I found a 1997 c5 targa auto 86k asking $15,000. I wanted to know if I should avoid the 1997 model year because it is a first year car. Also, I favor a z06 and FRC but there out of my price range. Should I wait save for a z06 or should I pick this car up?
They're not that bad. Certainly not as reliable as later years, but also not as unreliable as your typical GM product from that vintage. It'll have its share of squeeks and rattles.
I would have it checked out very thoroughly. Run the DIC error messages by turning car off completely, putting key in 'run', hold down option and hit fuel 4 times, and it'll cycle through any error messages.
Maybe see if you can buy an extended GM warranty, at least to cover you until you can afford a Z06.
Don't settle and don't buy first year GM models is my best advice. First year models nearly always have some type of issues they correct by the second year, and there were so many Vettes made that you should only strive for the bodystyle and color you want. It's not like shopping for a rare Supra!