Legacy Secured: Why C5, C6 & C7 Corvettes Will be the Next Big Thing
When Chevrolet debuted the radically redesigned C8 Corvette for the 2020 model year, it represented a paradigm shift for the entire modern Corvette lineage.
Aside from its V8 engine, the C8 basically took everything from the Corvettes before it and threw it away. It was now mid-engined, there was now more manual transmission and this old front-engined American sports car had now become a bonafide exotic.
Now, a couple of years later it seems the C8 has truly delivered on its promise of being an "attainable" version of a European supercar. The waitlists and dealer markups for the standard C8 Corvette continue to be massive, and they'll be even more extreme when deliveries begin for the C8 Z06.
The End of an Era
But what does this mean for the C7, C6 and C5 Corvettes, the models that defined the modern Corvette before the C8 came around and changed things up?
An argument could be made that they are obsolete, with their traditional engine layout and lesser performance. But that argument would be wrong.
If anything, the arrival of the C8 has actually secured the legacy of all Corvettes built up to 2020 — with the modern versions especially now being the last of their kind.
Long before the arrival of the C8, Corvettes from the late '90s and newer were already some of the best used performance buys around, and now that GM won't be making any more front-engined, manual transmission Corvettes appreciation for these cars should be growing.
Supply and Demand
You don't need to be a philosopher to figure out why this is likely. Just look at the most sought-after cars on the collector market right now. It's usually the case that the most in-demand models are the ones that can no longer be found in showrooms.
The Honda S2000 is a perfect example of this. By modern standards, its raw performance is nothing impressive, but the reason it's stayed in such high demand is that Honda never replaced it after sales ended in 2009.
A Corvette is more common than an S2000, and while the C8 did officially "replace" the C7, both its price and platform changes have essentially made its own car.
In fact, it's not just the emergence of the C8 that will improve the outlook on older Corvettes. If the rumors are true that GM will not be replacing the sixth-gen Camaro, then there will no longer be a new front-engined Chevy V8 alternative at all.
Combine that with the ever-circulating outlook that internal combustion engines themselves aren't long for this world and it's even easier to see why V8 Corvettes from the '90s, 2000s and 2010s will only get more popular.
More than Just Performance
To this point modern Corvettes have always been great used enthusiast buys not just for their performance, but because they are typically owned by an older, less abusive crowd than some of the other popular models.
They've also managed to steer clear of the speculator/collector/nostalgia wave that's driven up the price of so many late model enthusiast cars, particularly European and Japanese cars like the aforementioned S2000.
C5, C6 and C7 Corvettes have always delivered incredible bang for the buck. But it's looking like soon they are going to evolve beyond that.
If you've ever entertained the thought of picking up a used Corvette as a project car, track machine or just a weekend cruiser — now may be the time.
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