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Corvette Buyers Guide

April 29, 2016

Tips How to Pick the Perfect Corvette

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Nearly 65 years after the first Chevy Corvette came down the assembly line in Flint, Mich., America’s homegrown supercar isn’t slowing up anytime soon. In fact, the current Corvette Z06 can race from 0-60 in less than 3 seconds, thanks in no small part to a supercharged V-8 engine capable of 650 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque. Yet while today’s models may represent the peak of Corvette performance, every generation has its own unique appeal for enthusiasts. So even if you’re set on buying a ‘Vette, choosing exactly the right one should be a careful process.

Decide Where To Buy Your Corvette

First off, you have to decide between buying one of those new Corvettes straight from a dealership or opting for the pre-owned route. Some folks just prefer buying “new” on principle, and they’ll enjoy all the warranty coverage and modern conveniences of the 2016 Corvette, from a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot to Apple’s CarPlay smartphone integration; Android Auto compatibility comes in March of 2016. On the other hand, searching out previously purchased Corvettes is the only way to get your hands on a classic, and with Chevy’s flagship sports car, there are plenty.

That brings us another tricky decision: If you do prefer a vintage Corvette, you have to choose from among seven distinct generations. Beyond the modern-day supercar appearance of the 2016 version, past models have shown a wide spectrum of looks, with highlights including the shark-like style of the third generation and the chrome-and-finned elegance of the first.

Further, with older Corvettes, condition becomes an issue, which means so do both budgetary factors and wrenching skills. As with any vintage vehicle, buying an older Corvette requires balancing your own financial resources with the car’s purchase price, yearly upkeep and your ability to handle maintenance yourself, since a DIY mechanic will be able to defray a significant amount of the unavoidable effort it takes to keep classic vehicles in top shape.

Buy a Corvette Convertible, Hard Top or T-Top

Then there’s the shape of the top to consider. Although Corvette was sold solely as a convertible during its first generation, the striking Sting Ray coupe came along in 1963, with a drop-top variant, and the third-generation cars introduced “T-tops,” too. These removable roof panels became an iconic design cue for the Corvette, morphing into the stowable hardtop panels that still distinguish the latest coupes. Of course, in the 2016 Chevy Corvette, those standard panels are made of carbon fiber to help keep the car light on its feet, and they’re also being offered on the Z06 edition for the first time, backed by a lightweight aluminum frame that is 20 percent more rigid than that of the hardtop Z06 of past years.

Indeed, there’s a lot that’s fresh about the Z06 in its current configuration, including the recently announced special edition that will honor Corvette’s hugely successful racing program. Which brings us to perhaps the toughest thing about choosing a Corvette to buy: Chevrolet just keeps making new ones from which to choose.


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