Classic Car Watch
Two Seaters

October 1, 2006
By Scott Lewis

Last month I told about my new Mini Cooper S Convertible in my Car Corner column. I also mentioned here that I would be making some changes to this column based on my new daily driver. This month I want to list two seaters. In other words... Sports Cars. In other, other words... Corvettes.

Since I have a really cool, new daily driver one of the changes I will be gradually migrating toward is that I don't need a classic "daily driver." Oh, I still want a classic that I could drive every day... it's just that I probably won't drive every day. As a part time car I can easily get away with a two seater. In fact, since my two sons leave for school at such different times I can actually use a two seater as a daily driver. (This would have been good information back in June when I bought my Mini Cooper. Can you say 350Z or S2000.)

I started the list below late in 2005. I know, what took me so long? Well, I wasn't sure if I wanted to venture into the land of sports cars. But now that I know I could get away with driving one I decided to put this list out there.

This month is mostly about Corvettes, but I still wanted to include other two seaters. Which cars to add. The easy one is the Datsun (anyone remember that name) Z cars. Next up might be the Porsche 914. Now I realize this is just a jazzed up VW, but there is a decent following for them, and maybe I can find a 914-6 with a real Porsche engine in it.

Wanting to give as much of a chance to the Americans I decided to include the orphaned Fiero. Hold on there. I really liked the Fiero when it was new. I bought my first new car in Dec. 88 (an 89 model year car). If Pontiac had made an 89 Fiero I would have bought it. The 88 Fiero was finally what the Fiero should have been from from the start. It got its own suspension that made it a real handling car. The 84-87 years had a Chevette (I said Chevette, not Corvette) front suspension and a Citation front suspension turned around for a rear suspension. It was a joke. 88 was the year. The best version would be the Formula with the V-6 and a 5 speed. The GT looked weird, and added unnecessary weight.

As for Corvettes, they are expensive. Well, at least the good ones are expensive. I really love the chrome bumper 68-72 models. If you are looking for a "classic" Corvette that is affordable you are going to be looking at the mid seventies. These are the C3 Corvette (third generation) that ran from 1968 - 1982. I decided to limit my search to these years, just to see what I find.

1972 Chevrolet Corvette - $17,500

72_corvette_red_on_black_nom_ac_1.jpg (88027 bytes) 72_corvette_red_on_black_nom_ac_2.jpg (136454 bytes) 72_corvette_red_on_black_nom_ac_3.jpg (117682 bytes) 72_corvette_red_on_black_nom_ac_4.jpg (122949 bytes)

Description: Red paint, black leather interior, NOM 350ci engine, auto transmission, posi rear-end, Factory 
A/C, power steering, power brakes, AM/FM stereo, rally wheels, new radial tires.

NADA: $23,238 - $36,575

Source: American Sportscar Center in Atlanta Georgia

Found: 8/1/2006

Comments: Keep in mind that NADA assumes this is a numbers matching car, which it is not. And it never will be. However, it is a clean looking chrome bumper Corvette for just a little more than my budget. Should make a great driver.

1973 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - $13,000

73_corvette_white_on_blue_tx_1.jpg (40973 bytes) 73_corvette_white_on_blue_tx_2.jpg (39754 bytes)

Description: This car is clean, runs and looks good. No scratches or dings. Has been garaged always and never wrecked. Clean rear chrome bumpers.

NADA: $16,925 - $25,625

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 7/17/2006

Comments: 73 is the orphan year for the "chrome bumber" Corvettes. It has the rear chrome bumber, but not the front. I wonder how hard it would be to swap on a chrome front bumper from a 68-72 Vette?

1974 Chevrolet Corvette - $14,995

74_corvette_orange_on_tan_1.jpg (621025 bytes) 74_corvette_orange_on_tan_2.jpg (624497 bytes) 74_corvette_orange_on_tan_3.jpg (1465303 bytes) 74_corvette_orange_on_tan_4.jpg (1496687 bytes)

Description: This is a 2 owner 69,147 actual mile 1974 Chevrolet Corvette that is painted in Corvette Orange with Neutral Leather interior. Powered by a numbers matching 350ci engine with automatic transmission. Optioned with Power Steering with Tilt and telescopic steering wheel, Power brakes, Power steering, Air Conditioning, AM/FM stereo, Split rear bumper, Dual exhaust, Aluminum wheels, and T-tops. If you are looking for a well kept 2 owner Chevrolet Corvette this is the one for you. Be seen in the Corvette Orange Sports car from the 70's.

NADA: $14,125 - $23,750

Source: Holt Auto Sales

Found: 9/22/2006

Comments: No chrome bumpers. Darn. This car looks real clean. If you can make the sacrifice away from the chrome this is a good way to go.

1975 Chevrolet Corvette Silver Anniversary Edition - $15,900

75_corvette_silver_l82_4speed_ac_1.jpg (102458 bytes) 75_corvette_silver_l82_4speed_ac_2.jpg (95785 bytes) 75_corvette_silver_l82_4speed_ac_3.jpg (94083 bytes) 75_corvette_silver_l82_4speed_ac_4.jpg (113421 bytes)

Description: 47,000 actual miles. Matching number L82 350 V8, 4 speed, dark blue leather interior, aluminum wheels, painted tops, tilt wheel, recharged air conditioning, full power, factory installed stereo/tape system, full factory gauges and original Muncie shifter. All correct components under the hood, stock dual exhaust. Maintainance and restoration receipts going back 20 years. Runs and drives perfect. Needs nothing to drive anywhere and enjoy.

NADA: $17,360 - $26,790

Source: Memory Lane Motors

Found: 5/9/2006

Comments: What's wrong with this ad. Yep... 1978 was the year for the Silver Anniversary Corvette. Oops! I think it was a typo, and this is not a 75 car. That being said... the L-82 with a 4 speed and air. I like it. I really liked this color combination when it was new. Yikes! That's freaking scary that I can remember this car when it was new.

1977 Chevrolet Corvette - $10,995

77_corvette_tan_blrown_auto_1.jpg (109757 bytes) 77_corvette_tan_blrown_auto_2.jpg (114462 bytes) 77_corvette_tan_blrown_auto_3.jpg (123834 bytes) 77_corvette_tan_blrown_auto_4.jpg (150001 bytes)

Description: 350 4BBl V8 (L-48), automatic (Turbo 350), power steering, power 4 wheel disc brakes, power windows, tilt/tele, cruise, A/C, factory AM/FM w/8 trac, Rallye wheels, T-tops, luggage rack, #s matching engine, transmission rebuilt in 2003, newer tires (approx 5,000 miles), recent brake & power steering work, receipts for recent work, original paint & interior, 3 owner car, only 80,000 miles, wonderful driving original Vette!

NADA: $12,128 - $18,783

Source: Fast Lane Classic Cars

Found: 3/16/06

Comments: This looks like a great "starter" Corvette. If you are looking for your first Corvette this will make a nice car. You have all the power accessories you need. It has reasonably low mileage and it has the original paint. If it looks as good in person as it does in the pictures it should be an easy car to buy. It is even priced below NADA's average retail price. Although this Corvette will never escalate like other years... it is selling for more than it did when it was new. Clearly it is not an investment vehicle, but it is a vehicle you can enjoy and eventually sell without taking a loss.

Like I said... a perfect starter for a future Corvette collector.

1978 Chevrolet Corvette - $15,500

78_covette_silver_silver_anniversary_1.jpg (1251724 bytes) 78_covette_silver_silver_anniversary_2.jpg (804963 bytes)

Description: Clean 1978 Silver Anniversary Corvette. 3rd owner. Mostly garage kept. L-48 engine with Oyster leather interior and smoked glass T-Tops. 128K miles. New interior except for seat covers and dash. All new door panels, arm rests, center console, window switch, lock switches. Dyno matted the interior to help with heat and sound. 8 track just serviced and works great. New tires and wheels with maybe 300 miles on them. Brake calipers replaced with stainless and disks are cross cut. Extras: copy of original sales invoice, front carpet set, Wolf car cover, all repair records back to 1980. Has the standard AC, power windows and locks, Automatic 3 speed.

NADA: $12,990 - $19,440

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 3/16/06

Comments: This car is located in Austin, so I have to include it.

1979 Chevrolet Corvette - $6,995

79_corvette_beige_on_beige_1.jpg (238465 bytes) 79_corvette_beige_on_beige_2.jpg (337198 bytes) 79_corvette_beige_on_beige_3.jpg (236383 bytes) 79_corvette_beige_on_beige_4.jpg (345508 bytes)

Description: This is a 1979 Chevrolet Corvette that is painted in a Light Beige with Beige leather interior. This car has had a complete seat and carpet replacement and is ready to go. This Corvette is powered by a 350ci engine with automatic transmission which is a great combination to have. Optioned with power window, air conditioning, new interior, painted T-Tops, AM/FM stereo, power steering, power brakes, updated front and rear bumpers from a 80-82, and aluminum wheels. If you are looking for a great entry level Corvette this is the one for you. Don't miss this solid 79 Corvette.

NADA: $12,155 - $18,398

Source: Holt Auto Sales

Found: 3/16/03

Comments: Because of the price this is clearly the bargain champ. If you want a cheap way into Corvette collecting then this is it. Remember, this car is over 25 years old, so it is a classic by definition. I assume the non stock nose and tail are why the price is so low. Corvette enthusiasts tend to be purists in this regard. If you like the 80-82 look (which I do) then this is a perfect car to play around with.

Corvettes are fiberglass, so there is never an issue with rust on the body. But check the frame for rust. Otherwise this car just needs the same looking over you would do for any used car. Pay particular attention to the brakes as they were unique to the Corvette and will be more expensive to repair than a typical passenger car's brakes.

1982 Chevrolet Corvette - $15,495

82_corvette_collector_edition_1.jpg (98862 bytes) 82_corvette_collector_edition_2.jpg (89851 bytes) 82_corvette_collector_edition_3.jpg (134145 bytes) 82_corvette_collector_edition_4.jpg (152296 bytes)

Description: Collector Edition. Last of the "Big 'Vette" series. Distinguished by more than just special paintwork the Collector Edition featured an opening hatchback rear window in place of the previous fixed backlight. As well as a unique silver-beige metallic, "fading shadow" paint scheme, the Collector Edition's other distinguishing features included matching interior with leather upholstery and door trim, "Corvette Collector Edition" crossed-flag emblems, solar screened roof panels and special spoked alloy wheels. Two just introduced technical innovations were a new four-speed automatic transmission and 350 Cubic Inch Cross-Fire electronic fuel injection Engine. Options included power steering, power brakes and tinted glass were among the host of standard features. One of only 6,759 built!

NADA: $18,260 - $28,490

Source: Muscle Garage

Found: 4/14/2006

Comments: I deliberately avoided the 82 Corvette for two reasons. 1) The crossfire injection engine. It sucked as fuel injected engines went. 2) No manual transmission offered... for the crossfire engine. They never got EPA approval for the crossfire with a manual. The 82 Camaros with the crossfire where also automatics. You have to get one of the "lower" carbureted engines in a Camaro if you wanted a manual transmission back in 82. This really is scary that I remember these tid-bits... from when they were new.

This is one of the nicer Collector Edition Vettes I have seen, and it fit the budget (withing $495 of negotiating). So I threw it in the mix. I was surprised an NADA's value of this car. NADA gives over $4,000 at average retail to the Collector Edition. That helps.

1970 Datsun 240Z - $8,500

70_240z_green_az_1.jpg (1393471 bytes) 70_240z_green_az_2.jpg (1505176 bytes) 70_240z_green_az_3.jpg (1499869 bytes)

Description: This is a 1970 Datsun 240Z. California car, 124,939 original miles, rust free and original, new custom interior, numbers matching the motor and tranny. The car runs and drives like new with no mechanical problems. Only one repaint. The vehicle's air conditioning unit works and blows cool air. SU carbs completely rebuilt along with distributor. The transmission has also been rebuilt, as well as the clutch, master cylinder, and slave cylinder replaced.

NADA: $9,200 - $16,225

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 3/23/2006

Comments: This guy really need to learn how to crop a photo. But the pictures look good enough to want me to see more.

1971 Datsun 240Z - $13,500

71_240Z_blue_on_blue_ac_1.jpg (160624 bytes) 71_240Z_blue_on_blue_ac_2.jpg (159601 bytes) 71_240Z_blue_on_blue_ac_3.jpg (158218 bytes) 71_240Z_blue_on_blue_ac_4.jpg (165067 bytes)

Description: Series I, rare blue on blue, 4 speed, a/c, Pioneer am/fm/cd, Panasport wheels, excellent condition, runs and drives like new.

NADA: $6,950 - $12,800

Source: Kens Classic Cars

Found: 2/21/2006

Comments: I love the color. This car is priced at top dollar, even for a dealer. It better be that good. I would still use NADA to try and talk them down.

1973 Datsun 240Z - $8,200

73_240z_4speed_met_blue_1.jpg (102218 bytes)

Description: Original owner, 74K miles, good shape. Original engine, 4 speed & interior.

NADA: $7,250 - $12,600

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 5/9/2006

Comments: The picture is pretty grainy. We need to see more pictures and get more information. Particularly info on rust. Seems like it should be worth calling about.

1974 Datsun 260 Z - $3,995

74_260z_orange_local_1.jpg (43003 bytes)

Description: classic 4 spd., original factory orange paint, dual carbs , super strong & nice!

NADA: $5,150 - $9,400

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: ???

Comments: Hey, this one in really local... in San Antonio. I have to at least look at it.

1974 Datsun 260Z - $5,995

74_260Z_silver_1.jpg (191017 bytes) 74_260Z_silver_2.jpg (198185 bytes) 74_260Z_silver_3.jpg (181548 bytes) 74_260Z_silver_4.jpg (218227 bytes)

Description: 6 cylinder engine, 4 speed transmission, new tires, very clean inside & out. Two owner car, drive anywhere, garage kept.

NADA: $5,150 - $9,400

Source: Oldies But Goodies

Found: 10/04/05

Comments: Not much to say except it looks like it is worth getting more info.

1975 Datsun 280Z - $8,495

75_280z_blue_1.jpg (1324602 bytes) 75_280z_blue_2.jpg (1634289 bytes) 75_280z_blue_3.jpg (1319063 bytes) 75_280z_blue_4.jpg (1309872 bytes)

Description: Great sports car.. Newly rebuilt engine, brakes, shocks, new paint. all original. No rust. fun driver.

NADA: $5,300 - $9,825

Source: USA of Yesterday

Found: 3/23/2006

Comments: The pictures need improvement, but it still looks decent. I like it.

1977 Datsun 280Z - $5,200

77_280z_5speed_bronze_1.jpg (113878 bytes)

Description: 6 cyl, 5 speed, fact. air, aftermarket wheels, stereo, copper w/brown int, 150k miles, current plates, exc. tires, second owner, glossy pics avail, can arrange shipping, no salt on Oregon roads.

NADA: $4,850 - $7,500

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 5/9/2006

Comments: A/C and 5 speed. Cool! It better be rust free. I like this one even though the picture sucks. He says he has more. Good, we're going to want them. This could be a really cool project car. I have seen people fit the early 240Z bumpers to the later years. I would try that here.

1977 Datsun 280Z - $5,500

77_280z_silver_5_speed_southern_rust_free_1.jpg (107892 bytes) 77_280z_silver_5_speed_southern_rust_free_2.jpg (127574 bytes) 77_280z_silver_5_speed_southern_rust_free_3.jpg (197611 bytes)

Description: 2.8L 6 Cylinder, 5 Speed Transmission, 175,000 miles, 3rd owner, ARIZONA car, never wrecked or raced, undercoated chassis, rebuilt engine, very mechanically sound, dealer A/C car, new clutch (20,000 miles). Monza Exhaust, K&N Air Filter.

NADA: $4,850 $7,500

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 10/19/05

Comments: Paint seems very faded. Can it be saved, or are we looking at a repaint in the near future? A lot of new stuff. Is it going to be reliable?

1978 Datsun 280Z - $8,500

78_280z_4speed_met_blue_1.jpg (616463 bytes) 78_280z_4speed_met_blue_2.jpg (582403 bytes) 78_280z_4speed_met_blue_3.jpg (610829 bytes) 78_280z_4speed_met_blue_4.JPG (579661 bytes)

Description: Excellent 280Z with 240 bumpers, new suspension, remanufactured engine, ice cold A/C, beautiful paint and a pure joy to drive!

NADA: $4,025 - $6,000

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 2/21/2006

Comments: I really like the look of this car. Wow! Those 240 bumpers look awesome on this car. Love the color too.

1973 Datsun 240Z - $7,500

73_240z_silver_1.jpg (784330 bytes) 73_240z_silver_2.jpg (851540 bytes) 73_240z_silver_3.jpg (690448 bytes)

Description: 240z with a rebuilt engine with only 4000 miles on it, paint job in last 5 years, restored, new bushings, clutch redone, new battery, tires, new ignition switch, rear differential, nice shape inside and out. Lots of tender loving care, never been in a wreck. Boxes of parts, just no more time for the car.

NADA: $7,250 - $12,600

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 9/18/2006

Comments: This looks clean. I would want more pictures of the rest of the car. It is priced right at average retail. I would remind the guy that he is not a dealer and does not desrve retail prices and try and offer a lower amount. Bring $5,000 cash with you when you look at the car. If it is worth it offer what you have. The fact that you don't have anymore and would have to come back might be enough to push him over the edge and take the money.

1975 Datsun 280Z - $7,500

75_280z_4spd_red_1.jpg (603463 bytes) 75_280z_4spd_red_2.jpg (505532 bytes) 75_280z_4spd_red_3.jpg (588166 bytes) 75_280z_4spd_red_4.jpg (540843 bytes)

Description: California car, excellent condition in and out, all original. Runs very well. AC, standard radio, 4 spd. Has 280ZX turbo wheels with very good euro tires. Monza exhaust. has 138,000 original miles. New motor mounts, starter, shocks, Have receipts for all recent work completed. Price is negotiable.

NADA: $5,300 - $9,825

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 9/18/2006

Comments: Nice, clean, I like it. Worth a closer look. Besides, "Price is negotiable."

1974 Datsun 260Z - $11,000

74_260z_leaf_green_1.jpg (1603038 bytes) 74_260z_leaf_green_2.jpg (1559329 bytes) 74_260z_leaf_green_3.jpg (212364 bytes) 74_260z_leaf_green_4.jpg (228985 bytes)

Description: Leaf Green Metallic, matching numbers, original carbs, runs great, driven to Crusin the Coast last three years, numerous car show awards. I replaced the carpet throughout, the rest of the car is all original. No Rust. I did replace a section of the passenger floor board. I have the original radio and tie down straps in the back. Removeable 6 x 9 speakers if needed. Original unused spare. Also have custom car cover from California Car Cover. Kept inside garage and never driven in rain. Wheels are Z racing wire spoke, not original but look period correct. Definately a head turner. 89,000 miles.

NADA: $5,150 - $9,400

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 9/18/2006

Comments: He is asking quite a bit, but if everything he says is true this car shuold be worth it. Sound like we need to drive down the coast to take a look.

1988 Pontiac Fiero - $5,750

88_fiero_whote_blck_wheels_tx_1.jpg (47065 bytes)

Description: 56,812 miles, A/C, tilt, p/windows, stereo, sunroof, Formula model, V-6 engine, 5-speed, loaded, owned since '89, rare removable roof - collector's item, like new, garaged, own a piece of GM history now!

NADA: ???

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 2/21/06

Comments: Formula Fiero with a V-6 and 5 speed located in Texas. Perfect.

1988 Pontiac Fiero - $2,800

88_fiero_red_4cyl_cheap_1.jpg (31936 bytes)

Description: Porsche Red, 5-speed, Sunroof, CD, air conditioning, in Excellent Condition.

NADA: ???

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 9/6/2006

Comments: The picture inspired me even though this is a 4 cylinder model. However, if you were thinking about swapping in a V-8, this might be the way to go. I would research whether the frame was difference for the V-6 versions. Meaning... is there any reason you NEED to start with a V-6 if you are planning to swap in a V-8? Certainly at this price this car could be a fun little run about while you gather the parts for the swap. Hey, this sounds like a cool father & son project.

1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula - $7,000

88_fiero_red_formula_43k_1.jpg (38155 bytes)

Description: Excellent condition inside and out, red, 43,000 miles, stored winters, runs and drives great.

NADA: ???

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 9/6/2006

Comments: I stopped looking for a while, but found this one when I looked again. NADA does list any ontiacs for 1988, so I really don't know what it's worth. NADA does list a 1986 Special Edition Fiero and with a V-6 and air conditioning it is valued at $2,850 - $3,450. Because there are not that many Fieros out there you would have to be patient if you were looking for one.

1974 Porsche 914 1.8L - $7,300

74_914_yellow_5speed_1.jpg (1139519 bytes) 74_914_yellow_5speed_2.jpg (1168674 bytes) 74_914_yellow_5speed_3.jpg (925478 bytes)

Description: This Porsche 914 1.8L is a very fine example of a completely stock, low mileage (95, 635) car, which has never been out of the state of California. The car had original 79,251 miles on it when I purchased 4 years ago and had been in storage for 14 years.

NADA: $5,475 - $7,700

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 9/22/2006

Comments: I wanted to give the 914 a chance, but did find many that really inspired me. This car does inspire me.

1975 Porsche 914 - $9,800

75_914_red_5speed_1.jpg (263987 bytes) 75_914_red_5speed_2.jpg (304756 bytes) 75_914_red_5speed_3.jpg (339652 bytes) 75_914_red_5speed_4.jpg (195888 bytes)

Description: This 1975 Porsche 914 Convertible sports a 1.8 L engine coupled to 5 speed manual transmission and rack & pinion steering. Some of the features include cast alloy wheels, an AM/FM Stereo, and a removable vinyl top! This Porsche is in overall good condition with a straight body and good mechanics.

NADA: $5,475 - $7,700

Source: Classic Auto Showplace Ltd.

Found: 5/10/2006

Comments: The only other 914 to generate inspiration.