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C5 purchase advice

CorvetteShopper

New member
Joined
Mar 23, 2007
Messages
1
Location
Virginia
Hi all,

I'm a long time fan of Corvettes but a newcomer to the market. I've begun to look for a C5. I am looking for something in the 20 - 25K price range, with the lowest miles possible - as I would intend to keep the car long-term. I do see some out there. Naturally, the lowest mileage ones in that range are earlier models. I do have a few questions to kick around.

I've seen 2001 models in the same price range as the 1998s but with an extra 10K or so miles. Instinct says go with the lower miles. What do you think?

I'm not too choosy about a manual or automatic transmission - I see advantages to both. I would like to know - how many miles should I expect the clutch in the manual to last under normal conditions?

I am on a budget here. How expensive are these cars to maintain? How dependable are they? How many miles should I expect from a well cared for C5 before any major expenses?

These are a start. Thanks for all your input.
 

Vette_Dreaming

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2005
Messages
166
Location
Arvada, CO
Corvette
Y2K Navy Blue Roadster
Since I just bought my first Corvette at the begining of this month, I may not have the best advice, but here goes. In my opinion if all other things are equal go with the lower mileage C5. I had a choice of a 2002 with about 45,000 vs a 2000 with just under 36,000, I got the 2000. I am sure will get this advice from others on the forum, get the one that you want! I can't help too much as far as what to expect from the clutch but there is a thread concerning just that. I have heard from several on this forum that they have gotten well over 100,000 with little or no problems. I hope that you find what you want and will soon be a C5 owner.
 

sgtrjs

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
47
Location
Ohio
Corvette
2001 Quicksilver coupe
Personally, I'd go with a 2001 or higher. Click here to see why. I really can't think of a reason why the older ones would be more expensive, other than maybe special paint colors or first year of the new model. Well, the fixed roof coupe was only available prior to '01 as a non-Z06, that could make them more expensive. But for the coupe, I would expect a 2001 to be more expensive than a 1997.

I can't speak for longevity, my '01 only has a little over 13,000 miles on it and I just bought it a year ago. My clutch still works great! :D

Real sports cars have a stick. I would never buy a performance vehicle with an automatic, it just takes all the fun out of it. If I was physically unable to shift, sure, I'd get an auto, but until that day, it's a stick or nothing.
 

Pinky

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Messages
252
Location
Northern VA
Corvette
1998 Torch Red Convertible
Hi all,

I'm a long time fan of Corvettes but a newcomer to the market. I've begun to look for a C5. I am looking for something in the 20 - 25K price range, with the lowest miles possible - as I would intend to keep the car long-term. I do see some out there. Naturally, the lowest mileage ones in that range are earlier models. I do have a few questions to kick around.

As in any major purchase, don't underbuy! Go with the best you can get even if it means topping out your budget. For example, last year I got a '98 with under 25,000 miles. Sure it was a little older but it had (HA - note "had") low miles and it's a convertible. I really wanted the convertible so I went for the well-cared-for-but-low-miles older model.

Oh and if at all possible (like, buying through a dealer rather than a private party) get the extended warranty. I've already gotten back the money I spent on the warranty with two repairs.
 

XLR8

Gone but not forgotten
Joined
Jun 23, 2004
Messages
6,662
Location
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Corvette
2003 AE Convertible, 1998 LCRM Convertible
CorvetteShopper

Welcome to the CAC! You've come to the right place for advice on Corvettes.

My thoughts would be this: I'd go with the latest model, lowest mileage, best maintained Vette I could find in my price range.

The early C5s are great Vettes, but each subsequent model year offers an improvement over those past. For instance, my '98 doesn't have the heads up display. It wasn't available then. Want a Convertible? 1998 is the earliest model C5 'vert. A Fixed Roof Coupe? 1999 or 2000 models only and manual transmission too. Interested in a Z06? 2001 is the earliest C5 Z06 available.

I could go on and on but you get the idea. I'd suggest reading up on the various model C5s in the CAC Model Center 1997-2004 section here, then decide what features you want and shop accordingly.

One word of caution... IF you decide to buy a '97-'99 you should be aware of the battery leak issue which was a common problem in the early C5s, but addressed in later models. A search of the forums using the term "battery leak" should bring up lots of information and a thorough pre-purchase inspection of the area inside the fenderwell beneath the battery compartment by a knowledgeable technician can answer the question of whether or not past damage was done to the PCM, vacuum lines, TAC module, wiring harness, etc.

Do yourself a favor and buy a warranty. You should consider that cost while shopping also.

I'm including a link to the CAC page containing the names of our Industry Partner Dealers here.

Good luck in your search! Your Corvette is out there - just waiting for you to come along. Ask any questions you have... we'll be glad to help if we can!
:w Jane Ann
 

bossvette

Gone but not forgotten
Joined
May 19, 2003
Messages
3,233
Location
West Unity Ohio
Corvette
1968 1997
I have a 97 thats just about broken in at 105,000 miles its been the most reliable car I have owned. I bought it with 68,000 miles on it in 2004. Don't let miles scare you on a C5 they were built to be driven and with the proper maintenance will last a long time. Buy the one that clicks when you see it.
 

GS Diva

Moderator,
Joined
Nov 1, 2000
Messages
2,316
Location
Conway, SC
Corvette
2016 Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic Z06
Hi CorvetteShopper,

Everyone has given you very good advice. My suggestion always to anyone shopping for a Corvette is to buy the newest, lowest mileage one you can afford! I'd love to help you find just the right Corvette! :) Check out our inventory and call me at any time.

And welcome to the Corvette Action Center, too!!!

Elaine
 

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