I want to pick up my first vette and I don't know where to begin.
Hi, I am a college kid in Michigan and due to the nature of the state and my own love of cars I have decided to try to pick up a Vette. I was wondering what should I be looking for when I buy? Like, what are the best years to buy? Is a L82 really worth it, should I go manual or automatic, ect.
So far I have narrowed my choices down to two vehicles, I was asking if I could maybe have a couple of you look over the posted ads and let me know what you think. I would really appreciate it, and when I start restoring I will keep the forum updated.
The links are:
80 Corvette Stingray
Corvette L82 4-Spd 1979
Thank You, I do appreciate the help.
Welcome - Take ur time and enjoy the hunt!
Well.....which one do you like better? I mean..how do they make you feeeel? Both look nice and the L82 was the performance option back then. I owned a 79 with a 4 speed. Easy to work on and a lot of fun to drive. Which one is in better shape mechanically? That is what I would check out. To me the 79 looks like it is setting up high for some reason.....may just be the picture. Good entry level C3's that won't break the bank and will make you smile when you are driving it around. Good luck with your choice and welcome to the CAC.....you will fit right in....
Well being a college kid could be a challenge unless you have cash to support it. Course I had my first vette at 18 and rebuilt it, my son had his the night he graduated from HS and he rebuilt it.
Now as to what year to get? that depends on what you like. Between the 2 you mentioned I would go with the '79 L82 4 spd.
The '79 was the last year for the much better iron differential, although '79's were not the best. The 4 spd would be a ST-10 which is a good street transmission matched to 355 or 370 gears most likely.
The interior parts were more plastic then earlier years and they tend to need interior replacements.
The same checking procedures for all C2-C3's should be followed, the birdcage and frame for rot, IRS for work done, body and paint fitment, brakes and exhaust.
The values on the later C3's is no where near the chrome cars but they are pretty much the same; same issues- pro/con. Very good to learn about and to work on yourself.
The L82 engines were very good, they had the better parts in them and were the remnant of the old 70-72 LT1's. If it's the original L82 engine that would be a positive. There weren't many 4 spds in the later years so that could be a nice car.
Just be sure of what your overall objective is, if you think of it being an investment you're better off running Red at the local casino tables. If you want it to keep a long time, work on and drive then it could be a great deal if the price is right and the amount of work needed is reasonable, just be prepared they all new work and some of the work already done may not be correct.
Just saw the pic's. Muncies were not offered in '79 and an M22 certainly not. So either someone installed a "rock crusher" M22 trans or the original owner is clueless. If the 2nd then you better look real close at the car because there could be other things mis-represented on the car. I would look over all the records on the car as well, see who did the work. For instance rear bearings are done by dozens but the work is not all the same and I have repaired a fair share of them to know. If done right no problem - if not then you will be doing them again.
Check the engine stampings to be sure the engine is the original L82. I see some red flags at that price you may be looking at someone elses money pit.
I wasn't too impressed with the other car.
Do your homework before buying.
Don't take this the wrong way but borderline broke college student + 35 year old car in 'meh' condition = ends in tears.
Any 'cheap' Corvette will almost always need an equal amount of cash or more to get it anywhere near reliable. They are 'project' cars in that price range, ready for restoration not daily transport.
It is going to be something that I work on through and after college to learn about doing the work myself. Just more of a hobby thing than anything else. Would you recommend taking it to a garage to get it checked out before I buy?
I have a primary car already and access to a garage and qualified people to help me with it. Money shouldn't be a big issue since I work. I was scared of falling into someone's money pit. I should have around 1500 to put into the car right away, if the seller holds firm on price, the lower he goes, the more Ill have at the beginning. Will that be enough?
Last edited by UNR3AL; 02-01-13 at 10:05 PM.
1st welcome to CAC!!!
2nd good luck with your search!!!
if you are mechanically inclined,you should be able to figure out your vette.
which ever one you decide to purchase,AFTER your purchase get the AIM-Assembly Instruction Manual,
as well as a factory service manual.these are the bibles for our vettes,they tell you how they were built,as well as how the
should be repaired.
Bill and Gail...save the wave
NCRS member 42415
1981 St.Louis car #2735
all matching numbers
born Sept 18,1980
You would be Hungry,Homeless and Naked!!!!!!
My advice- buy the best Vette you can afford.
Originally Posted by UNR3AL
I had a C3 through college. In those days, gas was $1 or so a gallon- so a '78 with a TH350 was okay in those days. But, with gas on average between $3-$4 these days, you may want to consider which year model you go after. Mainly, because the later models have some sort of engine management system.
Only the '82 has an overdrive and fuel injection. Those two aspects could help out a lot with long term affordability- in gas an maintenance.
You might get more Vette for the money in terms of a C4, like this 1986 C4. I think you might struggle with finding a C3 Vette between $4500 and $5500 that won't need some work- and in many cases, most will need a LOT of work.
I don't bring up non-C3 Vettes to be unhelpful, but rather from a point of view that is completely honest from my own personal experience. Both of my resto-mod C3s started out as $5-7k Vettes. For the first year or two (or more!), they were more like money pits as I went through and replaced practically everything on them. Yes, you can save a lot of money on repairs- but only if you have access to tools and you have the skill or someone else who is knowledgeable and willing to help with repairs. This I think you know, but just agreeing with you and letting you know you are on the right track.
Regardless of what you get, it'll be yours. You'll have to live with its flaws- as well as its highlights. It's got to fit into YOUR life.
Best of luck- and let us know what other Vettes you are looking at. There are a lot of guys (and gals!) who can help spot things that might be red flags.
And... who knows... maybe you can even meet a CAC member from your area who can help look over a Vette you seriously consider making an offer on.
1982 Dark Blue Corvette
Crossfire Injection | L83 | .465"/.488" Cam | EBL | 3.73
0-60mph in 5.2 seconds
1995 Trans Am
1 of 1 Trans Am | 100% documented | RPOs 48U, MN6, and GU6
if I were you I would try to find someone that knows about C3 corvettes. Try the local corvette club or maybe some help from a person on this forum that is local. It's really a shot in the dark without actually looking at the car and driving it.
2004 Spiral Gray/Gray - 1977-Dark Red,Buckskin
Try to go to as many car shows as you can and see Corvettes in person. Definitely read as many books and learn as much as you can before you buy. Then you can look for THE Vette instead of a Vette.
That makes sense. Ill have to continue my research. Thanks for all the help so far.
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