As an entry into the Corvette hobby (for someone who’s a bit more interested in old-school cool than performance) you can’t go wrong with a rubber-bumper C3. While appearance-wise you either love ’em or you hate ’em, they’re perfect for an entry level Corvette – being widely available, relatively cheap, and having an aftermarket saturated in support.
However, more than in anything else, the phrase “you get what you pay for” applies to the automotive world; ’75 and up C3’s can be temptingly affordable, but it takes some keen observations to spare yourself from getting trapped with a nightmare-inducing money pit. Structural integrity becomes the largest concern, as many a C3 has suffered years or even decades of neglect and, consequently, birdcage and frame rot.
Nevertheless, those so inclined to make their way into the glorious world of Corvette-ownership shouldn’t be the least bit dissuaded by this news. There are countless examples across the country of sound, fair-priced rubber-bumper ‘Vettes (and even some affordable chrome-bumper examples, if you look a bit harder) that are ready to change hands. All you have to do is be able to distinguish between what’s hot and what’s not.That, of course, is often easier said than done. Take, for example, this somewhere-in-the-middle ’75 Corvette – it’s far from a dump but nowhere near a gem. Unless you’re looking to undertake a full chassis off restoration or buy a show-level car, this rubber-bumper C3 is probably on par with most all that you’ll be considering.
At face value, it seems like a totally viable option. For a 41-year-old sport-touring car, it’s overall health appears to be pretty good – good enough, at least, for you to take it out a couple nights a week and not loathe yourself for spending money on it. From what we can see, no rips, tears or unbecoming aftermarket pieces plague the interior. The upholstery looks to be re-pop covers and look presentable if a little fluffier than stock.
On the outside, again, no major body damage is apparent. Obviously, the paint would need repair and there’s the matter of the out-of-place Centerline wheels (which some may like, others may despise), but overall the body seems to check out.
Then there’s the issue with the 1980-82 bumper cap. Okay folks, we get it that “updating” the look of the your ’70s ‘Vette seems like a goos idea, but it rarely is.
Yes, the blemishes seem few and straightforward, and yes, the asking price seems fairly reasonable. However, to ensure that you aren’t volunteering yourself into a four-wheeled disaster, a somewhat sleuth-like process of critical thinking needs to occur based off of all the information at hand.
In this case, the seller failed to mention how many miles the ‘Vette has under its belt. He or she states that they drive it regularly, but not how far or since when. Given the dull, decaying paint and the seemingly seldom-used interior, we suspect that the mile-count is small and that the daily-driving hasn’t been the pattern for very long.Given the suspected low miles (and taking into account that this car is approaching a half-century in age), it’s likely that it has spent a significant part of its life sitting dormant, with some degree of exposure to the elements – hence the dull, decaying paint. And, assuming it hasn’t only recently moved to its current home of Clayton, North Carolina, it’s seen more than its fair share of subtropical climate and snowfall, which is a surefire recipe for rust on a notoriously-leaky C3.Subtle signs of what troubles could lie underneath are seen in the door jamb and windshield header. However, for the price of only $7,500, it would be entirely up to the buyer’s discretion (and pocketbook) whether to steer clear or take the risk.
But what do you think about this on-the-fence ’75 – does it seem like a worthwhile fixer-upper, or nothing but a lost cause? What insights would you offer on this C3? Let us know in the comments below!