I have approx $20,000 to spend on a Corvette. I want something I can
use to commute to work (30 mi/day) plus have some fun with it on the
weekends (a convertible would be cool!).
With this budget, the newest I can afford is probably a 1999-2001 with
around 80,000 miles. My question to the group is should I worry about
a Corvette with 80,000 miles on it to use as a daily commuter?
BTW, I live in So Cal.
Thanks for reading.
I'd not think of 80K as overly high mileage. My impression of the
mid-production C5s is that most of the component infant mortality
happened before 50K. Then, without abuse or some rare surprise like
block porosity, it's smooth sailing out to 120K, maybe 150K. After
that, increased maintenance makes it tempting to make some major mods.
Have a good Corvette mech give you a solid assessment of the powertrain
and rear suspension. As is frequently said here, avoid cars with
significant after market mods (or evidence that they were installed,
then removed). In SoCal, $20K for a nice mid-prod C5 convertible is
going to require a diligent search. 110 miles south of you those cars
are usually in the high 20s. Hang in there and best of luck in your search.
Although the C5 frame and suspension would be more satisfying for
autocross or a run across the Angeles Crest, you might consider a very
low-mileage (15-30K miles) '95 or '96 convertible. Those seem to
appear every couple of months and an occasional LT-4 shows up in the
'89 auto cpe, '02 6-spd
If you can find a 2000 with 80k for $20,000 - buy it. I bought my 2000 for
23K with 70K miles (I managed to also get a warranty, just in case).
I drive mine about 3 days a week and on weekends. The only thing I have
changed was the harmonic balancer (belts were squeaking, and a mechanic
noticed some play).
Someone posted, I think it was Dad, that the best C5 is the 2004 model, but
you will not find one for 20K.
I agree with PJ, have a good mechanic check out the car. With the 2000 year
model, the oil pressure gauge can be faulty.
2000 White Coupe
1990 White Coupe
If I said that I'll change it right now, any C5 can be a good C5. The
'04 is more advanced because of most of the changes they made, not all
for the better. It was a bit more quiet because of the added
insulation, CE edition, but otherwise the same as the base '98 I had.
By the time the C6 came out the C5 had been changed, where it could
be, to what was used to release the C6, mostly in fuel handling. Many
C5 parts are still used in the C6 and except for the cosmetic changes
it is pretty much the same car. On the other hand the C5 was a new
design right down to the exception of the door handles that they used
from an existing GM design.
If I were to buy a C5 I'd buy the one I liked that fit my budget, any
year. If it is one that had a problem it should be fixed by now and
that is easy to lookup on the dealer records. If it has not been
corrected you don't want a car, any car that was not maintained
correctly, skip it.
Miles are not always a good indicator of a cars reliability today,
many factors govern that, including proper maintenance. Buying a C5
should be no different that buying any other car, in other words don't
buy a "snow job", they don't drive well.
I had a '91 C4 as a daily driver from 90k to 130k miles. It was a
surprisingly good commuter car. Good gas mileage, fun to drive,
reliable. Other than oil changes, the only work required were u-
joints, belt tensioner, and brake booster. Not bad for an older GM
car. It never let me down.
Last weekend, I brought home a 2000 C5 to replace it. 80k miles, 6-
speed, dark "bowling green" metallic, tan interior, cosmetically
perfect and no known mechanical problems. $19k out the door from a
dealer. There were cheaper ones out there but I really wanted that
I'd worry less about a higher mileage Corvettes then most other
models. There is more to go wrong, but Corvette owners are typically
fanatical about care and maintenence. My 7 year old car with close to
100k miles doesn't have a single door ding (and I intend to keep it
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