The mid-engine Corvette may be the new hotness, but as today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe ’79 exemplifies, there are still some older models with engines you can get behind. Let’s find out if this C3’s price puts it ahead of the pack.
If you’re going to take a gamble, where would you rather do so—in an elegant Monte Carlo casino, or one of those tacky, teetering on the edge of bankruptcy Atlantic City joints? You’re going to lose you money either way, but in one case you’ll do so in style and comfort , while in the other it will be siphoned away in an atmosphere of all-you-can-eat buffets and sweaty desperation.
A similar choice arose with how to spend $2,200 yesterday. That was the asking price for the incredibly high-mileage 1986 Mercedes Benz 560SEC we featured, and while the car was presented in its ad with no major bugaboos, its age, provenance, and that distance driven all indicated that it could be quite the gamble to buy.
Fully 79 percent of you felt that was a metaphorical gamble you’d be willing to take, giving the car an overwhelming Nice Price win.
It’s been a couple of months now since the C8 Corvette’s debut. Production models are leaving the factory and we’ve already learned what the new mid-engined cars look like when they get in a shunt. In what’s probably a ‘duh’ moment for most, the new Corvette is the most accomplished of the line, but its shifted motor placement, while long anticipated by many, is not sitting well with a number of traditionalists. If you count yourself among those, we have much to discuss.
Let’s start with this 1979 Corvette Coupe which not only has its motor where god and Zora Arkus-Duntov intended it to be, but also represents a unique model year in the C3 line. This is the last year of the smooth Sting Ray body style, and only the second where the original flying buttress roofline was replaced by the airy bubble back. In the following year, the C3 would gain chunky and angular bumper caps which may have modernized its looks, but in hindsight were far less successful in style.
This model year was also notable for a modest horsepower pump given to the ‘Vette’s two OHV 350 V8s. The lower echelon L48 gained 10 more ponies for a still modest 195. Those that chose the hairier L82 however, got 225 ponies to call their own.
Which one is this? I don’t know, but seeing as it’s a ubiquitous 350 I’d say it doesn’t matter all that much anymore since performance is a mere catalog order away. A GM THM350 three-speed backs up the small block engine here so it’s a cruiser. It should also be noted that the small block engine sits entirely behind the front axle line making the C3 just as much a mid-engine Corvette as the new C8. Well, sorta.
This one is missing its A/C compressor, but the seller says a replacement is part of the deal, and ready to be rebuilt There’s a mere 34,000 miles on the car, and aside from the typical door sag and some chipping in the black paint on the trim, it looks to be in pretty nice shape. Cragar Mags are period appropriate but may not be to everyone’s liking, and are wrapped in newish raised white letter Cooper tires. The silver paint doesn’t look aggressively shiny in the pics but then C3 Corvettes never seem to carry the best factory coats.
The interior is all black and carries the high-back seats that debuted on the ’78 25th Anniversary car. They became standard fare this model year and are matched by a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The driver’s perch needs some work as it’s splitting at the seams on both squab and backrest.
The factory gauge cluster in the center stack sits above an AM/FM/Cassette stereo and the GM HVAC controls that get the short-shrift to vertical placement on the console below. The dash above that looks serviceable but in need of some love, at least for the defroster vent that’s popping up all over.
The seller presents the car with a clean title that he claims is ‘notarized and ready to go.’ He also offers the below video that shows the car running in his impressively crowded carport. I think it sounds pretty damn good.
The asking price is $7,995. That’s a far cry from the sixty grand-plus it will take to join the Corvette squad with a new C8. Some of you would eschew that more expensive option, not from lack of funds, but on principle alone—you just like ‘Vettes that lead with their big V8s.
The new C8 Corvette is obviously the car that the poor old Pontiac Fiero wanted to be when it grew up. This C3 however is an already grownup car in the metal… er, plastic. Yes, it’s not going to have anything like the performance of either the earlier, less constrained cars, or the later more technologically advanced ‘Vettes. That doesn’t mean it can’t be a lot of fun. We just need to decide how much that amount of fun should cost.
What do you think, is this C3 worth that $7,995 asking? Or, does that price move this front-mid engine ‘Vette to the back of the pack?
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