WHAT TO LOOK FOR
On the glassfibre shells, look for stress cracks and starring developing around door, bonnet (sorry, hood) and boot (we mean trunk) apertures, plus the windscreen and wheelarches. Problems are more likely on convertibles, but also look for issues with the latches and weatherstrips on T-top coupés – they can leak. Uneven or differing paint or rough GRP patches points to previous repairs, possibly after an accident. Wide or uneven panel gaps also point to crash damage. It’s important to get underneath and check the steel frame for rust, especially the rear suspension trailing arm mountings and the bottom of the windscreen pillars. ‘Rubber’ bumpers can disintegrate too.
The Corvette’s V8 engines are rugged and unstressed and last well if looked after. Obviously, keeping cool can be an issue with such a vast power unit, so keep an eye on the water temperature and look for ‘mayonnaise’ under the oil filler cap and mixing of oil and water, denoting cylinder head gasket issues or even a warped head. Check the coolant isn’t rust-coloured and that there’s no excessive exhaust smoke under acceleration. Oil drips are quite common but big leaks are bad news, especially from the bellhousing, which suggests a rear engine seal is past its best. Oil around the bottom radiator hose points to the front seal being worn.
Both manual and automatic gearboxes are usually quite troublefree, but age will bring synchromesh issues on manuals as well as noise and difficult selection. Autos should change up and down smoothly.
The C3 continued with the C2’s independent rear suspension. It’s quite complex and requires specialist knowledge to set up properly. Clunks from underneath point to the rear trailing arm front bushes having failed, while squeaky clatters suggest a driveshaft universal joint is protesting. All C3s have fourwheel disc brakes, but this means they’re prone to rust in the lines and calipers. Conscientious
WHAT LIES BENEATH?
owners frequently fit aftermarket stainless steel replacements.
Check for damp carpets because soft-top/roof panel leaks are common. Upholstery is leather or vinyl – the former is longer-lasting but costlier to repair, while the latter splits around seams. Try out all the electrics, because dodgy/corroded connections and bad earths (due to the GRP body) can cause things to stop functioning. Don’t forget the vacuum operated pop-up headlights (and, on earlier cars the windscreen wiper covers) because the system is a complicated maze of hoses, valves and actuators and prone to leaks.
THE INSIDE STORY