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Should I buy a C3 corvette

Old 01-10-2019, 02:47 PM
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Vincent_V
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Default Should I buy a C3 corvette

I graduated from college about a year ago and I'm looking for a vehicle that is more interesting/fun than the old Honda Accord that I've been driving. With that in mind, I stumbled across a 1979 L82 Corvette for about $10,000.

Whatever car I buy is going to become my daily driver (my daily commuting would be split between this and one or two motorcycles). I've never owned a corvette before but I've always loved the old C3 body styles. I'm mechanically competent and I do all my own maintenance/repairs, but most of my experience has been on motorcycles.

Should I buy a corvette? Should I daily drive a C3 Corvette? Are there any specific issues I need to look out for? What's a decent price for a C3?

Any advice/opinions/etc... would be appreciated.
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:13 PM
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ivanh3
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I just inherited my dad's Corvette. It was his daily driver for over 30 years, and it is practically my daily driver now. Having owned motorcycles myself, I will say that a Corvette is similar to a motorcycle in terms of practicality: Same number of people can ride/drive in it. It has a small compartment behind the seat, and it has a rack on the back. Take the tops off, and the comparison is even closer. I am a "go for it" if it makes you happy kind of guy. You will be tinkering quite a bit (which is half the fun for me). I don't know if getting the Corvette means getting rid of the Accord, but having a vehicle handy that can carry more than two with some luggage may be nice.

Last edited by ivanh3; 01-10-2019 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Vincent_V View Post
...Should I buy a corvette?...
Do you want one? FWIW: for a daily driver, a C4, C5, or C6 might be a better purchase.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Easy Mike View Post
Do you want one? FWIW: for a daily driver, a C4, C5, or C6 might be a better purchase.
Why? I drove my '71 for almost three years as a daily driver and it never let me down. The only thing that scares me about driving mine daily is other drivers. I wouldn't hesitate to make it my daily driver again and as a matter of fact it may just become my daily driver again in about 6 months when my youngest gets his DL.
You just can't take a basket case and think it can be a daily driver.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:27 PM
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Richard454
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Go for it!!! You are young- and eventually life gets in the way.

Enjoy it now- the vette's initial outlay is not that much these days. I bought my 71 in 1981 as a senior in High School for $5000. So inflation adjusted that's about $14K now.

And with the internet- Forums- you can get a lot of information- help for your car- just be prepared to do it yourself- as fewer shops will want to work on them.

It's much better for the mind to work through a mechanical /electrical problem on the vette than a video game!!!

Plus you meet plenty of really nice car people.

When I was young- I had to walk....or get rides off my friends-which was a LOT different then without a cell phone.

Worst case you can simply call uber to take you to work/home.

Do look at the stickey about buying a vette-and there are numerouse forum members that could help you out with your inspection/purchase.

Richard
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:50 PM
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gmmeyerIII
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Do you know how to work on this car?
Do you know anything about C3's and what to look for?
That may help guide you on your answer.
Read the Sticky on buying C3 corvette.
lots of good info
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:14 PM
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If your other "car" is a motorcycle, it might be a stretch.

I'd say at a minimum, you need a garage and a back-up vehicle to make it work. If the car is a 4-speed, though, you should probably go buy it and figure out the rest later.

Please do read the 10 rules for buying a C3 sticky at the top of this forum. $10,000 should buy you just about the nicest '79 driver-quality car on the road today. The AC should work, tires should be new, and you shouldn't have to do anything to pass inspection.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:13 AM
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To give a bit more context/information:
1) My current car recently passed 200,000 miles and is starting to have some minor issues here and there. I can/have fixed these issues, but I'm really interested in replacing it with something more fun (I don't plan to keep the Honda).
2) I have a two-car garage with a couple of motorcycles and a workbench in it. This still leaves enough room for a car, if I get one that I feel inclined to keep in the garage.
3) My only other vehicle will be a motorcycle but, if the occasion calls for it, I've been known to ride in just about any weather Texas throws at me. (I once rode to an exam in college in 35 weather during a rain storm)
4) The corvette that I'm currently looking at is a 4-speed, but I haven't contacted the seller yet. Even if this one isn't available any more, I'm trying to decide if I should pursue the idea of getting a C3. (any opinions on a reasonable price range would be appreciated)
5) I have no experience working on corvettes (or really anything particularly similar to one). that said, I'm mechanically inclined and not afraid of learning "on the job". So long as there isn't a major engine/transmission failure, I can probably figure it out.
6) I'm not dead-set on a corvette, but once I realized I could afford one I had to look into the idea. I'm also looking at various classic muscle cars, and a couple of more recent vehicles. My basic search criteria are: manual transmission, RWD, V8, less than or equal to $10,000, and of course being an awesome classic would be a big bonus.

Since I've never owned a classic my main concerns are: reasonable reliability for everyday use and parts pricing/availability. Any input on these topics?

I haven't looked at the 10 rules for buying a C3 yet, but I'll make sure to check it out.

Thanks for the advice so far.


p.s. I'm also considering a C4. Mostly just because I've seen a few of them for dirt cheap (around $5,000).
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:41 AM
  #9  
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Nothing looks better than a 78 or 79 with pace car spoilers

A 79 will do you just as well as a daily driver as any other old car. Better, I say compaired to my 70 Torino or 75 Cougar XR7 which were very hard to find parts for. I wouldn't hesitate to buy the old sports car that appeals to you most. If that's this C3 and it looks real nice, why not?

Most C3 mechanical parts are quite cheap as its just another 79 chevy. The Corvette specific stuff can be pricey and some of the repro stuff of questionable quality but I'll take that any day over "can't get nothing".

Last edited by Priya; 01-11-2019 at 01:44 AM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Priya View Post
Nothing looks better than a 78 or 79 with pace car spoilers

A 79 will do you just as well as a daily driver as any other old car. Better, I say compaired to my 70 Torino or 75 Cougar XR7 which were very hard to find parts for. I wouldn't hesitate to buy the old sports car that appeals to you most. If that's this C3 and it looks real nice, why not?

Most C3 mechanical parts are quite cheap as its just another 79 chevy. The Corvette specific stuff can be pricey and some of the repro stuff of questionable quality but I'll take that any day over "can't get nothing".
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:59 AM
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I do the yearly maintenance on the 69 over the winter and drive it all salt free season without a second thought. T
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Vincent_V View Post
... 5) I have no experience working on corvettes (or really anything particularly similar to one). that said, I'm mechanically inclined and not afraid of learning "on the job". So long as there isn't a major engine/transmission failure, I can probably figure it out....
I was in the exact same place as you when I got my '74. I could mess with a VW Bug engine (lawn mower) but had no real experience beyond that. I've learned a LOT about older cars in the last 6 years of ownership but I think the biggest thing I've learned is that there really isn't anything you can't do on these things with the right tools, instruction, and a little bit of elbow grease.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:47 PM
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iwasmenowhesgone
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A C3 Corvette is the most beautiful car GM ever built, and its bone stock simple. No computers, no garbage,.....just car for two people to have a great time in. Whatever the challenges are, its worth it, if you love the looks and drive of a C3. The rest are wannabees!
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:51 PM
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BLUE1972
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The car is simple to maintain and unlike a C4 there is no computer.

With Snow tires it can be a daily driver, just takes a little getting used to in the snow. It was a daily driver in the day.

I drove a 67 and 68 Firebird in my youth, every day , school and work with no issues. Rain , sleet and snow.. never an issue..
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Vincent_V View Post
I graduated from college about a year ago and I'm looking for a vehicle that is more interesting/fun than the old Honda Accord that I've been driving. With that in mind, I stumbled across a 1979 L82 Corvette for about $10,000.

Whatever car I buy is going to become my daily driver (my daily commuting would be split between this and one or two motorcycles). I've never owned a corvette before but I've always loved the old C3 body styles. I'm mechanically competent and I do all my own maintenance/repairs, but most of my experience has been on motorcycles.

Should I buy a corvette? Should I daily drive a C3 Corvette? Are there any specific issues I need to look out for? What's a decent price for a C3?

Any advice/opinions/etc... would be appreciated.
Buy a C5, leave the C3 for another day.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:27 PM
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Vincent_V
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Originally Posted by BLUE1972 View Post
The car is simple to maintain and unlike a C4 there is no computer.

With Snow tires it can be a daily driver, just takes a little getting used to in the snow. It was a daily driver in the day.

I drove a 67 and 68 Firebird in my youth, every day , school and work with no issues. Rain , sleet and snow.. never an issue..
Snow isn't really an issue down here in Texas. On the VERY rare occasion when we get anything resembling snow, literally everything shuts down because none of us are inclined/equipped/experienced to drive in those conditions.


Originally Posted by caskiguy View Post
Buy a C5, leave the C3 for another day.
I'm not a big fan of the C5 body style. If I happen to find a really great deal on one (with a manual transmission) then I would seriously consider it, but I haven't seen anything like that yet.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:40 PM
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10k should get you a pretty damn nice 79, shop around.
Look past shiny paint and pay attention to how it drives, any electrical, lights, stuff like that

Downside it many vette parts are expensive cause they arent interchangable with other Chevys.
I would keep your Honda as a backup, cause sooner or later youll need something todrive while you wait for parts to be shipped, fix something etc.

The engines are reliable, cheap to fix, transmissions also. Brakes, steering systems uhpolstery youre gonna pay for.

Try driving a couple, they should drive nice and solid, make sure the brakes dont pull, same as any other car
If it has AC make sure it works. "Works just needs a charge" is the oldest line of BS that really means "Youll need to spend a grand or so".

Bring someone with you who knows these cars. If you post in your regional section youll find someone (maybe here) who can go with you. THere are certain things to look for that even a good "Car guy" wont think to look for.

All the support and know how you need is here......guys that have owned the car a long time are the best ones to buy from, more likely to tell you the truth.
I wouldnt touch a car that hasnt been owned long and comes with a line....wife doesnt want it, etc. Its usually got some problems they found are too much to fix.

THere are plenty of them out there so dont compromise or let someone tell you its a rare collectible, etc. They arent.

Last edited by cuisinartvette; 01-11-2019 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:37 AM
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Others have beat me too it. If you have a garage, and don't mind running errands on a motorcycle, you should be fine, if you take the time to buy the right car.

I'd keep your Honda, though, if only for shopping. If you were to buy a set of wheels for your Vette on Craigslist, you'd be hard pressed to carry all four of them home in your Vette.
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:50 AM
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The plastic bumper C3's are great bang for the buck. And the 78-82 even have a decent amount of space behind the seats. This mattered for me, as I have two large dogs who go everywhere with me. My Rottweiler loves the rear deck in the 78.
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Old 01-12-2019, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Vincent_V View Post
Snow isn't really an issue down here in Texas..
Hey Vincent ... while it seems you're looking for a driver and not a keepsake that you take to a drive-in ... TXDOT is spraying the roads with "brine" ... aka KCl (potassium chloride) corrosive. You may have seen their operations lately. If the temperature gets below 40 anywhere in the State, and there's moisture anywhere in the State (and they include the water on the coast) ... the spray trucks are deployed.

"Victoria" stays in the garage during all that mess. We ride in the cold, but not the cold and wet because of the corrosion problem.

And BTW ... what shuts down Texas is ... ICE ... not snow. No one drives on ICE, all skate. I'm unaware of very many 60 car pileups in Texas for any reason, let alone frozen precip ... so perhaps the "we know how to drive in the snow" yankees aren't quite as knowledgeable as they smugly present themselves to be.

... 50 years on the planet ... all but about 4 of my Air Force years ... right cheer in the Lone Star State.

Yes, grab the bull by the horns, bud. I always wanted a Vette, but it wasn't "in the cards" until "Victoria" found us (billed as the wife's car) last fall. You'll have at least 20 years on me!

Welcome to the Board!
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