better year??

Hi, My wife wants a Corvette.... I know little about them. She has her eye on two right now that are for sale by the same guy, one is a 1979, the other
is a 1981, both have automatic transmissions. Both have been garage kept and cosmetically look good. The '81 has t-tops. (She likes this one the best) They are essentially the same price. Are there significant changes that make the year difference a concern? Should she just pick the one she likes the best? Is this era a poor choice compared to earlier/later models? Her "trade-in" is a '94 Z-28 (LT1) that she keeps perfect. At our age, insurance won't be much different. Her driving habits put less than 7k mi per year, I don't think current operational cost would not change much. Any opinions/suggestions? Links to a location that might help us determine what years are better/worse than others would be appreciated.
Cheers, robert (satisfied with my beat up pick-ups)
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IMO I wouldn't replace a 94 LT1 Z-28 with either of the two your looking at. Look for an early C5.
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I think I have to agree. The Performance of the Camaro is so much beyond these two Corvettes, I think she will be disappointed and decide to never have another Corvette. Or maybe that is your plan.
Now if she just has to have a Corvette, and these are the only two in the world left, then I'd pick the '79 over the '81. Personal reasons only. I prefer the more conventional Shark look of the C3, an the '79 is the last of those. The nose on the '80-'82 has too much snow plow look for me. Kind of like those old land speed record cars or the old "aero" locomotives.
Just a personal quirk, nothing more.
Factual side: 1979 has a 3.55 rear with Turbo 350 trans. 1981 has a 2.87 rear with Turbo 350 trans. The off-the-line performance should be better in the '79 but the gas mileage should be better in the '81. Neither will come close to the Camaro. All three run about the same value. - The Corvettes range $8000 - $12,000 with most closer to $8000. $12,000 should be an exceptional car. - The 1994 Camaro Z28 is selling between $6000 and $9000 on eBay, so about the same value.
Advantages to Corvettes: - You can work on them. - They will not dip anymore on value, and actually may be climbing slightly. About a year to two ago, they would have been about $5000 - $10,000. - They are a Corvette. It is the key to the club.
They both have t-tops, or should. If the '79 doesn't something is off. Does it have one of the aftermarket one-piece glass tops or "convertible" folding top (rare these days) that some put on them years ago?

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Look for a 93 and up C4 and have her test drive it...
79-81 aren't the most desirable....... BUT you will have that nice coke bottle look and that feel when sitting/driving in it... But the little kid down the street on his moped can out run you pulling out of the driveway, that's the big drawback..... LOLOL
But like I said you will still have the look and feel of a classic Vette, which is still a good thing... :-)
JG wrote:
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In addition to what JG and Tom said, if you decide on newer than C3s,don't get tempted by prices on early C4s. The C5s, and if you have to, late C4s are the best value.
My main motivation in getting the work finished on my 84 is to get what I can for it and get a C5. Even if I get "top dollar" for the 84, it will be at a cash loss.
FWIW My $.02, keep shopping. In the C3 lineup, I personally prefer the 75(74?) & older with the molded spoiler.
Good Luck Rob, Marty
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(tagging on to Marty's post.....)

Thanks guys (JG, Tom and Marty) for the response, for some reason, this is the type of input I was suspecting would arise. I have had suggestions *not* to lose the '94 Z28, or at least not unless the change to a 'vette is a move up to a more sought after model.
I don't drive her vehicle much, the Z is in great shape, always dealer serviced. The mechanic that usually works on it wants first dibs when she decides to sell. (service manager wants it too....they'll have to settle amongst themselves). They have told her a aftermarket shift kit has been installed and ring and pinion numbers are lower than typical (they didn't say what was in it) It doesn't take off with a tire smoking show (30mph-90mph it sits down and goes), about 1800 rpm = about 72-75 mph. It lopes along on interstates well.
We live in the Ozarks of N Arkansas, the overdrive doesn't like the hilly terrain. With the shift kit, it hits a little hard when cycling in and out of O/D. She was told that is expected/normal and to leave the O/D locked out and let the motor wind up a bit when in the hills...that it won't hurt it.
We looked at a 'vette in Chicago that was, I think a '02? 530+ h.p.? was told it was would be a good investment due to power plant and numbers made. At $35k, it was too much power/money for her to use as a daily driver.
She likes the Corvettes, but wants to tie up money in a model that will hopefully increase in worth as well as have reasonable performance when compared to what she now has.
Our kids are grown, and this seems to be a continuation the mid-life era.......She's done with the k-cars and the mini-vans 8^)
Thanks again, Cheers, robert
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The '79 will probably be better than the '81 due to rear gearing in your area.

No new Corvette is an investment, UNLESS you are looking for a 40 year wait on return. And even then, there is no guarantee. And if a dealer tells you it is an investment, it probably isn't.
Now if you want to travel as far as Chicago, then you have a world of Corvettes to choose from. Kansas City has lots of Vettes and dealers, St. Louis the same. I would imagine Little Rock would have a few, althoguh I admit not hearing about Little Rock as a Vette Collector haven. Don't limit yourselves to the '79 and '81 only.
Buy the most Vette you can get for the money, and spend more to get the better than take the lessor because you saved.
Take someone with you to look at it who knows Corvettes, as they have many secrets and are often not what they seem. As a friend used to always say, if you found an old Chevy in a barn or field, odds are it had its original engine, transmission, seats, and carpet. If you found the same year Corvette, there is a very good chance it is on its third, fourth, or fifth engine, 2nd transmission, and who knows about anyting else. They are performance cars that tend to be driven hard, modified frequently, and drive hard some more. There are more old Corvettes with their original engines today than there were 25 years ago.

The mid '70s to '80s C3s will increase slowly, but not greatly. Performance isn't much more than an Impala. Still, they respond to all the usually small block mods and will perform very well if you want to spend some money, and really not that much money. However, modifying will detract from any increase in worth as a collectible.
The '84, the '86 convertible, and the '88-'90 Corvette Challenge/World Challenge cars are the only early C4s that will increase in value. The '84 and '86 will increase slowly because costs to repair, maintain, and restore are outstripping the value. Performance-wise, they all blow the '79 and '81 away in stock condition. Not really good daily drivers at this stage due to high repair costs of the electronics.
Late C4s are much more solid, eliminating much of the video game electronics to improve a long-term dependable car.
C5 blows the C4 away, BUT ......
This goes into the Old Harley/New Harley argument.
The C5 Corvettes do not ride or feel like the old Corvettes. My impression of the '97 was it was a rental car, a tight, well-behaved rental car, but a rental car in that its ride offended no one. It didn't have the feel of a Corvette, the sound of fiberglass, the certain vibration that pulses through an old Corvette, and so on. It will blow the older Corvettes away, but it is different. So if she has experience in the older Corvettes, she may feel that something is "missing", even though it is a better car.
Early C3s, C2s, and C1s are all in the constant growth of value, however, they would not be a good daily driver unless you live a mile for work in the country and work in a big glass window 20 feet from your car. Maybe an exaggeration, but you get the general idea.
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I personally don't like the early C4s either.... The dash, interior, front/rear facia and the wide body seam running around the car.
BUT having said that, they are still Vette and will garner a lot of attention and give plenty of satsfaction.

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the 79 sounds good have fun
kickstart
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On Sun, 02 Oct 2005 11:07:09 GMT, "Kickstart"

I am in your age group....empty nester, waiting for my 1st Social Security Check in a few months etc.... I also own a 79 along with 64 & 72 Ragtops, and 76 & 95 Coupes.... and I drive a Pickup every day...
One thing I can say is at least your wife is interested in Corvettes mine could care less...she loves her rolling living room (Mini Van)...
But I am writing simply because I honestly would not trust any of the older ANTIQUE Corvettes to be very well suited to be used TODAY as a daily driver...I know some that are but the 79 is already classified as an Antique and the 81 will be classified as suce in a few months...
If given the choice I would unlike Tom pick the 81 for the same reasons he picked the 79....lol...I just like the front and rear ends better on the 80-82 Cars... then the 78-79 Cars.... I do not like the large glass window...
But back to the point...operating costs on either will be more then the Z28...not only fuel but also on upkeep....remember they are antiques and old parts wear out faster then new ones...and you have a heck of a lot of old parts in these cars...( in my case the driver is also an old part )...
Personally I would advise her to pick up a 94-96 Corvette if she wants a daily driver..Prices are in the exact same range as the 79-81's..
BTW: My overall favoruite Corvette to pull out of the garage is my 76...good looker, drives and handles well, is comfortable, although low on Hp it will lay rubber in all 4 gears (ok that chirp in 4th really does not count but it does put a smile on my face) ...I would be happy to own it if it was the only Corvette I could own...
Boy I wish my wife wanted her own Corvette... lol...
Bob Griffiths
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I agree. Just personal preference on things like that though.

I agree again. There will always be something that needs replacing, or is ready to go. At least that's what I've found in my '85.

Ah, here I have to disagree. In my area a 94 - 96 is much more expensive than a 79 - 81. Several thousand dollars on average. But, if it's a daily driver you're after the difference in price is well worth it. Between fuel savings and repair savings you'll come out ahead very soon. Not to mention the ride will be much better. I love my '85 but it really rides hard. I feel every little road imperfection whereas a ride in a friend's '98 was much, much more comfortable. Have her drive each car she's interested in on the highway and thru some city streets before she makes any decision. Also, shop her Z28 around a bit before you let the mechanic buy it. Be sure you're getting a fair price. Good luck.
Brad
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wrote:

ROFL. Now I LIKE the large rear window. I think it gives flow to the lines like the old midyear coupes and it greatly improves interior space. Of course, your '76 is more open than the older '68-'72 which had the rear window tray tucked under there. But if we all liked the same thing, it would be a pretty bland world.

ROFL again! My favorite Corvette to pull out of YOUR garage is your '64 convertible, the second would be your black '95 coupe.

If she did, you'd have to get more of them, and she probably wouldn't let you drive them.
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wrote:

converted it years ago so the rear window is removable like the 68-72's.. The General is pretty cheap so all the holes are still in the body to make this conversion without drilling a single hole to mount anything including the latches ...
You must be about 4 foot 2 and weight about 100 pounds with long arms...anyone bigger then that will only clean the inside of that damn big glass rear window once every year or two.... and then have assorted pulled muscles in the lower back that ace for at least 2 days...
My 64 is fully documented, all the way back to the original order form from Saigon, the return conformation from GM's New York Foreign distribution center, the original checks the owner wrote. The original delivery ticket whent he car was delivered yada yada yada... Enough to make it worth a lot of money...IF IT WERE A 67.... The knock on 64's was that they did not have disc brakes.....well mine now has front discs ...screw originally when it is my a$$ in the car and I have to suddenly stop...
You also make a point that is very very true... in your reply to the guy who was looking at a 79 or 80....
While I love my 95 it really does NOT feel like a Corvette...just too smooth, and nowhere near as mechanical in feel as the older cars....I also own (legally anyway) a 99 Convertible that my brother left me in his will when he died in 2002 (pause... we were more then brothers ...enough said) I can tell you it is 10 times more civilized then even my 95 .. When my sister in law is ready I'll drive it home and help her sell his blown 92 and his modified 80 ...but NOT UNTIL she is ready....
And my wife is into doll making and sewing... Cost me $4,500 for her new sewing machine...plus another $1,200 for a laptop computer to plug into the sewing machine so she can use it .......(like to embroider my hats....lol..) what the heck she has 4 sewing machines and I have my Corvettes...good deal for both of us... lol
Bob G. .
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interest in Corvettes. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm..... nevermind
Kickstart
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This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------070108000303090305020107 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
LOLOLOL
Kickstart wrote:

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Ric Seyler
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Bob, you reminded me of an old joke - This guy is telling his buddy "Hey, did I tell you that I got a dog for my wife?" And his buddy responds, "I wish I could arrange a swap like that"! lol
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