The Corvette is America's favorite indigenous sports car. OK, it's America's only sports car, but even if it wasn't, we'd wager it would still be No. 1. There are so many years and engine options, some invariably get overlooked. Here are our five choices. What about yours? Tell us in the comments section.
1. 1954 Corvette. The first three model years were the only three of the original Motorama design that looks every bit a ’50s dream car. The '53 is huge bucks because of its first-year status and the '55 isn't far behind because it's the only one of the three with a small-block V-8. That leaves only the '54 at under $100K. They used to be quite a bit more expensive, so there may be an opportunity here.
2. 1973 Corvette L82 4-speed. Many Corvette fans claim that '72 was the last C3 year to own. We disagree and can find something to like about every year up till the end in 1982. But we especially like the '73 with its chrome rear bumpers and soft nose. The L82 option still brought decent power and good looking slotted aluminum wheels were now optional.
3. 1995 Corvette ZR-1. The last year of the C4 ZR-1 had a number of things going for it: Cool C4 styling that we think will be more and more appreciated in years to come and more than 400 horsepower. The power wasn't exactly unprecedented for a Corvette, but the Lotus-engineered Mercury Marine-built engine made much of its power way up in the rev range like an Italian exotic.
4. 1963 or 1964 Corvette roadster. These are the forgotten years (and hence the affordable ones) for the Corvette roadster. The only '63 that collectors seem to care about is the split-window coupe and the same people seem to pass on the '64 in favor of the disc-brake equipped cars in 1965. We say dive in and grab the last of the affordable C2 or mid-year Corvettes.
5. 1996 Corvette LT1 convertible. We think the C4 market is where the C3 market was 10 years ago and when people wake up to what fantastic cars these were, the last year of the convertible with the 330 hp LT1 engine will be the first pushrod C4 to appreciate. Get one now with a ZF six-speed and enjoy it. It's a safer investment than the stock market now.