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any thoughts on an '81 corvette??

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shanonm13

Guest
im interested in purchasing a 1981, 4 spd, vette, with 250k miles, and the asking price is 9,900. but it has new breaks, new alternator, and new carborator..your thoughts and suggestions would be highly appreciated, as i dont know very much about vettes, but i love the model!!
 

Rob

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Shanon,

Welcome to the Corvette Action Center. I'm going to move your post into the 1968 - 1982 Corvette Forum for better exposure. :)
 

mxdout165

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Dec 16, 2000
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109
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Soon to be Greeley, CO
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Not Any More :( - '92 Typhoon #2482
That's a lot of miles! How much are you willing to spend? I have a 1981 for sale. It's not a 4spd :( but it's in good shape with less miles. Just got all new interior carpet too! Click here to see a Pic! But that's enough of my sales pitch. :L I would think you could get the price lower than 9900 with that many miles. What about the engine and tranny? That would be something to consider with that many miles on the frame as well. Be prepared, there's lots of L81'ers here. You'll definately get more responses then you thought. :D Which, of course, is a good thing. :L

Hope this helps even the slightest. :D

T Jay

ps....oh yah, welcome to the CAC!
 

Tom Bryant

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Edgerton, Ohio, United States
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1959 black 270hp (9/2/69) 1981 Beige L81(10/20/80)
Welcome to the CAC

Hi Shanon,

I would definitely try to work on that price. What service records do they have with the car? Has the engine/trans /rear end been rebuilt and how long ago. I would also get it to a Corvette specialist and have them check the wheel bearings, suspension and frame. And of course the complete brake system. If it is solid and in good shape and the driveline is fairly fresh I wouldn't let the 250 Gs bother me. I would also expect a good interior and a presentable paint job for that price.

Tom
 
S

Scott81

Guest
Welcome Shanon,

I might be a little biased owning an 81, but the 80-82 body style is one of my favorites, along with chrome bumper C3's.

The car you are looking at seems kind of high on the asking price with that mileage unless it's in really good shape. You'll find a great group here and a lot of help with buying. Before you spend your money do plenty of looking around and research, know what you are getting into. Here's a helpful site that has plenty of technical info on C3's CorvetteFaq.com , also the L-81 Registry , and a shameless plug here C3 Shark Tank .

The best advice I can give you is do your homework before buying, there's plenty of snake oil salesmen out there. Contact the local Corvette club, tell them you want to buy one and would like to talk to someone that knows what to look for, attend one of their meetings and talk to the owners, get their ideas because they have probably been down this road.
 

Yoda

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Amarillo, TX
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1981 UL5
Shannon ~ Welcome to the Corvette Action Center ~

Shannon,

As much as I LOVE my L81 I would probably stay clear of one with 250k miles at around $10,000, Unless it has been COMPLETELY restored. There are many 1981's out here for sale for a lot less.

About 6 months ago I looked at a 1981 with 47,000 miles on it. It was in Los Altos. A person from Hawaii asked me to go look at it. The car was original and a 4-speed. Everything was tight on it and the guy was asking $8750. Sweet car, it now lives in Hawaii.

I would be happy to hook up with you and show you what Rare looks like, she had 58,600 miles on her when I bought her in 1998. I found her in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and she is all original and documented down to the original window sticker.

There is a 1981 Black/Black 4-speed for sale in 916 area code for $9,000 (I think), my ole buddy "BlackDog" is thinking about :D

"The search can be as much fun as ownership"

Good Luck,
 

Nut

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Bowie, MD
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Vette-less for now
Shanon,

I wouldn't touch anything but a Honda with 250K miles on it. Unless that car had a complete frame off restoration (which is highly unlikely for that year) there will still be a lot of parts that have seen those 250K miles. Rare81 and Scott are right. There are a lot of good, solid '81's out there for less than $10K. If you are willing to spend $10-12K there are some great 81's with low miles that you can find. Be patient. Don't jump on the first car that you see. You can do better. Good luck, welcome to the CAC. If you are really set on 1981, check out the L81VetteRegistry.com site and talk to all 1981 owners.

Regards............. Nut
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Messages
229
Location
Binghamton, NY
Corvette
1981Dark Blue Metallic & 2004 conv. magnetic red
I have an 81 and bought it last year, the price is high for the miles, mine has 63K and was much less in cost. I took a lot of time into looking at the body ships to see if they are equal and all there as well looking for seal leaks, replaced parts or things that were missing. I agree with the others, have it looked at, real throughly considering the miles.

I was very excited before I bought my vette but I walked away for awhile and thought about those things then continued my looking at the car in a more objective way. Ask questions, lots of questions especially if it has not been restored. Get what ever documentation is available, again ask questions.

Lots of luck, they are a great ride and a head turner too.
 
C

c4ever

Guest
All the above advice is the best money can buy. I personally don't give a hoot about mileage if it's a vehicle that's been cared for. There are so many variables when buying a vette;color,engine,4sp/auto,body style. If it's the car you want because it has the look you want, I would have a good mech. take a look and make a fair offer. All of these cars will need some work,they are 20years+, so start off with a solid foundation. As everyone has already said, there are plenty out there so choose wisely and then have the time of your life:upthumbs cause nothin but nothin and I mean nothin looks as good as a SHARK :cool
 

mxdout165

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109
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Soon to be Greeley, CO
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Not Any More :( - '92 Typhoon #2482
cause nothin but nothin and I mean nothin looks as good as a SHARK

I think my Ty looks as good as a shark, but that's just me :L :L :L.

Good luck with your search Shanon

T Jay
 

mxdout165

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Joined
Dec 16, 2000
Messages
109
Location
Soon to be Greeley, CO
Corvette
Not Any More :( - '92 Typhoon #2482
bowdown.gif
bkksig.jpg


:L but seriously. I love the look of the sharks, especially 80-82. I just wish I could keep mine. :(

Some day......oh yes, one day there will be another Vette in my driveway. :D


T Jay
 
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c4ever

Guest
Ahhhhhhhhh! But there is a beautiful shark already in your driveway. :dance You never know, maybe a change of heart ;)
 

mxdout165

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Messages
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Location
Soon to be Greeley, CO
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Not Any More :( - '92 Typhoon #2482
It would be easy to have a change of heart. It's not the heart that's talkin, it's the $$$$$$$ :L.

But I think this is Shanon's post. :L Sorry ;) Definately get an '81 Shanon, but look long and hard for it. Buying a Vette, so I'm told (still underage) is like buying a fine wine. To fully enjoy it, you must have the right vintage for your tastes! :L

T Jay
 
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lytemup

Guest
value.

well something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. in my opinion, even if the body is flawless, the price sounds very, very high. i would just keep looking, it's hard, but i waited a long time to find mine, and i'm now very happy i took the time on the search. my 2cents neway...good luck
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
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185
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Falls Church, Va
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1972 Coupe ZZ4 / 4 Speed
Miles... High or low

Well...

When I bought my 1972 in 1998 it had 64,000 miles! The engine and transmission went out less than 6 months latter. Its been 4 years and the car still has only 77,000 miles. I drove it everyday if it was running.

By contrast....

My 1992 Camaro has well over 200,000 miles on it, and starts up every morning. (original motor)


It would seem the only thing worse than high miles... is LOW miles. The vette had a gas tank full of water A carb full of sludge, rotten gaskets, and rusty everything else.

While I don't want to discourage you from buying a vette, I would like to warn you that these are very old, VERY unreliable cars, which are expensive to fix. .. And very few mechanics are even willing to do the work. (unless you need a battery or tires)

Anyway, I hope your experience will be better than mine. I do enjoy the car... I just never see it! (haven't seen it in 3 1/2 months)

-Gooney
 

Yoda

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1981 UL5
-Gooney,

You have a very good point... When I got Rare she had 58,600 miles on her, but sat a LOT the last 4 to 5 years. Mostly outside, I think. Anyway...

Our first year together was rather expensive.. She was suppose to be ready for the trip from Michigan to California.. NOT!!

By the time I got to Salt Lake City the speedo was bouncing higher & more often than a kangaroo dodging cars, and the tranny develop a really bad HOWL.. Well to make a long story short..
New second gear, main shaft, bearings and syncro's in the tranny,

New power steering control valve, slave cylinder and hoses. Rear end flushed and new fluid and additive (within a year a new rear end) Wheel bearing all around, one new spindle, new trailing arms, and I spent one whole winter under her giving her new rubber in the suspension & brakes.

The interior is an 8 on a scale of 10 and the paint is a 12.. Looks good from 12 feet away (Next major project).

Oh yea,, by the time I got home to California everything that had any kind of fluid in it,, was LEAKING, new gaskets everywhere too..

I planned to go through everything in time, I just didn't expect it to be time so fast ;)

Since then Rare and I have crossed the states to Bowling Green and are planning another trip this September. I'd take her anywhere, anytime and not worry about her dying along the way.

Yep, Low Mileage is not always the best either, but I think had Rare been REALLY made road worthy, a lot of the problems would have been avoided.. I don't think the 2000 mile trip from Michigan to California did her any good, esp. when I started seeing the condition of the fluids after I got her home..

Tranny fluid was burnt tar, rearend fluid was jelly, engine bottom and chassis bottom looked like it had been through a freshly oiled blacktop road. I don't think she was road ready :( when I bought her.

I should have inspected Rare for myself to see that everything had been changed and ready. But that is water under the bridge and RARE is HAPPY living her in CA with Yoda :D

BudD
:w
 
Joined
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Messages
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71 Conv. (Sold) / 98 Pewter Coupe (Sold)
Ditto on the stories by Gooney and Rare! Mine sat for the better part of 10 years before I got her. She starts and runs pretty well but there isn't a single bushing or gasket that isn't in the final stages of disintegration. The brake fluid was more like brake mud when I got her and the antifreeze was more like afterbirth. The bushings are so far gone that the car has more rattles than Babies'r'Us. I suppose I'm at the stage Bud was several years ago. I'm nowhere near the stage of trusting the car on a trip - Carlisle this year will be my first and that isn't very far from home.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Vette and don't regret buying it but I do sometimes think that maybe a slightly rougher looking driver would have given more instant gratification.

In summary, if you do end up with a Vette be sure you drive it and drive it often. I try to get mine out of the garage at least once a week (when it is running and stopping:eyerole).
 
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lytemup

Guest
bouncing speedo

hey Rare81, i'm having the same bouncing speedo prob, which one of those things you replaced was for that? sorry i'm off topic...

my 81 (<19000 mi), which i got last fall, needs lots of new bushings etc, but the thing i like about a low mileage (older) car, is that the interior is near mint. we're talkin almost no wrinkles in the leather seats. off all the vettes i looked at for purchase, none over 75k miles had what i would call a great interior.
 
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lytemup

Guest
nevermind

i found the bouncing speedo in an old post...nevermind!
 

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