It’s no doubt that the C4 Corvette is the marque’s bargain-basement offering right now, but could the issues with today’s Nice Price or No Dice coupe prove too overwhelming to make even its low asking price seem a deal?
The fish out of water storyline has long been a popular trope in TV and movies. A recent example is Ted Lasso in the show Ted Lasso. In fact, if you put just about any character in unfamiliar surroundings something interesting is bound to happen.
The 1993 Mazda Miata we looked at yesterday appeared to be a fish out of water in its off-road settings, even if it had been modded for just such shenanigans. As interesting as it was, not everyone was on board (and off-road) with the idea. Couple that unease with an $8,500 asking price and the seemingly inevitable outcome was a 70 percent No Dice loss.
The PBS show This Old House has been airing its can-do attitude toward home restoration now for over 40 years. Over that time it has seen three hosts, a ton of segments on laying roof shingles, and early on, a notable shift in concept to including homeowners in the work, demonstrating the fiscal and personal rewards of “sweat equity.”
If there were a similar show for automobiles, perhaps something called “This Old Car,” then today’s 1991 Chevy Corvette coupe might be a viable candidate for either professional or amateur refurbishment. Based on the pictures and the seller’s description, it sure needs it.
The C4 edition of the long-running Corvette line is presently the marque’s value leader. That makes it a great time to snap one up because they are likely at the bottom of their market and will eventually get carried up in value by rising prices amongst more popular editions.
By the way, yesterday was the Corvette model line’s birthday, as the first one rolled off the line at General Motors’ Flint, Michigan plant on June 30, 1953. (See? Corvettes are even older than This Old House!)
This 141,000-mile, clean-title coupe is about as bottom of the market as you could find in the Corvette ecosphere. It’s also in serious need of cleaning, repair, and probably three gallons of deodorizer since I can smell the cigarettes and trapped farts from the pics.
The major issue with this ’Vette is apparently its four-speed automatic which the seller explains needs to be replaced “after last night’s burn outs.” According to the ad, the car will drive but won’t go into fourth gear. Actually, the seller says it won’t “get into the 4th and fifth gear” but seeing as the transmission is only a four-speed maybe they should stop trying to find that last cog.
Other issues on the car include an extremely ratty interior with seats that need to be reupholstered or replaced, cigarette butts in the ashtray and not one but two coil lighters in the console. There are a lot of weather seals that need to be renewed too.
On the outside, things aren’t quite as grim, but there are enough scrapes on the front bumper to make you wonder if the car is regularly parked next to or in the shopping cart return. The wheels are factory alloys but maddeningly mismatched for each side, with some vanes on the turbines facing forward and some backward. The plastic bodywork seems in decent shape, outside of that gnarly front bumper. The metal trim, on the other hand, needs some new paint.
All in all, it’s quite a mess. But, it’s not too far gone, plus these C4 Corvettes aren’t transaxle cars, so replacing the transmission is something you could probably do in the driveway. While that’s happening, the seats could be out for a re-do and the interior could be cleaned and aired out for a month or so. That kind of sweat equity would really make this ’Vette a value, especially if the cost of entry isn’t too high.
An asking price of $1,500 makes this probably the cheapest running (if only barely) Corvette in the country, that’s not also actively on fire. Considering all the work that needs to be done to it to make it a driver, however, is that cheap enough, or would it be more prudent to spend a little more for a car that doesn’t demand quite so much sweat in its equity?
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