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Pre-Purchase Corvette Inspections

Congratulations, you are interested in purchasing a vintage corvette. You have some questions, however.

  • How much should I pay?
  • What year or body style appeals to me?
  • Should I buy from a dealer or a private party? Who can I trust?
  • You want a car that is reliable, will not have mechanical issues after the purchase and will retain (or perhaps increase) its value over time. But you also want to HAVE FUN driving it.

Give us a call today and you will be driving your dream corvette in a matter of days!

Let the experts at VetteWork help with a Pre-Purchase Corvette Inspection.

  • Is the seller representing that the car is matching numbers, and/or all original but you would like confirmation?
  • Are you unclear what "matching numbers" means?
  • Not sure about obfuscating terms and phrases such as tribute, factory built, clone, re-body, ready for judging (my personal favorite), real deal, born with, body-off, restomod, all original, restored to NCRS specs, restoration motor, matching numbers, period correct, NOM, body-on, restamp, recreation, or CE block? If you see these terms, I highly recommend calling me BEFORE you contact the seller.
  • Can you confidently recognize an original stamping?

As an independent third party, the professionals at VetteWork can give you peace of mind.

Classic and Vintage Pre-Purchase Corvette Inspections

Corvette Pre-Purchase Inspections and Appraisals

These are performed in-person, unlike my competition who either contract with third party vendors located throughout the country who know very little about corvettes or inspect vehicles from pictures while sitting in a remote office. My competition sends an “appraiser” or “inspector” to do a cursory review. Unfortunately this “expert” has rarely, if ever, inspected or appraised a corvette and has no clue what they are looking at. The result is either an incomplete inspection or inaccurate appraisal value. Don’t risk discovering AFTER you bought the car that you overpaid. So, before you look up online values, before you call your brother-in-law, before you log on to the online forums to consult the “internet judges” and before you call a dealer, I suggest we talk first. Once you have an independent evaluation, you will be armed with the knowledge you need to move forward.

Prices for pre-purchase inspections and appraisals start as low as $395. Consulting and expert witness arrangements are on a case-by-case basis. Vettework serves the United States and Canada.

Why you should call us:

1) Fraud – there is an ever increasing amount of collector car fraud in the market place today. This is represented by the following:

  • Reproduction paperwork including Tank Stickers, Window stickers and Dealer Invoices.

These “documents” are being advertised as a “novelty” item by online sellers. What happens to that “novelty” item after the car is sold multiple times? I can tell you. It suddenly crosses the line and becomes “original” and then the price of the car doubles. And the next buyer becomes the latest fraud victim. Don’t let that person be you!

  • Fake Trim Tags, VIN Tags and Protecto Plates

These fake production tags have gone through several iterations over the last few years. The fraudsters and criminals are getting better at it every day. Fake VIN tags will also create a legal liability issue for the unsuspecting buyer.

  • Re-stamped Engines

Corvettes with engines that are not original to the car are becoming more prevalent. This greatly affects market value.

  • Corvettes being “re-created”

We know of cars that were re-created around an original VIN tag or around an original engine where the original car was previously destroyed.

Sellers are very skilled at telling you what you want to hear with the sole objective of separating you from your cash.

The justification I hear consistently is:

"Why pay for someone to inspect the car when the seller seems so nice?”

“The car is lovely.”

“I did my “research” (whatever that means).

“XX is my favorite color.”

"It reminds me of a car I once had or always wanted.”

And, best of all, “My spouse likes it.”

And on it goes…then two years later I get the call from the attorney…”We have a problem.”


2) Hidden/Unknown/Undisclosed Damage or Repairs

This may include prior collision damage to the frame, aftermarket body panels which do not fit properly, unreliable and inadequate fiberglass repair that may begin to fail AFTER your purchase leading to costly repairs. When questioned about these areas, sellers typically develop selective amnesia and cannot seem to recall any details about the car.

3) Dealer Disclaimers

These can run on for several pages.

Some examples:

It is the customer’s sole responsibility to verify the existence and condition of any equipment listed and to thoroughly inspect the vehicle personally or via a third party inspection company. All vehicles are sold “as is” and without warranty. As always, we welcome independent inspections and or independent appraisers prior to the sale. In referencing the phrase “Numbers Matching”, the seller is providing information provided to us and/or our opinion about the engine and does not refer to any other part on the car. We CANNOT guarantee the authenticity of any vehicle. Any descriptions or representations are for identifications purposes only and are not to be constructed as a warranty of any type. 

This is typically followed by some sort of hold harmless language, such as:

You agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Dealer ABC, its officers, directors, employees, agents, licensors and suppliers from and against all losses, expenses, damages and costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, resulting from any violation of these terms and conditions.

The use of "as-is" language does not allow the seller to commit fraud (where the seller KNOWS they are not telling the truth as opposed to simple negligence). Nevertheless, the above should concern you. Ask yourself, “Am I absolutely confident I can verify everything on my own?” If so, terrific. BUT, if not, we should be talking. Because otherwise, you are on your own, and it is the wild west of fraud, misrepresentation and deception out there. As Ronald Reagan once said "Trust, but verify."

What you can expect:

      • After you contact Vettework, a Pre-Purchase Inspection Agreement is forwarded to you to execute.
      • You contact the owner and receive permission to have the vehicle(s) inspected.
      • You return the executed agreement along with a deposit, the details of the location of the vehicle(s), contact information of the owner.
      • You then arrange a date for the inspection that is convenient for all parties.
      • We inspect the chassis, interior, exterior and all mechancials.
      • We road test the vehicle when possible and complete a thorough operations check to confirm all switches and controls function as they were originally designed, intended and expected.
      • Modifications, replacement parts, collision repairs, defects, fluid leaks, rust or corrosion, etc., if detected, will be noted.
      • After the Pre-Purchase Inspection, a comprehensive written report with photographs is forwarded to you.

Armed with the knowledge contained in the Pre-Purchase Inspection, this benefits you in the negotiation process to purchase the vehicle by providing leverage with the seller. This also saves you the time and expense of traveling to the vehicle. Reports are confidential and not shared with the seller.

A note about my Competition:

My competition uses a business model whereby you dial an 800 number. They have third party contract agreements with local mechanics across the country who are trained to complete state safety inspections on all types of cars and trucks. These local mechanics are skilled at starting the car, completing a road test and making sure the radio works. What they are not skilled at is inspecting or appraising any particular car in detail such as a classic corvette to determine if the engine, transmission or any other part on the car is original to the car.

Ask them:

• Is the frame or engine from another car? What impact would that have on the value of the car?

• What does original paperwork look like?

• What about the paint? Will it pass judging? What is the proper size of metallic that is acceptable?

• Are they familiar with original character sets and original stamp pad surface finishes?

• Do they have an extensive photographic library of original parts to use as a comparison?

• Have they published articles on restorations in Corvette specific periodicals?

• What level of recognized Corvette specific judging experience do they have?

• How many cars have they personally restored that have gone on to achieve Bloomington Gold or Duntov status?

• What specific experience or training do they have inspecting or evaluating the Corvette you want to purchase?

My competition is not in the business of determining originality of any part on a Corvette (read the fine print) because they have no clue what they are looking at.

Some of these guys can decode the numbers. Big deal. Anyone can do that. Can they tell you if the engine in the car today is the same engine that was in the car when it left the Saint Louis factory? Of course not. That plays a significant role in the value of the car.

I have 20,000+ images of corvette stamp pads in my library collected from 20+ years of judging corvettes. These guys don’t even know what a stamp pad is, what an original looks like or where to find it.

Some of my competition may initially be less expensive, but that small savings quickly evaporates when you realize you just paid $20,000+ too much for the wrong car that was inaccurately described by the seller using carefully crafted language. Then what are you going to do? Call your attorney? And spend more money? Good luck with that. You get what you pay for in life. Buyer beware.

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