Welcome to Hobby Car Corvettes, located in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania. What started out as a passion and a hobby for Bob Sottile growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, turned into a full time father-son business in 1986. Having been in the business of buying, restoring, and reselling beloved Corvettes since 1986, we know more than well how complex and overwhelming the used car buying process can be. When you set out to purchase your used Corvette, you will be faced with a myriad of choices and challenges. We are here to make the experience of buying your Corvette, as stress free as possible.
Read on for
9 things to consider
before buying your used Corvette!
One of the first decisions you will be faced with is how much you are comfortably able to spend on your Corvette. It is essential that you have a firm grasp on your financial constraints, so you can narrow your search. Be sure to consider how much you can spend total, not just on purchasing the Corvette. When buying used vehicles, you should have a cushion for restoration or upgrades. The amount of money you should have in reserves for this is going to vary depending on how “used” your vehicle of choice is.
If after crunching the numbers you determine that you have $35,000 to spend total, you most likely don’t want to commit to a $35,000 used Corvette. Always allow some for personal upgrades, taxes/fees, and shipping if need be.
Keep in mind as well, some work needed may be apparent immediately, while other unexpected expenses may pop up after driving your Corvette of the lot. Remember, these cars have been on the road for a long time. Even if you purchase a very well maintained or restored Corvette that runs great off the lot, it will still require scheduled maintenance and will eventually need some work to keep it running properly.
At Hobby Car Corvettes, not only do we offer incredible Corvettes at incredible prices, we will also work with you to find the best car that meets your must haves and your designated budget. We try to stay out of the middle of financing, as that is not our area of expertise, but here you can find some links to some companies that may be able to assist you.
RESTORE OR ROAD READY?
Now that you have a firmly established budget in mind, on to the fun choices. When buying a used Corvette, you need to determine if you prefer a car that is fully ready to safely drive off the lot, or if you want to undertake the challenge of a restoration.
Determining your total budget is essential before making this choice, because it will greatly affect what you are financially able to take on, and how much you can allocate to the actual Corvette purchase price. If what you are looking for is a challenging restoration project, you will need to set aside a healthy chunk of your budget for these costs.
Additionally, we’re all familiar with the concept that time is money, and the size of the project you take on is going to require a certain amount of your valuable time. Knowing how much time you have to spare currently and a time-frame in which you would like to have the project completed, will set you up for a far more enjoyable and successful experience. Too many people undertake a Corvette restoration they simply don’t have the time for, and then sadly the project ends up abandoned. We don’t want to see you invest in this awesome project, only to end up feeling discouraged and disappointed.
We know it can be tempting to impulsively break out the checkbook when you see a low price tag on a beautiful Corvette, but often the low priced used vehicles, are in need of substantial repair and restoration, and these projects add up. Just know, that price you pay for the Corvette is not the end price. You need to be prepared with your restoration budget.
We have been in the business of doing our own restorations for over 30 years, and we can offer reliable insight as to how much time and money each of our vehicles may require in terms or repairs, restorations, and upgrades. Here you will find links to many of the parts and service providers we have had positive experiences working with.
At Hobby Car Corvettes, we have a sales floor stocked with both road ready Vettes and gently loved cars ready for a little at home TLC. So whether you want to get your hands dirty or just hit the road in style, we have what you are looking for.
CHOOSING AN ERA
This decision is one of our favorites. Every generation of Corvettes has brought something original and exciting to the table. While our favorite generation is C3s, we welcome you to explore our inventory of Corvettes from almost every generation, to get a feel for what each era has to offer, aesthetically and functionally.
Your predetermined budget will aid greatly in making this choice. Different generations will yield varying benefits, possible downfalls, and most certainly, price tags. For example, When looking at C3 Corvettes, model years made from 1968-1972 will be more expensive. This is due to being the last production run for chrome bumpers and the end of the high-horsepower era. To learn more about the end of the chrome bumper, check out this post! The benefits of purchasing from these years is of course owning a beautiful and highly regarded piece of Corvette history, but you need to be sure you have it in your budget. C3 Corvettes made from 1973-1982 will yield a lower price tag and still provide great value for those who are looking for a dependable and more affordable option.
One reason we love C3 Vettes, is they are generally easy to restore. In most cases, parts are easy to find in local parts stores and online. Additionally, the step by step labor involved is fairly straightforward and a great place to start for a first time restoration project. If you are not wanting to do the work yourself, experienced enthusiasts in the Corvette community are easy to find and many have done work on C3 Corvettes, due to their popularity. You are sure to find someone who can help you successfully complete a C3 minor or major restoration project.
SPECIAL OPTION PACKAGES
If one of your main goals in your Corvette hunt is finding a truly unique and one of a kind machine, you may want to consider searching for a special Corvette option package. Keep in mind, these incredible cars will undoubtedly cost a pretty penny. But if you have the budget, these Corvettes are very cool and rare collector’s items!
Special option Corvette packages come in at a higher cost due to their limited production, and can additionally be challenging to find because of their low production numbers. But if you are game for the hunt, let the hunt begin!
A few special option Corvettes you may want to research include the two special edition Corvettes from 1978. The 25th anniversary of the Corvette was commemorated with the Silver Anniversary Corvette, which was a two-tone of silver and charcoal with special decals. The second limited release was a replica of the original Indy Pace Car Corvette that GM designed to be the official pace car of 1978’s Indianapolis 500 race.
In 1981, GM opened a new plant in Bowling Green, KY and commemorated this event by releasing Corvettes in 4 different two-tone color combinations: Autumn Red/Dark Claret, Beige/Dark Bronze, Silver/Charcoal, and Silver/Dark Blue. GM strategically chose a special release focusing on paint jobs to showcase the new plant’s greatly improved and advanced paint shop. These special releases are often referred to as Bowling Green Special Edition cars, even though they were technically special paint options, not “special editions”. Nonetheless, this is still a very cool car to look for if the color of your Corvette is a high priority for you.
1982 saw the final special option for the C3 Corvettes, the 1982 Collector Edition Corvette. This release was designed to commemorate the inevitable end of the third generation of Corvettes.
CONVERTIBLE OR T-TOP
This is a really fun decision to make! The Corvette convertible is a classic, and easy on the eye. The t-top is also an exciting option. Both have their perks and downfalls, so you will want to familiarize yourself with these so you can choose wisely based on your needs and taste.
Should you decide you want to be the proud owner of a Corvette convertible, you will need to keep in mind that this option was discontinued in 1975 and reintroduced in 1986. If you are in the market for a Corvette convertible, be sure to search for the correct years to save you time.
While owning a convertible is a dream for many, the t-top Corvette is also a very popular option. They provide the convenience of a coupe, with the freedom of cruising without the t-top, which is the next best thing to owning a convertible. Additionally, Corvette t-tops are going to come in at a lower price.
4-SPEED OR AUTOMATIC
Another crucial decision you will need to make is whether you want to cruise around in a 4-speed manual transmission Corvette or an automatic. Both of these options offer unique benefits, and you want to know what they are and what is most important to you. This decision truly comes down to personal preference.
Many car enthusiasts love the feeling of shifting gears. It offers the driver the feeling of power and more control. It really makes for a more intimate driving experience. However, with an automatic transmission, you are afforded more freedom and convenience.
When making this choice, do keep in mind that General Motors did produce more Vettes with automatic transmissions, so if it’s a manual transmission corvette you desire, you will need to budget more to make it happen.
This isn’t so much of a decision, as valuable information for a successful used Corvette buying experience. Every car you see for sale on our website has a clear title, and any car you consider buying should. Always verify that the title provided with the car you intend to purchase is clear. The 3 major marks to look for that will tell you a title is NOT clear are Salvage, Reconstructed, and Flood.
A Salvage title means that the car has been damaged beyond repair in the eyes of the insurance company (in simple terms – someone totaled it). A Reconstructed title means that the car had a Salvage title at one point, but has been repaired and put back on the road. Flood titles, sometimes marked with a “W”, mean that the car received significant water damage, but like reconstructed cars, was put back on the road. With Corvettes, stay away from salvage, reconstructed, and flood titles – always buy one with a clear title.
For more valuable information on Corvette titles, check out our post on Car Titles: What to Consider when Looking for a Classic Corvette.
While some Corvette enthusiasts may be incredibly excited by a car that still bears every original nut and bolt, others may not be so concerned with this. You will want to decide how important originality is to you as a buyer. The last thing you want to do is find a beautiful car you love with the right transmission and color and price tag, only to find that many of its pieces and parts are not original, if this is a factor that holds importance to you. Knowing how much you value originality will allow you to narrow your search from the get-go.
If you already plan to do a lot of upgrading, then most likely “originality’ won’t fall high on the list of priorities. This will widen your options greatly.
The term you will see most often describing originality is “numbers matching.” This term can be stretched to mean that the date codes on every part of the car are correct for the parts that would have been original to the car. However, in most cases, including on our website, numbers matching simply means that the numbers on the car’s engine block match up to the car’s VIN (the last six digits of each should be the same) to show that the engine in the car is the engine it rolled off the assembly line with.
One thing to keep in mind, matching numbers can increase a car’s value. On the flip side, a drastically upgraded engine could increase the value even more, especially if the car only started with a base level engine to begin with.
BUYING FROM HOBBY CAR CORVETTES
When you buy a Corvette from Hobby Car Corvettes, we assure you will have a positive experience and leave not only with the right car for you, but also peace of mind. Buying a used Corvette can and should be an invigorating experience, but it can be overwhelming and unfortunately disappointing if you are not prepared. With over 30 years of experience in the business and a genuine shared passion for Corvette, we are beyond qualified and committed to providing you with the best used Corvette buying experience!
Whether you’re a Pennsylvania native or shopping online from across the country or even around the world, we are ready and excited to be your first and last stop on your Corvette buying journey. Start exploring our inventory and reach out to set up a phone call or appointment to visit our showroom and start your Corvette hunt today!