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damen
12-14-2007, 10:20 AM
DISCLAIMER: This is a work in progress, and hopefully the first in a series. Constructive comments/criticism/suggestions are welcome - just remember it is not yet finished

High-end cars tend to cost high-end dollars. It is an unfortunate fact of life, but there is no doubt that it is true. This doesnt mean, however, that you cant find a great car at a great price. The trick is knowing what to look for. One bargain that most car enthusiasts never even think of is the venerable Corvette.

The Corvette has a reputation as a very expensive car, but this really isnt true. Granted, you cant go pick one up for the price of a used Civic, but for around $20,000.00, you can have a nice fifth-generation Corvette. For a performance car, this is a steal. For that 20-grand, you get a car that do the 1/4 mile in about 13 seconds, will turn heads everywhere you go, has 345bhp, and even gets great highway mileage. The Z06 performs even better, but you need to be prepared to pay as much as $30,000.00 for one of these.

There are some caveats, of course. A stock Corvette is reasonably priced, as I mentioned before. Modifications, unfortunately, are quite expensive. There is something called a "Corvette Tax" which essentially means you pay at least 50% more for any part, simply because it is for a Corvette. Replacement parts can also be quite pricey - though maintenance is not. If you get one with the glass roof, it will have to be replaced (at great expense) eventually, as they get sun damaged pretty quickly. The stock runflat tires are absolute crap as well, and are expensive to replace when they wear out (most Corvette owners replace them with standard, non-runflats).

Once you have the car in the driveway, though, none of that matters. As a Corvette owner, you are part of a special club, a brotherhood. Every other Corvette driver you pass will wave to you. You arent just driving a car, you're driving a part of American Sports Car history.

Disco Man
12-14-2007, 10:30 AM
nice write-up! I saw last weekend at carmax a nice conditioned 2003 50th anniversary Z06 Corvette for around $27K - a good deal considering it's rarity and its performance.

damen
12-14-2007, 10:46 AM
thanks
once I get the formatting/length down, I'll start doing more on other cars that are great performance for the money
I tend to only get used cars, lol, so I have a fair bit of experience with them (and I spend way too much time on autotrader looking at pricing)

l3it3r
12-14-2007, 10:59 AM
I know someone that is selling their 2000 Black C5 that has over $20k in work done (Tony's Corvette and FBody Central did the work) for $23,000!! That's a BARGAIN!

Eric
12-14-2007, 12:33 PM
Good piece, Damen - and I agree with you on the merits of the 'Vette. Every time I get seat time in one I come away impressed. There was a flat spot there for awhile in the mid-late '70s and early '80s - when "Corvette" became a virtual synonym for "disco wagon" - but even then, you could still order things like the optional L-82 350 (205-220 hp at a time when virtually no V-8s even delivered 180) and the Gymkhana (and Z51) handling packages...

You and Chris are too young to remember when the Corvette came back to life circa 1984 - that was a huge leap forward, especially in the suspension department (that was the first US production car to get 50-series, V-rated "gatorbacks," among other things). From then on, it was up and onward - through the ZR-1 to the Z06 today.

I have nothing but praise for the Corvette. It has brought true exotic car performance to the masses. It makes buying a Porsche or Ferrari a decision that's only partially justifiable on the basis of performance - since a standard Corvette will keep up with or beat most any Ferrari or Porsche in anycategory of performance, whether it's 0-60, quarter mile, top speed, handling ability or braking.

And if you need more, there's always the Z06!

Disco Man
12-14-2007, 01:11 PM
Eric,

Remember the Z51 suspension when that was introduced on the 1984 Corvette? Wow did that suspension handle like a champ, but it was the toughest production suspension I had ever experienced, it almost knocked my teeth out everytime I hit a bump in the road (it was a true racing spec. suspension). When the Corvette received TPI in 1985 that is when performance began to get really good again for the Corvette. I remember driving a 1987 (automatic) TPI Vette back in 1987 (my boss owned it), I stopped at stop sign on a side road and since no one was around I mashed the accelerator to the floor. The TPI 350 powered Vette laid down a double track of rubber of at least 25 feet in length. That car had 240 horsepower, and at that time it seemed like so very much. Today 240 horsepower is nothing.

Eric
12-14-2007, 03:30 PM
Eric,

Remember the Z51 suspension when that was introduced on the 1984 Corvette? Wow did that suspension handle like a champ, but it was the toughest production suspension I had ever experienced, it almost knocked my teeth out everytime I hit a bump in the road (it was a true racing spec. suspension). When the Corvette received TPI in 1985 that is when performance began to get really good again for the Corvette. I remember driving a 1987 (automatic) TPI Vette back in 1987 (my boss owned it), I stopped at stop sign on a side road and since no one was around I mashed the accelerator to the floor. The TPI 350 powered Vette laid down a double track of rubber of at least 25 feet in length. That car had 240 horsepower, and at that time it seemed like so very much. Today 240 horsepower is nothing.


Similar memories!

You know, I wonder how realistic that TPI's 240 hp rating was.... looking back, it had to be low-balled. What do you think?

Disco Man
12-14-2007, 08:52 PM
Eric,

I agree the TPI 350 motor in the Corvette on paper never made between 230 - 245 horsepower depending on the year but those figures were so underrated. In fact I remember driving a '92 LT1 350 Corvette (back in 1992) which was rated at 300 horsepower, it was only slightly faster than the TPI Corvettes I had driven. To me it felt only about 30 horsepower more. Also the TPI Corvette's 1/4 mile times were only slightly slower than the 300 horsepower LT1 Corvette. The gap in horsepower between the LT1 Corvette and The 345 horsepower LS1 1996 to 2004 Corvette seemed much greater to me than the horspower gap between the TPI Corvette.

Here's some more C4 memories. Remember the 4+3 manual transmissions in the early C4s. Or how about the fully digital dashboards for the early C4 Corvette? I always liked the C4 Vettes, they had an great aerodynamic muscular look. Only complaint I have about the C4 is that frame support that you had to crawl over to get into the car.