What Is It Worth? Running 1979 C3 Corvette


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Now here’s a surprise! A C3 Corvette that actually looks relatively original, if very worn, and even seems reasonably priced, offered by a seller with excellent feedback including prior cars for sale. It’s located in Ottawa, Kansas and is for sale here on eBay, with a buy-it-now of $3,900 but lower offers invited (and the seller has a history of accepting best offers on cars).c2

I know some Barn Finds readers don’t care for the later C3 Corvettes with the sloped back window and pointed end caps, but to me they were a successful update of the basic “Mako Shark” shape. The seller tells us that the car runs well and is the benefit of recent carburetor and brake work. While you obviously don’t have to worry about rust on the exterior body panels, one of the things I’ve learned from knowledgeable readers  is that there are some vulnerable steel components of the “birdcage” that can rust, and we know that this car has been in some areas that use salt, so those need to be checked out.


Tires don’t look bad, and the car is wearing a full set of center caps and trim rings. So many of these cars have had their wheels replaced with aftermarket ones! Does the tire to rear fender clearance look a little large to you? With a transverse leaf spring, that seemed a little odd to me, and the Missouri Dept. of Revenue serial number tag that the seller discloses in the pictures has me wondering as well. Who knows–but it may be worth asking some questions before bidding!


Yeah, the seats are pretty rough, as the seller explains in the ad, and the interior as a whole could use a really good cleaning. Everything’s available, though, from a number of suppliers, and if I were on a budget and really wanted a Corvette, I could replace items one at a time until I was happy.


The engine looks like, well, a stock Chevrolet 350 V8, apart from perhaps the air cleaner. I’m encouraged to see the belt still on the air conditioning compressor, although the seller says the ac doesn’t put out cold air. The headlights don’t actuate, and there is a possibility of u-joint noise. Assuming for a moment that the birdcage is good, though, it still seems like a pretty good deal for a Corvette enthusiast on a budget, especially since you may be able to get the car for something below the buy-it-now. What do you think would be a good price to pay?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. joeinthousandoaks

    These later cars have more to worry about than the birdcage. The floors are steel too and tend to rust from water getting past leaky T-Tops. I believe the floors went to steel due to the use of catylitic convertors and heat issues but I am not sure. Maybe someone else on here has more info on that. A good price if it is rust free.

    Like 0
  2. Jim

    76-82 had steel floor pans and it’s the old story…it’s worth whatever someone will pay. In this case, I’d guess, not much.

    Like 0
  3. Joe

    Price seems very reasonable. Not attracted to the plastic bumpers, but I like the wheels and the fact that it runs. Could be fun to drive.

    Like 2
  4. Nessy

    His price is low enough but this era Corvette is a very tough seller and even more so in rough condition. There are so many of them left to pick from that need work. I had the same year in a little better condition but in bright red so it was a much better color to start with. However, it still took me over a year to find a buyer. The one listed here is the base L48 with crank windows which will make it even harder to sell. The ad says the car could use a really good cleaning? Well, if that was what it needed to look better, the seller would have cleaned it himself. I cleaned mine as much as possible. It was a good runner, a fully loaded car and the underbody was solid. I tried for 6000, then I went down to 5000 and just tire kickers offering 3500 or so. One day, a guy came with 4000 in his pocket and I said ok. At least I did not loose any money and I was very glad to just be out of it. Although I do like the look of the 68 to 82 body style, no more Corvettes of this era for me. What is that 70 Cadillac behind the Corvette? it looks like a custom station wagon?

    Like 0
  5. Gravy K

    Late seventies beauty!
    Corvettes ruled then, performance and style
    Only Porsche threatened THIER dominance. Close to fifty K were sold
    This beast is priced nicely, good project ride, forget matching numbers, fix her up, fire her up, roll out to Las Vegas!

    Like 2
    • Donnie

      a trans am with a 400 could blow the plasic doors off of vette back then

      Like 0
      • Chief

        Not true. In 1976 I owned a new Corvette L-48 automatic. Coming out of Greenville SC one night heading to Spartanburg on HI 29, the son of the local Pontiac dealer who’s father had given him a new black/gold edition Trans Am (400 CI) pulled up next to me at a red light. We knew each other and at the light he would rev his engine and lunge the car at the cross walk line. When the light turned green, we both went full throttle. This happened about three times and each time my Vette would walk away from the Trans. The distances between lights were 1/4 to 1/2 mile stretches. Don’t confuse CI’s with performance.

        Like 1
  6. MH

    Even at $3900 it’s a good deal. It’s a cheap way to get into the club.

    Like 1
  7. ruxvette

    Ummm, buy it for $3500, put $10,000 in it and you’ll have a nice $7500 car.
    No thanks.

    Like 0
  8. Blindmarc

    A cheap way to get into the hobby. C3’s are my favorite, although I like the 76 and down style more.

    Like 1

    Looks like a good price if it’s not rotted away. New seats and fix the headlights, charge the AC then it’s a bargain.

    Like 1

    Oh right on Joe, still a good deal.

    Like 0
  11. Oddimotive Cason Oddimotive CasonMember

    All original? The wheels don’t look correct for ’79. Too bad it’s not an L82 with a clutch pedal; but this should still be a torquey, fun beast and should make all the right sounds…

    Like 0
    • Chuck F.

      I had a ’79 L82 with a clutch pedal. It was this color (Midnight Blue, IIRC) and a doeskin leather interior. I ordered it with every available option. To this day, it was the worst car I’ve ever owned and I’ve owned quite a few. That POS was the last straw that turned me off GM forever and domestics for 26 years.

      Like 0
  12. John

    What is with the Missouri “assigned” ID? Does it not have a VIN? That would worry me. And we’re Corvette motors blue back hen? I thought I remembered them being red. Still a nice looking basis for a general driver.

    Like 0
  13. MountainMan

    Its a Vette and its going to sell cheap. Cant expect much. I would like to have it

    Like 1

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