either way I'm crashing a car I don't own. Extra careful, driving defensively and a little luck no such mishaps occur. The car stumbles and hesitates but when you hit 40 mph the Corvette roars to life, I'm almost enjoying this. Crap I need to slow down for a light. Green! Off we stumble, bumble, fumbling around, hit 40 mph and the good times roll again.

I'm cutting this test drive short. I explain my concerns. The salesmen babbles about cold weather. He inquires about my interest in the car which is listed at $20K. I politely tell him I wouldn't buy it for five.

I'm thinking this isn't a 82 Corvette problem as designed and manufactured by GM. Just a bad example with issues. This isn't the typical Cross-Fire experience, right?

https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/invent...ting=187994547
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:02 PM
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doorgunner
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$20,000! From what I've read people either love or hate Crossfire. How was the ride, itself........

loose and squirrely.......

hard as a go-cart.....

or reasonable?
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by doorgunner View Post
$20,000! From what I've read people either love or hate Crossfire. How was the ride, itself........

loose and squirrely.......

hard as a go-cart.....

or reasonable?
It didn't drift bad holding center pretty well. I got on it a bit in a curve above 40 mph and it felt like a proper sports car. I didn't get the sense this was a punishing ride.
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:22 PM
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Keep looking....For 20 grand an 82 should run like new.

Brian
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:46 PM
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Don't know about the Crossfire but....

I have a 1976 L-48 never rebuilt original engine Auto, tilt, PS, PB, PW, Air. About 95% stock except for the KYB shocks and dual exhaust. Drives nice, great cruiser.

I also have a 1971 coupe W/ original engine rebuilt to a 383 stroker, Bullett cam, Holley dual pumper carb etc., 4speed, VBP Performance plus suspension lowered 1.5", Coy wheels, Sumitomo tires, no A/C, no tilt, roll up windows. Steering is pretty precise due to the suspension and wheel set up. This one is not a comfortable cruiser. It demands your attention when driving but is a blast to drive around town. I know it just tears up a teenage boy to see an old fart like me driving it. I wouldn't take it on any long trips, it would beat you to death.

My point here is every C-3 you drive is likely to be different depending on what has or hasn't been done to them. You're going to have to keep looking till you find the one that feels right for you.

One thing they all have in common though is what you already learned. There isn't a whole lot of room in them. A tilt wheel does help a little.

Good luck with your search. A C-3 is like a good woman. The right one for you is out there somewhere, just waiting for you.
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:20 PM
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I love my '80, but it is certainly a 38 year-old car... It takes love, care, money, and rennovation/rejuvenation to make it ride and run otherwise.

It's worth it to me, but may not be to others. Damn tach just went out AGAIN today...

(FYI- $20K is way to much to pay...)


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Old 03-11-2018, 01:20 AM
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When you go classic, count on a project...

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Old 03-11-2018, 06:45 AM
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I have never driven a late model Corvette, but I can tell you that my restored 77 is a pure blast to drive....to me. It is not a fair comparison to compare the technology of modern cars to a 60's /70's design car. But I believe most of this is personal perspective...what are your expectations, what do you like, what do you enjoy? For me, the power steering was so loose I switched to manual steering and the fun factor of the car doubled. I love the crude 4-speed, I love the sound, I love the tightness of the cockpit, the view out the front, the beautiful sound of a Chevy V8. You either love this stuff of your don't. Its more about you than it is about the car.
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:49 AM
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People have a tendency to get spoiled with our well refined cars of today..much different then our old classics (to some that is the attraction).
After test driving that particular car, it obviously was not for you (I'd suggest driving others).
It's okay to not be a fan of C3's..they're not for everybody.
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:53 AM
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I own a 70 BB 4 speed convertible and a 91 6 speed coupe. I drive the 70 for other people, every one loves it at shows, I drive the C4 for me, it's a completely different experience. BTW I know of an 82 CE that needs work in Branchburg NJ if you are looking for a project. I stopped to look at it, but of course just a sign on it with no phone number, no info, no price, why do people do that?
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Old 03-11-2018, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Eljay View Post
I own a 70 BB 4 speed convertible and a 91 6 speed coupe. I drive the 70 for other people, every one loves it at shows, I drive the C4 for me, it's a completely different experience. BTW I know of an 82 CE that needs work in Branchburg NJ if you are looking for a project. I stopped to look at it, but of course just a sign on it with no phone number, no info, no price, why do people do that?
Thanks to the OP for his review and to Eljay for this comment. I love the style and look of a C3, but your 2 posts pretty much confirm my experience if i do buy one for a "street car"! A C7 more fits my use and present needs as far as transportation goes.

But the C3 ***** in me.... Eljay, where is that '82 sitting? I'm in Whitehouse Station and would like to see. Not looking for a "project" but.....
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Old 03-11-2018, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnRogers View Post
I owned a 96 LT4 and have driven a C5.

I found entering the car takes effort, short fit people probably don't complain. Close the door and I find you don't enter the C3, you wear it like a snug sweater. Seat all the way down and sent rearward my head no longer hits the T-top.
You owned a 96, and you find an 82 hard to get into?

The 84-96's, with that high sill, have to be one of the most difficult cars ever, to get in and out of. I'm 6 foot and in my 60's, and have never found the 68-82's to be particularly hard to get in to. Of course, I've been driving them for 40 years, so maybe I'm just use to them?

Are they cramped, maybe a little, but they're a sports car, not a Cadillac. If you think the 82 is tight, don't ever try a 68-77 coupe. The 78-82's, especially with glass tops, feel like my crew cab inside, when compared to a black interior 69 coupe!

The 80-82's are the most comfortable of the third generation Corvettes. They had the best AC, seats, tires, radios, and handling. They weren't as fast as earlier cars, but were far more refined, and were great driving cars. If you didn't find the 82 comfortable or enjoyable to drive, then you'll likely never like an 68-82.
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Old 03-11-2018, 10:09 AM
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Could be an age issue.

Rick
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Old 03-11-2018, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by gbvette62 View Post
You owned a 96, and you find an 82 hard to get into?
I always loved Corvettes until the 84 came out and I tried to get into one. HATE the C 4's with a passion, only got back into Corvettes once I could afford a show quality 82 CE, then graduated to a 72' which I love, even though at 6'1" I sorta need to lay across the front seat to get my legs in.
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Old 03-11-2018, 11:35 AM
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Sounds like a tuneup would help alot. For $20K you would think a dealer would put some effort into it. I would pass unless he wants to drop the price $5k. Keep looking.
good luck
scott
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Old 03-11-2018, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by See 3 View Post
...got back into Corvettes once I could afford a show quality 82 CE...at 6'1" I sorta need to lay across the front seat to get my legs in.
So the tight fit aside would my experience above sound like the drive of a show winning 82 CE? My guess is an emphatic no.
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Old 03-11-2018, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by gbvette62 View Post
You owned a 96, and you find an 82 hard to get into?

Are they cramped, maybe a little, but they're a sports car, not a Cadillac. If you think the 82 is tight, don't ever try a 68-77 coupe. The 78-82's, especially with glass tops, feel like my crew cab inside, when compared to a black interior 69 coupe!

The 80-82's are the most comfortable of the third generation Corvettes. They had the best AC, seats, tires, radios, and handling. They weren't as fast as earlier cars, but were far more refined, and were great driving cars. If you didn't find the 82 comfortable or enjoyable to drive, then you'll likely never like an 68-82.
Running like crap aside for the moment I'd guess the tight feeling is something many can get used too. It focuses one on the road and gives the Corvette a light feeling...am I crazy?
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Old 03-11-2018, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnRogers View Post
I found entering the car takes effort, short fit people probably don't complain. Close the door and I find you don't enter the C3, you wear it like a snug sweater. Seat all the way down and sent rearward my head no longer hits the T-top.
Yes, never has there been such a big car with such a small interior - its almost magical how they did that.
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Old 03-11-2018, 05:43 PM
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Buy a C5 for....um, $15,000, and save $5000 to mod it with the mods of your choice. You will be WAAaayy happier
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Old 03-11-2018, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 63Corvette View Post
Buy a C5 for....um, $15,000, and save $5000 to mod it with the mods of your choice. You will be WAAaayy happier
I have thought about that, I even bought All Corvettes are Red but I'm of the generation that "Corvette" evokes images of the C3. I feel I need to own and drive a C3. There is nothing saying I must own it for life or get back every penny I spent on it.
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