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How to Buy a Corvette in 7 Easy Steps

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Swap Meet C4

You're more likely to find an affordable 'Vette at a local swap meet than at a fancy sports car auction.

Photo by Jeff Zurschmeide

Once you know what kind of Corvette you're looking for, and you have some hope of actually finding some examples in your price range to choose from, it's time to start your search.

There are many options when searching for a Corvette, and you should make your search as broad as possible. If you're looking for a brand new C6, just head to your local Chevy dealer, or buy the car like any other new vehicle through a buying service. But if you're looking for an older, pre-loved 'Vette, you've got options to consider.

Your local Corvette club is a good source of buying information. Members of Corvette clubs usually advertise their cars to their fellow club members before the general public, and since club members tend to know what's what, asking prices are usually not insane. Corvette swap meets are also a pretty good place to shop for a reasonably-priced car.

Magazines like Hemmings Motor News tend to specialize in rare and expensive 'Vettes. If you're looking for a very special car, those publications are a great place to start but you have to be willing to travel to look at cars and then to have them shipped back to your home. If you're planning to buy a $100,000 NCRS-certified classic Corvette, that's worth the time, effort, and expense. If you want to buy a track day and summer fun car, it's a bit on the high side.

The big-time classic car auctions offer great Corvettes for sale, but most often those sales happen at premium prices, and you have to pay a buyer's premium to the auction house on top of the purchase price. Plus, your opportunity to have the car checked out is very limited at an auction. If you do want to shop for a car at an auction, make it a local one. You can also keep an eye on the police and towing yard auctions, but you won't find the best cars there.

Newspaper classifieds have all but disappeared with the advent of Ebay and Craigslist, but check them anyway. You may be the only person who notices a bargain Corvette in your local paper! You can also check publications like Auto Trader and Corvette Trader and other regional online and printed auto sales listings.

The richest source of Corvette listings these days is going to be Craigslist and Ebay. Craigslist is a free online classified ad website that has local ads for just about every community in America, and many more worldwide. Services such as Craiglook allow you to search all the Craigslist sites within a specified range of your home. And of course, Ebay allows you to see Corvettes up for auction all over the world.

As you might expect, some of these channels are more reliable than others. With Ebay and Craigslist, you're really on your own as far as buying protection. I know people who have purchased cars on Craigslist and received what looked like proper paperwork, and the car still turned out to have been stolen! Yet I purchased my own Corvette through Craigslist and had a perfect transaction. Read on to find out how to protect yourself.

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