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The Chevrolet Corvette has stood for attainable high performance long before it went mid-engine. That’s especially true of used Corvettes, which offer plenty of speed for not a lot of cash. Plus, you don’t even need a Z06 to have affordable fun in a ‘Vette. Instead, you can save some dough with something like this week’s Cars & Bids bargain: a 2008 C6 Corvette Convertible.

2008 gave the base C6 Corvette Convertible some sporty upgrades and a new LS3 V8 heart

A black-and-silver-liveried 2008 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible Indy 500 Pace Car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
2008 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible Indy 500 Pace Car | Ron McQueeney/General Motors via Getty Images
2008 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
Engine6.2-liter ‘LS3’ V8
Horsepower430 hp (standard)
436 hp (with dual-mode performance exhaust)
Torque424 lb-ft (standard)
428 lb-ft (with dual-mode performance exhaust)
TransmissionsSix-speed manual
Six-speed automatic
Curb weight3300 lbs
0-60 mph time4.3 seconds (automatic, Car and Driver)

The uncharitable might claim the C6 Corvette is merely an updated C5, but that’s not quite true. Although it evolved from the C5, the C6 gave Chevrolet’s sports car a significantly improved interior, some chassis and suspension upgrades, and a performance boost. But things really started cooking with the 2008 Corvette.

Firstly, the 2008 Chevrolet Corvette dropped the 400-hp 6.0-liter LS2 V8 for the 6.2-liter LS3. Secondly, Chevy overhauled the steering for increased precision, better feedback, and more natural weight buildup. And in addition to tweaking the manual, it also introduced an optional shorter axle ratio for the six-speed automatic. Plus, while the paddle shifters weren’t new for 2008, the automatic did get some software and hardware updates.

Now, the optional axle ratio doesn’t close the 0-60 gap between the still-slow-shifting automatic and manual 2008 Corvettes. If you want maximum acceleration, the stick is still the way to go. Getting the 2008 Corvette Convertible further blunts outright performance, as it replaces the standard Targa top with a true convertible top. Furthermore, it makes the chassis noticeably less rigid, Car and Driver reports.

However, even with the extra weight and slower shifts, an automatic 2008 Corvette Convertible only hits 60 mph 0.3 seconds slower than a stick-shift C6 Coupe. Plus, dropping the top lets you hear the LS3’s “soulful rumble” even better, Car and Driver notes. And while it’s not as sharp as the Coupe, a C6 Corvette Convertible is still a more-than-decent sports car.

Check out this automatic 2008 C6 Convertible available on Cars & Bids

A red 2008 Chevrolet Corvette 3LT Convertible in a parking lot with its top down
2008 Chevrolet Corvette 3LT Convertible | Cars & Bids

Because of its genuine performance benefits, the dual-mode exhaust is a desirable Corvette option. And it’s just one of the options the 2008 Corvette 3LT Convertible currently listed on Cars & Bids has.

In addition to the exhaust, this C6 Corvette Convertible has a heads-up display, power telescoping steering column, HID headlights, adaptive shocks, and power-adjustable heated seats. It has a Bose seven-speaker audio system with a six-disc CD changer, SiriusXM compatibility, and navigation, too. And apart from a USB charging port in the center-console storage compartment, it’s stock.

The side view of a red 2008 Chevrolet Corvette 3LT Convertible's tan-leather seats and black dashboard
2008 Chevrolet Corvette 3LT Convertible interior side | Cars & Bids

Although this 2008 Corvette Convertible isn’t showroom-perfect, it has less than 80,000 miles on the clock. It suffered some cosmetic damage in some past minor collisions, but the seller says it was repaired. Otherwise, the only issues are the usual scattered array of chips, scratches, and interior wear that used cars pick up.

Speaking of picking things up, this C6 gained over half of its total miles after the seller acquired it in 2017. Since then, they also performed quite a bit of maintenance. Besides regular oil and filter changes, the seller replaced the EVAP canister vent solenoid, side-impact airbag sensor, glovebox latch, accelerator pedal and position sensor, right-front wheel bearing, front stabilizer bar control links, and license plate light bulb. Plus, they replaced and re-balanced all four tires.

Will this 2008 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible be a reliable sports car bargain?

As of this writing, this 2008 Corvette Convertible is listed at $12,400 with three days left in the auction. Although automatic models have lower market values, that’s still a below-average price for an LS3-equipped C6 Convertible. For example, the cheapest model with similar mileage on Autotrader is almost twice as expensive.

Admittedly, 2008 can be a problematic C6 Corvette model year due to the fuel-pump-related recalls. Also, high-mileage C6s can have problems with their harmonic balancers and timing chain tensioners. However, the seller says their 2008 car’s harmonic balancer has no issues. And given this car’s service records, it’s unlikely that a mechanic missed a timing chain problem. Plus, LS3 V8s are popular engine swap-ins for a reason. Still, that’s why pre-purchase inspections exist.

Overall, though, this 2008 Corvette Convertible seems like a bargain-priced way to have some drop-top V8 sports car fun.

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