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Low Miles Pace Car: 1986 Chevrolet Corvette

It has been said that fourth-gen (1984-1996) Corvettes can be a good buy and a way to get into a ‘Vette in a reasonable fashion. With that thought, we have a 1986 convertible “pace car” edition for review today and it has a claimed 51K miles. Located in Midland, North Carolina, this “yellow fever” ‘Vette is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $5,600 with twenty-four bids tendered as of this writing.

Of note, 1986 was the first year of the return of the Corvette convertible, last produced in model year 1975. The total count was 7,300 and all were pace car editions. Twelve colors were available, along with “Official Pace Car” door decals which in this case, are not present. The finish is aptly named, “Yellow”, that’s it, no exotic locale or hyperbolic modifier included. One thing not included in the pace car package was the ungainly spoiler attached to this ‘Vette’s rear deck – it looks completely out of place and just wrong for this car.

OK, so the title of this post probably has you wondering a bit and it references the listing statement: “Flood Salvage from Fl. Water line barely touched the car. See pic“. Uh-oh, submarine service? Well maybe not that bad but I’m not certain what “See pic” advice means as the only thing really noted is peeling clear coat; it’s not like there’s a high water mark or bathtub ring that’s evident. And, if the water line barely touched the car, then it likely wouldn’t have been flooded and become salvage – yeah, I know, more questions than answers. Regardless of any nautical adventures, this Corvette and its white canvas folding top still show pretty well.

Power is provided by a 230 net HP, 350 CI (5.7 liter) V8 engine that is connected to an automatic transmission. The seller advises, “Runs and Drives Great“. The engine and its compartment are certainly pretty clean, backing up that 51K mile claim.

The interior seems to be fair, the leather upholstery shows some sign of use but it’s not torn or showing an inordinate amount of wear, or a flood line…The carpet appears to be mangy but a thorough cleaning may help to bring it around. The seller makes a point of stating, “Digital Dash works“, good to know as I understand they can be troublesome.

Concerns abound, no one wants to become an automotive U-Boat commander so a stem-to-stern inspection of this Corvette would be essential to determine its future motoring fitness. And beyond that, trying to register, and insure, a car with a salvage title could be a very tall order and I doubt someone would want this ‘Vette strictly for offroad, or some other endeavor where a general title wouldn’t be required. I wish the seller good luck, unfortunately, this Chevy pace car seems like one big red flag. At least that’s my thought, what’s yours?


  1. Avatar photo poseur Member

    fun torquey cars that handle well and just a joy to drive.
    hard pass due to chance of saltwater issues.
    just way too many other opportunities to get into one of these to make this a buy.

    Like 9
  2. Avatar photo 86_Vette_Convertible

    I have to agree that if there was water damage it could go well beyond what some want to do. Things like the ABS pump is in a low point and I don’t see where it says how high the water got. With the pealing clearcoat, it wouldn’t be a cheap fix IMO.
    I agree that this appears to be one that should be passed on.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Jim in FL

      We had a flood at a dealership in Jersey in the early 90s. Chevy came in and totaled any new car that had water above the door sill. Too much potential liability with respect to electronics. This could be a risky investment.

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Doug Weaver

        HAHA! “This could be a risky investment.” That made me giggle. As if ANY of the first few years of C-4s are investment quality. That said, I get what you’re saying and agree with you. The wording made me stop, and smile, which I will ALWAYS take!

        I might, and that might is 1/2 hearted, take this car if it were given to me. From the water to the poorly installed, insanely oversized ‘retard-flap’ on the back deck.

        Like 1
  3. Avatar photo PRA4SNW

    Water line on the interior door looks to be just below the speaker.

    I guess if you could get it for 1/3 of whatever the current value of the car is, it might be a good risk. Most likely will be bought, title cleaned (if possible) and flipped to an innocent bystander.

    Like 3
  4. Avatar photo Ike Onick

    If things go south you could always use the back wing to push it.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Sam61

      Ditto, I would add the wing appears to be the perfect height for tailgating….line up your favorite adult beverage and snacks…through a beach towel over the wing as a tablecloth. It’s also a nice flat surface to lay out your tools for inevitable repairs.

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Ike Onick

        And if things really go south, you may be able to surf your way out of trouble.

        Like 2
  5. Avatar photo Luigi

    Great idea, buy this at a”low” price, spend $30,000 and years of your life and end up with a car only useful for donating its undercarriage to a C1 restmod for less than what you bought it for.

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo mh

    I swear I saw this car down in Ft Myers…in a flooded salvage lot… at an auction… I believe it brought somewheres around 4 grand… it was not running at the time…and it still had salt water in it… I would be wary of this one….

    Like 2
  7. Avatar photo ROBERT STEVENSI

    Not very far from my house. I would check under the sill plates and carpet for rust and sand and get it up on a lift for a thorough inspection b4 even considering buying it.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Bick Banter

    Wow. I thought the price was amazingly high before I saw it was a flood car. Somebody is going to be really underwater on this.

    Like 0

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