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Looking at buying my first Corvette - 1976 C3

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Looking at buying my first Corvette - 1976 C3

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Old 09-13-2018, 02:33 PM
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wjalex4
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Default Looking at buying my first Corvette - 1976 C3

Looking at a Corvette C3 today. 1976 model. Red w/buckskin interior, 350 original engine, manual 4-speed, T-tops, manual windows, original engine. Looks good in photos. Anything that I should specifically be looking for would be helpful. Buying as a 50th birthday surprise present for my wife, who has always wanted one, but it MUST be a stick. I've never owned a Corvette, but I have owned many vintage vehicles including 60 Desoto, 68 Fury, 68 Galaxie, 65 Rambler American, 73 Duster, 75 Dart, 78 Nova.

Guy is asking $9000. Thanks in advance!

Walter in Alabama
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Old 09-13-2018, 02:39 PM
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Easy Mike
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Read the 10 Rules For Buying sticky at the top of the page.
Good luck.

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Old 09-13-2018, 02:42 PM
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Read the 10 rules sticky. Rust is the biggest enemy. Good choice on the 4-speed. I hope your wife likes it!
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Old 09-13-2018, 03:06 PM
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wjalex4
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Just read the 10 rules. Now I'm almost afraid to buy a C3 for fear of what I may not find. Not sure the seller is going to let me start taking his car apart so I can inspect. Thanks for the eye-opener!
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Old 09-13-2018, 03:12 PM
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If in doubt, post some photos here, especially of the problem areas, but there are a lot of experts (not me) who can spot things from detailed, well-lit, in-focus photos. If you can't take off a few panels, your best bet is to get a garage to put it on a lift.

How far away is the car from you?
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Old 09-13-2018, 03:31 PM
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wjalex4
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Originally Posted by Bikespace View Post
If in doubt, post some photos here, especially of the problem areas, but there are a lot of experts (not me) who can spot things from detailed, well-lit, in-focus photos. If you can't take off a few panels, your best bet is to get a garage to put it on a lift.

How far away is the car from you?
The car is about an hour away from my home. I will be going this afternoon... daylight. I will get photos. Thanks everyone! I REALLY appreciate the help! Maybe there is a member in the Boaz, Alabama area.

---Walter
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Old 09-13-2018, 04:14 PM
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If you are completely new to buying Corvettes, all the reading in the world might not prepare you for properly inspecting the first car you have considered and buying it. Iíd suggest you try to connect with a local Corvette club member, NCRS member, forum member or mechanic with C3 specific experience and bring help.
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Old 09-13-2018, 07:55 PM
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naramlee
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carefull of the 76's.... they are a half year, makes a big diff on a lot of parts

but mine has been pretty simple to work on, it only makes a problem keeping track of parts
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Old 09-13-2018, 09:07 PM
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Hope it works out. I just bought my first Vette last month. Itís a major project but coming together, (or apart now)...😁
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Old 09-13-2018, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Easy Mike View Post
Read the 10 Rules For Buying sticky at the top of the page.
Good luck.



Also, are you handy and can you wrench on a car? Older cars are like women, you have to pay attention to them so they stay happy.
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Old 09-13-2018, 09:19 PM
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Ron Sjostrom
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I just bought my 1st Corvette last week. It is a 1995 29,841 miles. Drives like new. Looked underneath with a camera recording video, body looked great, engine bay clean, and cold start engine to look for any unusual exhaust, oil looked clean and didn't feel like any additives were in it, tranny bright red and at the line. The test drive was simple under 5 miles ride under 50 mph. What I wanted to look for. If I take my hands off the wheel does it drift?, If I stop suddenly does it pull to to the left or right? Last do you have any documentation on service?
And, upon my return from the test drive I bought it on the spot. It was the 3rd one I had looked at in 7-days and I absolutely know nothing about Corvettes.

And, it is a BLAST to drive around with the top down..!!! Good Luck

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Old 09-13-2018, 11:44 PM
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Okay I went and saw the car. The owner now has ALS (my Mom died of that), confined to a wheelchair and of course can no longer enjoy the car. He owned it about 4 years, but in a wheelchair in the last 4 or 5 months. I drove it for about a 1/2 hour on my own. Runs great, drives good, shifts easily. No wander - tracks straight. He offered to let me jack the car up, do whatever I wanted. The car looks great from 20 feet, and is clearly a driver closer up. But that's fine with me. It's a base model.... manual windows, no tilt wheel, no cruise. Has A/C that needs attention, blower doesn't run on high speed. The tach needle bounces a bit now and then while cruising down the road. All the gauges seem to work except the odometer never moves (speedo works though.) Wipers, lights, door handles, etc all worked fine. Hood opened and latched good. I got it up to about 70mph and it still was driving fine. I took a bunch of photos, especially underneath. Price seems very fair. Everything I checked metal-wise seems solid. The car felt very solid with doors closing and overall. We talked for a long time about the car, about family, about ALS, about our shared Christian faith, etc. I feel good about this, but I want to see what y'all think. Thanks!


























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Old 09-14-2018, 12:25 AM
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Ron Sjostrom
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Last edited by Ron Sjostrom; 09-14-2018 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 09-14-2018, 07:05 AM
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That is one fine looking Vette. Itís a lot better than the ďprojectĒ I picked up but being a mechanic is a plus for me. The small stuff you can do on weekends and drive it like you stole it. Congratulations
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Old 09-14-2018, 07:57 AM
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Based on the pics, I don't see a deal breaker. Good luck.
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:10 AM
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I see that you dont have tilt wheel ,is it easy to get in and out of ? ,nice looking car!!!!
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:28 AM
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Looks to have good bones. Offer $7,500 and see if they bite.
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Old 09-14-2018, 09:03 AM
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A red 1976 coupe, the car from "Game Night". Nice choice.

I didn't see anything glaringly obvious. I understand if you don't want to post the VIN, but an image of the VIN tag is a hint at the condition of the windshield frame. It looks like there is loose paint near the door hinges, but that could just be the angle. I didn't see the trailing arm pocket, or inside the kickpanels, so there may be rust hiding in the birdcage. It looks like just surface rust on the frame, but you'll need a new exhaust soon. I couldn't read the trim tag, other than 64L (Buckskin Leather interior). Color codes, and other useful info, are at this site: http://corvettec3.ca/colors.htm . It's a red car now, but perhaps buckskin exterior in the past?

As others have said, as long as it's drivable, everything can be fixed at your convenience. You can easily replace the steering column if you want tilt-tele someday. The AC could be an easy fix, but probably not, figure $1 to 2K for that to do it right. You'll probably want new tires immediately.

I'd want a second look for rust. Perhaps bring a local Corvette club member with you. As for the price, you may be able to get a better car for less. But this car has certain other intangibles, so a no-haggle price could be the right one to pay.

It's a red 4-speed C3, with nice N90 wheels. I'm sorry if I sound negative. If this were the car my wife wanted, I'd have probably bought it on my first trip out there!
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Old 09-14-2018, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by RMVette View Post
Looks to have good bones. Offer $7,500 and see if they bite.
Imo, it looks good, but not $9,000 good. Looks pretty dirty. I would pull the pull the kick panels and check the mounts. Also check the back body mounts. The Odometer and tach repair is not an easy job. A/C will need to be fixed or the wife will complain. I would say $ 6,500 would be fair, as long as the mounts look good. Again, my own opinion.
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:06 PM
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It does look like a nice mostly original example of the year, but for a '76 Coupe in that condition with no major options and an aftermarket radio, I think $9K is a little strong.
If you love it, fine. But for value at this time and for what you'll be spending on the greasy leaky undercarriage, I think $7000 to $7500 would make it a better place to start for you.
A '76 Vette will never be a remarkable car as far as future value (compared to other C3 standouts), but it will always be a fun driver. Don't be talking "full restoration" ever on it, just frame cleaning and painting and upkeep maintenance stuff to keep it nice and make it nicer over time.
Keep your head about how much more you put into it, keep it as original as you can, and you'll be fine for value as time goes on.

On the other hand, if you want to go nuts with customization and "make it your own", you can do that, too. Basic C3 Coupes are inexpensive cars that make great platforms for customization if you like.
However, you won't necessarily get any real return on that investment, so don't expect any if you go that way.
Keeping it original and well maintained will be your best bet for keeping it's resale value to near what you pay for it.

Sorry about the ALS guy who has to sell it. We all have to part with things we had fun with at some point for some really crappy reasons. Life's a bitch sometimes.
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