Jay Lamm at MPH-Online.com does a nice review of the C5 Corvette and what to look for when purchasing a pre-owned version of the American sports car icon. Jay (any relation to Michael Lamm at Corvette Enthusiast magazine?) does the C5 good as he delves into not only the performance and mechanics of the 1997-2004 Corvette, but into the psychology of “the lifestyle” that being a Corvette owner entails – or as he puts it “seriously anal whack-jobs.” Okay, well I resemble that remark, and you will too when you purchase your first Corvette! Read the MPH-Online.com Rearview C5 Corvette Article
Buying & Selling
by Keith Cornett on March 9, 2006
by Keith Cornett on February 23, 2006
Bob Lutz, GM’s Vice Chairman, recently wrote on the GM FastLane Blog about the state of General Motors perception in the marketplace. The perception or misperception is that GM is producing vehicles nobody wants, or the vehicles they do produce are built at a lower quality than the imports. Bob blows those two perceptions out of the water with the examples of Corvette winning MotorWeek’s Driver’s Choice Award and Corvette winning the Intellichoice Best Overall Value Award. For those of us involved in the Corvette hobby, we know all about GM’s commitment to not only giving us the Car we want to own, but following through by giving us one of the best made cars with one of the highest customer satisfaction levels. So how does GM (and Chevrolet) do so well in marketing these two attributes to potential Corvette buyers, but not so well on their other vehicles? Obviously, Corvette has a history and therefore a built-in base of fans so it is a bit easier for Corvette designers and engineers to read the tea leaves when working on changes and upgrades. And when new Corvettes hit the marketplace, there are already long list of buyers who have deposits down to secure their car. GM needs to get its product in front of their target market in more non-traditional arenas. We recently posted a story about the Drive experience GM is putting together in Las Vegas where consumers can drive GM products in a controlled environment. I also remember they had similar “Drive A Chevy” experience that would roll into a market for a couple of days and you could drive all their products. I think that perhaps GM should take the product display a little further. At a local upscale mall I visited this weekend, I saw a display of Jaguars from the local Jag dealership. GM should consider putting Minivans and SUV in Grocery Stores and displays at some of the larger local youth sporting events. Truck displays at outdoor and sports trade shows. I know it sounds simplistic and perhaps a bit unrealistic, but go where the demographic market is. GM should also introduce a new extended warranty or key a portion of existing advertising to quality of product issues. With both Toyota and Ford are going Green, a new campaign could help differentiate how GM’s products are built with the consumer in mind. Again, I am just a guy that loves Corvettes and not a domestic auto marketing expert. But my car selling theory is that to sell product, you have to get it where your market is. Hope that helps, Bob.
by Keith Cornett on February 13, 2006
As we reported earlier, Mecum’s Winter Classic in Kissimmee Florida was a huge success given the fact the new location was 10 miles from the NCRS Winter Regional. That didn’t deter Corvette sellers and buyers from partaking in one of the largest Corvette and classic car auctions in the Southeast. Our review of Mecum’s auction results shows that a whopping 121 Corvettes sold for a total of $6.4 million and change. Mecum’s auction results aren’t the most descriptive in terms of body styles or engine options. Perhaps they can take a lesson from (dare I say) Barrett-Jackson’s results listings to give those who couldn’t attend the auction a better understanding of exactly what sold. Our friend Bob Kroupa from Vette-N-Vestments is at most of the major Corvette auctions and does breakout the models. You can get his report by subscribing to his monthly Corvette Market Letter, which can be purchased for $35 through the VetteFinders.com online store. Now that we got that shameless plug in there, here are the results from the Mecum Winter Classic held January 27-28th in Kissimmee Florida:
|1972||Corvette||Steel Cities Gray||$26,775|
|1978||Corvette (Pace Car)||Black/Silver||$28,613|
|1978||Corvette (Pace Car)||Black/Silver||$31,500|
by Keith Cornett on January 31, 2006
From reading the various forum threads where dealers are known to post, it seems some are upset about the 2nd half allocation letters GM sent to its dealers last week. The letters project the total Z06′s Corvette dealers can expect to receive between February and May 2006. While it appears that the same number of Z06′s are being produced, GM may be cutting allocations from some of its dealers with more volume so that they can get Z06′s into the hands of some of their 3rd and 4th tier dealers.
Due to the demand for the Z06, some dealers have reportedly marked up the Z06 $15,000-$20,000 over MSRP. Other dealers are taking orders for the 2007 model year and beyond. Looks like the buyer that wanted to “wait and buy it later in the model year and save a couple grand” is out of luck.
Here is a copy of an allocation letter with the dealers information removed:
123 Main Street
Anywhere, ST XXXXX
Attention: Dealer Operator and New Car Sales Manager Subject: Corvette Z06 Allocation Projection The 2006 Corvette Z06 distribution plan includes the provision of an extended allocation projection to all eligible Corvette dealers. This is a projection and not a commitment but is intended to assist dealers in managing customer expectations in line with dealer allocation. While keeping in mind the realization that the Z06 will remain a limited production vehicle, we have been working diligently to increase Z06 production to maximize our ability to satisfy customer demand for this great automobile. As a result, production schedules were not formalized in time to allow us to provide this second extended allocation letter originally intended for publication in December. Your dealershipâ€™s projected Z06 allocation through May 2006 production appears below. Please keep in mind that this allocation projection is based on an estimated production schedule and therefore must continue to be considered as a projection and is not to be considered an absolute commitment. Your Z06 Estimated Allocations are: February March Est April Est May Est 2nd Outlook
Allocation Allocation Allocation Allocation Cum Total
# # # # # If a dealer chooses not to consent to their Z06 allocation, that allocation will be redistributed to another eligible dealer during the variance resolution and will not be rolled forward nor will it be converted to regular Corvette allocation. CORVETTE MARKETING TEAM Source: CorvetteForum.com | DigitalCorvettes.com
by Keith Cornett on January 19, 2006
While some of the estimated 100+ Corvettes that will cross the Barrett-Jackson auction block during this week’s Scottsdale event are worth every penny of the high bids they will receive, many are not. Due to the shear amount of collector car money that is in Scottsdale this week, some Corvettes will go for prices no where near what they are worth, and that is the problem I have with this auction. I was expecting to see this sometime during this auction, but didn’t think it would be so obvious during the first day. Lot #70 is listed as a 1971 Chevrolet Corvette LS-5 Coupe. Here are the photos and description:
by Keith Cornett on January 13, 2006
There were 3,271 Corvettes sold in December which is an all-time Corvette record for December beating the December 1977 sales of 3259. Corvette had a 26.1% segment share up from 20.4% last year. R8C Museum Deliveries were at an all-time high for the month of December as well, with over 90 Corvette owners taking delivery as part of the program. General Motors also announced that European sales of Corvettes registered significant growth in 2005, achieving their best ever sales in Europe. With well over one thousand registrations, the sixth-generation Corvette more than tripled 2004 sales levels.
by Keith Cornett on January 1, 2006
You got to love Corvette people. They are the backbone of this great hobby and it’s great to see them rally around a cause. What’s the cause you ask? After spotting an apparently fraudulently represented 1967 L88 Corvette for sale on eBay, the message boards on both the CorvetteForum.com and NCRS.org started lighting up with news and information about this Corvette and its checkered history.
The 67 Corvette in question was listed with a reserve on eBay December 21st. The description lists the car as a real L88 Corvette – one of 20 in existence. The ad also has 17 photos showing different angles of the car, engine pad stamps and documentation including the dealer bill of sale and protect-o-plate.
As word spread of the L88 Corvette’s eBay listing, details slowly emerged that put the originality of the car into question. First, many users on the Corvette Forum started sharing photos of the stamped engine pad from the L88 and comparing those with other known L88′s and big block Corvette engines. The eBay L88′s stamp looked straight and flawless. The etchings were shiny as well and looked nothing like the other examples being shown.
And then came a post from GL Anderson whose father was the dealer that received the Corvette from the St. Louis factory and drove it in parades with the Shriners as one of their Patrol Corvettes. GL says when his dad picked up the car, it was originally a 350 small block and that everything the about the ’67 being represented as an L88 is false.
“Well he only got maybe 3 things right in his eBay ad. He did talk to me, it was sold to a William Neeck and it is a 1967 Corvette. Not only was it a 350hp small block car when produced and we picked it up at the factory, but it was also my Fathers Shrine Corvette Patrol parade car. Since my dad was the dealer and also in the patrol he never had to license his Shrine car but rather drove it on a dealer plate. The first true owner would have been Mr. Neeck. There are several photos out there showing the 67 Shrine cars and members standing by their car. I can point out that exact car in the pics. It had a blue interior from the factory. Everything about it being an L88 is a fake. The buyers invoice is fake, I don’t know about the repair order so maybe he got 4 things right. He came to me in the early 90s and wanted me to back his story about the supposed L88. I told him no way. By the way I was 21 in 1967 and between my twin brother and I put several thousand miles on that exact car. As to paperwork no I don’t have the factory invoice but I do have other documentation on that car. I don’t hang out on other Corvette boards but if anybody wants to know the truth, let them know it is a fake. I will be happy to provide the documentation I have and point out a number of errors he has made in his paperwork, but only to someone I trust won’t take that info back to him so he can do a better job next time.”
Gar Anderson, GL’s twin brother also was heard from. Gar had accompanied his father to the St. Louis plant when the cars were picked up in person. He said the documentation pictured in the listing is a fake as well. He said the seller tried to get Gar and his brother to collaborate with him on trying to sell this car as original, but Gar refused.
“The car is a complete fake. It was originally one of the Order of Shrinerâ€™s cars. All were white with blue interiors and all were small blocks. The L88 option wasn’t even available until January of 1967. This car was built in October of 1966. GL Anderson is my twin brother, and he and I were very involved with Anderson Auto at the time. The Ebay seller tried to minimize that fact. As a matter of fact, in 1967, my brother and I purchased our grandfather’s Buick, Pontiac and GMC dealership which was located across the street from Anderson Auto. Although we were in college and owned the Buick store, we continued to work at the Chevy store. If we would have sold a real L-88, you’d think we would be helping the seller, not trying to stop him.”
So being Corvette people and not content to just let an apparent fake be sold to an unsuspecting buyer, GL went to eBay and posted an auction that would show up if someone was searching 67 Corvettes and L88′s. The item for sale was a photo showing the Shriner cars being picked up at the St. Louis assembly plant. (See Photo) In the photo GL claims that his Dad is shown standing next to the Corvette in question and has other documents that will prove the Corvette is a fake.
So did the Corvette sell? In the closing minutes of the auction, the bid jumped from $185,000 to $450,000. While speculation was that the seller upped the price to save face, the high bid was placed by another Corvette guy to make a point:
“I bid on it knowing it was fake. Mainly I did it just to cost him some more money or at least the hassle of getting a refund through eBay. I figure if he wants to misrepresent the car then he deserves to have to spend some extra money and/or effort on his advertising. If the seller actually expects me to buy the car he will first have to present evidence which proves the car is not one of the Shriner’s cars. If he can do that then I’ll gladly pay his reserve price.”
What can we learn from a story like this? If you are going to clone a ’67 L88 Corvette, advertise it as such. Otherwise, seller beware! The Corvette community can and will police itself whenever possible.
by Keith Cornett on November 17, 2005
#003, the oldest 1953 Corvette in existence, is expected to drive across the auction block at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona during their “World’s Greatest Collector Car Event” January 14-22nd. The #003 convertible wears VIN plate number #E53F001003. As #001 and #002 were assembled and delivered to the Chevrolet Engineering Center for testing, #003 took a different path which is how it escaped the fate of the first two Corvettes. #001 and #002 served as test cars for the engineering center and were eventually destroyed. #003 also served as an engineering car for a shot time but was sold in the fall of 1953. Eventually it turned up at an auction in 1987 unpainted and not running where two collectors noticed many of the characteristics of an early production car including the hand-made ignition shielding and center grille bar. As the oldest survivor of the early production Corvettes, #003 underwent a meticulous and well documented 2-and-a-half year restoration. Completed in 1990, Corvette #003 earned Bloomington Gold, Corvette Hall of Fame and NCRS Duntov awards. It was last displayed at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. As part of the Barrett-Jackson auction, the #003 Corvette will be joined by approximately 100 of the rarest Corvettes in what the company calls the Most Comprehensive collection of Corvettes to be offered at a major auction at No Reserve. “It is hard to find a better selection of ‘America’s Sports Car’ than at America’s collector car auction this year,” said Craig Jackson, president of The Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. “We’re proud to celebrate our 35th anniversary with an unprecedented collection of Corvettes that symbolize this country’s automotive heritage. The collection ranges from the affordable, as represented by a 1977 T-Top Coupe, to the most desirable, like the 1969 L-88 Coupe and 1963 Z06.” Other Corvettes include: A NCRS Top Flight, award-winning original 1969 L-88 Coupe will also be sold. One of only 116, the numbers matching Corvette is among the top 1969 L-88s in condition, restoration and provenance. The one original owner, numbers matching, 1963 Z06 Coupe is a fuel-injected stunner that is one of only 199 Z06′s built. Restored in 1980 using original parts, it has won many awards including the NCRS Top Flight and NCRS Duntov award. Click here for a partial listing of Corvettes to be auctioned at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale event.
by Keith Cornett on November 15, 2005
Faced with slowing sales and growing inventories, GM is launching yet another incentive plan combining the two elements car shoppers like the most – one price shopping and employee pricing. Called the Year End Red Tag sale, the incentive runs from Nov 13 through Jan 3rd. It’s not quite employee pricing – but close. The GM Red Tag Sale is offering the “What you see is what you pay” on MOST 2005 and 2006 Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Pontiac models and the price is based on GM Supplier (GMS) discounts which are generally 2% above the GM employee price. Once again, the offer doesn’t extend to Corvette. Funny how the two elements that consumers love: one price shopping and employee discounts are the two elements that keep Corvettes from being including in these type of promotions. Manufacturers/dealers won’t discount the car that makes them money whatever the price and why offer flat rate pricing when you have the ability to negotiate pricing based on availability.
by Keith Cornett on November 8, 2005
GM is following Chrysler and Ford by introducing new rebates designed to increase sales. The moves comes as GM reported a drop of nearly 20 percent in October sales. GM added $1000 rebates through Nov 13 on remaining 2005′s but the offer doesn’t extend to Corvette. The lack of rebates for Corvette is a good sign though as 2005 inventories are low enough as to not worry the GM bean-counters. No word yet if any rebates will be extended to 2006 models.