At $5,500, Will This TLC-Needing 1979 Chevy Corvette Sell PDQ?

The seller says that a bad back is preventing them from doing the work needed to make this ’Vette a driver.

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Nice Price or No Dice 1979 Chevy Corvette project
Photo: Craigslist

Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Corvette may be Malaise-Era, but it’s still pretty exciting, even in its current project-car state. Let’s see how excited we can get over its price.

When I first saw the $25,000 price tag on yesterday’s 1992 Toyota Celica All-Trac, I myself was a bit shocked. Not being all that close a follower of All-Trac prices or even Celicas in general, I thought maybe it was a typo or perhaps that the seller had somehow confused the car with some sort of Porsche. Seeing as the ad had been up for weeks, plenty of time has passed to fix any such error, so it must, in fact, be the seller’s intention. Too bad for them, then, that few of you agreed with that intent. That disagreement resulted in the Celica slumping across the finish line with an 80 percent No Dice loss.

So, the latest news out of General Motors is that Chevrolet is planning on spinning the Corvette into its own sub-brand, with some sort of sporty five-door SUV as the initial sacrilege. You are probably having the same wait-and-see expectations as am I on this plan, but honestly, my first response to this news was: “this is why we can’t have nice things.”

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Image for article titled At $5,500, Will This TLC-Needing 1979 Chevy Corvette Sell PDQ?
Photo: Craigslist

Instead of postulating what such a plethorvette future might hold, let’s look back on a bit of the model’s past with this 1979 Chevy Corvette coupe. This, of course, is representative of the C3 edition, which ran from 1969 to its long-overdue demise in 1982.

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Now, many of you might look at this model and dismiss it as being the nadir of the Corvette’s existence. To that denouement, I must reply “nay, nay” as that nadir actually came a model year earlier.

As a matter of fact, in ’79, the Corvette actually gained horsepower after five or six years of having the ponies whittled away by emissions and fuel economy regulations. This model year, the 350 cubic inch displacement L48 V8 could be had with either a 180-horse base or an upgraded edition with 220 horses. That higher-output mill could push the ’Vette to sixty in well under seven seconds which was pretty damn good for the time. The ’79 edition also received as standard, the bubble back glass and high-back bucket seats that, the year before, had been the exclusive province of the Indy Pace Car edition.

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Image for article titled At $5,500, Will This TLC-Needing 1979 Chevy Corvette Sell PDQ?
Photo: Craigslist

Both of those features are obvious on this red-over-biscuit car, although there are numerous other elements that are presently… well, not on the car. Those include the instrument cluster, replacement brake booster, and what looks to be a bunch of air ducts and interior trim.

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Image for article titled At $5,500, Will This TLC-Needing 1979 Chevy Corvette Sell PDQ?
Photo: Craigslist

Truth be told, this is a project car and according to the ad, will need to be towed away for repair and refurbishment. The seller claims the engine does turn but states that “IT well Need Technical LOVE & Care” to get it back on the road. It appears that some of the parts to get it there will accompany the car with the sale, with the seller claiming a bad back as the excuse for why the parts are not yet on the car.

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Aesthetically, the 158,000-mile Corvette also could use some attention. There are a number of small scrapes evident in the Endura front bumper that could stand touching up. Along with that, there are what looks like cat footie-prints across the paint on the T-tops. Other than those issues, and some chipping in the black paint on the rear window trim, the car looks pretty solid. The age-appropriate Rallye-style wheels also look awesome.

Image for article titled At $5,500, Will This TLC-Needing 1979 Chevy Corvette Sell PDQ?
Photo: Craigslist
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Inside, things are a bit hit or miss. The leather on the seats looks perfectly serviceable, however, everything around those seats is either a bit grungy or actually AWOL so we can’t tell the condition. Hopefully, the parts bin that comes along with the car has all the parts necessary to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again. It should also be noted that this is an automatic transmission car, in case that colors your opinion.

Something else that we should consider is the seller’s note in the ad that there are back fees on the car. What that means is that the seller failed to switch the car to non-operation status when the registration was due and now the car is in arrears with the DMV. That could add up to several hundred dollars if it’s been off the road for more than a couple of years. I can’t actually see the color on the tag to determine just how out-of-date it is.

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On the plus side, the title is clean and the car has been in the seller’s family for more than 25 years so it should come with a good bit of history.

Image for article titled At $5,500, Will This TLC-Needing 1979 Chevy Corvette Sell PDQ?
Photo: Craigslist
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The seller asks that only serious buyers need bother reply to the ad, and those serious folk should first check their bank accounts to see if they have the $5,500 the seller is asking for the car. Actually, in the ad, the seller claims that they will “work out on price” because of the back fees. Still, expect the final price to be somewhere in that neighborhood.

Without knowing the extent of all that’s wrong with this car and what it will take to actually get it on the road and legally registered, we’re going to have a hard time estimating the car’s valuation and that price. Still, I have all the confidence in the world in you.

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What do you say, is this project classic Corvette worth that $5,500 asking? Or, is this a case of letting sleeping dogs lie?

You decide!

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Inland Empire, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Don R. for the hookup! 

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