Researching Your Corvettes Past

There are several ways to determine the history of your classic Corvette. While researching you Corvettes past can be very long, lasting months or years, you may may get lucky fast. Sometimes you can find a previous owner who still has the original order forms or sales sheets, photos, or even parts from when it was bought new. These are as good as gold if you can locate the source for these, which can be one or all of the original owners of your car. Let's take a look at how to research your Corvette.

Reasons to Research: A lot of money could be made if you can prove your car is super rare . Another reason for researching your car's history is to be able to do a correct restoration on your Vette. Many Vettes bought are just parts cars from years ago. Much of what was on the car that would define which drivetrain could be long gone now. It's very important to check numbers BEFORE you buy. A good starting point before you buy is the FACT BOOK If you don't have documentation for your Vette now, how can you be sure the options are correct? How do you know the interior hasn't been changed or re-dyed by a prior owner? Information, like paint and interior , can be found easily on the trim tag. (Trim tags can be reproduced) Before you spent big bucks on your Vette check the Vin Tag and the engine stamp pad the PROOF IS HERE The only way to make sure how your Vette was originally built is to find its original documentation. You may also want to research the car so you don't invest a lot of money restoring a car that isn't what it seems. For example, a lot of 1967 Corvettes have been "body-offed" as true big-blocks cars, when in fact they weren't big-blocks at all only a good NCRS Master Judge will know. Some owners could lose a lot of money if Chevrolet ever released the build sheets (some believe GM still has them). You may even own a big-block car that was originally a small- block car from the factory. While the number of fake cars out there has come down in recent years due to better documentation on how to tell an original from an imposter, along with that better information comes shady people using that info to make a better fake car. If you do restore an incorrect or fake car, you can stand to lose thousands of dollars, with just a nice looking Vette in the end to show for it.

Bottom line: If you can acquire the original documentation for the Vette, you'll get a better price when you resell. The "tank sticker," as it's sometimes known, can determine the real roots of your car. Beginning in 1967, the plant glued this sheet of paper to the top of the gas tank. This piece of paper showed all the options as installed on that car. Since these stickers were open to the elements under the car, many of them have deteriorated over the years to the point of being unreadable. If the car has been garaged then the sticker may be readable. If you own a 1967 or later Corvette, check here first before following the other steps below.

How to research: Deciding where to start the search for your Vette's documentation is somewhat dependent on the year Corvette you own, which state you currently live in, how networked you are in the Corvette hobby, and good, old-fashioned luck. The first step is to know as much as you can before you begin the search. Try to acquire all the factory literature that is applicable to your model. The more you know about the vehicle, the easier the search becomes. The year and model of your Vette are also important because if you own a popular or rarer vehicle, the possibility of past owners keeping photos or paperwork when they owned the car increases. This is not to say that if you own a regular Vette, you won't find past owners that saved documentation. Some car owners may want to know what was done in the past to the Vette, what options it had originally, and what part of the country it came from. As you inspect your own car, some of these clues can be clear, while other may never be discovered. Cars from the West (such as Arizona, Texas, or California) rarely have the rust problems cars from the East do. This can point you to a c ertain part of the country when researching the Vette. Also be aware that some options are easy to add and many are dated in some way. Compare the dates on that option against the date your Vette was built. This is just one example of checking out your car before you begin the search for its documentation.

Where to Start: The most logical place to begin the search for your Vette's history is with the last owner. Hopefully, you took notes when he or she described the details before handing him the cash. This person should be able to give you the contact info for the person the Vette was purchased from. These two entities should also be listed on the title you received when you first bought the Vette. Hopefully, you made a copy of the title before you had the Vette transferred to your name. With these names, you can begin to track these people down and, with a little luck, begin to fill in the past owner- ship trail of your Vette. Many names, addresses, and phone nos. of past owners are available on the Internet. This tracking job can still become lengthy especially if a past owner has a common name, like Jones or Smith. You just have to keep at it No one said this would be easy. Your Department of Motor Vehicles, can be helpful in your search. Each state has laws on how long they keep the computer records. Most states keep records only about years, which makes it really hard to trace older cars. Begin the search with the last owner's name you have and hope and pray a lot. There is usually a small fee for this infro. You may find out nothing, or you may find a person who owned the car seven years ago. The longer you wait, the less likely it is you'll find the first owners. The next approach would be to run a ad in a national magazine or a national car club periodical. Many times, past owners continue to like the same type of car and may belong to local or national car clubs . In some cases, by networking within these clubs, you may get lucky and find a past owner of your Vette. Getting the word out to your friends and can sometimes help. Past owners who are looking for their old Vette usually pay the asking price if it's available because they have sentimental memories attached to it. Getting networked into a car club increases the odds of a meeting between you and a past owner. This is the time to start your search on your Corvette. Original documentation for any Classic Car is hard to get, but you'll never find it unless you try.