You aren't sailing right by too much with an '84 Vette. They really weren't all that fast. A V6 Camaro or Mustang will take you today, never mind one with a V8. Still, you are right, a Vette is a Vette, and a nice fun car to own. I'd only want one with the 4+3 manual in it from those years... or a 6-speed in it later on. Automatics and Vettes just don't make sense together to me.
An automatic convertible makes sense for nice cruises and back roads. Great to own. I bought convertibles to enjoy the ride and scenery. I have seen these with new crate 350 engines installed as well. Cheap to buy; I saw one under 2k. I like manuals as coupes. My C3 was never a fun car to take out for a relaxing drive. It was a decked 406 Vortec heads, 400 hp 4 speed. Fast car, but what a work out to drive. Even the new 6 speeds in a Vert are still not as nice as the automatic. Put the top down and enjoy a nice ride. Mine is 0 to 60 still in 5 seconds stock. I love the new LS engines, but as a convertible, automatics are great
My first Vette was a used loaded 1975 in 1986 and cost $5000. I painted in black, and it had a pewter interior. It was an automatic (with a shift kit). Not a real powerful hp year, but it was a nice entry level Vette at the time. I ended up buying 25 years later a very rare 1974... only 3400 made out of 37000 convertible 4 speed combination. I also have a Sebring silver convertible C5. The newer ones are great as well.
Just bought a one owner 87 Corvette Coupe with 57k miles. The car doesn't leak a drop and everything on it works. This is my 6th Corvette I've owned from a 1974 big block to a 99 C5, and I've loved them all. When I'm 80 years old, I'll still crawl in and out of a Corvette; to me they are the greatest car ever built.