At $6,950, Is This Burgundy 1990 Chevrolet Corvette Worth Breaking Out Some Green?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

The ad for today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Corvette says it’s been garage-kept all its life. That’s almost a shame since a car this clean needs to be seen. Let’s see if its price means it’ll find a new garage to call home.

If you pull something out of the back of the fridge, give it a whiff, and find it terribly funky, your most natural reaction is to stick it under someone else’s nose and demand for them to “smell this.”


Misery loves a companion, and yesterday we all shared in what was likely the best example of a very miserable car—a 1988 Ford Tempo AWD—one could find. You can still find it since, at $6,999, it’s not likely going anywhere anytime soon, a fact pointed out in the 84 percent Crack Pipe vote the car engendered.

I want you to think back on that Tempo from yesterday and then compare it to this 1990 Chevrolet Corvette coupé and realize that these cars were from the same era, separated by just two model years’ production. Oh sure, they are also from different manufacturers and represent totally different categories. Still, I’m sure you get the point.

The C4 Corvette, especially the earlier L98-powered cars like this one, seem to be the bargain bin buys of the ‘Vette ecosystem. Even the most terrible editions of the earlier C3—the ’75 through ’82 models—seem to be rising in value. Those cars have had so little oomph you might feel compelled to check and see if someone has stolen one of the squirrels providing power. They also typically suffered from more squeaks and rattles than a very wealthy cat’s toy collection.


The C4 was almost an entirely clean-sheet redesign, eschewing things like a separate frame and fiberglass body for a ‘uniframe’ foundation upon which was laid an un-stressed Sheet Molded Compound (SMC) body. Other changes included a switch from coil springs upfront for a fiberglass transverse mono-leaf unit and the replacement of the C3’s T-top roof for a full Targa. Overall, the C4 was lightyears ahead of the C3 when it grabbed the baton.


This dealer-offered edition comes to us in a lovely Dark Red Metallic over a black leather interior. It rides on the factory alloys, although those have been chrome plated and while they look to be in excellent shape, chrome wheels can be a pain in the ass as they age.


There are a couple of small scuffs on the front bumper, obvious sacrifices to the curb gods offended by the car’s low nose. Other than that, the car looks to be in excellent kit and features both the solid fiberglass roof and the smoked acrylic panel. Of course, it’ll be up to you to decide which one to carry and which one to use.


There’s a lot to like inside as well. This being a later edition, it sports the rounder and more Pontiac-like dash and console. It still has an at least partly digital dash, a hallmark of the C4 and a still pretty cool feature. Everything looks to be perfectly serviceable here, with just a bit of display bleed on the HVAC readout to detract.

There’s a mere 95,000 on the clock, and the 5.7-litre L98 under the hood is simple as a pimple so it should have plenty more on tap. The downside of this era’s tuned port injected V8 is its fairly meager output. The pushrodder had been massaged to the point of having 250 horsepower on offer as well as a bit more laudable 350 lb-ft of torque. But then, this generation of ‘Vette has always been about balance and handling rather than out and out performance. A four-speed automatic and 2.59:1 rear end mean this is a cruiser rather than a bruiser.


The ad claims new tires and ice-cold air among the car’s attractions and notes that it has been well maintained and garage-kept, also both equally laudable attributes. What appears to be a new alternator lies underhood, but that doesn’t get a mention. A clean title and current registration do, however.


As I noted at the outset, these early C4s are, much like the 991 edition of Porsche’s 911, the redheaded stepchild of the model line. In the grand scheme of things that doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad cars, it just means that there could be better ones out there. As we all know, better always costs more.


This seemingly clean and handsome C4 asks $6,950 and that’s from a dealer. That seems pretty aggressively priced, and you know that someday these will start climbing back up in value, just look at the C3s.


The question then is whether anyone should take a chance on this one at that $6,960 asking. What do you think, could it reasonably be worth that? Or, is that price going to keep this ‘Vette from earning its forever (or for a while, at least) home?

You decide!


Orlando, FL Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.