I looked at a 1998 Corvette today. It has a few issues but it's
mostly what I'm looking for. Dealer wants full book retail as
"Excellent Condition", of course.
Upon inspection, I could tell that it's been wrecked in the front.
The damage wasn't too bad but the nose piece has been repainted
(overspray on the marker lights) and the right front fender isn't
lined up perfectly with the door. It's close but not a 'factory' fit.
It drives perfectly. Tires are worn evenly (completely worn out, but
that's another issue).
Question: What is this damage worth? When I calculate my offer, I'm
thinking about deducting $1000 just for this. Does that seem like too
little, enough, or too much?
I have owned several cars over the years..my advice is to NEVER EVER BUY A
CRASH DAMAGED CAR>>NEVER<NEVER....I don't care how well you think it was
repaired or how LITTLE the damage appears..I have also been in the wrecking
yard and body shop business and you would be totally shocked at how well we
could repair a total insurance wreck and no one could tell.....
No repair will ever make the car like new..paint fades at a constant rate
and even if it looks good now in a couple of years you will see a difference
in the colors.
Why buy a Vette at full retail and deduct for damage..it is not worth the
risk of hidden frame damage..DON'T DO IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By the way..the overspray on the lights is a sign of sloppy body work and
the fender should line up perfectly if the car was repaired
correctly...those are BIG WARNING signs of half assed repair work done by
the dealer/or previous owner at low cost just to get the car sold.
Like I said DON'T buy that car.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I agree with Thundergod, don't buy a repaired Vette. I had naively purchased
a 72 Vette and couldn't figure out why it felt squirrelly at speed through
right hand curves especially if there were bumps.
2 years after I bought it, I found out that it had been hit in the passenger
rear tire area. The suspension was bent but it would align okay (aligned
twice in two years trying to figure it out). Ends up that the rear wheel
wasn't going up and down straight - had a twist in its movement. Hence the
A long time ago, Corvettes were built on separate welded box frames. When
wrecked, they could be pulled out and straightened. The C4s had a
sheetmetal frame that could also be straightened, however, the metal
thickness was different and tended to be very weak where bent.
The C5 uses a hydorformed one-piece frame rail on each side that I have no
idea if they can straighten today. I'm sure they cannot get it back to
factory spec. I have seen a few wrecked at swap meets and it looks like
relatively minor hits that have totaled the car.
Much of this is that the frames today are designed to absorb much of the
shock, and doing that destroys them.
I would say the only way I would take it is a very thorough inspection of
the frame for even the most minor kink or bend. If any are found, then I'd
assume frame repair and run away. If none, then the damage was only body
damage, and I would deduct heavily for the shoddy bodywork, since you don't
know what else they did poorly. Something like 30-40%.
I would also check the title for salvage, rebuild, reconstruction, or a few
other brandings that are placed on by states for wrecked cars.
I think we are really talking the same thing here, just in different words.
I guess I wasn't aware of the repair sections of the frames, or if I was, I
had forgotten. But now that you mention that, I believe there were sections
for the C4s also, but the access to repair was terrible.
The way the hydroformed frame rail is made does not allow itself to be
restored by pulling and bending back to the original shape. The initial
purpose of the hydroform was to eliminate the bending and hardened spots of
the old bent and welded process of making frames. It is in many ways more
like a piece of tubing than a channel. If you have ever bent a piece of
conduit the wrong way so that it kinks, you know you can never get it strong
again and the kink won't come out in straightening. In electrical wiring,
that is insignificant, but where people use conduit for awning frames,
tents, and such, this is an issue.
However, as you said that Chevrolet has made frame repair sections
available, Chevrolet has skirted the issue of traditional straightening for
repair and allow removing these sections that are forever weakened and
replacing with a new section. This is why the insurance would give a good
rating on repairability. And time is money, so the access and time to
repair a C4 frame would leave it with a terrible rating.
So both of our advice is right. He should check the frame for kinks. This
would be evidence of a wreck and straightening, however, not the correct
way. Any welded in sections would be evidence of a wreck, but if the weld
quality looks good and the car drives out right, then it should be good to
go with the only negative being you know it was wrecked once.
Not sure you could drive one with a "kink", but I get your point. Even with the
strength of the hydro-formed rails it will flex when hit, that's why I say look
for inter body joint repair. The frame will flex but the tub won't, and it can
pop a seam and they're tough to fix properly. That includes the front inter
One case was from a deer hit at speed on an interstate, split the right side
seam all the way down the frame rail and never cracked the fender. Hit was on
the left side/center but it pushed the radiator support enough to crack the
One of the things they mention in the rating cost drop was the clam shell hood
being a high cost item, the one thing I liked most about the C4.
Out there somewhere is a bubba who will fix anything and leave it in ways
you'd never dream. :-) Heck, think of all the C3 fiber optics that were
soldered back together.
I know of a lot of people who have hit deer and totalled a car, but I
spattered one once and it was simply like a burlap sack of loose junk when I
picked it up. The only damage was flatspotting the front tires trying to
get stopped when it junped in front of me.
I think the clamshell may have had the record for the largest one-piece
panel made. And it was in the one place most susceptible to damage - the
front of a Corvette. Real planning on that one. Chevy knew big panels
represented a hassle in repair and had sections for the C2 and C3, but I
guess they thought since it could be unbolted versus unbonded, they would be
Try using an appraisal type of website for ballparks of what you should be
paying; I use Edmunds.com but make subjective decisions on costs/deductions
(such as those you describe). How did you come up with $1,000?
If you're looking for $numbers this example may be comparible.
I dented a 1996 right front fender by backing out of my garage. It was
strictly cosmetic damage since I was going about 1 mph. I took the car
to a NCRS award winning Corvette restorer and had the job done 100%
right. Total cost was $3200.
If this is comparible to the damage you are talking about, cosmetic
damage only, then that figure would probably be a good starting point.
However, my car needed no fender - door realignment. That issue could
take your car beyond the "cosmetic" repair. I'd round up to $4000 for
that, if it was still cosmetic only and much more if structural.
On 12 Feb 2007 18:35:02 -0800, "The Reverend Natural Light"
On 12 Feb 2007 18:35:02 -0800, "The Reverend Natural Light"
Go out and price four new tires...and 4 tire Pressure sensors...!!!!
Definately deduct those items IF you make an offer... !
I own a certified never been hit 98 ...and actually the fit of the
fenders etc ain't what I call great to say the least.
64 72 & 98 RagTops
76 & 79 Coupes
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