It has been a while since I wrote a classic Corvette article. I figure that it’s about time I did again, I love the Corvette and I hope that a lot of people share my feelings. The Chevrolet Corvette is one of the few cars that GM never rolled back production of.
The Corvette is an American institution as it is the only car on the planet that qualifies as a muscle car and a sports car. It still does to this day, and that will never end. It had been a mainstay of Chevrolet sales since that beginning.
But let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this article. Everything above is true, but there is also another truth about the Corvette, and that is that it’s very hard to know what you’re getting if you want to buy a classic Corvette without being a professional in the industry.
Let’s see if I can ease some of the tension when it comes to buying a classic Corvette. This is going to be an in-depth article on how to get the best classic Corvette when you’re in the market for one. I will start with the basics, which are just like any other car.
Classic Corvette Checklist.
Check the electrical system, make sure that all of the lights, blinkers, and gauges are working correctly. You can do this by starting the car and letting it come to operating temperature. You should make sure the all of the gauges are working correctly, turn on the lights and make sure that they all work, and check the blinkers to make sure that they are working. Make a list of the things that are in question.
Look at the engine compartment and check for leaks of water, oil, or brake fluid, and add these things to the list of things in question.
Out the car on the lift and follow the brake lines and fuel lines to make sure that there are no leaks there if there are add it to your list of things in question.
After you let the car down off of the hoist you should check the hand brake and make sure that it is working correctly, if not add it to your list of things in question.
Now take the Corvette out for a test drive, on the test drive your should test the brakes to make sure that they are working correctly, and are not spongy, or hard to push, make sure that they don’t pulsate. When you press the throttle pedal does the car hesitate before it moves, or does it have a quick and crisp response, if not add that to your list of things in question?
While the test drive, you should listen for knocks, whines, bumps, and grinds coming from the engine, transmission, rear end, wheels, body or anywhere else in the car and add them to your list of things in question.
Make sure that the steering is tight by moving it all the way from lock to lock and see if it seems like there is too much play in the steering, or it grabs or feels tight. If so add it to your list of things in question.
After your test drive, you should ask the owner if it is Okay for you to have the Corvette inspected by a professional. A professional does this all of the time and knows things that you don’t if the owner hesitates to allow this, look for another car.
List of things specific to the Corvette
Check the numbers, make sure that they have not been tampered with if the car is represented as numbers matching. Here are the numbers that you should check, Body Id, Engine No, Trim Tag, and finally the title of the car.
Body Work: Nose looks square? Nose alignment, this is the body gaps between the front fenders and the doors, along with the hood to fender gaps, and the hood to cowl gaps. The gaps should look straight and not be more the 1/8 – ¼”.
Wheel Height: Check all four corners of the car to make sure that it does not sag on any corner. If it does add it to your list of things in question, there are suspension issues.
Body Surface: Check for scratches, bibles and blisters in the paint, check for visible seems, all of these things mean that there will be body or paintwork needed, these are two of the most involved things on the classic Corvette. If you find anything to add it to your list of things in question.
Paint Work: Original Color. Overspray, paint surface problems, and color match. If you find anything to add to your list of things in question.
Body Gaps: Front bumper height and straightness, Hood gaps, Door gaps T-top/ deck lid gaps, rear bumper height, and straightness. If you find anything wrong here add it t your list of things in question.
Steel Work: Check undercoat, Surface rust, Flaking rust, Patch repairs, Holes, Check windshield post. If you find anything to add it to your list of things in question.
Under Hood: Check the condition of painted surfaces, Check the condition of chrome. If you find anything to add it to your list of things in question.
This is not quite everything, but the rest you can have a professional Corvette inspector look at. If the car is represented as numbers matching you need to go through the entire process.
If you’re not worried about that and your just looking for a daily driver, and your thinking of restoring the car as a project then you don’t need to be as picky.
The list of things in question is used as a bargaining chip against the seller and the representation of the car and can help you save a lot of money, so do yourself a favor and be prepared and don’t go out half cocked and too excited when you buy your classic car, and this doesn’t only apply to the Corvette.
I hope this will help some people on the purchase o their classic, please comment if this helps and I will add more to it.