Readers ask for classic car advice

  • Written by Tom Berg, Windermere Real Estate

I was wondering what I was going to write about this month when I got a call from one of my loyal readers requesting some assistance with a classic car that was no longer needed. As a bonus it was a 1977 Corvette! I suggested she might want me to help sell her home. Alas, she’s planning on staying put but would like some more garage space, so being the nice guy that I am I offered to help her out. I already have one Corvette and too many cars so I wasn’t tempted to buy it myself but it should be fun helping her move it on to a home that can enjoy this iconic American sports car. We don’t really “own” our classic cars but are just caring for them and enjoying them for awhile until the next owner takes over.

vette 77The 1977 Corvette is known as a C-3 Corvette. C-1’s were made from 1953 to 1962 and were very basic cars. No power steering or power brakes, a straight axle suspension and no frills. They did compete well with the  European sports cars after which they were modeled but my ’62 sure doesn’t seem like a race car to me.

The C-2’s were made from 1963 to 1967 and were light years ahead of the C-1’s. The C-3’s began production in 1968 and continued until 1982. They were another big step ahead for Corvette but government restrictions on emissions and horsepower began to take away from the performance abilities of all cars at this time. Of the over 1.5 million Corvettes produced so far, 540,000 were C-3’s. Interestingly, the C-3’s  have no trunk so you just stuff things behind the seats. Would golf clubs fit? I’m not sure but it does have a cool-looking luggage rack on back. Chevrolet made 49,213 Corvettes in 1977 with a base price of $8,650.

Most ’77 Vettes are still worth more than that today, although of course inflation has had quite an effect on that money over the last 37 years. Chevrolet has just come out with the C-7 Corvette which is an amazing looking, powerful machine and  starts at about $53,000 (about the same price as my 62!!). They even have a more futuristc C-8 scheduled for 2016.

Back to my loyal reader’s 1977 Corvette, it is a one owner car with just 61,000 miles on it and was made in St. Louis. It has a newer 350 crate engine (more power), automatic, ps/pb, A/C, T-tops, original owner’s manual and aluminum wheels and looks really sharp with an older custom re-paint and graphics. It seems to have been well taken care of and started and sounded pretty good to me. I have volunteered to help her come up with a selling price and strategy. I checked NADA, Hemmings, Hagerty, Ebay, The Old Car Price Guide and Craigslist and found prices varied greatly. If anyone out there has any input (or is interested in caring for this cool car for a few years) please call me.  

I also had a loyal reader drop by my office the other day to tell me about his brother’s 1957 Willys pickup that might be for sale so I made a call and stopped by to see it. I used to have a 1962 Willys pickup that I liked but for some reason sold so I thought maybe now’s the time to get another one.

This one was originally from Idaho, so it’s a rust-free, very solid truck but was last on the road in 1993. These “barn finds” need to have the entire brake and fuel systems gone through and there’s a big risk on the condition of the engine and whether it will actually run. Some of these vehicles were parked because they had engine problems that I am at risk of inheriting.

If I do buy this car and fix it up it probably won’t be worth any more than what I spent to get it running, so I’ll keep you advised on this one.  

Perhaps I will see some of you at the annual LeMay Family Collection open house on Aug. 30 and 31 at Marymount in Spanaway. It’s a great time to enjoy an amazing collection of cars. Lucky Auctions will be auctioning off a wide assortment of cars which is fun to watch even if you’re not a buyer (which hopefully I am not) and if you arrive in a cool car you get to park on the lawn. If you see me wandering around, say hi — if you want to know what I look like, my picture is hidden elsewhere in this paper.

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