Jim’s Blog: What Makes a Corvette?

This month’s reader’s question is all about Corvettes. Specifically, what’s going to happen to late-model Corvette values now that the mid-engine C8 has arrived on the scene. There’s still time to submit your answers, too — is it time to buy, sell, or hold C6 and C7 Corvettes with their traditional front/rear powertrain setup? Will the C8 make them all obsolete overnight, or will buyers still see value in the basic layout Corvette has had since 1953? Comment below, or shoot me a note at comments@americancarcollector.com.

I wasn’t sure what to make of the new Corvette — I’m sure it will be extremely quick and feature a host of new technology to make it both the fastest and most usable Corvette to date, but I’m also a huge fan of the C6 Z06 and its traditional layout. I tested a bright yellow Z back in 2009, and I’ve been waiting for prices to drop far enough to be able to convince my wife that we need a black or Sunset Orange Metallic example. Maybe the C8 will be the final push to make that happen — or maybe there are more people out there who see “mid engine” and think of the Porsche 930’s snap oversteer and tendency spin off the road backwards. No, the new Corvette most certainly has that kind of issue already ironed out. But will Corvette buyers flock to it the way GM hopes they will?

I expect those buyers will, and I hope that they do. Meanwhile, I’ll be hunting for that deal on a Z06.

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  1. I’ve owned and enjoyed Corvettes since 1962 when Zora Arkus Duntov was pushing GM brass for a mid-engine version 57 years ago. The question here cites “late” model Corvettes, but I contend all Corvettes in excellent condition will receive no negative impact on values with release of Zora’s dream. In fact, truly minty examples may see values increase a bit in response to renewed public interest in the marque generated by the C8 hoopla. Initially, dealers will order C8s full of options and add significant dealer markup over MSRP to enhance profits. In comparison, good low-mile C5s and C6s are plentiful and priced at Honda money, while used C7 values are much less affordable. To my eye, the C8’s styling is a C7 derivative, and non-enthusiasts may not be able to discern which is the newest one. Whatever happens, best place to follow the trends is with ACC!

    1. Jack, I agree that the best place to follow is right here with ACC. However, I had a friendly debate last night and I was surprise to see that there are still some left pedal guys out there. The Corvette has been basically one of the last of the Mohicans in offering that pedal. One of the guys I talked to had recently brought/built his 19 ZR1 and said it was that pedal that drove him to the showroom. I wonder how many others would agree?

      1. I certainly do — there’s no argument over which transmission shifts faster, but I’d take a third pedal any day. A manual is just more fun to drive.

  2. I grew up in a Corvette family. Both my sister and I came home from the hospital in corvettes, my sister a 56 and a 64 for myself. I currently have a 1969 427/6sp coupe, 1989 coupe and sold my 1979 L82/4sp a few years ago at Barrett Jackson. I have a deep appreciation for the C7 and I am sure that will be the same for the C8. But, for me I am love with the romance and adventure that the older Corvettes represent, the idea of Buzz and Todd tracking across this great country or Neil Armstrong and Buzz driving their fiberglass rocket ships for take off 50 years ago.
    However, after being in a few corvette clubs I have seen a new generation of collectors that can’t wait to get the newest and best cars available. This has created a whole new approach to collecting corvettes, which is why I think we are seeing such strong numbers for RestroVettes. I must admit I drove a 2017 Z51 a few weeks ago and wow what a great car, that you can get in and drive anywhere with plenty of power and comfort. So, if that could be improved upon why wouldn’t I want it?
    Of course being in the clubs and seeing the audience at my local cars and coffees reinforces my thoughts that the current configuration will drop with the release of the mid-engine. Part of me is ok with this since I am in hopes to find a affordable 2019 orange Z06 vert soon that will be affordable(since I have not been able to find a 1969 Monaco Orange like my father’s, this would be a good substitute). Regardless with the anticipation of this car, I am sure it will sale strong and really put the brand on the lips of all at any car show across the land.