Tips on What to Look Out for When Buying Your First C3 Corvette
The C3 has always attracted its fair share of lovers and haters. Some saw the C3 Corvette as impractical while others hailed its debut as superb and a break from its analog C1 and C2 predecessors. We love the C3 and also believe it’s a great car for DIY projects. Here’s a quick buyer’s guide to your first C3 Corvette (covering model years 1968 through 1982).
1977 Corvette (C3)Decide the features that appeal to you
Do you want a coupe or a convertible, a chrome bumper or a rubber bumper, one with automatic or manual transmission, a remodeled or an all original?
Ensure the fiber body does not have cosmetic remodels or renovations. Check to see that the interior lips of the wheel wells do not have any cracks. Look out for cracks where the body attaches to the wheel well frame, on the panel cut-outs and the wind-shield posts.
Leaks and cracks
C3s are known for leaking problems. Avoid cars that have been exposed too much to weather elements. Examine the T-top for weather stripping to ensure the car does not have bad rust and leak issues on the roof.
The birdcage is the metallic frame that encircles the car’s cockpit. The birdcage needs to be strong because it supports most of your car so make sure you examine this well.
The frame, which also supports your car, needs to be strong and free from rusty rot. Take care to check this in detail.
Given that C3s are quite old, the car you are looking to buy needs to have a completely renovated suspension that adheres to safety standards. If needed, a mechanic can help you ascertain the condition of the suspension.
The vacuum-aspirated headlight covers and the wiper cover for the windshield are prone to leaks. The maze of valves and hoses involved in operating the headlight and wiper covers need to be thoroughly checked.
C3 Corvettes feature 4-wheel disc brakes that can succumb to corrosion. Ensure that the entire braking system works properly as it can be costly to repair.
Alignment of key parts
Check that the hood, trunk, bumper, headlight doors, windshield wiper and doors are aligned. Any misalignment is an indication that the car has been renovated or remodeled and may therefore not have the original parts. This is especially true for the 1968 to 1972 C3 Corvettes.
All in all, your best bet is to find a C3 Corvette with most of the original parts intact but be prepared to spend some money and time repairing your C3 to your desired look.