From mild to wild, these are the 7 cheapest Corvettes right now

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Everybody loves a bargain, whether it’s happy hour beers at your local, BOGO at the book store, or a two-fer at your favorite online retailer. Heck, in some jurisdictions, Black Friday has somehow turned into the entire month of November. In this economy, you’ll hear few complaints.

There are deals to be found throughout the classic car market as well, and, lucky for us, that includes the performance realm occupied by America’s Sports Car. Despite a few eye-watering results in 2023, like the $3.14M record price RM Sotheby’s achieved in January for a 1969 ZL-1 convertible, Corvettes have always represented good value for money. After digging into the data from our most recent update to the Hagerty Price Guide, we’ve determined that these seven Corvettes—one from each generation, excluding today’s C8—are the cheapest examples you can buy right now. Unsurprisingly, they hover around base-model territory, but a Corvette is a Corvette, and it’s almost impossible to go wrong.

For this exercise, we’re focusing on examples in #2 condition (Excellent), which means they drive like new and might even win you a trophy at a regional car show. If there’s someone on your “Nice List” this holiday season, now might be the perfect time to shop.

C1 (1953–62)

1956 Convertible C1 front three quarter
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1956 Convertible

The 1956 Corvette represented a complete overhaul from the models that preceded it, the most notable difference being those gorgeous side coves sometimes set off by two-tone paint. Following the V-8’s introduction in 1955, three different 265-cid V-8 configurations were offered in ’56, with outputs of 210, 225, and 240 horsepower. The penny saver here is the base car, breathing through a four-barrel carb and putting its adequate power to the back wheels through a three-speed manual transmission. Following a modest rise in prices that began with the onset of the pandemic, prices peaked around April 2022 before settling back to pre-pandemic levels. Today, a car in #2 shape sells for about $70,500. Figure around $60,000 if it’s equipped with the Powerglide automatic.

C2 (1963–67)

1964 Convertible C2 side
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1964 Convertible

Chevy’s 1963 redesign of the Corvette gave us a coupe for the first time, and what a coupe it was; the one-year-only Split-Window Corvette is rightly regarded as one of the most beautiful cars to ever hit the road. The rest of the Corvettes in second-gen lineup were no slouches, either. Open or closed, you can’t go wrong. Take the ’64 327/250 convertible, for instance. In this configuration, with the optional four-speed manual and single Carter four-barrel, it’s sitting at about $64,000, and closer to $51,000 if equipped with the base three-speed manual. It’ll never be a match—on the street or the auction block—for its hi-po 327/375 fuelie counterpart ($89,400 for a #2), but you’ll hardly care when you’re buying million-dollar looks for Silverado money.

C3 (1968–82)

1976 Coupe C3 front three quarter
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1976 Coupe

The swoopy, pointy, sexy “Shark” Corvette hit the streets in 1968, and though it would trade its chrome bumpers for even more fantastic plastic by 1974, the basic shape soldiered on into the early ’80s, by which point more than 542,000 had been produced—roughly equal to total production of C1, C2, and C4 Corvettes combined. While few enthusiasts would ever accuse a ’76 Corvette of being potent, a nicely kept 180-hp L48 coupe is a joy to own. They also take us into affordable, sub-$20K territory, with an average sale price of $19,500. That may seem cheap, and prices appear to be leveling off as we end the year, but keep in mind these cars have gained nearly 64 percent in value since 2018, which means that if the best time to buy one was five years ago, then certainly the second-best time is today.

C4 (1984–96)

1986 Coupe C4 front three quarter
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1986 Coupe

When it arrived, the fourth-gen Corvette was a revelation in every way, a world-class performer underpinned by an all-new chassis, with a funky digital dash to rival the finest Texas Instruments calculator in the land. After debuting with 205 hp, base cars quickly got a bump to 230, and for 1986, a convertible model returned to the lineup following an 11-year absence. It’s the ’86 coupe we’re interested in, however, and at around $17,900, it’s the cheapest Corvette of them all. But for how long? The five-year trajectory on these cars has seen them gain 50 percent, and they’re still headed up.

C5 (1997–2004)

1997 Coupe C5 front three quarter
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1997 Coupe

Until mid-2021, fifth-gen Corvettes represented one of the best bang-for-buck ratios in the performance-car world. Today, at an average #2 price of $26,400, they’ve gained the attention of collectors, but they’re still a solid deal. And with 345 horses on tap from that terrific LS1 V-8, a near 50/50 weight balance, and 30 mpg possible on the highway, there is little this Corvette can’t do. The ’97 model year was coupe-only, and the automatic transmission was standard, so these days it generally means a 10 percent discount. If you prefer two pedals, it’s a good way to save yourself some dough. If you prefer the wind in your hair, however, maybe consider our next pick.

C6 (2005–13)

2005 Convertible C6 yellow front three quarter
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2005 Convertible

Prices have cooled in 2023 on all but the very best ’05 Corvettes. Thankfully, a #2 condition car is not the very best, so a convertible at $32,000 is a stellar deal. Especially when you consider the 400-hp LS2 lugging it around. In fact, the kind of performance this car delivers for the price is almost unfair; an ’05 Porsche 911 convertible in similar fettle will set you back $55K, for example. There’s no intermediate shaft bearing issue to fret over in the Corvette, either. Win-win.

C7 (2014–19)

2014 C7 Corvette Stingray Coupe rear three quarter white
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2014 Stingray Coupe

Before Chevy made the dramatic switch to a mid-engine layout for the C8 Corvette, the seventh-gen car gave enthusiasts everything they could want from a front engine/rear-drive layout. The car featured a 455-hp LT1 V-8 mated to an all-new seven-speed manual gearbox that offered rev-matching, a carbon fiber hood and removable roof panels, plus a more premium interior (finally!) and a full suite of gizmos designed for coddling and convenience. We don’t currently feature these in the Hagerty Price Guide, but you can get yourself into one for around $48,600, and when compared to some of the very latest, very snoozy new-car offerings, why wouldn’t you?

 

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Comments

    I would not call these Cheap.

    There are few C1 and C3 Vettes that are cheap today. If they are they need a ton of work.

    Chrome bumper C3 are gaining value fast.

    Late C3 models can be a deal but they lack power so engine changes are common here.

    The C4 is still a deal. Many are still below $20K and can be still found in good shape.

    Some C5 models with higher miles in good shape can be a deal but they have been rising in price since 2021 at a good clip so buy soon.

    C6 is still a value if it is an early base model

    C7 are still high prices.

    C8 is just getting back to what they sold for as supplies grow.

    This is a story you need to choose the wording carefully as none are cheap but some are good values but at a cost of condition or just unpopular years due to lack of power.

    The best bang for the buck is the C5 as it is still easy to work on and affordable to restore or modify. Lack of the many eletonics on a solid platform is key here.

    I am trying to price my 68 convertible (327/350) for sale. Any recommendation on best sources to determine value?

    Hagerty has value at $32700 for good condition & $53700 for excellent condition. Concourse condition is $81100

    If you want to sell it. List it on BAT.
    Take a time of pics or have them do it. BAT is a sellers site. The car will sell for exactly what it is worth

    Well I wanted to make a general comment to everyone but it wasn’t really clear on how to go about that so I picked reply and your the first person to reply to. Here goes I hung around a used a corvette dealer who named his place Tom Oldham the corvette King the many cars on his were all corvettes.
    I had the unpleasant experience of driving one and it made me realize that I would not ever buy or rent or lease a Corvette ever.
    The ride was the roughest ride in a vehicle I ever experienced every little pebble even the smallest little bitty stone not any bigger than the pea gravel you see some people use as landscape material or for driveways felt a collision. It was more like riding in a log wagon than a luxury sports car. The suspension was so stiff I thought the stocks must have been broken or missing from the car. It was the roughest ride I ever had in a motor vehicle and driven a lot of vehicles from little sports cars like a TR3 Triumph to big box freighters or more commonly know as bobtail trucks used primarily as delivery and pickups for shipping to freight docks in and around cities where 18 wheeler are to unwieldy to use in city traffic and frankly they provide a more comfortable ride than any corvette I’ve drive or rode in during my lifetime

    Buy a BMW 2, 3, or 4 series Coupe’. Don’t buy and M car or you will get exactly what you experienced in the Vette. I have an M2 and I only drive it as a hobby.

    Martin, from the sound of your experience, I am sure the “stocks” were missing from the suspension. You obviously do not have a clue how a true performance sports car performs.

    I still think the ’56 and ’57 Corvettes had the best looking front end of all them. I bought a brand new ’60 fuel injection Corvette. Only 700 something fuel injection Corvettes were sold that year. It had an experimental aluminum radiator in it. I didn’t know until a GM man came to my door and told me and asked to check it out. He said he would like to come back every six months to check it. It was a solid color Honduras maroon paint, four speed, 4:56 posi. I even beat a 409 Chevy with it in ’62 that was always touted as being so fast.
    When I was in Vietnam I couldn’t wait to get back home to my Corvette and my dog. A few months after I got home it caught fire while doing 80 on I-75 in Kentucky. I think a six month old fuel pump came loose and I had flame coming through the gear shift boot. Car filled with smoke and I could only see through the passenger side window looking at the guard rail and pulled over. Lifted the hood and six feet of flame shot up. Could only watch it burn! It had just rolled 32,000 miles in ’67. The price new? $4217. I bought a year old ’66 Stingray right after that for $3500. It had twelve coats of Cadillac bronze metal flake paint. It was beautiful! AAA insurance only gave me $1275 for the ’60! A week later my dog died!!! I saw a ’60 Corvette the same color on Barrett-Jackson af few years ago just like mine, it went for $160,000!!!!
    A friend of mine had recorded my ’60 going through the gears up to 120. He sent me the tape while I was in Vietnam. I was at Kontum Advisors camp 15 miles from Cambodia and the Ho Chi Min Trail. We would see it bombed and feel it through the ground. A lot of us had four track tape steros in our rooms. I had loned the tape to a kid in my platoon. One night at midnight I was just going on guard dury. When I heard my Vette blasting through our compound! It sounded like it was really there!! It was so cool! I saw the kid the next morning and told him I heard it! He said, “I knew you were out there and would get a thrill hearing it! It is still a great memory! I still have the tape and my stero!

    Agree with hyperv6. The 81 I had was cheap. It also had a transplanted motor of suspect provenance, a tan (cracked) interior, and a white (also cracked) exterior. A project, no doubt, but I paid $4k for it and made money when I sold it after some fairly easy maintenance. Good C4s can be had for high 4, low 5 figures and have a lot more life in them than my C3 did. Do a piece on that: the #4 quality cars that can still provide some fun without breaking a regular person’s bank.

    I currently own a 2014 Laguna Blue pace car and a 1982 29,233 mile Collector Edition. There is no way the 82 could ever keep up with the 14 but it rides nice and I love them both. I have owned the following 1963 Fuel injected split window , 1969 427 coupe, 1972 LT-1, 1977 L-48, 1985 Z-51, 2006 3-LT along with my current Vettes. I can say each one has it’s own personality and have no regrets owning any of them. Side note when I got promoted to Firefighter Lieutenant I bought my 85 and my chief drove an orange Thing, when I got to the new station I was pleasantly surprised to find 3 other firefighters with Corvettes, I thought it was kinda cool.

    I’m a Corvette lover, hard to choose, but I would have to pick the C6, always loved the styling, great looking car!

    I hear you! I loved everything about my C6 ’08 3LT convertible, 34k miles, totally loaded, first year the LS3 so good power, and 30 miles per gallon if you drove like an old man.
    If I was younger I would have found a place and run it up with its high-speed rear end to its estimated 194 mph, but could only bring myself to do 150 on my rural county road.
    Bought it about 5 years ago, new tires, always garaged one owner, for $25k, so very hard to complain about this vehicle- power, luxury, safety, room for a big old guy like me, pussified six-speed automatic, and totally loaded (had some electronics that I don’t even have on my new vehicle now)

    “If it’s too good to be true….” The 1976 is “cheap” for a reason. I’ve owned multiple C2 & C3 corvettes and I can tell you from experience, at NO TIME is it good to own a ’76 (pre-apologies to those that own them). They are absolute junk from performance to the quality of original parts to the build quality itself. The mid-70’s was the pinnacle of all things wrong with the American auto industry and the Corvette was not exempt from this malaise. If this is the model design you like, the later you go in years, the better (note: 1977 wasn’t much better).

    If it were not for unions, the gap between the very wealthy and the very poor would be much greater. Ronald Reagan broke the ATC union. We now have an antiquated system with mane near misses and minor collisions because of multiple problems from technology to training.

    Everything goes to extremes unfortunately, both good and bad. At the start of the industrial revolution in Britain both children and pregnant women slaved away in coal mines. The introduction of the miner’s union was critical to force civilized behaviour onto society. But eventually greed trickled from top to bottom.
    I worked in auto repair in the 70’s, and saw things like Coke bottles that had been secreted inside panels that were spot-welded together, put there during assembly simply to cause a hard-to-find rattle. Industrial sabotage of the product you are building is not the best recipe for long-term success.
    Neither is taking 14 months to replace a front differential with a hole in it on a 1979 F250 I bought new, which was assembled just a few miles from where I worked, showing that management didn’t give a damn about their customers either. Stupid is not exclusive to the bottom end of the totem pole. If a business can’t (or won’t) build a reliable product that people want and can afford, it kills itself. The 1970s American auto industry as a whole opened wide the door for imports, inflicting upon itself permanent damage.

    I grew up just south of Detroit in the 60s, I only knew American cars, mostly V-8s and still have my 66 Vette. Sad to say IMHO the unions and big 3 went downhill with smog and sell too many cheaply made cars and consistently kill off the few good cars they manage to produce. I switched to Japanese cars and never looked back. Most have 150k plus with only minor repairs and wife’s Prius is at 283k, first brake change at 253k. I race the most raced car in America – Miata. I have 2 European cars, but wouldnt touch a new one.

    Hands down the c6 base is a great car. Owned an 08, base, no silly junk to fail.
    430 hp, and 28 mpg at 80+. Few things were a little under par. But over all it’s something you could own and actually drive and not need a dealership at any point. Had a 2002 c5 also. Fun and cool but not as much as that c6! I do wish the seats would have been just a little better. I’m a light person and I was super careful getting in and out. Also check the driver door jam at the hing area. BOTH cars were cracked there due to not being careful when opening the doors. (No from me, I was 2nd owner)

    My 2007 C6 Base Convertible is joyfully called “MY ATTITUDE CHANGER”. Why? Because, everytime I get in it I’m 25 again. I’m in my late 70s – AWSOME!!

    Like you Mike, I’ll be 76 next week and I have a red 05, first year of the Gen6, driving her is pure joy except for the Florida traffic where there is no respect for others on the road. I make sure I’m off the road before they get out there!

    Several years ago I wanted a C2 Corvette, but did not have deep pockets. Found and bought an all original 1964 Convert w/ hardtop, 327-250 with a 3 speed, no posi, base car. I had just as much fun with that car than if it was a 327-375 car. Later sold it and moved up to a 1965 Coupe 327/300 4 speed. While the 1965 is a better car and more valuable, the ’64 was more fun and more unique!

    I wonder if these “look what great bargains these cars are now, but prices are rising” articles do more to price cars out of the range of people who actually want to buy them to drive and enjoy than anything else.

    I love these articles as it helps me learn about what I would consider owning as I always wanted to try owning a Vette. If there were no good articles there would just be doom a gloom. Lets leave that to death and politics.

    My overall favorite is the C7 followed closely by the C5.
    The C8 is simply too Euro for my taste. The styling department dropped the ball on that one, IMO.

    I always wanted a 1967 coupe with the 427, but they became way too expensive, so I ended up driving a 1970 Porsche 914-6 for years. I considered a C7 when they were new, but they were so difficult to get that I wound up in a 2014 Porsche 981S instead. Thought about getting a C8, but went with a 982 GT4, mainly because Porsches are easier to drive on tight mountain roads (they are much smaller than comparable Vettes),

    The only V-8 powered car in the driveway is a 2009 BMW M3 E92, which has a flat torque curve starting around 3,800 RPM and continuous rise in HP as the RPMs go up (we’ve only run it to a bit over 8,300 RPM on a dyne). It produces 312 HP at the rear wheels, which isn’t bad out of 244 CID (4.0 liter) engine.

    I’ll eventually get around to owning a Vette – everyone has to have one at least once in their life! Maybe a replica 1964 Grand Sport?

    As a road test editor for nearly 30 years I’ve driven all kinds of sports cars. I’ve owned all kinds of cars too and bought a 996 (6MT, LSD, Sport chassis/seats, Aero kit) a few years ago. I owned it for about 3 years and it was far and away my favorite car. I only sold it because I needed to raise funds and it was an extra car. I like Corvettes too, and may own one in the future. But I have to agree with you that 911s (up through the 997 generation, anyway) have a lean, compact body that’s much easier to place in the corners on a narrow, twisty road. By comparison, a Corvette, although athletic, is so wide that it feels like driving a king size bed on a similar stretch of blacktop.

    Given your penchant for great handling cars, you would be very disappointed in a 427 vette. Yes, they get the glory, but the reality is it’s very nose-heavy and a handful when pushed in the corners (not to mention a PITA to work on). Look for a potent smallblock and while none will handle like your German cars (I owned a 2003 540 M-Sport), it will make you smile in different ways!

    Not cheap, cheapest.

    Back when they were new, I tested an ‘05 Corvette before buying another 911. Because I always tested a Corvette before ending up with the Porsche. And as always, I liked the Corvette but it felt…big. Not my idea of a sports car except for the looks, which range through the generations between great and sublime. I haven’t driven a C7 or C8 and based on what everyone says they probably drive more like my kind of car, but they still look…big.

    I hate to say it but the 911 has grown quite a bit in recent years. Park your ’05 next to a new one and you will be surprised.

    Try parking even a 2005 next to a narrow body, short hood like a 1967. The latter looks like a kiddie car!

    I always liked the C1 body style. I had a friend who had a 54 in high school in 1959. You can tell I am old school and like the simpler and smooth design. I think the new Corvette’s are ugly. I dislike many of the new cars with all the unnecessary sharp angles. I must agree with Dennis who would like to have a 63 split window. However, at my age I think I will stick with my 2009 Aston Martin Vantage, which I have owned since 2019. (could not afford it new).

    The 7th Gen car really is aging well. Every time I see one they seem better looking than ever.

    And that 56 – 57 Corvette is one of the best looking cars of its era.

    Those are the two standouts for me.

    The title of the article is not “cheap” but “cheapest”, meaning compared to other examples within its category. You deliberately misconstrue the situation in order to take issue, as always.

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