Buying At Repo/Seizure Auctions Or From A Dealer
Ron says that in his experience there are no deals to be had at these auctions because everyone goes there with the same thought in mind: to get a really great Corvette at a super good price. But then they bid against each other and drive the price up, so that when it's all said and done you didn't wind up with a good deal after all. And there are a lot of downsides of buying at these auctions. If you purchase from an individual, you get to drive the car and ask questions; you don't get to drive it at these auctions. If you buy from a private seller, you have some recourse if there are problems with the car that weren't disclosed; when you buy at an auction it's sold as-is, where-is-you have no recourse whatsoever. If the transmission falls out as you're driving it off the auction lot, it's your tough luck- you own it, you're stuck with it.
Buying a Corvette from a dealer isn't a bad thing, although he's in business to make a profit. There is a slight advantage in that he may offer a warranty on the car. If this is your first Corvette, a warranty is a good thing because repairs can be expensive if something breaks. Just remember that the dealer's profit is built into the price you're paying for the car.
C5 and C6 tires are expensive, so you'll want to check the condition of the tires carefully when considering a Corvette for purchase. Do not be put off if the car is equipped with non-run-flat tires, however; this can be a good thing. If you've been reading my C5/C6 Solutions column or checked out my Quest For Quite tire feature in CF, then you know that many C5/C6 owners opt for standard tires rather than run-flats when it's time to replace their rubber. The 'inflatable' tires give a better ride, more traction and are quieter than run-flats; and in most instances, they have a longer useful life than run-flats, in addition to being less expensive to replace. So the fact that the Corvette isn't wearing run-flats should not deter you from considering it as a potential purchase.
So, in parting, the best advice I can offer you when shopping for a C5/C6 is to do your homework, use common sense, don't let your emotions overrule your better judgment, and decide what features/options would constitute your dream Corvette. Then rate these features and options in their order of importance to you, so that you'll know what and where to make your compromises. And, as always, caveat emptor-let the buyer beware.