One of the most common mistakes I see when people buy their first corvette is is quite simply excitement, where they just get excited and hand over the cash before they inspect the car, this is one way to cause yourself more misery then you want to deal with.
In this case you can end up with a lot of horrible things happening with your very first corvette restoration, it’s always better to try and find a corvette that is in very good condition to start with, if this is to be your first classic corvette, and your first corvette restoration.
You should make 100% sure that you check all of the critical areas of you first corvette purchase before you buy it, I know that this can be a hard thing to do, because you have just rolled up on what looks to be a perfect car to your eye ball, but their might be nasty things lurking in the shadows.
Corvette’s are a special breed because they are made from fibre glass that is warped around metal in a lot of the areas on the corvette, and where it has firer glass warped around metal, it can rust, and you’ll never see it because the fibre glass will hide it.
You need to look at these areas, if your looking at a 1968 – 76 convertible corvette you’d be best off to inspect the wind shield frame, this is one of the areas that can rust, and the fiber glass will start to lift in the areas where the rust develops underneath it.
You’d also do yourself a huge favour to put the car on a lift and inspect the frame of the corvette for rust holes, and frame damage, the more of the these types of things that you find at the first, the less surprises you’ll have when you begin the renovation, or custom work on your corvette.
I’m not trying to change your mind about buying a corvette, I would love to help you find just the right one, I have been guilty of being to excited when buying a car myself, and it never does anything good, the time to be excited is when you find just the perfect car, the one that you can restore yourself.
Like any other car, you should always inspect the body gaps on the corvette that your looking at, no gap should be wider then 1/8 inch, or narrower then an 1/8 inch gap, if they are, you need to start asking question like has this car been wrecked in the past.
Also look for stress cracks, and rust coming through the stress cracks in the body, a stress crack will look like a mini spider web in the car’s body, also inspect around the gas cap opening for rust, and take a good look at the interior of the corvette, these are always good indicators of the condition of the car.
You should get in the car, and push the clutch to the floor, and run through the gears in the car, looking for the shifter to get stuck in one gear, or to be very hard to move, these are both signs that the corvette needs a new shifter linkage, not a huge deal, but it is more work.
It’s an absolute must that you check the engine for leaks, check under the car around the oil pan while it’s up in the air, you should also check the brake lines for cracking and leaking whit it’s on the rack, look at the brakes on all four corners to see if the rotors are leaking brake fluid.
Then let the car down and check for leaks around the valve covers, and the intake manifold, if your restoring the car, and then planning to sell it later, you’d better check all of the numbers on the car, to be sure that the engine, and transmission, and the rest on the car, belong to that car.
These things can be very hard to find, of course the condition of the car depends a lot on what you want to spend to buy it, if you buy a $15,000 corvette, you will be doing a lot of work to restore it, if you spend more, you’ll get a better car, and it will need less work to restore it.
Have you ever heard the saying, you get what you pay for, that is the gods honest truth here, so plan your budget very well, just bu doing this you can save yourself a lot of agony in the end, save your money so you can start with a corvette that is in god condition.
If you start with a corvette that is in good condition, you’ll get it restored a lot faster, and be driving it, and enjoying it, and is really what we all look forward to in the end, I’m still waiting to locate the right corvette for me, if it takes a long time, don’t worry about it.
The longer it take to find it, the better corvette you’ll find in the end, below here I will add a check list of the things you need to look at before you hand that cash over, and buy your new classic corvette.