Where do I start. Let me count the ways.
This is about Corvettes, right? Well, this 1984 is my third one. The other two were owned back in my misspent youth. They were '56s. Two of them, back-to-back. The first one lasted only about six weeks until someone ran a stop sign and that '56 ended up as a pile of fiberglass parts spread all over the driver's side door of a huge Mercury. The other '56 lasted longer in my hands.
But this opinion is about my current one, the '84. It had just under 60K on the odometer and the owner's records of maintenance and such verified the mileage. The guy had owned it for several years. The car was originally purchased from a dealer in a nearby town. In the twelve years before I bought it, it averaged about 5K yearly. I've put just under 16,000 on it in my four years of driving. (My other vehicle, the bad-weather car, is an '84 Ford Bronco II. If anybody is dying to hear about that indestructible beast, I'll be happy to write about it)
The Vette is red, fully equipped, automatic, with Z-51 optional suspension. It rattles, squeaks, and leaks water in a carwash. It's noisy, rough riding, and is a pain to get out of. I average about 17 MPG around town, and about 21 on the highway. The paint is literally falling off (a very common problem in the entire GM fleet of the mid- and late- 80s) and there is no way the authorized factory touch-up paint will match. The leather seats have been splitting in the seams but I've been able to re-sew them as each new seam opens up. The Bose radio has died - more than once, and still doesn't work. I've learned to sing to myself.
It sits very low to the ground and drags its private parts over very small objects. It has a rubber-type air dam under the front and one has to be very careful about getting too close to those concrete dividers used in parking lots. Too close, and it gets pushed back under the car necessitating the occasional repair. All the work needs to be done under the front end - not fun, but a do-it-yourself project.
I've replaced the headlight motors with later model units - about $600 installed and the alternator -over $200 installed. About the headlamp motors -MidAmerican Corvettes (an after-market supplier) says there are only two kinds of headlamp motors on '84 to '87 Vettes, "Those that are broken and those that are about to break." Mine was the former.
I've also had the brake lights/cruise control switch replaced. A few months ago the security system connector failed in the passenger side door. Other switches are in their death throes. I need to replace both power window switches, two of the three hatchback releases, and the wiper switch. Other pieces are falling off and I've resolved to ignore them.
The optional see-through top developed a large crack and it now sits in the garage while the original hard top sits on the car. No way will I replace the see-through top with a $600 rebuilt one, or worse yet, a new one at a grand. I could care less about looking up at the tops of telephone poles. Besides the see-through top had a greenhouse effect that you wouldn't believe. And, oh yeah, did I mention the air conditioning doesn't work. Didn't from the day I bought the car but I knew that at the time. Neither does the cigarette lighter, but that's why God invented Bic lighters.
Now lets talk about driving it. I corkscrew myself (6'0", 200 lbs) in and buckle up. The seats are very comfortable. The steering wheel and major controls "fall comfortably to hand" (plagiarized from Car and Driver magazine). The engine rumbles nicely, and you're off. Cruising the freeway and streets, you get stared at, a lot. Vette envy, it's called. Snot-nose kids in Mustangs, Camaros, Firebirds, and rice burners think you're fair game. Even the occasional graying-hair types (usually with a minimum of teeth and wearing a baseball cap) driving clapped-out full-size Chevy's and Ford's want a go at you. They challenge you at stoplights. You ease away knowing you can blow their doors off, but being a senior citizen you're more concerned about speeding tickets and insurance rates than hanging scalps on the rearview mirror.
All told, a Corvette is well worth the experience of owning one. And speaking of "worth", lets talk bucks beyond what I mentioned above. I bought it four years ago for an even $8,000 - about average price for the time. Nowadays, '84s range from about $6,000 up to about 12 grand for a cherry, low-mileage copy. License plates, in Iowa, run me $35 a year and that's because of its age. I doubt even Bill Gates could afford the plates on a 2000 ragtop. Insurance - please remember my senior citizen status and two-car discount - is about $500 a year, full coverage. A set of low-level Pirelli's cost me over $500. I opted out of the full-blown "Z" rated high-speed tires.
I previously mentioned some repair costs for the headlight motors and alternator. Well, both items were unique to Vettes. ANY item unique to these plastic beauties is gonna eat you alive. Items used across the Chevy line are going to be regular Chevy price, in other words, something you can live with.
I know this opinion has run well over the 100 word minimum requested for reviews so I will wrap it up with a final thought or two.
If you can't afford a new one (full coverage factory warranty-a God send), have that low-mileage, numbers-matching cherry inspected very carefully by someone who knows what they're doing.
Would I recommend this car to a friend? This car? My 1984 Corvette? Not a chance. I value my friends. They don't need the aggravation.
Would I recommend a Corvette to a friend? In a heartbeat. One of the only ways I know of to get a true testosterone rush--without resorting to chemicals.