Buying a Corvette

1990 Corvette ZR-1 For Sale

1962 Corvette For SaleBuying your first Corvette can be a difficult task if you're not sure what to look for.  You've heard all the terms, "matching numbers", "body-off restoration", "frame-off restoration" etc. but you're not sure what they mean.  Our goal here is to provide you with a little bit of knowledge before you go into the Corvette buying world and to supply you with a handy check list of items that you may want to check out the Corvette that you're interested in purchasing.  Depending on options, some of the items on the list, may or may not apply to the particular Vette that you're looking at.  Hopefully, we've compiled a fairly broad enough array of items to look at that will cover just about all Corvette model years.

Below, are a few of those definitions defined and we've added the checklist for you to take a look at.  If you would like a copy of the check list to take with you on a potential lead, just press the "Print Version" button and the form will appear in a new browser window.  Print the form out from your browser window and you're well on your way to becoming a new Corvette owner.  Note:  The form is 6 pages long.  Good luck!

  • Matching-Numbers:  By far, this is probably the most commonly used term you will ever see when it comes to buying a Corvette.  Many owners claim that their Corvettes are matching numbers, but many owners fail to have a good understanding of what the term truly means.  Most parts on a Corvette come with serial numbers and date codes.  Often the serial number of the part will also contain the date code in which the part was manufactured.  An example would be the engine code found on the Corvette's engine block.  This code can identify the engine's origin and date of manufacture.  The term, "matching numbers" implies that all parts on the car are numerically correct and the date of manufacture of those parts are correct for that Corvette.  For example, if you're looking at a 1969 Corvette with a 427ci. engine and the engine stamp indicates that the engine was built in early 1968, or even late 1967, that Corvette cannot be called a "matching-numbers Corvette".  As parts break and need replacement, many owners, purchase the parts they believe are correct for the car, when in fact, numerically, they may not be.  If you're in the market for a "numbers matching" Corvette, and you're not familiar with identifying build codes and date codes, you should probably take someone along with you that is knowledgable in that area.

  • Body-Off Restoration:  Simply refers to the fact that the Corvette was restored and the body was removed from the frame in order to conduct a thorough restoration.

  • Frame-Off Restoration:  Although slightly misleading, this term is the same thing as the above "Body-Off Restoration".
Below is the Buyer's Form we've built.  If you'd like your own copy, press the Print Copy button below.

General Assessment
Model Year: ___________ Model: ___________________________ VIN: ________________________
1.  Owner name: _________________________ Phone #: __________________
2.  Exterior Color: _______________ Interior Color: ___________________
3.  Mileage: ___________
4.  Reason for selling the car? _________________________________________________________________
5.  Documentation available?  Window Sticker   Build Sheet   Protect-O-Plate   None   Miscellaneous:________________________________________________________________________________
6.  Are maintenance records available?  Yes   No
7.  Who maintained the car and where?_______________________________
8.  Are maintenance or upgrade receipts available?  Yes   No
9.  How many previous owners have there been? _______
10.  Can the former owners be contacted?  Yes   No
11.  If so, what are their names and phone numbers?
12.  Is it currently registered?  Yes   No
13.  Does it have a current inspection sticker?  Yes   No   Will it pass state inspection?  Yes   No
14.  Are there any modifications?  Yes   No   List them:
15.  If equipped with standard transmission, has the clutch ever been replaced?  Yes   No   When? Where? What mileage?______________________________________________
16.  Has the car ever been in an accident or had bodywork done?  Yes   No   Why?
17.  Has the car been kept garaged?  Yes   No
18.  What have been the average driving conditions? (Sun only, rain, snow?)  _______________________________________________________
19.  Does the car need anything now?  Yes   No   If so, what? ___________________________________________________

Body Condition
1.  Does the car sit level?  Yes   No
2.  Check body panels for uniformity.  Pass   Fail
3.  Check for body damage.  Look at:  Wheel wells, floor pan, rear hatch (pull up carpet), front and rear valance, fenders, quarter panels, uniform body molding.  Check for paint over-spray in:  headlights, gas door, door jams, fender skirts, engine compartment?.  Is there evidence of body damage?  Yes   No
4.  Is the paint oxidized  Yes   No     Some oxidation
5.  Has the car ever been repainted?  Yes   No
6.  If so, why, by whom, and how long ago? ______________________________________________________
7.  Does sides of the car appear aligned?  Yes   No
8.  Are there any waves or stress cracks in the fiberglass?  Yes   No
9.  Are there any dings or stone chips in the paint?  Yes   No
10.  Are there any cracks or chips in the windshield or side and rear glass?  Yes   No
11.  Do the doors open and close normally?  Yes   No
12.  Do the doors and trunk lock and unlock correctly with the key?  Yes   No
13.  Do the doors and trunk (if applicable) lock/unlock correctly with remote key FOB (if applicable)?  Yes   No
14.  Does the rear hatch glass open properly?  Yes   No   From inside?  Yes   No
15.  Do the struts hold the rear hatch?  Yes   No
16.  Does the hood release work?  Yes   No
17.  Does the color match the trim tag color code?  Yes   No
18.  Are there missing badges, or moldings?  Yes   No

Chassis & Suspension
1.  Are the tires in good condition?  Yes   No   Cracked or signs of dry rot?  Yes   No
2.  Is tire wear uniform.  Yes   No
3.  Are the wheels stock?  Yes   No   What type of wheels? _______________
4.  Are the wheels in good condition?  Yes   No
5.  Are the brake rotors in good condition? (check for cracks or scarring)  Yes   No
6.  Are there any wet spots under the car?  Yes   No
7.  Are the rubber axle boots in good condition?  Yes   No
8.  Inspect the tie rod ends and ball joints.  Pass   Fail
9.  Inspect the shocks.  Dry   Wet   If the shocks appear to be wet, they may be leaking and in need of repair.
10.  Is the exhaust in good condition?  Yes   No

Interior Condition
1.  Are all door, hatch, and top seals in good condition?  Yes   No
2.  (If applicable) Is the ratchet wrench for the targa top there?  Yes   No
3.  Are the seats clean?  Yes   No   Torn or cracked?  Yes   No   Worn?  Yes   No
4.  Can you adjust the seats?  Yes   No
5.  Is the carpet clean?  Yes   No   Worn?  Yes   No
6.  Can you adjust the mirrors?  Yes   No
7.  Does the interior light work?  Yes   No   Does it work with the doors?  Yes   No
8.  Is the dash in good condition?  Yes   No
9.  Is the center console in good condition?  Yes   No
10.  Does the glove compartment door work properly?  Yes   No
11.  Do the windshield wipers function properly?  Yes   No
12.  Does the overall interior condition match the mileage?  Yes   No
13.  If equipped, does the tilt wheel work properly?  Yes   No
14.  If equipped does the alarm work?  Yes   No
15.  Does the clock work?  Yes   No

Engine Evaluation
1.  What type of engine does it have? __________________________________
2.  Is it original?  Yes   No
3.  Is the oil clean?  Yes   No   Dark or black colored oil indicates a change is necessary and may be indicative of past maintenance trends.
4.  When was the last oil change? ______________ Overdue?  Yes   No
5.  Check for a leaking oil pan gasket.  Pass   Fail
6.  Check for a leaking front/rear main seal.  Pass   Fail
7.  Check the master cylinder and slave cylinder for leakage.  Pass   Fail
8.  Check all coolant lines for leakage.  Pass   Fail
9.  Check the coolant in the reservoir.  A brown frothy mixture in the reservoir usually indicates oil and water mixing in the oil filter/cooler housing.  Pass   Fail
10.  Inspect the fuel lines going to the fuel rail for brittleness or cracking.   Pass   Fail
11.  Inspect the plug wires for brittleness or cracking.  Pass   Fail
12.  Inspect the brake fluid for color.  Black colored brake fluid indicates a change is necessary.  Pass   Fail
13.  Is the air filter clean?  Pass   Fail
14.  Is the engine bay clean and neat?  All hoses / wiring in correct place?   Pass   Fail

Engine Operation
1.  Does the car start properly?  Yes   No
2.  The car should have a steady idle.  Pass   Fail
3.  (If equipped) Check the ECM (computer)?  Engine Codes recorded?  Pass   Fail
If so, what are the codes? __________________________________
4.  Is the oil pressure normal?  Pass   Fail
5.  Engine coolant temperature:  Normal?  Yes   No   High?  Yes   No   Fluctuating?  Yes   No   Fluctuating coolant temperature may be indicative of a necessary water pump replacement.
6.  Is there valve chatter or excessive engine noise?  Yes   No
7.  Is there excessive engine vibration at idle or revving? (can indicate bad motor mount).  Yes   No
8.  With the engine running, listen for leaks at the exhaust manifolds and exhaust.  Pass   Fail
9.  Does the heat work?  Yes   No
10.  Does the AC work?  Yes   No   Is the compressor quiet?  Yes   No
11.  Does the AC / heater blow at each speed?  Yes   No
12.  Does the radio work properly (tape and CD if applicable)?  Yes   No
13.  If equipped, does the power antenna work?  Yes   No
14.  If equipped, do the power windows and door locks work?  Yes   No
15.  Does the defroster work properly?  Yes   No
16.  Do all knobs / controls function correctly?  Yes   No
17.  Do all of the gauges / dashboard lights work properly?  Yes   No

Test Drive Evaluation
1.  Does the parking brake work properly?  Yes   No
2.  How does the brake pedal feel?  Firm   Soft
The following 3 questions assume manual transmission:
3.  How does the clutch pedal feel?  Firm   Soft
4.  Does the clutch operate in a smooth quiet manner?  Yes   No
5.  Does the shifter seem tight?  Yes   No
6.  Are there any squeaks / noises (specially over rough roads)?  Yes   No
7.  Is the steering smooth and responsive?  Yes   No
8.  When going straight is the wheel straight?  Yes   No   Does the car drift to one side?  Yes   No
9.  Brake with your hands off the wheel does the car stop straight?   Yes   No
10.  At highway speeds does the car pull, or shake / shimmy?  Yes   No
11.  Does the cruise control work properly?  Yes   No
12.  Is there exceptional wind noise?  Yes   No
13. If equipped, does the ABS system function properly?  Yes   No
14. If equipped, does the Traction control system function properly?  Yes   No
15. If equipped, does the Selective Ride Control function properly?  Yes   No

1.  Is the battery in good condition?  Yes   No
2.  Do all lights / signals work correctly? Headlights?, (high and low beams),  Yes   No   Brake lights:  Yes   No   Parking/Side Marker Lights:  Yes   No   Turn Signals:   Yes   No
Standard Equipment: _______________________________________________________________
Optional Equipment: ___________________________________________________________________

Price / Value
Asking Price: _____________
Retail Value: _____________  Trade-In Value: _____________