Modify Old Vette or Buy New Vette?
Daily Slideshow: It’s as easy as being honest about what you want a car to do and how much money you're willing to spend. If you
Why do you want one?
Corvette represents many things to many people: weekend getaway car or weekend racer. Milestone purchase after saving for years or investment into one of the fastest cars money can buy? Whatever you see in the Vette—performance or otherwise—you need to address why you’re buying one. Let’s look at which makes sense for each buying personality.
Image courtesy of cartype.com
If a trip to Vegas is your idea of what you want from a Vette and you never see the race track, never touch the race track and can’t be bothered by a back road, the choice is pretty obvious. Just buy anything. Corvettes are literally that good. You will be impressed with a C5, C6 and C7s baseline of performance. Trust me. These cars are so capable in the hands of a good driver you almost don’t need to modify them even if you’re a pro racer.
You do some canyon driving and hit the HPDE scene. The car could double as a daily driver or a secondary car to your morning commuter. This is most enthusiasts and as much as we all like to think the latest and greatest in Z06 is what we need when the reality is far from the truth. Many people in this category are best off with a used C5 or C6 that they can afford to upgrade and modify sparingly. You keep costs low and get a lot of return for your money. Besides, the C5 Z06 is still super capable if you know the right modifications to perform.
image courtesy of jalopnik.com
Once things start getting serious and you can cut consistent laps, maybe have some wheel-to-wheel experience under your belt, and you want to win, the choice once again becomes pretty obvious. The C5 chassis simply can’t do what C6 and C7 chassis are capable of. If you’re serious about competition, you’re going to want a low-mileage example that is only a few years old at most. Unless class rules state otherwise, it can save you a lot of headaches to opt for what’s newer. Remember, Chevrolet races these cars themselves and there are always tiny upgrades from year to year. Having said that, don’t rule out modified C4s. You can find some of these with tens of thousands dumped into them on the cheap.
Die Hard Racer
All you care about is racing. You would drink gasoline if there was a way to do it. This is the person with years of experience and needs to be approached on a more case-by-case basis. What bills will the racing season have? How close are the cars in the competition? At this point, it’s more about your budget and ability than what the Z06 can do. Many of these cars can be built into absolute animals, but it’s always going to take more to have an older car do what the newer ones can. Budget unlimited, knowledge plentiful, and serious competitor? The mid-engine C8 is yours for the taking come next year.
image courtesy of humphris.info
Summarizing the Discussion
In summary, the more of a die-hard racer you are, the more it makes sense to buy a used Vette where you can modify the snot out of it and really dial things in. The conversation should start at C6 for those with a big budget and C5 for those with a small(er) budget. To the average Joe who just wants to go out and have fun, then it makes more sense to buy something new if you want a hassle-free experience. It also makes sense to buy used if you do some track days, but use the car primarily on weekends. Hardcore racers should opt for the newest equipment their class permits and in an unlimited class, the choice might be as simple as knowing what you can build within your racing budget/skill set. Corvettes are a wide topic with the right choice being highly subjective to your own needs, ability, and desires. Hope you enjoyed reading.
image courtesy of carbk.co
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