CORVETTE HAS ARRIVED!

Well, it’s not the best time of year to buy a sportscar in Estonia, but I did it! Just before the winter called in, I found the car I like and I closed the deal a couple of weeks ago. Winter is a good period to work on the car in the garage and prepare it for the upcoming driving season.

Although I had thoughts about importing the car from USA, I knew this would have been a risky business because I would have had to trust a lot of my money into a stranger’s hands without seeing what I get back for it. Pictures can be taken, indeed, but it’s still not the same as seeing by myself. There were three possibilities in Estonia to choose from – I wrote about them in a previous post. It was obvious that the black ’79 C3 sold by the private owner was the best way to go and one nice day a couple of weeks ago we made the deal. Hence the reason why I haven’t written here since then – I was just too busy with the car, either looking at it or driving it! I had the opportunity to enjoy it one full day before the snow came down and it was a cold, but beautiful sunny day with dry asphalt. That day alone was worth all the money! I just adored every second of driving the Vette.

Once I knew that the car was going to become mine, I had a really strange feeling inside. I was giving away a lot of money; the price of the car was just the beginning of the expenses; I was getting a classic car that needs a lot of care and good maintenance; I was going to get my dream car and the most beautiful car on Earth! :)) So, the Vette arrived in front of my house, driven by the previous owner for his last time and then I got the keys. I washed it, took a few test drives and in the evening I fitted it into the garage. It’s just the right size and there’s plenty of room to work around it, too. On that day I managed to capture a few photos of the car which I’m going to show you now:

Some details…

Year of production: 1979
Color: black
Interior: Oyster white
Engine: Chevy L-48 350 cid (5.7 litre) V8 in stock condition, producing roughly 200 hp
Carburetor: Rochester 4-barrel Q-Jet
Transmission: Warner 4-Speed Manual

Overall condition of the car is very good. The engine runs smooth and clean, no smoke from the exhaust. The paint is perfect from three steps away, minor scratches and problems can be found on closer look. The interior looks very good, the seats have brand new looking leather material on them. The carpet shows wear from the passenger floor and was a bit dirty on both side floors. I’ve cleaned it up by now and looks much better. The door panels are great, the grabbing handle on the driver side has a bit weak connection on one end though and it may come loose when pulling the door close. I have to fix it. Driving the Corvette, I didn’t notice anything that I could particularily complain about. The transmission feels nice, the clutch is heavy but I got used to it quickly, the steering is quite sharp and the brakes are better than I expected. Estonian roads are not in the best condition and when the asphalt has wheel track waves carved in by cars, the Vette tends to float on them and I need to correct with the wheel to keep it going straight. I guess that’s what I got to live with if I want to have 255’s around the alloys.

The previous owner who had the car in Estonia for 2 years put remarkable money into the car and some of the replaced items are: new radiator, KONI suspension, new steering damper, new roof sealings, chrome hubcaps. He recently changed all the oils and filters, as well. Together with the car he also gave me brand new Corvette America door seals, door hinge sticks and the cloth which needs to be installed under the carpet as a heat seal around the transmission.

Things wrong with the car at the time of purchase: speedo not working, dash illumination lights not working, license plate light not working, passenger floor carpet loose on the transmission side, problem with the floor and roof lights illuminating all the time, hence the bulbs taken out. There was also an issue with the cooling system – the big radiator hose jumped off the radiator a couple of times after an hour driving or so. I had it happen once. This particular problem takes a lot of time to write about in details so I will do it sometime soon. However, by now I have at least figured out that it’s not too serious and it might be as simple as installing a new radiator cap which I installed. I found that the engine didn’t release any coolant to the reservoir and therefore it simply got overpressurized. Some days ago I did the most important test: I measured the cooling system pressure with the special tool. The indication was absolutely okay and the needle was not jumping around at all, even when adding throttle, so a cylinder head or head gasket crack should be out of question as of now. Here’s a video I took:

I opened the cockpit panels around the “birdcage” to check for rust issues and I was happy to see that the condition is just fine, according to people from Corvette Forums. Some rust can be seen at times but it’s only on surface.

Now that the winter is here and the Corvette is garaged until Spring, I have time to fix its issues and keep you updated via this blog at the same time. I’ll do my best to share useful knowledge about performing different jobs on the Vette.

I have also opened a new page on my blog where I’m keeping live track of the jobs that must be done and what items I need to buy.

Fuel additive FFI MPG Caps and my thoughts about it

My friend from work got in touch with someone who promoted this FFI product called MPG Caps. He bought a few of those caps to test and also told me about them. He claimed that he noticed a decrease in fuel consumption and ofcourse I wanted to try it, too. Surprisingly, my Jeep’s consumption went down indeed throughout 3-4 fuel tanks and I wrote down the fuel computer figures after every refuelling. From 20 l/100km I was down to 16.6 at one point. Quite amazing, I thought. Then, one day after refuelling I reset the trip computer and then went through downtown which was just full of traffic jams. I saw 33.2 liters per 100 km as my economy! I’ve never seen such number before and even in traffic jams it usually goes perhaps up to 22. Now, after refuelling again and resetting the computer, doing normal driving in the city and not even going through traffic jams, I can’t get the economy under 22 l/100 km. I drive even much easier than I did before and there just isn’t any decrease. I will have to refuel soon and then I will not add the MPG product anymore just to see if it changes anything. After reading a couple of articles which say bad about the particular product, I must say I’m getting some new ideas about it. Perhaps it decreases the consumption until some stage which after it ends up increasing it instead? Like stock prices if you know what I mean. I’m eager to do some more testing on it and if it really ends up being scam, I will do my best to keep people away from it.

Right now I’m just unhappy with the fact that I joined with the selling scheme and paid around 50 bucks. I’ve also found out that the program is very restricted and you basically have to buy 430 USD worth of their products every month just to keep your affiliate percentage, if you have managed to earn any. It’s easier to start up your own business and do advertising for it, perhaps cheaper as well!

Corvette Restoration – What a world of possibilities!

Due to my soon to happen Corvette C3 (Stingray) purchase, I’ve done a lot of research on the restoration of these classic cars. As people say – it’s one of the most 3rd party supported sportscars in the world! Basically everything is available from different shops in USA and all the parts can be ordered online. From door panels to gauge parts and decals, just about every little detail of the Vette can be bought new. I am so eager to get this car because I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun working on it. As I’ve heard from other enthusiasts, it’s a truly marvellous car to own but only if you take good care of it and don’t mind mechanical works. I don’t have too much experience yet on doing everything by myself but I believe this is going to be a really great opportunity for me to learn new stuff!

I created a new page called Useful Links where I also listed some of those restoration parts suppliers which I got from a friend.

My dream car Corvette Stingray is approaching!

As I have already mentioned in my previous posts, I want to make one of my dreams come true – get my own Corvette Stingray. The Vette has always been the greatest sportscar in America and it also competes well with any European sportscar from similar era. In fact, with the new C6 ZR1 there simply isn’t any remarkable competition from the Euro side if we don’t consider the supercars (which it also wins, although not by much). Just have a look at the Nürburgring Nordschleife track times if you don’t believe me :)

I love all the Corvettes, actually I love most American cars, but my favorites are the 1974-1979 models. Although the chrome bumpers on …-1973 cars are nice, I like the Stingray without them even more. I was mostly looking for a …-1977 car which means that it comes with the straight rear window, but I’ve began to adore even more the 1978-79 models. In 78 the Vette got an upgrade in the looks to celebrate its 25th anniversary and one of the biggest distinguishing features from the earlier models is the more modern Coupé-style rear window which is mainly an advantage aerodynamics-wise. The interior got updated and the 79 car already features nice and comfortable sport-seats.

Actually I never thought I would be able to even think about buying myself a car like this within the next year or two. But once I get an idea in my mind, I simply start working for it and as unbelievable as it sounds, I am probably going to make the purchase within one month! I know it’s a quite odd time for buying a sportscar cause it will probably start snowing around here soon and the winter is coming. Still, I want to buy the car now and do the necessary maintenance to ensure that it’s going to be in good condition for the Spring. Then I can hopefully begin to enjoy it right away and not waste valuable warm weather for fixing issues that I could have done over the winter.

At the beginning of this week me and my friend drove to southern Estonia to look at two Stingrays currently up for sale. First one was a really cool looking ’78 with lots of 3rd party accessories to make it look cooler. And it did look very good. The overall condition was quite fine, but the AC system and blower didn’t work, the roof panels were missing upholstery and there were two remarkable paint issues. It was the first time I could ever drive a Stingray and I really loved it. Still, the steering felt floating around which certainly isn’t supposed to be like this. With the help of guys from Corvette Forum we found that there might also be rust issues on the metal frame. This is a big no-no with Stingrays, hence the car is off my list. Another Vette we went to see was a ’77 hence with the straight rear window. The paint was odd (beige and worn out), it had a broken water pump, the engine was smoking and it was just in a rather bad overall condition. The pricetag was quite good but I don’t want to take such a risk – it might need at least the same amount of money just to get it running and driving properly.

I then called someone who I knew was selling his ’79 Corvette but I wasn’t sure it was up for sale anymore – he doesn’t have any ads published about it. Fortunately, it was still available and yesterday I went to look at it. I had seen it before, actually that owner even gave me a ride during an US car meeting some months ago. Now I was able to inspect the car better and I had a good friend with me who is restoring his 75 Stingray. The car has a really neat black paint with just two minor cracks on the edges of the hood. Barely noticeable. There are brand-new looking leather seats in it and the transmission is the 4-speed manual. I used to want an automatic but quite recently I began to consider also a stick shifter because if it’s a toy car anyway, why not have even more fun? The Vette started up fine, warmed up at high idle and then lowered the RPM to normal level. We backed it out from the yard and I was given the chance to drive it around the block. And how much fun this was! The manual transmission felt extremely good and I got the hang of it quickly. Well, in such meaning that I was able to shift it smooth and feel the gears; probably needs a lot more time to become a pro on it. The brakes were very good, the steering felt even better than on my Jeep – no floating. The owner has taken pretty good care of it, he replaced the radiator, part of the coolant pipe, driver side window motor, roof panel rubber seals, new KONI-brand suspension, steering damper and more. Things which need fixing are speedometer and dash + license plate lights. All in all, this is a very nice car and I am pretty sure I am going to buy it. The owner is currently getting the inspection and insurance done cause he had already put the car away for winter. Then we will drive some more on Wednesday and unless any big problems pop out, I will try to get the transaction done as soon as possible.

Oh, the car looks almost exactly like this:

1979 Corvette C3 (Stingray)
1979 Corvette C3 (Stingray)

I WILL keep you updated!!