1985 Chevrolet Corvette Reviews

1985 Chevrolet Corvette Modified 383 Stroker [originally 5.7 350] TPI from North America

Model year1985
Year of manufacture1985
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission Modified 383 Stroker [originally 5.7 350] TPI Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired118000 miles
Most recent distance158000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Corvette

Summary:

Computer nightmare and mechanical bear, but SO worth the few problems it faces

Faults:

Throwing this out there first: The previous owner did not take very good care of his Corvette...

Blew out head/cylinder wall. My logic: Oh well, I wanted to do a motor rebuild anyway...

Transmission died after motor rebuild; 3rd and 4th blew out. New trans from a 90's ZR1.

Computer/Electronic Management system went haywire. The car was down for 3 months while I tracked down an acceptable replacement. Had some wiring harness issues as well.

And just the normal constant adjustments and headaches from breaking in (new) motors.

General Comments:

Despite the problems and the deserved title of "money pit", this Vette has been a real gem that just has needed some dusting.

Best cruiser ever, and since the ZR1 trans, it's gotten even better. The power of the engine (383 stroker with tuned electronic injection) is immense, and this satisfying smirk comes across your face while the back end slides out. Listening to the Magnaflow exhaust hum is a real pleasure. Worth the headaches? Absolutely. Yes, at one time (make that a few times) I did want to park it in the field and start beating it with a bat or another blunt object, but the driving experience this car provides just absolves all those feelings. It makes you feel a certain way when you drive it, and that alone is worth the issues. This is my 5th Vette (over the years) and my 1st C4. I'm impressed and satisfied.

F.Y.I.: For the 383, I used a 1996 Chevy 2500 4-bolt 350, and had it bored and stroked.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th June, 2011

1985 Chevrolet Corvette 5.7 liter from North America

Year of manufacture1985
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 5.7 liter Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired89000 miles
Most recent distance113000 miles
Previous carDodge Dakota

Summary:

The Corvette is a driving experience, but to own an older one is a labor of love

Faults:

Have replaced the water pump and main electric cooling fan. Ignition coil and plug wires.

The A/C didn't work when I bought the car. I drove it that way for a few years, and decided to have the A/C system checked and filled. Shortly after I did, the A/C compressor seized, but fortunately the A/C clutch disengaged so I was able to still drive the car with the bad A/C compressor on the car. I ultimately purchased a rebuilt compressor and condenser as well. However I never had the system charged again, as I don't mind driving the car without air conditioning. The A/C compressor bracket cracked, and I purchased a used one at the Carlisle Corvettes show.

I replaced the valve cover gaskets (the car still leaks oil from the valve covers) and replaced the radiator as well. I cleaned 20+ years of leaves and other debris that accumulated at the bottom of the radiator and inside the fan shroud. I've replaced the fuel filter. I've replaced both rear wheel bearings, one of the drive axle (half shafts) universal joints, as well as a few rear sway bar link bushings.

I replaced the interior carpeting with OEM style MAS back carpeting and did my best to repair the interior door panels (they've cracked with age as the plastic gets increasingly brittle). I installed heat shield and sound deaden-er beneath the carpet. Corvettes are known for transferring a lot of engine heat into the driving compartment. Even with the insulation, driving on a hot summer day can be uncomfortable.

I've never had to replace the brakes or shocks, but have had to adjust the parking brake mechanism. I also replaced the frame for the rear storage compartment wells as the frame had broken due to brittle plastic. Previous owners recovered the seats with cheap vinyl seat covers, but since they're still in good condition and quite expensive, I never replaced them.

In the 15 years or so before I owned the car, it had been in the possession of 4 - 5 other people... and it wasn't well taken care of. The floor pan at your feet is cracked, as someone drove it over bumps or through an automatic car wash. I've patched the cracks with roofing tar to ensure it remains water tight.

I've replaced the power window ribbon belts on both sides and the passenger door power door lock actuator. The window & windshield weather striping leaked very badly when I first bought the car, and I was able to successfully stop the wind shield leak and all but a few drops of water from the windows (it's definitely a fair weather car). Most of the window weather stripping needs to be replaced as it's cracked and brittle with age.

I replaced the fuel pump twice since I bought the car, but the best thing about C4 vettes is the ease of changing the fuel pump, since it can be reached through the fuel filler opening. I've replaced various interior missing or broken plastic trim pieces, as well as trim screws and rubber bumpers (such as for the rear hatch window and the fuel filler door).

The radio reception was very poor when I bought the car, and remains so today. I pulled the interior dash cover and installed dash mounted speakers. I've rebuilt/repaired the power antennae as well.

I've replaced the interior dash bulbs (very expensive, hard to find mini bulbs... don't go to a dealership for these as they're approx $25+ dollars per bulb... a good auto parts store should be able to order them for you).

It left me stranded twice in all these years. One time for the bad fuel pump (and I got taken by the shop) and the other time when the ignition cylinder locked. As it turned out, the cylinder locked, because the bolts that lock the joint together, which allows the steering column to pivot/adjust, loosened. When that occurred, the steering wheel flopped around and allowed a spring inside the steering column to dislodge and come to rest in the ignition cylinder mechanism... which in turn locked it, and prevented the car from starting.

General Comments:

The car is exceptionally fun to drive, and the best time of the year to do so (in the northeast anyway) is spring and fall. It allows you to drive with the roof off and enjoy open air driving.

Handling is phenomenal... I love winding mountain roads or sharp off ramps exiting from the interstate.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd February, 2011

2nd Apr 2011, 01:09

I bought my 1985 Corvette in 1988. I commuted 150 miles every day for 12 years in it. I parked it in the driveway in 2000. Every one of those things you mentioned above, I've been through with this fantastic car. I never sold it because I always knew that I would never be able to buy another one... without a big argument anyway.

Well, I just put it in the shop to get it ready for my 17 year old son for his first/second car. Can you say moneypit? I am committed to having him in this car, and will do whatever it takes to bring it back to life.

What brought me to your comments was the cracked floorpans... There are holes in mine (corners), I like the idea of roofing tar! Good one!

Thanx... LOL (Tony; Brick, NJ - Jersey Shore)

Average review marks: 7.5 / 10, based on 7 reviews