Buying your first Corvette, or even your tenth, can be a stressful endeavor. After all, depending on the year and condition, prices can vary anywhere from $2,000 to over $1,000,000. That said, there’s a Corvette in just about everyone’s price range. Of course, that doesn’t mean every Corvette out there is a good deal. Many of us, myself included, have bought cars that looked pretty good but ended up having “issues,” both big and small. The chances of getting a nasty surprise increases exponentially the older the Corvette gets. After all, with a newer car you can run a Carfax or use some other service to find out any deep dark secrets, but that doesn’t help you with a split-window midyear or ’69 big-block Corvette.
Then there’s trying to figure out if you should buy a done car or build up a beater. If you build the beater you will end up with exactly what you want, but that can get expensive. You may not get the exact car of your dreams if you buy one that’s already done (this is especially true of custom or hot rodded Vettes), but often it’s the much cheaper way to go. We were reminded of this as we strolled amongst the inventory at the Anaheim, California, Mecum auction.
Auctions are a pretty good place to find a deal, so long as you do your homework and don’t get caught up in the moment. If you buy smart, try to be objective, and don’t let emotions take over, chances are you’ll end up ahead of the game.
Buying a “project car” and doing a rebuild is pretty stressful, as well. Just keep in mind that most of the time a project will go over budget, so plan accordingly. Also, be wary of “cost creep” where you slowly add this billet widget or that go-fast goodie and before long you’re broke with a half-done project.
You also need to figure out your position on resale. Is this a hobby or an investment to you? If it’s an investment, then you need to pick colors and options (or modifications) that appeal to the majority of buyers. After all, if your dream car is plaid or Salmon painted that’s cool, but it’s going to kill you when it comes time to sell. If it’s a hobby then you can build the car of your dreams without caring about getting your money back in the end.
So, if you don’t own a Corvette or just want to add to your inventory then get busy coming up with a goal, setting a realistic budget, and doing lots of research. Oh, and make sure you have fun. After all, that’s the real point.