Expert Advice

  • It’s pretty hard to go wrong with a C2 as long as you research prices and make sure the car’s condition warrants the price. In Mike’s Game Plan advice he points out that twice as many ’66 convertibles were produced as coupes. The odds of finding a small-block ‘66 convertible are very good. - 0
  • Mike feels that ’77 Corvettes are “under the radar” cars that can be bought very reasonably. Given their low prices it’s wise to take your time and find low mileage, loaded, or unique color combination cars. Be wary of owner modifications. - 1
  • Super rare Corvettes are good investments if you can find one. This red 1990 R9G code coupe is one of twenty-three built. They were dealer-ordered cars intended for use in the World Challenge race series. - 2
  • The first and last of any model or series are good buys. Mike Yager likes to get the actual first or last cars, but cars from that model year are still good for less well-connected collectors. The 2004 Commemorative Edition Z06s are a good example of an end of the series car. - 3
  • Mike Yager’s Corvette Bible is a must-have reference book for anyone interested in buying a Corvette. Mike distilled decades of buying and collecting knowledge into a very attractive 304-page book. - 4
  • The smiling man with the ever-present straw hat is Mike Yager himself. Mike started Mid America Motorworks in 1974. Today it’s a worldwide mail-order super store. - 5
  • Many of Mike’s personal cars are on display at the corporate headquarters in Effingham, Illinois. The museum is filled with interesting cars and displays. This ’64 GM show car was built for the 1964 World’s Fair. - 6
  • Tuner cars such as this 1988 Callaway Twin-Turbo 35th Anniversary Corvette can be good investments as long as they were built by recognized companies, not backyard specials. Documentation is very important with tuner cars. - 7
  • Special engines are good in terms of Corvette collectability. This is the engine in Mike’s 1988 Callaway Twin-Turbo car. - 8
  • Print

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by Bruce Caldwell  More from Author

Mike Yager's Guide to Buying Corvettes

Experience is a valuable tool when it comes to finding and buying collectible Corvettes. Unfortunately, experience is frequently gained by making mistakes. When you’re talking about highly desirable Corvettes, mistakes can be expensive. That’s why it’s good to have knowledgeable friends.

If no one in your circle of friends even knows that Corvettes have fiberglass bodies it’s time to head for the reference books. A new Corvette reference book/buying guide that’s loaded with wisdom gained from over thirty years in the Corvette business and over forty years as a Corvette enthusiast is Mike Yager’s Corvette Bible. The 304-page full-color book is published by Krause Publications ($24.95) and is widely available in bookstores and through online sources. It’s always in stock at Mike’s place of business, Mid America Motorworks, the mail order Corvette super store.

It was through Mike’s involvement with Mid America Motorworks (founded in 1974) that he gained so much knowledge about Corvettes. The success of MAM has allowed Mike to build an impressive Corvette collection, much of which is on display at corporate headquarters in Effingham, Illinois.

Being so involved with Corvettes put Mike in a position of repeatedly hearing the same questions about buying Corvettes. The two basics were what should I buy and what should I do with it? The questions Mike heard most are covered in his book. As to what to do with a particular Corvette the book deals with that question in chart form. Two sample charts are included here. What to do with a Corvette depends greatly on the condition and rarity of the car. Not every Corvette can or should be restored. The primary goal should be doing what gives you the most enjoyment.

Besides the Status Guide charts, each year Corvette has a list of specifications and interesting facts. Another chart is entitled, Mike Yager Says. That information is broken into three categories: Cheers, Jeers, and Game Plan.

Few enthusiasts need to be reminded of the positive points about collectible Corvettes, but people can overlook things that could turn out to be big problems. For example, in the chart about 1966 Corvettes under Jeers, Mike points out that many unique 427 parts are hard to find; 1966 NCRS standards are tough; exhaust bezels are prone to corrosion; coupes have headliner problems; California cars may be missing smog equipment; and the air conditioning system is expensive to restore properly. These are important things to know when a seller claims that all the car needs is wax. You should know better and price your offer accordingly.

Mike’s personal Corvettes display a fondness for rare models and first/last serial number cars of different generations. While few people have Mike’s ability to obtain the actual last C4 ever built (it’s in the Mike Yager Garage Museum) buying an excellent example of a first or last year of a special Corvette is generally a good idea. These cars tend to have a little extra cache compared to middle-of-the-run models.

We highly recommend Mike Yager’s Corvette Bible. It’s a very enjoyable book regardless of what era Corvette appeals to you. It’s an easy to read book with excellent photos and layouts. You can open the book to any page and find something interesting. The book isn’t the same as Corvette shopping with Mike Yager, but it’s a good substitute.



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