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Discussion Starter #1
I sold my 07 about 2 years ago between deployments to Afghanistan/Iraq. I just did not like letting it sit and selling it also let us pay off our bills. I don't regret selling it, but I gotta admit I miss seeing a vette in the garage. I don't really want to buy another C6 since I already had one. I'd rather wait till the C7 comes out (I may be waiting a while). :thud:

In a moment of weakness I almost broke down this past week and ordered a Camaro. It's a nice car, but I came to the conclusion that it's just not a vette.:devil:

That brings me to my question, I have been looking around for a daily driver (69-72). I'd like to find it for under 20k if possible. It would be a third car, so I would not be dependent on it, but still want something that looks nice and I can roll out of the garage whenever I want.

I am interested in thoughts from the forum:

1) Is that a realistic price range for a C3 (69-72) that is in good to very good condition (ready to drive)?

2) Any recommendations on resources to research what to look for and avoid in that generation of vette?

I am not ashamed to admit that I am not a motor head but I am not afraid to learn. At the same time, I do not want to get into a rebuild or complete restoration.
 

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20k is a reasonable price for a chrome bumper in good condition, or at least up here in the northwest it is


(example: http://portland.craigslist.org/yam/cto/2241714284.html)
^ thats not a numbers matching car but seems like fun either way :)

but yes, the c3s are a totally differnt world :) i got one to learn about cars lol :) your other choice is to go the "modern" route and get a c3 with an LSx in it :) :thumbsup: :cheers:
 

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Certainly something within reason for you to do. There is a misconception these cars are not reliable. They were very reliable when new, we drove them everyday, rain,snow,sun it didn't matter. Now 40 years later, a lot are just worn out. Some experienced accidents, lousy repair work,etc so you really have to take some time to learn them before you buy one.

The 74-79 aren't a bad car and cost less to get into then the chrome. They're pretty much the same car until the 77 interior change and 78-82 body change.
The original engine weren't the most HP ones out there but a lot of them have been rebuilt to higher levels.

All the years have their weak areas, these were production cars afterall.

If you can locate one with a history that will really help as well.

We bought a 75 coupe last summer, 51k miles, all original, 4 speed , 336's red/black. Real nice paint, interior near mint, no rot or rust on the frame, new tires,brakes, T/A's, all for $7500.
A chrome car in the same condition would have been double that and the only real differences are the bumpers and side louvers.

Good luck, check the birdcage,frame,and see what was done to it and by whom. I'd rather buy an all original vette with good paint and rebuild the drivetrain then one that was worked on by several owners,shops,etc.
 

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I agree with Gary. These cars can be reliable. It's all basic Chevrolet technology, just like on every Chevelle, Camaro and Impala. The problem is finding someone who is competent to work on them now, when the first '68 Shark is 43 years old.

Most of the time they would be fine, except we keep monkeying with them.
 

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If you're driving regularly it may eat you alive with professional labor hours.

On the other hand, since it's not gonna depreciate like a modern vehicle you've got several thou per year to spend at a shop. Sortof.

In your shoes, I'd look for a fully restored frame off that has several summers worth of cruising on the restoration. As the auctioneers would say "been enjoyed". Current market you can buy a car with 20K of older restoration work for 20K if it's not something special like a 427. Buy one that hasn't had a full, quality resto and it's going to nickel and dime ya terribly.

Have you thought about blending the choices and buying a super nice first gen camaro? Granted, it's not a vette but if you're planning to pound the car with 50K miles it may be a better choice.

And if the camaro interests you, they're giving away first gen firebirds by comparison. 20K would buy an EXCEPTIONAL first gen bird. Actually, 10K will buy one in the condition of a 20K C3 and leave 10K in the C7 fund :thumbsup:

good luck, it's a fun decison!
 

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Buy A car that has been gone through

And make sure its Complete

I'd consider a C5 Z06 tho if I was you:nuts:
 

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Pay good attention to what your buying, there are a few things to consider some have been addressed though, I will break it down into a few quick points.



Frame/bird cage:

make sure the bird cage is good, and the frame is not rotted in the normal areas .



Suspension:

Take a good look at the Control arm bushings front and rear, as well as tie rod ends and ball joints (this is a normal thing that needs addressed on older vettes that can run into some cash if you have to pay to have it done)




Engine

Be realistic about what you want, if you get a seriously modded motor drivability for a daily driver will be impacted. Also if you are unsure about the quality of the motor have some one check it out they cann let you know if the carb is needing attention if the oil pressure is getting iffy ect, and let a motor come up to temp you can tell more about a motor when its at operating temps then cold






Trans

Same as above check it out good, is the fluid bright red or dark, whats it smell like,






Cooling system,

Pull the cap before you turn the car on, is it full of nice coolant or is it a muddy murky looking mess





Give all these things a good look and pay attention to how things look under the hood and inside the car, if there are things cobbled up then that usually means there are going to be issues down the road
You can tell alot about a car from these things and taking a closer look at the owner thats selling it, is he a bubba, whats his daily driver look like (you will usually walk past it on the way to see his or her toy) if its a mess inside and out that will let you know how they take care of their things, some of these cars are severely abused but clean up nice
But it is what it is, and if your mechanically inclined most problems except frame and bird cage are easily fixed. so far on my 82 I have built my own motor, installed a new th350(last year) that is currently being swapped to a 200-4r for better highway driving and I have also upgraded to poly bushings on the entire car.

They can be quite reliable once or if the few things I mentioned above are fixed or verified to be good, I drive mine anywhere in the summer its been to Bloomington and back as well as to the Macinaw bridge.(about a 10 hr drive each way) and back several times since I bought it

Just make sure you go over it real well and remember you don't have to buy the first one you look at.

Enjoy your hunt:thumbsup::cheers:
 

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The only reason I bought my 71 was just to work on it if you dont enjoy working on things or dont have the time I would just wait on the C7
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the feedback, and I definitely welcome any more.

RattVette, thanks for the list, I will keep it in my back pocket as I look around. I am on leave the next couple of weeks and will do some driving to look at a few. I am currently in Texas and I saw at least a couple within driving distance.

The classic vette is the second part of the "vette dream." I always wanted a new one and I was able to enjoy that. I also wanted a classic one. I am thinking this is the time to find the partner for the future C7. Even if I do end up with a C3 that needs A LOT of work, I should have it pretty much perfect by the time the C7 hits the production line.... :rolling:

I am going to do some searching on the internet and do some asking around. I guess I need to look for a reliable corvette mechanic for a second opinion when I find "the one." Anyone got a line on how to find one?
 

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Hi there future c3 owner. I have a 79 for 3 years now and still love it. I bought it just on the looks and knowlage that the owner had done a refresh on the motor as well as it having a 200r4 in it. I was lucky that there was zero rust anywhere! So after 3 years of weekend work and a failed cam change(wrong oil):thud: it still goes well ,get heaps of looks/comments:thumbsup: another thing to look for is metal in diff oil from worn yokes!!! If diff makes noise 45 to 60 mph get ready for a rebuild. I would love to have the money to put in a LS1 from a gto in it but that will have to wait. wiring can be a bit iffy/bubba`d as its gone brittle on insulation.
Mine has only let me down twice and second time was due to tyres. In a nutshell im glad that im a mechanic so i can play bubba on my car as i get little finances to play with, so time to get a better job to let me keep her and play hard.
INSPECT well ,choose well and you will have a top ride for that sort of dollars.
 

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OK mine isnt a daily driver, but I have put enough miles on it in the 3 years i have had it that it should be a daily driver..
I put almost 27k miles on my car just driving on the weekends.. ANd since I have owned it and almost 27k miles.. I have only had i breakdown and that was the first month i had it.. (leaking heater hose-fixed it on the road. and finished a 160 mile cruise with a bunch of c50c6's)

I have taken my car on 1000 mile weekend trips a few times and nothing.. runs like a top with my org l48 with 50k miles ..

as long as you keep up the regular maintenance on these cars they will run geat..
 

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Man, if you're paying somebody to do the work, don't buy a C3 that needs work and fix it up as you go. You're gonna end up with $35K in a $20K car. Do you enjoy visiting a car in a shop or do you enjoy driving it right now? Cause it's actually cheaper over the long run to drive it right now, finished.

You might, maybe, get away with paying somebody to fix it up if you start with something rare like a big block convertible or even a C2. But if you're paying for labor, the finished car better be worth what you're gonna have in it or it's much smarter to buy somebody else's loss with an older restoration.

I have owned and daily driven many old, low mile GM products that were not vettes. If you're the first to pound them with miles, expect plenty of failures initially. If you use them lightly and rarely like a cruise night car they're much cheaper. Cars that are used lightly have fewer faults exposed than those that are used hard, frequently. Only you know your unique balance of use, budget, DIY, and so on.

good luck!
 

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1968 Very Reliable

My 68 Convertible has been very reliable. And it was a reasonable price 15K. Now its not a numbers matching engine but its a period correct 327.

You can save a ton of cash if its not Numbers matching, which in my mind is dicey if its not all very well documented.

If you are buying one to drive and have fun with then I really don't see the point in paying 30K+ for a C3.

Make sure the car has no leaks and there is no rust on the frame behind the wheels and anywhere around the window frame.

Brakes are cheap and the parts are easy to find. I avoided any vette that was heavily modified becomes you never know how good of a job the previous mechanic did.

I find my 68 to be fun driving around town and on the highway to work just fine.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks again for all the feedback. As always the DC community is an excellent source for info and advice.

6880 Mike thanks for the recommendation on the buyers guide. I should have thought of that from the start.

When I started the thread, I was ready to head out this month and buy my vette. After searching the web and reading your comments, I think I am going to slow down a bit and take a little more time to find the right one. The great news is the wife saw a C3 the other day and finally broke down and said "that is a nice looking vette. I am fine with you getting one" :thumbsup: Now I don't have to resort to buying one and letting it grow on her. :spanked:

A couple more questions though, this may be a sensitive one, but one that has to be asked. What about the horsepower on the C3? GM dropped it way down in the 70s because of the Federal regulations, but do they still have the pull you back in your seat power that makes the vette so much fun to drive. I am looking for a cruiser, not a racer, but 180 to 190 hp does not sound like much. Am I wrong to think that if I want that feeling I am going to have to find a 73 or earlier?

There are some 454s out there, but they are tougher to find. They definitely look like they have the power. But, I did see a few comments suggesting they are not the best highway vehicles. One of the things I loved about my C6 was it drove best at constant speed between 70 and 80 on the highway. Granted the 454 are 40 years old but does it not handle or hold up so well on longer drives? Is the issue handling, over-heating??? Or, is there no issue at all.

Anyone run into people trying to dress a non-454 up to look like one?

Next question, I am in Texas and I have family in Arizona. I have looked in both states, but there is nowhere near the number of C3s available as there are in the Midwest, out east or in Florida? I want to go out and see, feel, touch, DRIVE it. But don't want to make several trips out east. I am looking on auto trader, vette finder, and a few other sites. There is a decent number but I would have expected to see more. Am I looking in the right spot? It also looks like many of the ads in the classifieds on DC are pretty old (definitely not a hit on DC so please don't be offended).

I have looked for a few classic vette dealers in Texas, but besides a few in Dallas, there does not seem to be much. Any thoughts?

Finally, there are a couple well known on-line vette dealers out there and they claim to only handle quality vettes. I won't list the ones I have looked at because I don't want to violate any forum rules concerning advertising, but there is one in Atlanta that looks reputable and has some nice vehicles. I saw the one in Phoenix no longer exists. Granted, these guys are like going to a dealership and you are going to pay for it, but is there any value in going to them over a private party? I say that knowing it is not possible to find a C3 without considering private party and you guys have better quality vettes than anything I will find there. My guess is, you ain't giving it up though.:D

Thanks again.
 

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Even the 454 cars were pretty mild once they took the compression out of em for emission reasons. Excellent torque, terrible horsepower. If you're hung up on original stick to chrome bumper versions.

Anything manufactured in the catalytic converter era is going to require a modified motor if you're comparing it to the previous late model vette. Even the 68-72 base motors likely won't meet expectations in true factory form. Once you start looking at modified cars it may be wise to impose a year cutoff for local inspection/emission purposes.

To make a comfortable 75mph cruiser out of a car with C3 size back tires, you need 2.73-3.08 rear gears. Maybe 3.23s. Definitely not 3.55 and lower without overdrive.

Really two solutions to the high speed problem. First, get a wide ratio 4 speed and equip with a high rear gear. Let the fun factor of stick shift offset some of the loafy-ness that the high gears generate. Second, overdrive conversion and a more reasonable rear gear for acceleration.

good luck
 

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C3 is a very simple car to work on for the most part and you can find parts on the web very easily. Although many good deals in the chrome bumper years will need some work they can be very reliable.

I modified mine quit a bit wheels 20's rear 18's front. L88 hood
572 cubic inch engine along with many other upgrades.

I think the inportant things have been mentioned like rust and such. That is why Arizona is a good place to look as most are rust free.

I have the original 327 / 350 hp engine that it came with but honestly it just didnt seem to have the power I had assumed it would.

If youre planning to keep it for a long period of time I would go for it but if its something to have for just a short time I may pass.

My opinion is that you will want to / need to put money into it and if not for the long haul you may not get it back when selling.

I plan on keeping mine and am very proud / happy to have it.
 

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...but is there any value in going to them over a private party?...
No. Some of the dealers don't honestly know much of anything about the cars they are trying to sell. A private seller can usually answer the questions you will have.

:thumbsup:
 
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