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Can't Night-Cruise the Boulevard - 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,126
edited June 2015 in Chevrolet
imageCan't Night-Cruise the Boulevard - 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Long-Term Road Test

Our 1966 Chevrolet Corvette is still running just fine, but a few electrical issues are keeping it from going out at night.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • s197gts197gt Posts: 486
    this car is losing a lot of the good will it initially received. might need to rename this "long-term repair test".
  • schen72schen72 Posts: 433
    Why does one of the headlights look different?
  • cobrysoncobryson Posts: 110
    Did anything get tested by Mershon's? It's like they hired someone to detail the thing, and then threw it up on the internet with the hopes some sucker would fall in love and buy it without digging too deep. Yikes.
  • texasestexases Posts: 9,349
    schen72 said:

    Why does one of the headlights look different?

    Different brand sealed beams would have different lenses and filament assemblies, so that's what you're seeing. I had a neighbor that restored old Vettes. He showed me a box for one that had the original sealed beams in it from the factory, a major plus for the 'must be original' crowd!

  • fordson1fordson1 Posts: 1,512
    Two parts on the floor that need fixing...plus the floor itself, of course...

    This is starting to become a good-looking sled.
  • Typical stuff for a 50 year old car. Just requires pre-planning until you have it long enough to find most of the small problems and get them sorted out. I would have thought the dealer would have done that, but apparently they just polished it up and sold it. Probably shouldn't be surprised as they are a dealer. Might have had a more reliable Corvette had Edmunds purchased someone's daily or occasional driver.
  • fordson1fordson1 Posts: 1,512
    edited June 2015
    And look at the alignment of the front center section, RH headlight pod and RH fender, as opposed to the LH headlight pod and LH fender, to the bumper, grille and lower valence assembly...whoa...
  • texasestexases Posts: 9,349
    edited June 2015
    fordson1 said:

    And look at the alignment of the front center section, RH headlight pod and RH fender, as opposed to the LH headlight pod and LH fender, to the bumper, grille and lower valence assembly...whoa...

    True, but it could have come from the factory that way. The '60s were not the high point of car making excellence!

    The fact that the headlight mechanism works is a major plus. These Vettes often had issues when somebody 'tapped' another car while parking, etc. Easy to damage, very exposed.
  • yellowbalyellowbal Posts: 234
    @fordson1, you're right. The front end looks like someone punched it with an uppercut. Maybe old car panel alignment standards were looser?
  • saulstersaulster Los Angeles AreaPosts: 48
    Gonna' say it once more: Pre Purchase Inspection!

    Would not catch the headlights broken if working at the time. And things like the floor switch are a cheap wear item in any event, that seems pretty "normal" to me. But would catch something like the mismatched sealed beam units ( if that mattered and, at that price, I believe so ), the out of alignment front center section ( What, Edmunds didn't notice this at delivery or shortly after? Good eyes readers looking at the first front close up picture! ), and the host of problems which were clearly showing when originally purchased. Commenters above have it right - Mershons just shined and sold. Not all dealers are like that but why not trust but verify before spending $55K?

    Still waiting for Edmunds to address why no pre purchase inspection from an unknown dealer thousands of miles away.
  • defyant15defyant15 Posts: 74
    edited June 2015
    I get it - old cars have issues. But this is a joke. I was so excited when it came, but now its like watching the CL65AMG train wreack with everything that could go wrong broken - but polished up and sold by a unscrupulous dealer on the net.
    Even if everything is working, I do expect quality (if original is not available that is OK) matching parts and good fit and finishing. It's like buying a vintage house (we have one) and finding all the door knobs and switch plates etc are totally mismatched and unnecessarily clashing - like someone didnt take the time to correct the small details.

    If one buys a classic car, it seems to make sense to get it from a long term owner with extensive knowledge of the car and a history of driving it occasionally.
  • fordson1fordson1 Posts: 1,512
    edited June 2015
    yellowbal said:

    @fordson1, you're right. The front end looks like someone punched it with an uppercut. Maybe old car panel alignment standards were looser?

    One of my first jobs was as a lot boy, checking in cars as they came off of the transporter, back in the '70s. I found Lincolns with white vinyl inserts on the bodyside rub strips on one side of the car, and light blue inserts on the other side...on a dark blue car. I got a letter of commendation from FoMoCo for pointing out that cars with limited-slip diffs were coming with mini-spares in the trunk...not gonna play nice.

    After I became a tech, I of course did pre-delivery inspection and prep.

    Standards were looser then, but not that much looser. Bumper, grille and lower valence look ok...fender, light pod and center look like it's been hit.
  • darthbimmerdarthbimmer Posts: 606
    @fordson1, it was really the mid/late 70s when US car quality dropped as manufacturers faced price pressure from Japanese makers. The "good ol' days" people reminisce about were really before then. Expectations have changed, though, as modern cars have become more and more reliable. Minor problems people tolerated in new cars back then wouldn't fly today.
  • texasestexases Posts: 9,349
    edited June 2015
    Well, car assembly quality in the '60s wasn't great. Great cars, some of them, but the assembly often left things misaligned.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    edited June 2015
    Even if 50s and 60s cars were screwed together well, I'd still be afraid to drive most of them out of my neighborhood. Loved my dependable 70s Bugs but I'm not driving one of them again either.
  • saulstersaulster Los Angeles AreaPosts: 48
    Back To: Why, why, why no pre purchase inspection ( PPI )?

    From Edmunds own listing of how to buy a used car:

    "Step 8: Have the Car Inspected

    If you like the way the car drives, you should have it inspected before you negotiate to buy it. A pre-purchase inspection can save you thousands of dollars. You can take the car to a trusted mechanic for a thorough inspection or request a mobile inspection. A private party will probably allow you to do this without much resistance. But at a dealership, it might be more difficult. If it is a CPO car, there is no reason to take it to a mechanic."

    The link to an article about PPIs goes back to advice from 2009 so this isn't something new. If the seller won't allow a PPI, buy something else somewhere else! And this Step is assuming a usually much newer used vehicle with less potential "issues" than a 50 year old "classic".

    Defyant15 and Fordson1 answer the excuse makers and apologists best. Even if it "came from the factory this way" ( which I don't necessarily accept was so common anyway ), why would you buy the car this way? So, in 50 years, no one noticed or fixed it? Really?

    I don't necessarily agree that it is needful to buy only from a strong private party. Some of those can be tricky also. But regardless of who you buy from, why buy a used car without checking it out first. Except, as Edmunds' notes, for CPO.

    Now that you have an indicator of possible front end collision damage, has anyone checked the car further, ie, inspected the frame, looked around the engine bay for rewelded / reattached supports, etc.? I don't think Carfax is going to cover this one!

  • socal_ericsocal_eric SoCalPosts: 189
    For this and the STR-8, since you're buying older cars to test in your fleet, these types of problems are to be expected. Perhaps a better inspection would have revealed some (most) of them and maybe you might have still bought the car or maybe not. As a consumer and an enthusiast what I'd like to see is not just articles about the problems as they crop up but solutions. That means showing estimates from different repair facilities (independent shops, dealer, etc.) and maybe some articles showing the Edmunds staff doing the actual repairs and what it cost in time and parts.

    That would prove to be a nice series of articles for not just people coming to the site to read news and reviews but also potentially give consumers and auto enthusiasts who like these type of cars but might not be the best at turning a wrench an idea in what is involved in owning and caring for older cars.
  • Assuming this didn't happen when it was sold and it occurred after - just part of the old car experience. I don't think 70s cars were so crappy because Japanese cars were cheaper - I think they were crappy and Japanese cars weren't. I've wiped the "chrome" off the dash of a 68 Olds with Windex. They all rusted out terribly in Florida coastal salt air. A friend's 65 Mustang motor mounts failed. Freeze plugs popped.

    Quality went way up in the 90s.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,342
    edited June 2015
    When I started working on cars in the 70's I came into a trade where most people kept cars for one, maybe two years and got rid of them. By the time they were four years old the fenders, rocker panels, and quarter panels were usually rotted out. Most likely the thing had been tuned up at least four times. The carburetor had been rebuilt at least once if not twice. Coolant flushes were every 24K, transmission services were too which BTW didn't prevent them from failing anyway. What's more by 80,000 miles the engine was usually worn out and the second or third owner then needed to consider whether it was worth bothering to fix it or replace it or not. The thing is, this is the way that cars had been since the fifties.

    It really is funny how time erases people's memories, the imports weren't any better. Guess no-one else remembers how fast they rusted away. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Civic_(first_generation)

    Do you know what is worse than today's electronics? Yesterday's carburetors and the vacuum lines to go with them as seen on this page. http://autoweek.com/article/wait-theres-more/run-away-screaming-1985-honda-cvcc-vacuum-hose-routing-diagram
  • danfrommdanfromm Posts: 21
    Doc, about early Civics with all those air and vacuum hoses under the hood. I bought an '84 Civic S new, ran it for 288,000 miles. In that time it had to be towed twice -- clogged cat, long story; carb float bowl full of sludge -- but all those hoses never gave any trouble at all. The two problems that needed towing excepted, it was pretty problem free. Routine maintenance and consumables, and that was it. When I traded it it was starting to need work: radiator needed to be replaced, a weakness of early Civics with many miles; rear main seal was starting to leak; valve guide seals were leaking, blue smoke on startup. Great car.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,342
    That reminds me of how much praise was heard about the Asian vehicles of the time and little to none (other than with some special models like the Buick Regal Grand Nationals) for the American nameplates. The bias was never easier to see than when Chevrolet brought back the Nova name plate and put it on that rebadged Toyota Sprinter (which was the same as the Corolla) only to see the Corolla be praised as one of the best cars of its time while the Nova one of the worst and they were essentially the same car.
  • jstrauch81jstrauch81 Posts: 64
    Ouch, that is some nasty panel gap. This thing has been in an accident for sure at one point, and a pretty bad one at that. Standards were looser back then, but not that loose.
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