Hagerty Price Guide

From mild to wild, these are the 7 cheapest Corvettes right now

by Stefan Lombard
9 November 2023 4 min read
Images courtesy Mecum Auctions

Everybody loves a bargain, whether it’s happy hour beers at your local, BOGO at the book store, or a two-fer at your favorite online retailer. Heck, in some jurisdictions, Black Friday has somehow turned into the entire month of November. In this economy, you’ll hear few complaints.

There are deals to be found throughout the classic car market as well, and, lucky for us, that includes the performance realm occupied by America’s Sports Car. Despite a few eye-watering results in 2023, like the $3.14M record price RM Sotheby’s achieved in January for a 1969 ZL-1 convertible, Corvettes have always represented good value for money. After digging into the data from our most recent update to the Hagerty Price Guide, we’ve determined that these seven Corvettes—one from each generation, excluding today’s C8—are the cheapest examples you can buy right now. Unsurprisingly, they hover around base-model territory, but a Corvette is a Corvette, and it’s almost impossible to go wrong.

For this exercise, we’re focusing on examples in #2 condition (Excellent), which means they drive like new and might even win you a trophy at a regional car show. If there’s someone on your “Nice List” this holiday season, now might be the perfect time to shop.

C1 (1953–62)
1956 Convertible

1956 Chevy Corvette front 3/4

The 1956 Corvette represented a complete overhaul from the models that preceded it, the most notable difference being those gorgeous side coves sometimes set off by two-tone paint. Following the V-8’s introduction in 1955, three different 265-cid V-8 configurations were offered in ’56, with outputs of 210, 225, and 240 horsepower. The penny saver here is the base car, breathing through a four-barrel carb and putting its adequate power to the back wheels through a three-speed manual transmission. Following a modest rise in prices that began with the onset of the pandemic, prices peaked around April 2022 before settling back to pre-pandemic levels. Today, a car in #2 shape sells for about $70,500. Figure around $60,000 if it’s equipped with the Powerglide automatic.

C2 (1963–67)
1964 Convertible

1964 Chevy Corvette convertible profile

Chevy’s 1963 redesign of the Corvette gave us a coupe for the first time, and what a coupe it was; the one-year-only Split-Window Corvette is rightly regarded as one of the most beautiful cars to ever hit the road. The rest of the Corvettes in second-gen lineup were no slouches, either. Open or closed, you can’t go wrong. Take the ’64 327/250 convertible, for instance. In this configuration, with the optional four-speed manual and single Carter four-barrel, it’s sitting at about $64,000, and closer to $51,000 if equipped with the base three-speed manual. It’ll never be a match—on the street or the auction block—for its hi-po 327/375 fuelie counterpart ($89,400 for a #2), but you’ll hardly care when you’re buying million-dollar looks for Silverado money.

C3 (1968–82)
1976 Coupe

1976 Chevy Corvette front 3/4

The swoopy, pointy, sexy “Shark” Corvette hit the streets in 1968, and though it would trade its chrome bumpers for even more fantastic plastic by 1974, the basic shape soldiered on into the early ’80s, by which point more than 542,000 had been produced—roughly equal to total production of C1, C2, and C4 Corvettes combined. While few enthusiasts would ever accuse a ’76 Corvette of being potent, a nicely kept 180-hp L48 coupe is a joy to own. They also take us into affordable, sub-$20K territory, with an average sale price of $19,500. That may seem cheap, and prices appear to be leveling off as we end the year, but keep in mind these cars have gained nearly 64 percent in value since 2018, which means that if the best time to buy one was five years ago, then certainly the second-best time is today.

C4 (1984–96)
1986 Coupe

1986 Chevy Corvette coupe profile

When it arrived, the fourth-gen Corvette was a revelation in every way, a world-class performer underpinned by an all-new chassis, with a funky digital dash to rival the finest Texas Instruments calculator in the land. After debuting with 205 hp, base cars quickly got a bump to 230, and for 1986, a convertible model returned to the lineup following an 11-year absence. It’s the ’86 coupe we’re interested in, however, and at around $17,900, it’s the cheapest Corvette of them all. But for how long? The five-year trajectory on these cars has seen them gain 50 percent, and they’re still headed up.

C5 (1997–2004)
1997 Coupe

1997 Chevy Corvette front 3/4

Until mid-2021, fifth-gen Corvettes represented one of the best bang-for-buck ratios in the performance-car world. Today, at an average #2 price of $26,400, they’ve gained the attention of collectors, but they’re still a solid deal. And with 345 horses on tap from that terrific LS1 V-8, a near 50/50 weight balance, and 30 mpg possible on the highway, there is little this Corvette can’t do. The ’97 model year was coupe-only, and the automatic transmission was standard, so these days it generally means a 10 percent discount. If you prefer two pedals, it’s a good way to save yourself some dough. If you prefer the wind in your hair, however, maybe consider our next pick.

C6 (2005–13)
2005 Convertible

2005 Chevy Corvette convertible front 3/4

Prices have cooled in 2023 on all but the very best ’05 Corvettes. Thankfully, a #2 condition car is not the very best, so a convertible at $32,000 is a stellar deal. Especially when you consider the 400-hp LS2 lugging it around. In fact, the kind of performance this car delivers for the price is almost unfair; an ’05 Porsche 911 convertible in similar fettle will set you back $55K, for example. There’s no intermediate shaft bearing issue to fret over in the Corvette, either. Win-win.

C7 (2014–19)
2014 Stingray Coupe

2014 Chevy Corvette rear 3/4

Before Chevy made the dramatic switch to a mid-engine layout for the C8 Corvette, the seventh-gen car gave enthusiasts everything they could want from a front engine/rear-drive layout. The car featured a 455-hp LT1 V-8 mated to an all-new seven-speed manual gearbox that offered rev-matching, a carbon fiber hood and removable roof panels, plus a more premium interior (finally!) and a full suite of gizmos designed for coddling and convenience. We don’t currently feature these in the Hagerty Price Guide, but you can get yourself into one for around $48,600, and when compared to some of the very latest, very snoozy new-car offerings, why wouldn’t you?


  • Malcolm Novar says:

    ’85 Vette’s worth?

  • Fred Brooks says:

    Yes, I will take 1 of each please. Just be careful not to scratch them while transporting them to my garage!

  • neilwoji says:

    All C4 are JUNK…1997-2000 C5 are mild junk. C4 poor handling, lack of power, difficult to get in and out of, and tremendous body flex. 1997-2000 C5 parts are EXPENSIVE and do not interchange with 2001-2004.

    • Barry Quinet says:

      I love my 1987 C4. It is affordable, easily repairable by old school amateur mechanic, and a fun toy. Others require professional repairs. That’s the purpose of the article. I know it’s not a Ferrari and doesn’t cost as much.

    • Rick says:

      Why? Do you own a Prius?

    • Paul Ipolito says:

      I have owned a 1976, 1979, 1984, and currently own a 1995 Corvette. I have found them all to be reliable and fun to drive. I would strongly suggest to anyone interested in a C4, focus on the 1995 and 1996 base models. They are the best of the C4 run. The prices stated for the 1976 and 1986 are very optimistic.

    • MattK says:

      Lol, From Corvette report .com, When the new 1984 was finally released into the hands and lead feet of magazine road testers, the numbers weren’t over the magic 1 g level, but here’s what Car and Driver had to say, “The road holding on this new machine is so advanced that we recorded the highest skidpad lateral acceleration — 0.90 g — ever observed with a conventional automobile by this staff. That figure practically trivializes the previous high-water marks, in the 0.82-g range, generated by such exotics as the Porsche 928 and assorted Ferraris.” (Take THAT Germany and Italy!)

    • Roger Beaudoin says:

      I’ve owned and loved an ’84 and ’86. They were heralded for their skid pad results and I can attest they handle like go-carts and stick to the road. They’re light and very quick despite lower HP… Lots of bang for the buck there. I’ve also owned a ’73 ragtop and still own a ’66 convertible. Cool cars have their quirks and flaws, and that’s part of owning and appreciating them. Can’t go wrong with a Corvette.

    • John Spafford says:

      I bought my 69 C-3 shortly after high school in mid 70’s. I thought it was a sexy look and so did the girls. Not very practical but enough room for a small cooler, two beach chairs and your girlfriend….perfect!

  • Sam says:

    1997 6 speed, 136k, lots of fun. Haven’t experienced expensive parts……easy to work on (except for getting under it). Cheap fun!

  • Michael Ingrassia says:

    Love my C-2’s (63 convert and 66 coupe) Especially with the side exhaust, Only way to go!!

  • hyperv6 says:

    C1 to C3 in 73 are all resting too expensive to be bargains.

    The 74-82 can be deals and wake up with engine swaps.

    C4 models are ok if you want a Corvette but not spend over $15k.

    The C5 01 to 03 is the sweet spot. They have the foundation of the new car but still avoid many of the painfully expensive electronics, Also cheap to build these cars into monsters.

    C6 is right in the late models. The Grand Sport with the steel frame coupe is the track star of the group. But electronics can be a problem.

    C7 the stingray is fine later on but transmission issues and other electronics are a problem.
    Unless you track time it the bigger brakes and parts are only added cost for things you never use on the street.

  • AEZ says:

    I always notice and give C5s a second look, esp. in bright red…same with the C6 wide-body cars. One of my favorite features of the C5 is a silly & simple thing…normal doorhandles…not the gimmicky push button door handles that followed.

  • Gary Bechtold says:

    An interesting list but too many convertibles on this list for me.

  • Ben Wahl says:

    I’ve always wanted a C-2 coupe with 4-speed and factory side exhaust, but I was almost always a day late and/or a dollar short to get one (except for the $2,500 Nassau Blue 1966 Corvette coupe with 427/425 engine and a 4-speed that I almost killed myself in during the test drive with the owner, in 1/70,,,,,that car could have been my coffin….way too much power for a 20 year old kid). Good price though, way back then.

  • bob says:

    In the C4 catagory the ’86 may be the cheapest but the ZF 6 speed introduced in ’89 as a no charge option really made it a drivers sports car.

  • paul s murray says:

    I guess I’d take an early C-3. For their time what an American sports car would look like and noteworthy. However as you said ” the design “soldiered on” for too long and became worse not better along the way. So the real ‘values’ are the mid 70’s – 80’s which are, one of a very few cars where a 2+2 might have been a good idea. Those years combined all the inconvenience of a two seater with none of the performance They’re also now so ubiquitous that I rarely give one a second glance. C-4s then go for less, which speaks for itself. The first time I saw a C-7 I was behind one at a bank drive through. All I could think was who was the idiot who f’d up that with those stupid looking quad exhaust tips ( we all know who that was ) but they do fit the overall design!

  • Bob Gregg says:

    The iconic image of the C2 Corvette is of the coupe, so I’m puzzled as to why the image accompanying this article is of the convertible. The convertible is great in it’s own right, and with the hardtop fitted, it’s a beauty … but it’s not a coupe.
    Just my opinion.

    • Stefan Lombard says:

      I agree, Bob, the coupe is arguably what most people picture when they think of C2 Corvettes. But as the entry was about the cheapest C2, which happened to be a 327/250 convertible, that is the car we highlighted in the photo.

  • Gator says:

    I remember having a 1970 Chevelle SS 396 pull up beside us in my friends new 1984..I told him he was about to be schooled, we blew him away so bad he was MAD! I have owned 8 and still enjoy my 98 conv. all best bang for the buck!

  • Mark Evans says:

    I have had a C1, 1954, number 954, made it drivable, drove it once, parked it for 15 years.
    I have a C3 67 convertible, Sunfire yellow for 20 years, I’d love to drive it today , engine has never been worked on, original interior, great daily driver.
    Bought a new C5 in 1999. Magnetic Red 6 Sp with every option except the door, protectors, Ugh
    50,000 miles and going strong
    Original everything, except the hard, non-handling, run flats.
    Great for trips, two bags of clubs and luggage in the trunk.
    C3 & C5 are best for the daily drivers on the road,
    Only people I seen driving the new Vettes are senior citizens on Sunday’s
    Or parked on display


    I like my Che Vette

  • paul s murray says:

    Mark E – I’m certainly no ‘vette’ expert but I thought the C-3 came out in 68. ( and so does Hagerty ) Wasn’t that the year that , formerly at least , people were told to avoid because of poor body panel fit issues and overheating problems ? An example of ” never buy the first year of a new model ” as the old saying goes.

  • Connie Lynch says:

    Well I had a 63, 72,81,82…May Fav. was the 72.. now that was a nice vette. I still have the 81 & 82.

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