I hear from many who are contemplating buying their first Corvette and invariably one of the questions I get is “What year is a good model to buy?” Well, that is really a personal decision and the fact that the Corvette has been around for over 50 years doesn’t make it any easier.
You should first focus on the one of the generations that divide the Corvette years based on the body style. These are now usually referred to as:
C1 Corvettes: 1953-1962
C2 Corvettes: 1963-1967
C3 Corvettes: 1968-1982
C4 Corvettes: 1984-1996
C5 Corvettes: 1997-2004
C6 Corvettes: 2005-
Determining what make and model you are seeking will really help narrow your focus. From there you can decide what models within the chosen generation appeal to you. While some generations have fairly small body style changes from year to year like the C2′s or C5′s, others, like the C3′s and C4′s have major changes between their starting and end points. The 1968 Stingray and the 1982 Collector’s Edition are both from the same generation, but the styling and technology are vastly different.
Once you have narrowed your choice down to one or two model years, you will need to determine what your budget is. Then decide whether your choice is realistic for the amount you have to spend. Having $15,000 to spend probably won’t get you into a 1967 Convertible, but it would get you a fairly nice 1974-75 Convertible.
Next, we will look at where to find sources for researching the model year(s) that interest you so that we can develop a checklist to assist us when reviewing potential Corvettes to purchase.