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Why buy a C3?

C

Chris N

Guest
First; the thread title is not meant to be offending.
I love the look of the C3 and the small blocks seem to be a little more affordable to purchase than a similar C4.

I've been shoping for my first vette and have checked out a few and learned a bunch over the last month. I started out looking for a C3 because I figured that I could work on it more easily and that it would cost considerably less. The more I read, learn, and see the less those points seem to be true.

Anyway, I hope I'm not wasting your time and space, but does anyone want to sell the C3s good points, as I am now focusing on '86 to '92 for technological performance and drivability.
Once again, I think the C3s look cool, maybe that's a good enough reason to go old school.

Thanks again for all of the input, you folks are helping me be more certin about my BIG purchase. I don't actually know any corvette drivers, but you guys are cool. :cool
 

Jack

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 27, 2000
Messages
1,825
Location
Florence, SC (Timmonsville SC)
Corvette
71 War Bonnet Yellow VERT 71 BH Blue CPE (SOLD)
Chris:
Pretty simple, really. All depends on what's important for you.

Overall, the average C4 is probably a better car than the average C3 ... the C4 has better (more advanced) brakes, suspension and engine management systems. So, the C4 stops better, rides better and generally has more efficient power. Both the C4 & C3 are great looking cars ... I happen to prefer the sharks' styling ... specially w/2 chrome bumpers. For ease of access to engine bay, I do like the C4's clamshell hood. Also, an ABS-equipped car can nearly make a Schumacher out of any weiner. Far as I know, no ABS on C3 (correct me if mistaken). Seems the 4+3 trannies found in some C4 can be very expensive to replace/repair.

On the other hand, all but the last 2-3 years of C3 are devoid of electronic engine management systems ... none have computerized traction control/ABS. So, "most" C3's permit tuning & tinkering with carb/timing and brake systems without hassling with a computer/ECM/chips ... not so with C4. '75 up C3 has electronic distributor ... but has proven quite reliable & cheap to fix. Any Bubba can wrench on a C3 ... maybe that's why so many of them have been fouled up. Consider this somewhat intangible cost factor: Most C3's came with steel wheels; all C4's w/alloys ... for my purposes, I happen to feel that steel wheels are cheaper to maintain. Where I might ding a trim ring on a C3, I'd have more serious problems w/alloys. '68 C3 has some unique parts that do not interchange as easily as '69 up.

Whether C4 or C3, (like anything else) the older it is the more things are due for repair/replace. I've never owned a C4, but I suspect overall maintenance/repair costs may be quite similar for either. If I had the hots for a C4, I'd get it ... same for C3. For a first Corvette, I'd suggest buying one in best condition you can afford. Probably don't buy the first one you look at ... and take a knowledgable vetter with you as you shop. Join a local vette club ... there'll be someone who'd be glad to guide you as you shop.
JACK:grinsanta
 

Jack

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 27, 2000
Messages
1,825
Location
Florence, SC (Timmonsville SC)
Corvette
71 War Bonnet Yellow VERT 71 BH Blue CPE (SOLD)
emissions

Chris:
Don't know if emissions laws are same throughout CA, but I understand that cars made before "ABOUT" 1973 do not have to be "smogged". I understand it can easily cost $200-$300 to have one put on the required dyno & emissions checked under load. If it fails you have to repeat test ... etc. Before buying, I'd check legalities out & verify such things. Smog testing costs and waivers for older models just might steer me toward an older/smog-exempt vette. Recently, I met a fellow in Ventura County who has his '74 vette tagged in Nevada ... to evade the CA smog nazis.
JACK:grinsanta
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2001
Messages
2,231
Location
Northern Virginia
Corvette
71 Conv. (Sold) / 98 Pewter Coupe (Sold)
It all comes down to what you want to do with/in the car. As Jack pointed out, performance mods on C3s are generally cheap and easy to perform. I bought a C3 for the same reason Jack gave, I love the look of the chrome but my car is not a daily driver either. I think if I were looking to commute, it would be in a C4. As for purchase price of the car itself, you've probably found that 86-92 C4s can be had cheaper than most early Sharks, one more plus for the C4. One other consideration is that with the exception of the 78-82 Sharks, ther is no storage space to speak of. In the end, it comes down to why you're buying the car - looks and styling with simplicity in maintenance = C3, technological advancements = C4.

Either way, a Vette is a Vette is a Vette. Pick the one you want and enjoy it:upthumbs !
 

Wolverine

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2001
Messages
58
Location
Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Corvette
1976 Bright yellow L82 4-speed
You can't forget the "cool car" factor. I guarantee that a C3 will draw a lot more attention than a C4. I can't go anywhere without people honking, waving, and striking up conversaitons about my Vette.

Brian
 
C

c4ever

Guest
Chris,
Eric and Jack really laid it out well. My 82 and 85 are night and day, light years apart and only 3 years difference. The C4 was built from the ground up and is truely a different car than the Shark. Each has it's own feel and it's place. The C4 is my daily driver and with 80k I really believe this car will break 200k easy. It really is a well put together ride and less mait. as most think. My 82 is my pride and joy. Anyone who is a vette lover wants a Shark. It's an American Icon and the later years 80-82 do have many enhancements over the early years but I'd be proud to drive any one of them. I believe the C4 is more bang for the buck as a clean Shark can be hard to find at a reasonable price. It really does come down to what YOU want and how you will use the car. Either way, in Cal you can drive that baby ALL YEAR so take your time.
Welcome aboard:w
I envy anyone shopping for a vette. It makes me want to go out and buy another one:L
 
Joined
Nov 4, 2000
Messages
947
Location
Scottsville, Kentucky
Corvette
08 Jetstream Blue Z51 coupe
C3's or C4's

Tough call...........I'll tell you this though. I currently chum around with a couple of other vette owners who previously owned sharks, bought C4's, and guess what? They own C3's again:crazy
There's just nothing like a [SIZE=large] SHARK!!! [/SIZE]
 
B

Bullitt

Guest
I bought mine for the big, damn grin. :D Though my Shark is up on jackstands right now, I'm one of the impractical people who end up driving my '71 more times out of the week when it was on the road. The POS I get around in now, is killing me. It's not so much to look cool to others, it's about doing things my way. Everyone tells me, "one day you'll have to grow up," or "one day you'll sell her for a more sensible car," and blah, blah, blah. These people are usually driving a Neon or something with no fun factor. There's something about a big rumbling V8 engine and the power that comes with it that just can't be beat. Yeah, I'd like to own maybe a Grand Sport, but my Shark won't be replaced anything soon. :) --Bullitt
 
6

69vettester

Guest
no offense taken..
Chris N,
My advice is to look at pictures, keep reading and ask questions about what people are doing with what theyve purchased and why. Then if that special light comes on, youll know it and will be ready to start the purchase search. It Makes it Much much easier, If you know "exactly" what you want .
I could have never been able to make a decision ongetting into my C3 without a strong desire and not compromising on exactly what I want.I researched for 8months, while shopping, before I found and could make the move :L .The market for C3's is huge. My 2centavos.
Good luck with your search..
TC
 
S

sac001

Guest
Like everyone says, it depends on what you prefer. When it was my turn, there was no question, it's always been the Shark for me, at least until the C5's came out!

Happy hunting!

Steve
 

Nut

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Joined
Oct 15, 2000
Messages
890
Location
Bowie, MD
Corvette
Vette-less for now
Drive 'em

Chris,

Everyone has said all the right words. But a final thought from me would be drive as many different years as possible. Each has it's own unique characteristics. My '72 drove much differently than my '81 does, and different yet from my Brother-In-Law's '77; yet all are C3's.. As will there be differences with the C4 years. Drive as many as you can. Good Luck and Good Hunting!!

.......... Nut
 
R

rpounds

Guest
Hi Chris,

I think you and I talked a bit over on the 'other board'. All years have their pluses and minuses. When the C-3s first came out, I though my poor old dad was gonna pop a cork! His opinion was that they were inferior to the old design, less power, etc. Maybe he was right.

When the C-4s came out, it was my turn to think that Chevy was off their collective rocker! Why would they take a beautiful design like the C-3, scrap it and turn around and build an upside down door stop??! And they made them too complicated for the average guy to work on to boot!! Obviously, it turns out that the C-4 is a good design, fun to drive, fast, comfortable . . .

Which do you prefer? When you see Corvettes on the road, which mark really turns your head? On the other hand, what do you plan to do with a Corvette. Daily driver? Weekend driver? Restoration project? Racing? Are you going to do your own mechanical work? These are the questions that I would ask myself. The answer is probably closer than you realize.

Ron
 
R

resto75

Guest
My reason for having a C3 is not only the fun factor but for investment value. I may be totally wrong but the way I look at it you can buy mid to late 70's vette for a good price now if you shop around. If you can find a pretty much restored C3 for the right price now it's bound to go up over the next ten years.
Now I don't know why you want a vette and if it's for a daily driver this may not apply. However 10/15 years ago you could buy a C2 vette in real good shape for not much money. Look at what they are worth now.

The trick is to buy a older model that hasn't quite jumped up in value yet and then hang on to it. Hopefully you will have a blast and also make some money. Current intrest rates stink, the stock market is not doing too good so why not put the money in a vette. You can damm sure have more fun driving your vette then sitting home looking at your bank statement or stock certificate.

Roy
 
C

Chris N

Guest
Excellent advise folks

Thanks for all of the great advise. I will keep looking and driving.

The C3s look more cool, but I'm shopping for a semi-daily driver with pretty good torque out of the box with out getting another project going. ( i've already got a few) So I may end up with a low milage C4; I don't think that I'll turn as many heads as a nice C3 though.

If anyone can recommend a good California source of this type of vehicle please let me know, I'm still looking.
Chris :)
 

Ken

Gone but not forgotten
Joined
Jan 30, 2001
Messages
8,237
Location
Hermosa Beach, CA
Corvette
1987 Z51 Silver Coupe
Re: Excellent advise folks

Chris N said:
If anyone can recommend a good California source of this type of vehicle please let me know, I'm still looking.
Chris :)

Chris, I've been posting ads as I come across them. Look in the Generation Marketplace for selections in all generations. I marked the titles of the posts with the states associated with the cars. ;)

Good luck.

_ken
 
K

KenSny

Guest
Chris N said:
......does anyone want to sell the C3s good points, as I am now focusing on '86 to '92 for technological performance and drivability

Well, from my point of view, the fact that my car does not have all the latest and greatest technological bells-and-whistles (i.e. computerized and more electronic stuff to fail) is the main selling point. And with the modifications I've made it has really decent performance. Can't beat the looks of a real SHARK!

And as for drivability, what does that mean? I'm not afraid to drive my car anywhere. It is mechanicaly sound, comfortable, and safe (because I keep it that way) - What more do I need?
 
B

Bob327

Guest
I own 5 Corvettes, all of them in excellent show
winning shape...and I drive all of them (summer
only. Own a 64 72 76 79 & 95 ... Now I can tell
you flat out that the 95 is a way better car...
better everything... So which car gets driven the
least...the 95 of course...
For Fun Driving (especially when I want to do
the back roads,twisties, and slam the gears the
72 and 76 or the 64 come out of the garage.
For Saturday night cruise ins and Sunday drives the 79 is the ticket..For trips (especially over
100 miles in the summer heat) The 95 is the only way to go..
All the cars exxcept the 79 are manuel transmissions, that the reason for the 79 getting
the nod for relaxing cruising etc..the others
are more for my adrenaline rush requirements.

For fix and repair...the C2 and C3 are simple cars
and CHEAP to fix..the C4 honestly is beyond me to
troubleshoot... Tires for the Sharks run about 300
bucks a set...for the C4 try 1000. Insurance costs for the 95 is only slightly less then the TOTAL of the others...

As far as Head turning...sorry the 95 is a loser
can't remember one comment like "neat car mister"
but I get that all the time driving the others.

Having said that 2 hours in any of the sharks and I have to get out ( I am 58 ) and walk around..
they beat the hell out of this old guys body...

I like all Corvettes...and my next will be a C5
and I have no intension of selling any of the others..

Bob Griffiths
64 Saddle Tan Ragtop L 76 4 sp
72 Red Ragtop (running a 68 327 350) 4 sp
76 Blue Coupe L 48 4 sp (my favorite driver)
79 White Coupe L 82 automatic
95 Black LT1 6 sp
......Plus a pair of 68 SS 396 Chevelles.....
 
P

Piet

Guest
Bob327 said:
I own 5 Corvettes, ..64 72 76 79 & 95

Bob, your my Hero!

Has any one put C4 equipment into a C3?
I used to Mod my other rides (put a '77 camaro clip on my '51 GMC 1/2 ton)
I was thinkin' of doing the same to a mid 70's shark.
(Putting a newer block, brakes, diff, etc...)
Anyone?

-Piet
 
R

Red73

Guest
Look at a C3, they are fast standing still and the are just friggen cool.
 
T

tangee-vette

Guest
CURVES, CURVES and more CURVES.........Can't beat that hourglass figure!:cool
 

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