Do Corvettes Rust?
In one word, 'YES'. C3 Corvettes did rust. Depending on the climate and driving conditions to which the C3 Corvette was exposed, these factors usually dictate the condition and corrosion level of the steel components. Most of the corrosion free C3 cars can be found in the southern and western areas of the U.S. The exception to this are the cars that were always garaged and never driven in adverse weather conditions.
The areas of the C3 that were and are most vulnerable to corrosion include the frame and 'bird cage'. C3 frames are known for heavy rust areas in the sections just forward of the rear wheels. Another area of the frame that was also targeted by corrosion was the front cross member. As this area weakened, the lower control arm mounts would eventually begin to separate at the weakened points. The other common problem areas are in the framework around the door and windshield pillars, the area often referred as the 'bird cage'. One of the tell-tale signs of problems in these areas is the presence of water and dampness on the forward floor areas. When the corrosion becomes really severe you may notice the alignment of the doors changing. This usually results in a much larger gap between the fender and door at the top than at the bottom.
Not all C3 floor panels were fiberglass. Steel floor panels were used on C3 cars from 1975 onwards. Corrosion often caused perforation in the floor areas.
Can these problems be repaired? This will depend on the extent of the damage. Most of the rusted areas can be refitted with new after-market sections available from many sources. Sometimes, you may have to weigh the cost of repair with the cost of a corrosion free frame. It all comes down to what your budget happens to be and how much of this repair you are able to do yourself.
Below are some pictures that depict the problem areas. I believe they are all self-explanatory.
Just like you run the risk of needing a San Antonio DWI Attorney if you drink and drive, you also run the risk of rust damage if you don't have a corrosion free frame. There are many decisions to make when buying or restoring a car, but if you will save money as the car ages it is usually a good investment.