Tom Petty and the, aptly named, Heartbreakers perfectly summed up the early stages of the Corvette owner’s metamorphosis in the first track of their 1981 album, Hard Promises. Spending another summer in pursuit of the first ‘Vette that I could call my own has repeatedly forced your author to anguish in the waiting stage of this hobby.
The most common thing ailing regular readers of this site is an itch that can only be scratched by buying a Corvette. This disease often ends up getting compounded and muddled by realizations that snow will eventually come and the fact that you have two small children who, on occasion, may require the use of a back seat. Coming to this understanding can lead one to spend years attempting to acquire a fifth-gen Camaro Z/28 after stunningly rapid depreciation rendered the stripped-sown LS7 dream machine downright affordable.
A 2020 market correction has seen Z/28 prices rise $5-10,000 across the board, despite the coronavirus’s economic impact, sending me back to square one. In the spring, with school all-but closed, my 7.0-liter goalposts shifted to the lighter, cheaper, original home of the 505 HP, 7k RPM small-block powerhouse, the 2006-09 Corvette Z06.
My efforts already largely ignored the reality of winter. So, I worked out some wrinkles that would allow me to forget about the rear seat as well; the kids only ride in my car on rare occasions anyway; I could realistically get by with just a driver’s seat. The plan taking shape in my head was ingenious! My wife, also a teacher, would be starting this school year in a new position just down the street from our house. When the weather turned frightful, my Z would stay in our garage, warm and delightful. I would (adorably) drop her off at work in her five-star safety rated Sorento family hauler, then head to my place of employment.
It was settled! Off to Cars.com, Autotrader, eBay, and Autolist! After missing out on several low-mile C6 Zs and a ridiculous deal on a 2018 Camaro SS 1LE, I got through to the application process on a Daytona Sunset Orange 2006 Z06 that I briefly covered in a late June edition of Quick Shifts. Having mitigated the slightly-negative trade equity that plagued my Camaro search with less-expensive ‘Vettes, a new nemesis arose in the form of interest rates. It turns out that Banks willing to lend on vehicles built more than ten years ago want a king’s ransom to do so. An easily doable mid-30,000-dollar car would become a mid-40s nightmare, and I’d have to decline. I suffer from a perennial optimism, so the search continued with the thought of a better trade offer or a savvy dealership that saw the benefit of being mentioned on Corvette Blogger giving me a glimmer of hope. I went for it on a pair of Victory Red examples and an ’08 in glorious Jetstream Blue with the Black/Titanium interior, polished wheels, and under 10k miles. Still, like the proverbial Casey, I whiffed.
In a last-ditch effort, I rationalized my desire to put as many miles as possible on my Z06 into a search of higher mileage cars with friendlier asking prices; no more trailer queens! To my surprise, one of the 545 ’07 Z06s ever ordered with Competition Gray wheels just popped up for sale four miles from where I work, with a clean Carfax and an odometer showing a not-so-bad 49k miles. Even after some negotiation and a generous trade offer, I was looking at a $32,000 car with a monthly payment that rivaled what I am currently paying on a newer car with an MSRP of $43,720. No amount of imagined V8 bliss could justify that math in my head. So, I continue to slowly chip away at that negative equity and take it on faith; take it to the heart that someday soon I’ll join my readers as a full-fledged member of Corvette nation; the waiting is the hardest part!