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The importance of owner history


Jun 28, 2001
Wildwood, IL
77 L48
This one is for all you prospective buyers out there, even if you already own one, and simply want to "trade up", so to speak.

When I was shopping last summer, high on my list of questions was "What do you know about the history of the car?" I felt this was really important. I wanted to know as much as I could about the previous owners. This gives insight as to how the car was used and cared for. When you're looking for an old car, I think this is very important. Of all the cars I called about, only 1 person could give me the whole history. Everyone else only knew about the person they had bought it from. Obviously, if you're buying a one or two owner car, its different, but lets face it, most of these things have been around the block 4 or 5 times, or more!

Anyway, here's the "history" of my car as told by the person I bought it from, as best as I recall over a year later.

"The first owner was a woman, bought it new in 76 (oooh 10 points for that one!). She drove it a few years and sold it to a friend of mine in 1980 who I work with. He only drove it in the summer and put most of the miles on it. He painted it sometime back in the late 80s. I bought it in 1991. It had 100,000 miles at the time. First thing I did was rebuild the engine and tranny. Then I rebuilt the front suspension. Of course, I have the receipts. Did most of the work myself. Then I just used it in the summer to drive to my cottage up north and the occassional trip to work and evening out. I don't think this car ever saw a winter its whole life. I was going to keep it forever and give it to my grand-kids someday, but now I got my heart set on a 63 split window (this guy had money)."

I tell ya, that story sold the car. The car spent its whole life in Wisconsin around the Milwaukee area. And when I inspected the frame and found near zero rust, I just knew this thing had been really well cared for.

One other thing for you shoppers.... always try to buy from a real "enthusiast". Someone who really appreciates these machines, in particular. Someone who wrenches it themselves. Someone who's been "around cars" their whole life.

The seller even told me how "fresh" it was to have someone come by who "knew" what it was all about.

Here endeth me lesson.

I think it's an excellent lesson. When I puchased my Vette, I was able to track down the original owner before me and I contacted him.

He was a really nice guy who loved the car, but bought it as an investment and decided to sell it because he didn't want to see his investment lose anymore money. I talked to him for a good 1/2 hour and as he talked about how he placed the order for the car, how it was delivered, taken care of, etc., I was typing all of it on a computer. I now have an awesome chunk of documenation and he was kind enough to send me a ton more of paperwork and photographs he took when the car was being unloaded off the trailer from Bowling Green.

It's nostalgia that is very valuable and that I'll always cherish as long as I own the car.


So true. When I bought my '81 a number of years ago, I wasn't actually looking for an '81. I was trying to replace my '72. But a friend at work was selling his '81 (now mine). Though it wasn't exactly what I wanted, it was too hard to pass up the opportunity to acquire a Corvette that I knew the entire history of the car. Never been drag raced, never seen snow, garage kept, meticulously maintained and the owner was a personal friend. Plus I had ridden in it and driven it many times before. I got binders of maintenance records, receipts, books, manuals and advice. I knew everything up front and she was worth every penny I paid and never regretted buying the car. To this day the guy still keeps digging up stuff he had squirreled away. Sweet deal.

........... Nut

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