Volume II, Issue 7, Page 38


orvettes of any stripe aren’t exactly bargain basement thrift, but later model C3’s in particular are apt to give you a well-rounded blend of visceral satisfaction (a sinewy, shapely body), they can be easily coerced into rough stuff, and they are apt to be kinder to your fiscal plan than any of the other generations.

Bob Marion says his C3 is the only hot car he’s ever owned that he didn’t lust after. His obsidian black ’56 Chevy is a lust car. It’ll rip you a new memory, too. The ’60 tri-power Bonneville he bought because he grew up with hot Detroit Iron before the musclecar was invented. He’s got others, too, and has had many more besides. Right before he embarked on this little sojourn, he went to the Chevy store and looked at a ’07 C6, but nixed the idea because he didn’t want to see another one next to him or across the way. He wanted something that would stand out.

That’s why he likes his ’81. It is imminently drivable and mechanically new under its fiberglass shell. He takes it everywhere. It doesn’t fuss or fume or stop running. Its GM Performance Parts small-block is bigger and much stronger than the 350 that was in it. The transmission has an overdrive top gear. He thought that backing up the chassis with upgraded parts and putting disc brakes on every corner was the only wise thing to do. After spending most of his 67 years as a learning experience, Bob’s hip to just about everything that’ll make a car run faster and safer than when it was nothing but a stocker.

We are living in the age of want it right now, get it right now, and the Chevy aftermarket is burgeoning with the most inexpensive parts and pieces in history, so you needn’t settle for one source when there are several outfits that can supply you with the same stuff. As supply goes up, demand, and therefore price, tends to level out in a neat and orderly array. We’re suggesting a cruise car here, an all-around street hottie, something you’d press hard to Dunkin Donuts or just terrorize your own self with, not something you’d build to bash at the drag strip.

You’d dutifully check to see what’s in the larder: eBay, want-ad press, newspaper classifieds, local bulletin boards, the grapevine maybe, to see what’s available and to compare tariffs. Bob found his sweetheart for about five grand, an admitted deal, but the norm runs from that to about $10K, depending on the condition of the car, what the clock reads (not always the correct time), and the mentality of the owner. Some C3’s are limbo cars right now. The C1 and C2 are off the scale. Though the C4 might show you what you want to see, be prepared to step up the offer just a little, but not if it has a Cross-Fire (AKA “Cease Fire”) 350 and a 3+E four-speed manual transmission.