my first car

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I'm sixteen and looking for my first car, I've seen local ads for a '74 and a '79 corvettes priced at $5100 and $5800. In the ad for the 74 is says it needs brakes, a rear bumper, and has splits from the
sun, the 79 ad doesnt say much but high mileage. I go to school and have a part time job, not much experience, with that said i ask what should i look for when buying? what am I getting into? and is this a good idea?
thanks for help
Cam
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Not a good choice for a first car at age 16. You also ought to check to see if you can even get insurance -- which would be very high until you hit your mid-20s. Consider a 4 door manual transmission Accord with an I4 -- mid to late 90s or a Toyota. When I was 16 -- in 1957 -- a good friend had a Vette -- 3 speed, base 283 -- but his Dad was extremely wealthy. I enjoyed driving the Vette and his Dad's Mercedes 300 roadster. I had a 56 VW cabriolet with all of 36 hp. I did not own my first Vette until I was captain in the USAF -- and single.
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tww1491 wrote:

Pretty good advice! The four-door gets you the best insurance rates. Choose something that's basically sound, easy to repair and has parts available at a reasonable price. (no fun being broke everytime you visit the parts store).
Most importantly, get something that won't get in the way of building on your education. Education will pay monster dividends in the future ... whether it is College or Voacational.
Got my '60 vette as a Lt(jg) ...Navy ... also single at the time.
--
PJ
Ex carrier pilot

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thanks for the advice, by the way im doing an apprenticeship for machining through my highschool and will be working full time the day after highschool and fully certified with in a year of graduation, a mechanical hobby like this might benifit me but I understand where your coming from
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Cam F wrote:

Canucks leap tall buildings in a single bound and are 'ok' at ice hockey too. -- congrats on living where there are still solid apprenticeship programs!
Suggest switch objective to a C4 -they are reasonable, fairly rustproof and a good intro to computer controlled engine technology. Take a close look at wiring harnesses. Stay away from cars with a bunch of aftermarket mods.
--
PJ
'89 auto-cpe, '02 e-blu-6spd.

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I agree with all the excellent posts and suspect that you are listening. I encourage you to read this forum and continue your research, it is a LOT cheaper to learn about problems of others rather than those you suffer yourself. There are many good books and the Internet has tons of free information. Keep a directory on your hard drive for all the information you will collect and for the contact information of suppliers. Collect all the FREE parts catalogues that you can so you have current information of parts prices. Join the local Vette club and meet the members, they probably know all about the local dogs to avoid (and the local flip artists and known crooks) and will also be the first to know when a good car becomes available. Offer to help owners work on their cars.
As an apprentice with no experience, you will be on the bottom of the pay curve, you will probably change employers several times and as you gain experience will see your pay rates increase rapidly but there will also be large demands on your resources to cover the purchase of tools and for the completion of your schooling. You will see periods of under or unemployment. You will need reliable and cheap transportation and pre85 Vettes tend to use LOTS of gasoline. At this stage of your life you will probably also be moving out on your own and will be changing your address frequently, few of your homes will have good places to store or work on a project car and moving is not easy. You will also be learning about girls and alcohol both of which are expensive and do not mix well with horsepower and gasoline.
After a surprisingly few years you will have completed your apprenticeship and will be making a very good wage, will have purchased your needed tools and hopefully have resisted (not so) easy credit and will have saved a substantial amount of money, and will be in a position to purchase a much better car. Hopefully you will have also have learned something about girls and alcohol and will be more mature and better equipped to deal with the added responsibility of horsepower.
Continue to look at all the available cars and develop some personal WRITTEN checklist forms to use to evaluate them. Keep a file including the serial numbers and contact information about the owners. There are not that many good cars out there and they do not change hands often, most of what you find will be the least desirable cars which are looking for an uninformed sucker who will jump for the first available car he sees. The poor cars churn much more often than the good ones. After you have carefully evaluated a LOT of cars you will find that it gets a lot easier and you will know what to look for and will have seen a lot of problems. You will have also learned to exercise restraint and how to keep your money in your pocket and walk away. You will also notice how fast the price comes down when the seller is negotiating with your back as you walk away.
Remember always, that the best value is always to buy a really good car and that 'you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear', or 'you cannot restore low mileage back into a poor old car', or 'it costs twice (or more) as much to make a #3 (or even worse a #4or5) car into a # 2 than it does to just buy one that always was a #2.
After you have done all the above homework, you will recognize the car you want easily from 50' away, and will know how much to offer to pay for it. Never underestimate the value of cash or a REAL offer, sellers of old cars do not see much of either.
Good luck, YMMV
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Don't depress the kid so much.
Good deal? Not now, none of them are. However, here is an idea of what you re getting into.
Brakes - common problem is leakage due to rusted caliper cylinders. If they are already stainless steel sleeved, you can usually replace the seals yourself for about $50. If not SS, then you need to exchange them for about $250 for all four.
Rear bumper. The original rubber bumpers deteriorate badly in the sun from UV. Many replace them with fiberglass of various types. Figure $300 to $350.
Interiors usually need replacing. A couple hundred for carpet, same for seat covers, about that for door panels. It is real easy to get $1000 in the interior quickly. With the '79, the covers and new cushions are a real pain to fix, so it is easier to buy them ready to put in from Al Knoch, however, that is about $600 - $800 for the set, depending on getting specials, show special deals, etc. The best bet is to go to a show he is at and get a deal.
Paint. Sanding the paint off to repaint is a BAD idea. You end up scalloping the surface, which makes it all look worse. As such, the effort in paint quickly runs to $3000 to $10,000 for paint. Your buddy who paints old Impalas behind the garage is probably not going to do a good job.
BTW, paint materials are going to run you about $800 alone.
Rust. Here is the killer. Rust destroys these cars. Yes, they are fiberglass, and so most never worried about them in winter, but the frame and the birdcage are steel. Check the frame under the back corner of each door and just in front of the tire in each rear wheelwell. Tap with something like a small hammer or large screwdriver. It should ring true, not have a dull thud. Dull thud, or rusted out holes are VERY BAD for the novice and can cost you a year of work and a few thousand dollars at minimum to fix yourself.
The other place is the birdcage. This is the internal frame that holds the body together. Remove the kick panels in the footwells and check the frame. If rusty there, you probably have real problems. There are upright panels right behind the seat. Try removing them and using a flashlight to check for rust. If you have birdcage rust that is bad, you have simply found a parts car.
http://geocities.com/dilbertopotimus/mount2.html
The best advice is to read some of the Buying Guides around and to get someone who knows Corvettes to go look at them with you. Check around for a local Corvette club if you need or expect to pay some of the really good Corvette guys $100 to $200 to inspect them. Sounds high, but it can literally save you thousands of dollars.
While I wish to tell you, go for it, the realist in me says you need to be very careful and avoid being sucked in. Everyone wants one, but it is real easy to be taken and to get a mess rather than a good deal.

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Thanks for the advice, i appreciate it
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Thank you for the advice, i appreciate it
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I wouldn't suggest a Vette as a first car. They are a second car - driven on nice sunny days that spend most of their time sitting in the garage getting repaired. Sorry, that's the bottom line. Visit my webpage on my 1972 Vette that I paid a premium price for in 1982 and spent two years repairing:
http://www.cadvision.com/blanchas/54pontiac/72vette.html
For a first car, I would suggest a 1/4 ton pickup truck like a Ford Ranger - extended cab. They are good on gas, reliable and you can take them anywhere and haul anything especially the car parts for your project car!
Minivan are also great when you are 16. Great for friends, making out, camping and those road trips that you'll spend the rest of your life talking about. And they can haul car parts around in.
My two cents
Cam F wrote:

--
Eugene Blanchard
http://www.catsasskustoms.com
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I disagree... I bought mine to drive. true, its a third means of transportation, but I drive it. I admit at first it was a money pitt. but now, I hardly ever have to work on it...
my2 -- "Key"
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I agree with Key. If you buy one that is worn out, then you have to either spend a lot of time and dollars rebuilding or suffer having it fail far too often and at all the wrong times.
If you want to drive one, then you have to research and search, until you find the right one. It is far better to find one together and in good shape than to build one yourself, unless you want it to build.
Whatever you do, don't let it seduce you into buying it. It is hard not to sit in one, start it up, and go for that initial ride without thinking, "I've got to have this!" But you can, if you just remain calm and logical. Make a list (there are plenty scattered in the Internet search "corvette buying guide") and follow it completely.
Have a very calm and stable friend go along as a stabilizing influence. You need the guy who can objectively look at each and every item, not the guy who goes "Wow, what a great deal! You have to get this!" or "You and I are going to have a great time in this one!"
At 16, you probably don't have the experience on cars in general, and I'm sure you don't have it on Corvettes. Hire an expert. Many say to go to NCRS judges, but really, there are better people to check them out. NCRS judges know what are correct or incorrect as far as factory originality goes, but don't necessarily know what is good or bad with the car.
I think I said in the other post you can spend $100 to $200 on someone to do this, and it really is well worth it.
With the rubber bumper cars selling in the $10,000 range now for decent examples, a $5000 one is going to cost you probably another $10,000 to look like one you can buy for $10,000 today.
However, they are just Chevies. The only thing really unique is the IRS but there are so many Corvettes, the parts are not hard to find or get. The only hassles are the rear wheel bearings are specialized in repair and you shouldn't do them yourself, aligning the rear end is beyond most alignment shops, they were a leak link in high horse cars, but the mid and late '70s didn't have high horses.
Simply put, buy the very best one you can get, wait and save if needed to get the extra to afford the better car, and you will be money ahead.
I disagree on the Ranger or similar truck. While handy if you have an active project, they are not the best economy. 20-25 mpg. The minivan will haul as much or more and get better, even though I really don't like minivans. You can go to the small compacts and get even more, typically 35 mpg. My preference is the Neon, since Chrysler decided that the world of unimaginative subcompact econoboxes was too hard to make a dent in, they built a go kart with four doors instead. The performance and handling of a stock Neon blows away competitors like the Corolla and such.
Of course, that is money you could use to buy the better Corvette.
Good luck, don't rush, and take your time finding the right car.

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thanks for the advice, but a neon is the easiest car to steal, ask any kid with a screw driver and vice grip
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Ever see a real Mini? Lock the doors on a car with slide open windows? Key on the dash where all the wires were exposed? And I think all the keys were the same. Mine worked in several others, I'm sure theirs worked in mine.
If you are worried about theft, then a Corvette is not the car to have, although most don't steal the old ones that much, as the parts even mark you too badly. Of course, thieves are usually not real bright.
BTW, you don't have to reply to each and every message. You can make general statements like "thanks to all of you" and you can even make a single reply to several, like:
"PJ, I would really ...
Tom, The Neon is ...
Key, Yes, I agree ..."
The fact you respond is more than half the people who ask questions on the Internet and saying thanks is better than about 80%.
Good luck with your car search.

thanks for the advice, but a neon is the easiest car to steal, ask any kid with a screw driver and vice grip
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grip used for vice, not as the grip of a vise, clever. ;-))
The people that post back are a welcome change to those that take the free advice and never let anyone know if it helped.
--
Dad
05 C6 Silver/Red 6spd Z51
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you can take my word for it. 90% of them are just as EASY to steal...
--
"Key"
=====




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thanks for the advice, i appreciate it
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thanks for the advice, i appreciate it
just remember, when I said "at first it was a money pitt" I meant just that !
g'luck
--
"Key"
=====




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Eugene Blanchard wrote:

I wouldn't be caught dead in a minivan!
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High school mourns for its two seniors killed in Dix Hills crash (involving a high performance car) ---
Address:http://www.topix.net/forum/source/newsday/T3QOM6I5S5L8QMOGS
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