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Future Vette Owner. Anyone want to be my Mentor in S. Mich?


Active member
Apr 10, 2007
1994 Torch Red Hatchback
I've been reading this forum for awhile and decided it was time to register if I was going to get the most out of it. I live in the Southern part of Michigan south of Battle Creek. Not sure if my desire to purchase a Vette is a mid-life crisis in motion or the fact that I've always wanted one and can now afford it. At least I think I can. If I'm successful with a purchase I fully intend to join and participate in a local Corvette Club.

Knowing full well that with a purchase budget of $9,000 I'll be buying a vechicle at least 12 years old and things will break and wear out. I just don't want to be stuck with a vehicle that turns into a money pit. Of course, none of us do.

I know this was discussed before but I can't find which site or thread it was in:
Which is worse, miles or age?

I've only looked at a couple of vehicles so far so maybe my questions are premature.

For the same price of appx $8,500 a newer 1992 with 90,000 or older 1984 with 56,000 miles? There is also a 1986 near me with 76,000 miles for $7,000.

Considering all things to be equal since I haven't actually seen the 1992 or the 1986, To me the 1992 is a better purchase over the 1984. But what about the 1986? That would leave me $1500 to perform updates or repairs. Any thoughts on this?

Even though everything works on the 1984 that doesn't mean things aren't ready to start breaking. The one thing that bothers me about the 1984 is the lack of Maintenance records. The owner swears by the fact that everything is in good working order but several red flags popped up. Manual transmission fluid and oil recently changed. Interior well lubricated with Armorall, and I noticed something on the exterior that hadn't been completey wiped up. I presume something was applied, maybe more ArmorAll, to the Exterior other than wax. Am I overly suspicious here or is it possible someone would buy a Vette and not ask the previous owner what parts had been replaced? The hood had a small spot that had been repaired and the owner acted as if he had never noticed it before.

Are the early C4's really that much of a pain to maintain? As I read the threads describing problems members are having I assume the actual percentage of vechicles this is happening to is small, or is it?

I just realized this might be a little too much for a introduction, if I should post this somewhere else please let me know.
Welcome to the CAC, JoeB.

I think that you are on the right track asking experienced owners for some guidance. I think that maintenance and condition matter more than miles. Also, the three cars you are considering have three different engines in them. Some people more familiar with C4's will be along shortly to share their experience.
One piece of advice that has been repeated on this board is to buy as new as possible. However, with all the C4's now being at least 11 years old that may not be the case. Drth Vtr is right about the engines though. All three have different engines. The 84 has the Crossfire engine, the 86 has the L98 and the 92 with the LT1 engine. All have the potential to be great if they have been taken care of. There is also a little body difference from the 84 & 86 to the 92. Do you like more rounded edges or not?
Really just sit in the cars, try them out and see what feels best to you. Also, take your time. There are a lot (and I do mean a lot) of C4's out there. People will try to tell you "this one is a rare color combination" and it may be true, but do your research first on this website. Lots of great info and people on here.
Most importantly though... enjoy your hunt for America's Sports Car.

Welcome to the CAC! You've already taken a step in the right direction by joining this forum! We have some great people here that are both knowledgeable and willing to share their knowledge and experience.

First I'd suggest taking a look at the Tech Center > Buying a Corvette. There's a great Corvette Buyers Checklist on that page which can be printed and carried with you when you look at Vettes.

Next I'd suggest looking at the various models on the Model Center Specs Index page.

And JMHO, but I would look at maintenance and care first and foremost. Don't be fooled by wax and bling! ;)

:w Jane Ann

Welcome to the :CAC

You will get the help you need on CAC. You've received some good advice already.

Now, post a similar thread in the C4 Discussion area, and maybe ask if an experienced C4 owner in your area would look at a car or two with you.

First off, welcome to CAC!

Best of luck with your search, and to answer your "am I being too suspicious" question, I don't think that's hardly possible when buying a car. If you're asking questions and the person wth the car seems to be really dodging you or unhappy that you're asking, to me it would raise red flags about buying that car from them. You also asked about mileage, I have a 92 (which is a LOT different from the other two years you mentioned) and just turned 145k miles on it, service it regularly and it runs great, I wouldn't hesitate to jump in it and run across the country. There are people on here with more miles on them than mine that still run just fine. You might want to have a car inspected by a mechanic if you're unsure of anything on one too.

Be patient, enjoy the search, when the right car comes along you'll know it.

Again, welcome to CAC, you'll find lot's of friendly people willing to help around here!
Welcome and now that I know where you live i'll be over to borrow stuff. I'd pass on c-4 under 87 and c-5 under 03. 60-80 miles is a good range ,but most important is how the car was cared for.
Thanks for the warm welcome.

I appreciate the words of encouragement and the sound advice. Especially to enjoy the search rather than letting it become frustrating. Vett Boy, you'd better come borrow these tools now before I find my ride and need them.
I appreciate the words of encouragement and the sound advice. Especially to enjoy the search rather than letting it become frustrating. Vett Boy, you'd better come borrow these tools now before I find my ride and need them.

Well think of it this way....as long as you're still searching for the right one for you, you'll be getting to have fun going out to test drive lot's of'em!:cool
Joe ,in 1986 I passed up a 65 vert 4sp fuelie frame off resteration for $16,000.Instead I bought a 69 vert and two cases of oil to get it 100 miles back to my house.What I spent on the 69 I could have bought two new ones.
The c-4 again is a fine car in it's later runs 87 and newer.My wife had an 87 with over 120'000 miles when it got sold .No major problems.
Welcome to CAC I personally would rather have a well maintained car with high miles then one that has sat around a garage most of its life. My experiance with oplder lower milage cars has been that they needed more work later on the the high milage stuff, of course I drive mine often and do not put them in hibernation.My 68 came from Battle Creek its about an hour and 1/2 from me.
do not overlook the later C3 or 76-82's they are much simpler to work on and in most states don't need emmision checks especially if you want to "Hot Rod" it down the line.
Good luck
Welcome, Joe

I'm with all the rest who vote for the well-documented-and-well-maintained car regardless of age or miles. You want a car that has been loved, not just shined up for the sale.

I would run away from the 84 on the basis of the part about "he acted like he'd never noticed that before"- and the lack of records. EEK!

Good luck on your search. Be patient and you will find it.

Joe there is a Vette out there somewhere with your name on it; when the time is right you will own it. Good luck on the hunt which is part of the fun and enjoyment. I know I looked at many before I bought mine but when I saw it for the first time I knew it was for me and you will too.

Im in S.E. Michigan......if you make it to the east coast gimme a yell:cool

Bossvette makes a good point. Don't overlook the C3's. Easy to work on and emissions laws in most states do not apply due to it's age. If you are unsure of the three years mentioned then maybe they are not for you. When the right Vette comes along you will know it and feel it. Be patient.

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