WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -

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.

BODY BEAU­TI­FUL

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.

EN­GINE IS­SUES

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.

TRANS­MIS­SION RE­VAMP?

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

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