Ten Corvettes, Ten Days: Day 7 – Fiona

East LA

Finding today’s Corvette hasn’t started well. I’m at a dealership in Anaheim only to find that I wouldn’t be able to afford or drive the C6 I was there for. This was compounded by the fact that it’s Sunday and most of the local used car lots are closed. Fortunately, salvation came in the form of the cheapest C6 I’ve seen in the Southland.

Over time, I learned that the automatic in a C5 shifts like a Peruvian taxi driver – early and often. Fortunately, unlike a Peruvian taxi, the engines are a lot more fun at 2000 rpm. However, I also know that Corvette power plants are a ton of fun throughout the whole rev range. And to add to that, the first year of the C6 generation comes with many improvements over the C5 with the exception of the transmission which I’ll get to.

So far my time with slushbox Corvettes has been, let’s say, checkered (getting stuck in one, and having the roof almost blow off another). So, it’s almost superstition that has me suspecting that I shouldn’t expect much from this car. And so far, my wariness is justified. This car’s torch red paint is terrible. With orange peel and irregular fade, no two panels match.  The interior wasn’t much better.  It looks as though she was just rescued from a junkyard with missing trim and plenty of dirt ground into the carpets. In that spirit, I have decided to call her Fiona (for you Shrek fans) as she is a princess freshly rescued.

Looks aside, out on the road, she tells a different tale. Fiona pulls with the same smooth eagerness I’ve come to love Corvette V8s for. Better still, Fiona was the first Corvette hatchback I drove with the roof off and I found minimal body shaking and flexing. If I end up getting a Corvette, I think I know how I’ll be driving it…

Truthfully, even though this C6 drives like a Corvette should, even with the terrible four-speed transmission, there is a much more interesting catch to this particular car. The story of Fiona’s rescue once again led me down the rabbit hole of automotive wholesale and salvage markets. The owner operates out of his house. He tells me that he usually buys mildly damaged Mustangs one at a time at wholesale to fix ‘n flip. This time ‘round, he found Fiona with a hole in her nose cone at the local Co Part for $6,500. After performing rhinoplasty, he’s now selling the once damaged C6 for almost twice the price.

Despite the salvage title, it drives just fine. Great, in fact. Now I find myself wondering: how much trouble would it be to get a dealer’s license? How could I find myself a $6,500 wholesale C6? Are salvage title cars worth the discount? I wonder about this and later in the day call Fiona’s owner back only to find that the car’s been sold for full asking price.