Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/6/19 8:42 a.m.

I recently posted a thread about my dad looking to get an old convertible:
https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/lern-me-classic-gm-convertibles-edition/157639/page1/
 

Since then, my dad has sent me a bunch of old convertibles, all of which ended up being steaming piles of slapped-together hackery. I had a feeling my dad was looking through the rose-tinted lenses a bit, and we talked about what it takes to run and maintain an "old car". At nearly 70 with a few health issues, I'm not so sure that's the best idea, unless it's something in really nice shape. That brought us to the topic of possibly considering something newer.

While my choice for a newer automatic convertible would go to the 2015+ Mustang GT, they are a little out of his comfortable range, so I suggested the C5 Corvette. He never liked the C4, and the C6's are still out of range, and he likes the looks of the C5 better anyway. I mean, you can't go wrong here:



I honestly haven't paid much attention to these other than the Z06 models, but they seem like a decent, reliable modern option. I'm seeing these for between $10-15k on average, which would give him a little wiggle room if it needed some upgrades or maintenance. These are also still new enough that you can find a low mileage garage queen in that range without looking too hard.

So, what should I look for when looking at these? Are there any cool packages I should seek out? He needs something with an automatic due to health issues. Thanks in advance as always!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/6/19 9:20 a.m.

Sounds like something that would work well for his needs. Have him take one for a spin. 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
9/6/19 10:07 a.m.

Problem is parts availability. Dads was done in by a filed transaxle in oregon. 

Yoy also cant get abs modulenew/repaired for a lot of years.

Same with other stuff im forgetting. Vut at 70 years old, and staying local, most of it should be ok. Just my experience. 

Track car wise: issyes with delaminating springs, hard on wheel bearings/tires/brakes. Drains and electrical grounds tended to argue. 

Rebuild the headlights with brass gears.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo SuperDork
9/6/19 10:22 a.m.

You are gonna want to look at 02-04 - they got all the upgrades and have the parts availability kinks mentioned earlier worked out.  Buy-in is not significantly different and would be recovered at time of sale anyway.  

They are stout in daily driver guise.  For a cruiser I would not hesitate for something with higher mileage but honestly most C5 convertibles are cruisers and low mileage anyway.

Avoid one that has grampa-itis with every single stick on piece of plastic and chrome that Mid America and Ecklers sell and some godawful custom interior unless you plan on pulling it all off, the paint may be faded or lift with the double sided tape FYI

Interiors are not the best but will hold up fine.  Mine had 120k and was still in great shape but I was careful with it.  I did re-foam the drivers seat and that made a big difference in comfort.  

They will still knock down 30MPG on premium on the highway.  Always unsure how Miata ended up as the answer instead of "C5" since a C5 is basically a Miata with a bigger trunk, bigger engine, available as coupe, removeable hardtop, or convertible and basically better everything.  

 

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
9/6/19 12:13 p.m.

Also, C5 convertibles are unusually good convertibles in that they tuck their roof completely away and still look very sleek with the top down. There are not many convertibles that look better with their top down than a C5, in the grand scheme of things. I've driven a couple of these in auto and i think they're pretty great for what you can get them for. One of my local friends sold a pretty nice one for 7k due to such low interest and wanting it to be gone. If you just drove it and looked at it you'd think it would have gone for 10 but like most sports cars the convertible, auto trans versions have lower value and can be had cheaply compared to coupes in similar condition. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/6/19 1:07 p.m.

Good info so far! I did find some stuff on the interwebs saying to stick with the 2002+ cars due to various fixes they made to things like the ignition switch and other minor things, so I'll try and keep that in mind. It's basically going to be an "old man" car, but he's not into the tacky crap, so no worries about that. I already told him that he's required to wear jorts, a Tommy Bahama shirt, and white New Balance sneakers every time he drives it if he does indeed get one. laugh

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/7/19 8:12 p.m.

How about this one?
https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1220064624817138/?ref=messenger_share

My dad is considering this one and wants to go check it out. The ad has a serious case of the ol' "MySpace Angles" but it looks clean enough.

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
9/7/19 9:58 p.m.

That's top dollar around here for that, but if you're trying to buy the nicest one you can find it's not out of line.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo SuperDork
9/8/19 9:17 a.m.
Tony Sestito said:

How about this one?
https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1220064624817138/?ref=messenger_share

My dad is considering this one and wants to go check it out. The ad has a serious case of the ol' "MySpace Angles" but it looks clean enough.

Ad is a million years old since it mentions "spring cruising"  so its been sitting or waiting for a sucker to come along.

Price is top dollar and I wouldnt want a black car at all, paint upkeep is a bitch and you are gonna fry like a piggy in a black on black convertible on a sunny day.  

That being said it is the right year, has the Y2K wheels (check those wheels out for cracks, somewhat common) and all stock which is nice.  If you want one with an exhaust buy one with an exhaust, they are stupid money and add $0 to resale- seems 50% of the C5s out there at least have a cat-back.  For a cruiser I wouldn't go long tubes.  I had catless big man Kooks longtubes and SLP exhaust on my car and it was drone-city.  Loud AF and really gnarly but also pretty awful on the highway.  

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
9/8/19 10:46 a.m.

You won’t fry like a piggy.  Keep in mind the AC is the same unit as an S10 Blazer.  In the tight confines of a C5 it’ll make your teeth chatter and your man parts shrivel up.  

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/8/19 2:00 p.m.

Good points on the old ad! Could still be there for a whole number of reasons. Up here, that seems to be the average rate for a clean Vette convertible. Most of the other ones I see with that mileage are around the same money or more. Maybe it's worth it to have something shipped. 

Speaking of which...

My dad is trying to buy something NOW NOW NOW but I am trying to get him to be patient and wait for the right car. He almost went ahead and had a 2010 C6 he found for $20k shipped up from FL, and it's not a color he likes (yellow) and the airbags had deployed from a "light knick" (what light knick makes airbags deploy?) So I vetoed the deal. It was from a friend of my sister's that has a car dealer in FL, but it seemed like a bad deal. 

I did look at one this morning with only 22k miles, but it was a 2000, had one scuffed up wheel, and was a stick. 

The search continues...

 

Shadeux
Shadeux Reader
9/8/19 3:50 p.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

I don't get the whole "black is hot and difficult." I've had black cars and somehow they were cool as any other and needed no extra washing either. But, I'm not changing anyone's mind by writing this.

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
9/8/19 8:06 p.m.

Sounds like your dad is going to be the hardest part of getting a nice car. In general automatic corvettes are easy to find in great condition. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/9/19 7:50 a.m.

Looks like he's moving forward with the yellow one in FL despite my objections. It's a family friend selling it at his car dealer, and he knows the history on the car. I guess someone backed into it and set off one of the airbags (again, I don't like this). He sold the car originally, oversaw the repairs, and took it in last week. It's a 3LT trim level car (aka luxurious old man options), and it looks clean enough with low miles. Wish I had the time; I'd do a fly-and-drive to go grab it with him.

 

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo SuperDork
9/9/19 12:46 p.m.
A 401 CJ said:

You won’t fry like a piggy.  Keep in mind the AC is the same unit as an S10 Blazer.  In the tight confines of a C5 it’ll make your teeth chatter and your man parts shrivel up.  

Someone never drove a black interiored convertible for 3 hours in direct sun and 90F ambient while being brutally hung over.  I would have rather died.  

NoviceClass
NoviceClass New Reader
9/11/19 1:24 a.m.

I have one, and love it. I know a yellow corvette is almost as universally polarizing as Trump, and I never thought I would want/own one until I went and saw this one.

Yeah, it's a garage queen, rarely driven, and I often think of selling. Then I take it out for an afternoon drive, and realize that I don't think I could ever part with it. It's that much fun; it's such a great cruiser, but with the 6 speed and exhaust, it's a ton of fun to hot rod around.

I do have a couple of aftermarket upgrades, a kit to eliminate the 1-4 low speed shift (it's a 6 speed) and a kit to disable the steering wheel lock malfunction, which is a known defect on my MY which is 2000. Also has long tube headers, and a no cat X pipe exhaust which was in it when I bought it, which results in an on again/off again relationship with the CEL and O2 sensors.

8/10 Would Buy Again.

 

2nd pic is during a 2 hour oil change, pain in the butt with the flat pan.

 

3rd pic is when I got it. c6 wheels, fake Z06 brake vents, pinstripes, tinted running lights. side markers, and taillights, chrome louvers on tail lights, huge CORVETTE banner on windscreen, chrome "show hoops" and the OEM "door spears"...all of which HAD. TO. GO.

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
9/11/19 5:35 p.m.

That yellow one is sweet.  The before picture might have been a candidate for the ‘Nice cars destroyed by bad taste’ thread over on advrider.com.  Like good dogs, Vettes with questionable owners need to be rescued. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/11/19 7:37 p.m.
NoviceClass said:

I have one, and love it. I know a yellow corvette is almost as universally polarizing as Trump, and I never thought I would want/own one until I went and saw this one.

Yeah, it's a garage queen, rarely driven, and I often think of selling. Then I take it out for an afternoon drive, and realize that I don't think I could ever part with it. It's that much fun; it's such a great cruiser, but with the 6 speed and exhaust, it's a ton of fun to hot rod around.

I do have a couple of aftermarket upgrades, a kit to eliminate the 1-4 low speed shift (it's a 6 speed) and a kit to disable the steering wheel lock malfunction, which is a known defect on my MY which is 2000. Also has long tube headers, and a no cat X pipe exhaust which was in it when I bought it, which results in an on again/off again relationship with the CEL and O2 sensors.

8/10 Would Buy Again.

 

2nd pic is during a 2 hour oil change, pain in the butt with the flat pan.

 

3rd pic is when I got it. c6 wheels, fake Z06 brake vents, pinstripes, tinted running lights. side markers, and taillights, chrome louvers on tail lights, huge CORVETTE banner on windscreen, chrome "show hoops" and the OEM "door spears"...all of which HAD. TO. GO.

Nice work rescuing that one. It looks great now! I like the yellow on the C5's (Millennium Yellow, IIRC) but the C6's look kinda weird in that color. To be fair, I think the C5 looks a lot better than the C6 because pop-up headlights are way cooler than the fake Ferrari 360 ones on the C6. 

Now I want a C5 for myself! 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/23/19 1:30 p.m.

I don't know if I ever thanked everyone for their input with this edition of LERN ME, but thanks!

My dad ended up getting the yellow C6.


To be honest, the deal was too good to pass up. It was about $10-15K less than a comparable C6 up here (and cheaper than some of the C5's we were looking at!), and it's in nicer shape than I thought. I drove it around extensively last Friday, and it is a really nice car. And my dad is very happy with it.



After driving it, I'm going to keep a drop-top C5 or C6 in my want list for the future. It's a great cruiser!

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
9/23/19 3:22 p.m.

 To be fair, I think the C5 looks a lot better than the C6 because pop-up headlights are way cooler than the fake Ferrari 360 ones on the C6

I seriously thought i was the only one on this entire forum who thought that. I AM NOT ALONE.cool 

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke UltraDork
9/23/19 11:23 p.m.
Vigo said:

 To be fair, I think the C5 looks a lot better than the C6 because pop-up headlights are way cooler than the fake Ferrari 360 ones on the C6

I seriously thought i was the only one on this entire forum who thought that. I AM NOT ALONE.cool 

Not alone at all. C7 is the best looking followed by the C5.

NoviceClass
NoviceClass New Reader
9/24/19 12:09 a.m.

Interior wise the C6 is a huge upgrade from the C5, along with some ride quality improvements, I think your Dad will really love his Corvette.

Although I am partial to the yellow, aren't the C6 cars a slightly different shade? Competition Yellow instead of Millinneum Yellow?

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/24/19 9:21 a.m.

In reply to NoviceClass :

IIRC, the Millenium Yellow almost has a metallic or pearl quality to it. The yellow on my dad's is straight-up yellow with no metallic or anything. I couldn't stand it until I saw it in person; it looks sharp.

One thing I will say that is kinda funny: When you are driving a bright yellow Corvette convertible, people notice. I used to get reactions when driving my Trans Am, but this stuff was hilarious. While driving it around, I had some interesting responses, ranging from thumbs up, to people scoffing at it, and even a really nice Volvo V70R wagon gave me a "ricer flyby" trying to bait me into racing. Being a jaded car guy that's driven all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff for years, I always forget what it's like to be a "normal person" looking at cars.

Also, kids love it! After going to visit my uncle in it (who's 88, used to have some cool cars of his own back in the day, and strongly approves of his brother's purchase), two kids walking home from a local park spotted it and yelled "COOL CAR!" which then turned into the kids coming over and taking pics with their cell phone. After they asked nicely, we let them sit in the car and make vroom-vroom noises for a few minutes. It really made their day. I think we created two little gearheads for life with that gesture. laugh

 

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