Owning a Corvette on a Beer Budget

Corvette BudgetThe Corvette has been a mainstay an icon even of the American Automotive Industry for over 60 years.  That type of love affair is not going to be cheap or something that anyone can afford, right?  Wrong.  To be sure, owning a Corvette, walking into a dealership, chunking down some coin and having the salesperson toss you the keys in 2014 IS going to run you better than $60k, and that’s without going crazy on options packages.  So, for many, the idea of owning a piece of American Automotive History seems like a pie-in-the-sky dream.  You see the guy driving his Corvette in traffic, he looks somewhat aloof as he passes you.  You sidle up to him in your minivan filled with kids.  You imagine for a moment what it must be like and then of course, he punches it, and all you see are his rapidly fading tail lights as he leaves your field of vision.   Wait, that was me yesterday.  I apologize. 

But here I am, middle-class John Q. Public and I want to own a Corvette.  I don’t want to wait for a mid-life crisis, or a divorce or some other life changing, re-affirming event to own my piece of Corvette history.  So what can I do?

First, understand the overall cost of ownership.  This is a nice little function that most car dealers want you to avoid looking at, but in truth, you need to know if you can or cannot afford a new set of tires for that vehicle.  You need to know if after 100k miles the transmission typically falls out of the car you want to buy.  Corvettes have had a great run, but they are not without some problem models or years, and that’s understandable. 

One man’s lemon, is another man’s lemonade project.  Ok, as axioms go, that one leaves a little bit to be desired, but the point is that there are portions of various Corvette generations that have not been, shall we say, well thought of.  As a result, intrinsic values of these vehicles starts a good bit lower than their more sought after cousins.  An example of this is the C3 Coupe circa 1975-1982.  The powerplants in this generation of C3 were hampered by the gas crisis and so horsepower suffered as a result of a poor attempt of better fuel mileage.  We’re not saying that with gas prices rising, trying to find a way to be more economical wasn’t prudent, just don’t do it with the Corvette.  Hindsight being 20-20 is easy, but in truth, this was a very enemic powerplant putting out anywhere from 165-230 horses and despite the light frame and fiberglass body, still left a lot to be desire.

This, of course, becomes a great place to try and find an historic Corvette that can be retrofitted with a stronger 350 cu small block powerplant and viola…you have muscle car for a lot less than a fully restored version would have cost.  Not to mention the styling of the C3s, which for many was an incredibly classic and clean line.

This is just one example of where you can find great quality Corvettes, in future blog posts, we will focus on others as well, but just remember this…Owning a Corvette is like owning anything else, you get what you pay for, but when you buy a Corvette, there truly is no way to measure how much it means to a true enthusiast.

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