What to Ask and Verify Before Buying a Vette
Have you ever wondered how many Vettes and collector cars are sold only to find out after the fact that the vehicle has serious issues, destroying the value of the car or costing thousands in repairs? It happens everyday.
Regardless of whether you are buying from an auction, an individual, or what you may think is a reputable dealer, properly inspecting a collector car before purchase can make a world of difference when it comes time to sell. Nine out of ten collector cars sold by individuals and auctions have one or more serious issues that were just simply missed by the seller, and consequently, not disclosed to the buyer.
Even worse, these collector cars are often represented as being something that they never were to begin with. Matching numbers, code correct, real L71, M22, LT1, big block, one owner, one of only three made, etc...never make an assumption! Many times, the seller did not verify this claim, and is only passing on information that was given to them by the previous owner. So, the untruth is passed on and on until someone takes the time to properly inspect the car.
I have heard just about every story imaginable in fifty years, and maybe, in my next fifty years, I will write a book entitled “My Dad Owned This Car Since New and I Know He Did Not Change the VIN, Change the Engine, or Buy It From a Salvage Yard, It Was Never in a Flood, I Got This Car From My Neighbor". A follow-up book might be called "My Grandmother Only Drove This Car to Church, So I Don’t Know How It Broke Into Two Pieces and Was Welded Back Together". Are you sure the Vette you're thinking about buying has not had major frame damage? Are you sure the VIN tag is correct for a Corvette and not taken from a Camaro? Are you sure that the Red/Red 427/390hp 4 speed convertible with air conditioning and power brakes and steering was not originally a Green/Green 327/300hp car with no options and a powerglide?
ONE HOUR OF VERIFYING CAN SAVE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS
- Is this Vette its original “Code Correct” color? Can you prove it to me? What should I look for?
- Is this Vette “Numbers Matching?" Can you prove it to me by showing me how to determine this for myself?
- Has the VIN tag been altered?
- Do all safety features and functions work?
- This includes headlights, horn, seat belts, turn indicators, brake lights, wipers
- Does the car stop straight, or does it pull to one side when braking? Are there any leaking or worn major components in the braking system?
- Is the seller willing to show the car on a rack to let you or your mechanic inspect it?
- Is the Corvette factory stock, and if not, what has been modified?
- Does the frame have issues like rust-through, or previous structural damage? Is there a gap between the driver's door and fender large enough to put your thumb in? Can you prove that it does not have any issues by showing it to me on a rack?
- Are the window posts and birdcage in good condition?
- Is the exhaust system free of leaks?
- Is the wiring harness brittle or showing exposed or improperly patched wiring?
- Does the fuel tank leak or show rust?
OTHER WORN ITEMS THAT CAN BE COSTLY TO REPAIR
- Play in the suspension, including: Tie rod ends, idler arm, steering box, ball joints, control arms, trailing arms, bushings
- Rear differential gears
- Transmission synchros, shiftforks, and slipping issues
- Can your seller show and prove to you or your mechanic that these items are in good operating condition? More importantly, is the car safe to drive?
"KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO BUY BEFORE YOU FLY!"
-Greg Rush, Founder of buyavette.net