The so-called "chrome bumper cars" continue to lead the way in appreciation, and it's these models that are most often featured in high-profile auctions such as Mecum and Barrett-Jackson. Terry Michaelis, president of ProTeam Corvette Sales (www.proteamcorvette.com), offers this advice for buying a '68-'72 editon: "Try to buy double- or triple-digit-production cars with rare colors, rare options, and paperwork-L88s, LS6s, L89s, ZR1/LT-1s, ZR2s or low-mile cars."
The later, polyurethane-bumper cars are less highly regarded by collectors, due in large part to their lower horsepower ratings and less-graceful silhouettes. Regarding buying a later C3 as an investment, Michaelis says, "Look for Indy Pace Cars ('78) and Collector Edition Cars ('82)." In his opinion, the lower the build quantity of a Corvette, the higher its eventual value.
So where do the '73 models fit, you ask? Right in the middle . . . in more ways than one. These cars were fitted with the new 5-mph, color-keyed rubber front end but retained the older chrome rear bumper. People tend to either love or hate these "transition" models.
Lately, the prices of '73 Vettes have been on the rise, possibly because of the cars' relative scarcity. What does Michaelis recommend here? "Try to buy double- or triple-digit-production cars with rare colors, rare options, and paperwork. Low mileage helps, as does Bloomington Gold or NCRS judging. [A prime example would be the] Z07 off-road suspension and brake packages, as there were only 45 produced."
Special thanks to Terry Michaelis of ProTeam Corvette Sales, Inc.