I was pulled out of town unexpectedly earlier this week on a family emergency. I had originally planned to post this series over five consecutive days. However, they are a tad wordy so I have decided to break them up a bit. I am planning to post the Options and Originality Factors next week and then should be able to conclude the series with a look at Market Forces the following week. Thanks – Keith
Buying & Selling
by Keith Cornett on October 19, 2006
by Keith Cornett on October 17, 2006
This is the second of our five-part series where we take an in depth look at the factors that drive Corvette values. Yesterday, we looked at the Quantity Factor. Today, our attention turns to Condition.
Like any used car, pricing and valuations are based on the Corvetteâ€™s present condition at the time of the sale. Many like to use the 1 to 5 scale with 1 or C1 (Condition 1) being excellent, show quality and 5 or C5 (Condition 5) being a project car that is usually not running or unassembled in some fashion. Pricing between these points on the scale can vary wildly so it is important to know what your chosen Corvette model can be purchased for at any point on the condition scale. Most of the price guides will give you an idea as to what the price should be along each point of the scale or at the very least, a High, Low and Average figure.
Corvettes that have been restored are generally classified as excellent, show condition. They are usually a 1 or 2 on the Condition Scale. There are usually two types of restorations. Frame-off or Body-off restorations refer to the car being completely torn down with all components and body panels removed from the frame, and then reassembled. A Body-On restoration refers to a Corvette that may have had as complete a restoration as possible without removing the body panels from the frame. Some Corvettes may have been restored several years prior and are sometimes referred to as an older restoration. These Corvettes may be a 2 or even a 3 on the Condition Scale.
Then there are the Corvettes have been so well taken care of, that restoration may not be needed. At the Bloomington Gold Corvette Show, a separate class called Survivor was created for these unrestored, original Corvettes. While a Survivor Corvette may not be as polished as a restored Corvette, make no mistake that the condition of a Survivor Corvetteâ€™s value based on condition may just as well make it as valuable as that of one that has recently went through a frame-off restoration.
Lastly, there is the Project Corvette. Oh yes, the project car, with all its potential and a seductively low price that can lure you in and trap you. Unless you are experienced in the mechanical and body issues that a project Corvette will have, as well as having the budget, you are best advised to leave these examples to the professionals.
Many times youâ€™ll be looking at Corvettes for sale and come across an ad for a â€œfreshly restoredâ€ model, but the price seems to be thousands more than Corvettes in similar condition. This pricing anomaly could be the result of someone who got into a project and ended up spending way more than Corvette is worth.
On Wednesday, our attention turns to Options.
The Five Factors that Drive Corvette Values:
Part One: Quantity
Part Two: Condition
Part Three: Options
by Keith Cornett on October 16, 2006
This is the first of our five-part series where we take an in depth look at the factors that drive Corvette values. So what drives the values of Corvettes? Much like any other automobile, Corvette values are based on a number of factors including quantity produced, condition of the car, options, originality and market forces. To arrive at an approximation of price or value, these five factors are combined and those with the best combinations rise to the top of the pricing matrix. All of this is common sense really. Take a low production car in top condition, that contains desirable options, is a documented original and then add demand and you get a highly valued Corvette. The first factor that drives Corvette values is Quantity. Corvettes were never really produced in mass like other vehicles. Sure it seems there’s a lot of Corvettes on the road, but only 1.4 million Corvettes have been made since 1953. Looking at the Total Corvette Production Chart, you can see how production rises and falls throughout the years. Chevrolet broke the 10,000 units per year mark in 1960, the 8th year of production for Corvettes, and by 1963 had moved past 20,000 units per year. In the late Seventies and early Eighties, Chevrolet was averaging 40,000 Corvettes yearly. Production then fell during the early Nineties to the 20,000 level but rose again to average in the mid 30,000â€™s for the C5 and C6 generations. Many Corvettes were produced in such limited number that price is high due to the limited quantity available. In 1953, the first year of the Corvette, 300 were produced, but because availability is so low, we donâ€™t see these Corvettes for sale all that often. Vette-N-Vestments tracked the sale of just two 1953 Corvettes in all of 2005, with sales of said year averaging over $100,000. In 1979, nearly 50,000 Corvettes were produced and because such a large quantity exists, decent cars can be found for $6,000 and up. The Quantity Factor is also impacted by the production of various body styles. Looking at our previous example of the 1979 Corvette, only one model was offered that year, the T-Top Coupe. In 1963, Chevrolet offered buyers a choice between a coupe and a convertible, and production between the two models was split nearly 50-50. But because the 1963 Coupe model was the first and only year with the famous â€œSplit-Windowâ€ design, and because only 10,594 were built, the 63 Coupe is worth more due to its limited availability. However, just because one yearâ€™s production total is lower doesnâ€™t always make it more valuable than same models in similar years. In 1997, the first of the C5 Corvette, only 9,752 Corvettes were produced. Examples of these Corvettes can be found in the $15,000-$20,000 range and even though they are the first year of the C5 generation and produced in limited quantity, they still lead the C5 category in depreciation.
Part One: Quantity
Part Two: Condition
Part Three: Options
by Keith Cornett on October 13, 2006
On Monday, October 16th, we will be kicking off a five-part series entitled “The Five Factors That Drive Corvette Prices”. This in depth look at Corvette pricing and valuations will run through Friday, October 20th. Here is a preview:
What drives the values of Corvettes? Much like any other automobile, Corvette values are based on a number of factors including quantity produced, condition of the car, options, originality and market forces.See you on Monday!
Technorati Tags: Corvette
by Keith Cornett on October 5, 2006
GM’s September 2006 Sales Report has been released and Corvette sales still remain strong. Calendar Year-to-Date sales are up 20.9% with 27,903 Corvettes delivered in 2006 vs 23,080 in 2005. Year to Year monthly sales are up 23.9% with 3,056 Corvettes sold in September 2006 vs 2,372 Corvettes in September 2005.
There were 26 selling days for the September 2006 period vs 25 selling days in September 2005.
Technorati Tags: Corvette | GM
by Keith Cornett on September 25, 2006
This announcement is really no big news since the Last Corvette’s restoration was completed in January of this year. As anyone that knows anything about this car knows that the final stop is Scottsdale, Arizona. But for those that don’t know what the Last Corvette is, let me do a quick recap.
The Last Corvette is a 1967 Corvette Coupe with a 427-390 hp engine and a 4-Speed transmission. The VIN, #22940 was the last Corvette produced of the 1967 model year production run and therefore the last of the 1963-1967 “Midyear” Corvettes produced at the St. Louis Corvette Assembly Plant on July 12, 1967. The Corvette has been on Pro Team’s radar since the mid 90′s, but it wasn’t until 2005 that a deal was reached to purchase the unrestored car for 10x’s the VIN: $229,240.00
Is the last of the 1967 Corvettes that big of a deal? Some say yes. Terry Michaelis of Pro Team Corvettes, who owns the Last Corvette is fond of saying “Sure they made Corvettes after 1967, but who cares” when promoting this Corvette. And according to Craig Jackson, President of the Barrett-Jackson Auction, “Being the absolute final car of a world-famous model makes this one of the most collectible cars in the world.”
I’ve never subscribed much to the theory that the end of a model run is worth more because it was the last. I can understand being first, but not last. Comparing apples to apples, is a 67 Coupe with a 427/390 worth more than a 1967 L88 or L89? And something else is bothering me about this Corvette. The whole process seems to me to be a slick marketing event put together by some very smart people for only one reason…to make money. A lot of money. I guess if you are putting $229,420 into a Corvette that needs a frame-off restoration, you need a plan to make that money back. I don’t hold that against Pro Team or anyone else associated with this Corvette. It will sure be interesting to see what this Corvette can do when compared to some real highly collectible Corvettes that should be available this year at Scottsdale.
In defense of the Last Corvette’s publicity-hungry run-up to the auction at Barrett-Jackson, Pro Team has teamed up with two charities. The Ronald McDonald House and the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation will both benefit from the sale of the Last Corvette from matched donations, and in the case of the Ronald McDonald House, a Name the Final Bid contest.
And finally, not to appear totally negative about the marketing machine that is the Last Corvette, there is one element to this unprecedented sales campaign that I am really interested in. Premiering on December 7, 2006 is a six part documentary which chronicles the Corvette’s history and restoration. That series will air on SPEED and is titled American Muscle Car: The Last Stingray. This is will be a real joy to watch as the production quality should be extremely high and the companies that donated time and service are the tops of the Corvette industry including Naber’s Motors in Texas where the frame-off restoration was completed.
More information about the Last Corvette can be found at TheLastCorvette.com
Technorati Tags: Corvette | Auction | Barrett Jackson
by Keith Cornett on September 21, 2006
So you want to buy a Corvette and you have a general idea of the Corvette generation you are interested in. Now it is time to narrow your choice. By narrowing your choices to one, two or a span of three model years, you can gain the knowledge you need prior to purchasing the Corvette of your dreams. Focusing in on that one to three year model span will allow you to make an informed buying decision. You don’t want to be blinded by the first Corvette you see. You’ll want to look beyond the style and paint to insure that you’re buying the right corvette with the right options that is right for you.
Corvettes, like most cars, are always changing year to year. Sometimes those changes are design based, sometimes regulatory based. I had a customer who was once looking for a 1970 to 1972 LT1 engine car. He had heard that the LT1′s are more of a performance engine and liked the idea of having a Corvette that would appreciate faster if it had that optional engine. What he didn’t know was that the 1970 LT1 engine was very different than the 1972 LT1. In 1970, the LT1 350 ci engine produced 370 horsepower. In 1972, Chevrolet had lowered the compression and changed their formula for rating horsepower so the LT1 350 that year was reduced to 255 hp. In many respects, these two engines are similar, yet very different. Learning these subtle differences can assure you that you are buying the Corvette you want and not making a mistake that could end up costing you money later on.
A great resource that every Corvette buyer needs is the Corvette Black Book by Michael Antonick. The Black Book breaks out each model year with options available, colors and a Fact Sheet which gives the major bullets of changes and enhancements over the previous model year. Here are some other resources for learning about the model year you have selected:
Go to a Corvette show and talk to owners. Corvette owners love to talk about their cars and usually are very forthcoming about what they like and donâ€™t like about their model year. They can also fill you in on any hidden problems or service issues that may have affected their model over the years. Most of the major shows also have auctions or a “Corvette Corral” where sellers display their Corvettes. Itâ€™s a great opportunity to get some hands-on experience of looking over models you are interested in. To find out where a Corvette show is in your area, keep reading. Go Online
Websites like the CorvetteForum.com and DigitalCorvettes.com are made up of thousands of Corvette Enthusiasts. These sites contain message boards and membership to join is quick and free. After registering, go to the generation â€œthreadâ€ (conversation) you are interested in to post questions you may have about your selected model year. Depending on your questions, you can generally have feedback within hours of your post. You can also learn a great deal just by lurking in the forum, reading all the different questions or comments from other owners. These forum sites are a great way to learn more about the Corvette lifestyle, restoring and modifying your selected year as well as finding out when a Corvette show may be in your area. NCRS
The National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) is an organization that is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of Corvettes made from 1953-1989. NCRS hosts a number of local and regional events around the country. Classic Corvette owners bring their Corvettes to these shows to be judged for the organization’s Top Flight Award, given to Corvettes that appear as they did when they rolled off the assembly line and dealer showroom floors. Seeing these Corvettes up close as well as having the ability to talk to current owners is a great way to learn more about specific Corvette models. The NCRS also has for sale on their website a number of restoration, technical and judging manuals which will help you in identifying the components of classic Corvettes. Corvette Magazines
Most of the major Corvette magazines have a service for ordering back issues, Using their index of issues, you will be able to find features and technical articles on the model year of your choice. After immersing yourself in Corvette Hobby, you’ll find yourself being able to spot the differences in the Corvettes you see on the road. Once you learned more about the model year(s) you would be interested in owning, then you can really start your search for your dream Corvette.
Technorati Tags: Corvette | Buying
by Keith Cornett on September 12, 2006
The following is a list of Corvettes that were featured in the Corvettes at Carlisle auction that did not reach the reserve selling price. There are two Corvettes on the list that I’d be interested in knowing more about. The first is a 1967 Maroon Corvette that received a high bid of $220,000. Not out the the range for an L71 427/435 Tri-Power, but I am betting it’s something else. The second is a 1971 Orange Corvette that reached $95,000 and was still a no sale. As that high bid was nearly $40,000 more than our High Price for 1971 Corvettes in this year’s edition of the Vette-N-Vestments Corvette Price Guide, I am betting it was either a ZR1 (8 produced) or the ZR2 (12 produced). Because of their limited production, several years can pass between the time we see these rare Corvettes for sale. If anyone has any information on these two Corvettes, please let me know. Corvettes at Carlisle – The High Bid List:
|Lot #||Year||Description||Color||High Bid|
|S22||1958||CHEVROLET CORVETTE||BLK / SLVR||$45,000|
|S67||1978||CHEVROLET CORVETTE||BLK / SLVR||$23,000|
|S115||1987||CHEVROLET CORVETTE||DARK RED||$22,000|
Technorati Tags: Corvette | Auction
by Keith Cornett on September 11, 2006
Pennsylvania was the place to be in late August as Corvettes converged on the fairgrounds at Carlisle for the annual Corvettes at Carlisle show. Mecum handled the auction duties and once again the show proved to be one of the top Corvette auctions in the United States. Over 150 Corvettes crossed the auction block and the show had a 53% sales rate raking in over $3 million in Corvettes sales. Looking at the list of Corvettes that sold, it is nice to see the values of these sales weren’t astronomical and based on pricing only, it appears that there were some pretty decent deals. Of notable cars, three 1954′s were auctioned off for $46K, $69K and $70K. A couple other C1′s sold for under $40,000 including a Black 59 that sold for $35,963 and a maroon 1962 which sold for $38,325. Other good buys include a 1964 Corvette at $29,400, a Yellow 1966 which sold for $28,350 and 1969 Corvette that went for $9,500. Here is the complete list of Corvettes that sold during the Corvettes at Carlisle auction:
|Lot #||Year||Description||Color||Sales Price|
|S38||1965||CHEVROLET CORVETTE||NASSAU BLUE||$40,688|
|S48||1966||CHEVROLET CORVETTE||RALLY RED||$46,725|
|S75||1970||CHEVROLET CORVETTE LT-1||BRONZE||$43,050|
|S502||1970||CHEVROLET CORVETTE||MONZA RED||$55,125|
|F59||1974||CHEVROLET CORVETTE||TORCH RED||$10,868|
|S82||1990||CHEVROLET CORVETTE ZR-1||BLACK||$24,675|
|S104||1990||CHEVROLET CORVETTE ZR-1||RED||$19,950|
|F35||2002||CHEVROLET CORVETTE||TORCH RED||$31,930|
Technorati Tags: Corvette | Auction
by Keith Cornett on September 2, 2006
GM’s August sales report hit yesterday and the news regarding Corvettes was good. GM reported that calendar year Corvette sales are up 20% with 24,847 delivers through August 2006 vs 20,708 through August 2005. Year to year monthly sales were up nearly 31% with 2,990 delivers in Augutst 2006 vs 2,202 in August 2005.
There were twenty-seven selling days for the August period this year and twenty-six for last year.
Technorati Tags: Corvette | GM