The old advice, the newest you can get is best, still holds true for the
However, '81 and older are easier to work on and the value is better as they
are slightly climbing.
For the price of many '90s Corvettes, you can get into an early C5 which is
much better. However, that is about $15,000 to $20,00 and out of your
Probably '87 to '91 is the best bet.
The '82 won't have the juice for a huge stereo. Then again, the early C4s
won't either, because even those are bigger, they use it on the electronics.
Tom's suggestion on 87-91 is excellent good since it meets your price
range and avoids the optispark woes of the early LT-1 engines. (Precise
ignition timing but subject to damage from coolant leaks.)
If you are looking for a six speed then it's 89-91. (Six-speed manual
arrived on the 89s.) 90 is an excellent choice--bit more refined &
better displays than 89.
If you enjoy 'old fashioned' wrench-bending as a labor of love, you
might do well with a late C3 -- good car to 'grow old with.' These cars
won't go out of style and there will still be well-cared-for C3s on the
road when all of the C4s are retired. They were just starting into
computerized but carburetted engine control and in some states, smog can
be problematic. Late C3s and very early C4s were short on thermal
insulation in cockpit (fixable).
If you're talking daily driver, the gasoline bills will be lower with a
C4 and the performance much better. I commute in my '89 (auto) and
average 21-22 mpg mixed city-freeway, 24 hwy. (C5 does even better).
L98 engine on C4s has excellent torque off the line but the torque and
horsepower peak around 4K. The LT-1 engine has just a tad more torque
but it peaks later for more horsepower and higher top speed. LT-4 in a
'96 is the best of the bunch but the prices on those take you into C5
The jobs you speak to are all doable with little fuss but you'll need to
carefully select a socket & drive for the plugs. Get a factory shop
manual and pick up a Haynes as well (nice accessibility and tool tips
that Chevy/GM never thought of). Also plenty of maintenance tips and
discussion on web sites.
Beyond 87, C4 alternator has plenty of reserve output but has poor
cooling between 20 and 35 mph. If you much spend time in traffic, a.c.
on, you'll replace an alternator every other year. Easy job.
(make/borrow a thin breaker bar for the belt tensioner.) Brakes and the
rest of it have few surprises.
I've seen a couple of audio installations in C4s with an second
(externally vented) battery in the car to handle audio power peaks. I
think they connected that with an RV style secondary battery charger.
That eases the burden on wiring and alternator.
'89 auto-coupe '02 e-blu 6spd
'Got roughly $10,000
Looking for a good "driver"
Never owned one
Drove a 1976 and a 1996
Looking for input on a good driver...
Personally I am looking for an 1982...need the hatch (stereo) or an 1984
Like the older style...thanks.'
REPLY: The 1987-88 will be much quicker than a 1982 and have greater
technology . You can get 1987-88 's in nice shape for $10 k. or less
with a bit of looking. They are relatively easy to work on in terms of
routine maintenance and plug changes. Id stay away from the 4plus3
manual trans . in these years though ; bit of a joke and many problems
with them. I drove one for a weekend . The auto trans. holds up pretty
well in them. If you scrape together a few more thousand, you could
get a 1990 which has some distinct advantages over previous C4's :
especially the 6 speed manual trans for good economy and LT-1 motor for
even more power . If you go with the 1982 , I dont think youll be as
happy with it. I could be wrong. Test drive quite a few of each C3/4 era
, then decide. BUt if its your first vette, id encourage you to go the
Look in Corvette Trader Magazine for some good deals. Let us know what
you end up getting.
On 15 Feb 2007 11:56:02 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
========================I would be looking for a 90 or 91...Both L48 cars but with rounded
fronts and rears...(not definite on the 90 but fairly sure)..
Nice, dependable, fun to drive, and not expensive.....
64 72 & 98 Rag Tops
76 & 79 Coupes
Thanks for all the input
I had my eye and heart on an 82...like the look...and a hatch....even
with less power.
A 1990 - 91 does still fit the pocket book...and I guess as a driver
cheaper to own and operate...
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