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Considering a purchase, opinions wanted.



I am considering the purchase of a '78-'82 Vette as a second/part-time vehicle. I am not looking at it as an investment, but as a fun driver car. I am not looking for an exceptionally low mileage vehicle that is of show quality.

However, because I will be driving it, I am wondering how it will hold up to a more than a once in a while/Sunday afternoon drive. Will I constantly have little things go wrong with it and thus, a sink hole for my hard earned dollar? Much like owning a boat. :))

I'm sure that those of you that have them love them and those of you who had them got rid of them for a reason. I'm just looking for the good and the bad in order to make a good decision. Thanks for your help
Of Course

As with anything used, at some point parts get tired, worn out and fail. You're looking to buy a 20 to 30 year old car and a number of factors come in to play. Miles, how it was maintained, how it was driven, how it was stored. Vettes are unique, as some are just driven in a normal way, and others are driven hard. Make sure you know what to look for or that you have someone that does. Also consider are you mechanically inclined or will you be paying someone to do all the repairs. I'm not trying to turn you away as there's NOTHING like owning a vette, but as you said in your post, comparing it to a boat, it will cost you to keep it in tip top running order and make it a dependable daily driver. Good luck and keep us posted on what you decide.
As previously mentioned, you are looking at a car with many years behind it. On top of that, many were driven pretty hard without proper care. I would be hard pressed to say that you will find a shark for you to use as a daily driver without a degree of initial work to get it up to snuff. After that it's just a matter of matainance. In my travels for the 82 there was little middle ground. Either I spent a lot for a well maintained stock car or a little for a car that required considerable time and money. There are some good cars out there. Take your time and find the one that fits your budget. Others will chime in on what to look for. Once you own a Shark there's just no car that compares. I am a little biased;)
I do use both the 85 and 82 as daily drivers year round and contrary to what most think, they really only require normal matainance and some new rubber now and then :L
My attitude: Go For It And Don't Look Back:_rock
Good Hunting

Here's my .02 worth. I was fortunate enough to buy my '81 from someone I knew well. I knew the pedigree of the car from Day 1. Made a huge difference to me. I wasn't looking for an '81 specifically but it was impossible to pass up the chance. I knew the car was garage kept, never raced, and meticulously maintained. These are truly hard to find. My '72 I bought from a stranger and though it turned out to be a gem, there were a fair amount of "gotcha's" that I couldn't have forseen.

So..... Check the major items. Brakes, engine, tranny, RUST!, and electrical items. Have a trusted mechanic look it over. If it passes these tests and you really want it..... go for it. As c4 and Rowdy have said there is NOTHING like driving and owning a Corvette. A 20+ year old car will have it's little problems. It's the BIG ones you want to try and avoid. And if you buy one... DRIVE IT! as much as possible.

Good Luck, good hunting, be patient.... there are deals out there that will meet your standards. Just keep looking. Let us know what you decide to do. I can promise you there are a lot of people in the CAC Community that are ready, willing and able to answer virtually any question you may have.

Regards........ Nut
MN Hoosier?

Welcome to the CACC!! I also am in the Twin Cities area.
I've been completely "immersed" in the Twin Cities/Metro Corvette market now for about 4 months and have looked at every C4 that makes itself known for a radius of about 75 miles. If you have a particular car in mind to look at, feel free to email me. I may have already inspected it and can give you the "lowdown". Sounds like we're in the same budget bracket, but I'm looking more at 87-88s. Good luck!
Mooose (aka Scott)
Thanks guys.

I realize there are going to be normal wear and tear on the vehicle and I am prepared for that. What I don't know and am looking to try and find out about are those specific items that are problematic with most vehicles in some way, shape of form. Not knowing a lot about Vettes, OK, knowing virtually nothing at all about Vettes, I don't want to walk into a situation with a particular year or feature that will cause me nothing but headaches.

I know the old man will steer me away form this idea. The whole reason I'm looking is because my '97 Chev truck might be in the early stages of trany problems and since it's paid for and in pretty good shape, I want to keep it. If I can get a second vehicle for mostly summer driving to reduce the miles on the truck, I get to kill two birds with one stone. I have my winter/outdoor/hunting/4WD vehicle with the truck and a fun/nice weather/road trip vehicle in the Vette. I also hate the idea of five years worth of payment on a new vehicle.

Also enetering the midlife stage, I might as well get started on my crisis now. Get busy live'n or get busy die'n. :)
Each Generation had it's quirky problems. C3's (68-82). Brakes. Unless they are upgraded stainless steel sleeved they are notorious leakers. Some C3's will tend to get a little nose sag over the years. C4's (84-96) have there own issues. Early C4's have had some problems with the electronic instrumentation and the manual 4+3 tranny was known to have problems. Those are a couple of the biggies I can think of. I'm sure other members will weigh in with more. Heck, when I bought my '95 Bonneville brand new with 6mi on it I had problems. Find what you like but be willing to put some more $$$ in it if necessary.

Hang in there and DON'T let the "Old Man" talk you out of it (or Old Lady for that matter too). Trust me. They get over it eventually :D

........ Nut
No old lady any more, but I hope that changes in the next year or so. She a bit of a youngster, but lots in common and is a babe (IMHO and that's all that counts).

The old man (father) is too practicle and has/will continue to pooh pooh the idea. Maybe that will stop when I get one and offer to let him take it for a spin. :)

Thanks guys.

Sounds like a deal too good to be true. A babe and a new Vette. Go for 'em both!! Got me a babe too. They're hard to come by. Good Luck.

........ Nut
Hi Hoosier

We've owned the 78 for almost 12 years now, and she's been a daily driver for most of that time. Her first years were fairly mild, so everything was in pretty good shape...however it has been pointed out that these older cars require a little more TLC to keep them safe and dependable.

Do try to find one that has been taken care of and properly kept up. I don't consider high miles a problem, if it has been well maintained. Even with the easy use our 78 has received over the years, we've replaced big ticket items like:
rear end & yokes
bushings & bearings
power steering system
upgraded the AC system
replaced engine
new paint

Next major project(s): I'm trying to talk hubby into sending her to SSVette for her interior and some little niggling problems due to normal wear & tear. STILL, considering her use and miles...I think she's a d*mn fine vette and has held up considerably well!

Good luck in your search.
Welcome to CAC!

MNHoosier, welcome aboard... I think you're making a great decision to get a Shark - they're fun to drive, get you lots of attention, and even great to look at when they have to sit in your garage in bad weather. Make sure you check out this link to the buying guide in the Tech. Center here at CAC:

Good luck & happy hunting!

Thanks. I did see that, but either I haven't read it close enough or I'm just stupid, but what in the heck do you do with it when you fill it out? :hb

I now have, if I've looked at several cars, lots of paper with stuff on them, but not exactly sure how to analyize it. There has to be something to differentiate one car from another. It seems to me that it might add to the confusion.


Your Right! Just get in it and DRIVE it. You'll know if it's the one. Not too scientific but you'd be surprised.:dance ;stupid

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