The Federal Government is set to send US taxpayers checks of up to $1,200 for adults and $2,400 for couples, plus $500 per child as a part of their $2 Trillion Coronavirus economic relief package. Now, obviously, these are serious times and these checks are meant to keep out of work Americans afloat while they are social distancing to help alleviate the spread of COVID-19 but the payout is also meant to stimulate the struggling economy by getting some much-needed spending money into the hands of the citizens of this great nation.
This got your author thinking; could someone, let’s just say a hypothetical, married high school teacher with two very cute kids, stimulate the economy by picking up a running example of America’s Sports Car with their 3,400 relief dollars?
With that challenge in mind, it was off to Cars.com where we found exactly eight Corvettes available at or below $4,000 nationwide. Six of the eight available cars are higher mileage 1984-86 C4s with a very rough ’73 project car and a super-sketchy later C4 listing (heavy cosmetic modifications and only four pictures in the gallery, all of which were taken at night, mislabeled as a 2001 model) rounding the choices.
We are searching for a drivable example so the ’73 with a “mostly intact” interior is out and I wouldn’t touch that “2001” listing with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole so it looks like someone in these specific circumstances will be looking at Corvettes from the first three years of fourth-generation production. Cutting out the preoccupied 1985 and 1986 Corvettes with exterior “enhancements” that, to put it lightly, don’t suit my taste, leaves four decent looking prospects to play the Automotive Dating Game with.
Behind door number one is a fiery red-head with 105,000 miles listed at just $1,990. She is wearing chrome five-spoke ZR-1 wheels and has a four-speed automatic attached to her kinky emissions-choked L83 V8. Being offered by a dealership that has earned a whopping one-star rating, she is (checks vehicle description) … “not in running condition.” Ok, on to door number two, I suppose.
Next up we have a white and silver two-tone ’86 that is stored in… a carpeted garage? There are just 76,000 miles on the odometer, and it has apparently been sitting for 12 years! For $2,700 you could get a Corvette just like the car behind the first door, that doesn’t run and ironically, it needs new carpets of its own. The kindly seller, Mike, also warns, “If you are an ass hole trying to scam me, don’t waste your time.” We will take that advice and move on to door number three.
The last car that our espoused, theoretical father of two can afford without further negotiation even leaves 400 clams on the table to try to convince the rest of the family that this is the best use of their relief funds. The car in question is a 1984 example painted either bright silver, medium gray, light bronze, or one of the three two-tone options, based on the triumvirate of available photos. Inside the car shows 80,734 miles, some slight wrinkling on the black leather seats, and another four-speed auto. Finally, we have some good news; not only does this one run, but it has a new engine with only 6k miles on the clock! Also, of note are new tires and a history of being stored indoors, easily putting this car in the pole position before we inquire about the ‘Vette that is lurking behind the last door.
Finally, checking in at an even $4,000 is a charming white over red 1986 Coupe with but 78,000 miles. It has had a laundry list of items replaced. Per the seller, new items include “4 tires with less than 5,000 miles on them; Ball joints; Shifter; Starter assembly; AC compressor; Window switch and seat track; Universal joints; Solenoid valve for EGR; Blower Motor Relay; Heater Fan Relay; EGR Valve; Heater Control Valve; Hood Shocks; Transmission; Clutch; Clutch Pressure Plate; Dash cluster; Fuel Pump and Sending Unit; Parking brake shoe and Lining; radio; small things such as belts, bulbs, etc.” Very promising so far! The listing continues with an honest assessment of the vehicle’s additional needs which include new paint and interior work; the seats are said to be “very worn” and random lights tend to illuminate the instrument cluster but the seller assures us that he has had it checked and there isn’t a mechanical problem before sticking the landing and giving our buyer hope with three magical words, “or best offer.” She might just be attainable within our budget!
To answer our title question, you can’t get very much Corvette with your stimulus monies. The best option was probably door number three, which seems like a solid driver that will undoubtedly make someone very happy but our vehicular recommendation, as your official bad-decision financial advisor is to either stock up on fuel while it’s national average price is under $2.00 per gallon (our example of $3,400 could get you just over 1,738 gallons of regular unleaded if you are paying the national average, it could also get you 2,280.35 gallons in the nation’s lowest-priced state, Wisconsin, or, of particular interest to Corvette owners, you could procure around 1,360 gallons of premium), purchase two extra sets of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S’, or, and we will get more into this in a future post, use the money for a (whole or partial) down payment on the Corvette of your dreams! Best of luck in convincing your significant other that any of what you have read here is the appropriate course of action (we’ve got your back!) and stay healthy out there, Corvette Nation!
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