30 October 2015

Surprise and Delight: Five affordable classic cars

Some cars wear their price tags on their sleeves, while others can be surprisingly affordable in spite of being historic, iconic or otherwise famous:

1927-31 Ford Model A: The Model A is a bedrock car for the classic car community. Forty years ago, it was probably what the majority of the people involved in the hobby thought of as an entry-level classic. For such an iconic car, the Model A remains surprisingly affordable with driver-level cars still available in the high teens.

1967-69 Pontiac Firebird: The Firebird was launched the same year as the Camaro, but it never seemed to gain the popularity of its Chevy brother. And with the demise of Pontiac during the GM bankruptcy, it’s in danger of becoming the forgotten twin. A pity, as you could make the case that the first-generation Firebird was at least as appealing as the Camaro. Today, they’re surprisingly affordable, often trading at a significant discount over Chevy’s pony car.

1936 Cord 810 Beverly: The Cord 810 is hands-down one of the prettiest American cars of all time. Even collectors who don’t otherwise have an interest in pre-war cars are often drawn to them. Deal with the primitive front axles and the funky transmission and you’ll enjoy a surprisingly affordable experience with a milestone classic. Cord sedans can still be found for under $50,000.

1983-92 Porsche 944: The 944 is the car that saved Porsche. Built by Audi, in numbers larger than Porsche could ever have achieved, it was a strong seller for almost 10 years and pulled Porsche’s financial chestnuts out of the fire. Bad ones can be money pits, but well-maintained, low-mileage creampuffs can be had for well under 10 grand, so why mess with a mediocre example?

1980-81 DeLorean DMC-12: For such a famous car, the DeLorean is surprisingly affordable. Even with the renewed attention as the result of “Back to the Future Day” on Oct. 21, the price of a decent DeLorean seems to never be far from where it has been for years – the $20,000-$30,000 range.

12 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Tony Azcona Winamac, Indiana November 4, 2015 at 13:09
    You guys missed the bargains of the year: the Triumph Spitfire, MG Midget/Austin Healey Sprite, and the MGB. All can found in large numbers, good examples can easily be had for under $5000 for MGB models, $4000 or less for MG Midgets/Austin Healey Sprites (except for Bugeye models), and the best bargain would be the Triumph Spitfire where you can find nice examples under $3000! I forgot to mention the Triumph TR6, but that's a model in depression pricewise...fair examples under $2000, good examples under $2500, excellent examples around $5000, and fully restored models under $20,000; you can't restore one that cheap!
  • 2
    Chris NY November 4, 2015 at 13:51
    Porsche 944, I had an 86' was a fantastic ride, just loved it. Make sure the bank account has plenty of funds for never ending repairs!
  • 3
    Russ Smyth Bobcaygeon Ontario. November 4, 2015 at 14:09
    My opinion ,the first year V8 Lexus SC400 coupe is an excellent very low production future collectible, timeless good looks,spectacular 4 cam engine,150 mph,$5000 will buy you a low miler,$1000 for a daily driver that will go 300000 miles without a teardown.
  • 4
    Joe Central VA November 4, 2015 at 15:19
    Shhhh...Do not tell anyone else about the Firebirds. Or the 944s. Always loved them and always will. Got space for one more classic in the shop, too :)
  • 5
    Alex Arizona November 4, 2015 at 17:57
    Did someone say that the Cord is one of the prettiest cars ever ???? I think the Gremlin is prettier....:) Why do i never see a 52-55 Lincoln Capri's at shows or Auctions , rarity or just not popular? They were awesome performance cars in their day....
  • 6
    Gary Lee Nebraska November 4, 2015 at 18:41
    Ford had Model T's through 1927. The first Model A's where in 1928.
  • 7
    Rw AZ November 4, 2015 at 20:40
    Model A's in the high teens are not affordable to most of American households.
  • 8
    Clarence robins Opelousas Louisiana December 2, 2015 at 20:19
    I love you the couple Deville
  • 9
    Loren Moore Michigan February 27, 2016 at 17:30
    I have never seen the attraction of a Porsche. If it was a person it would have no face. There is nothing to look at when looking at the front end.
  • 10
    Jackie Oliver Online November 18, 2016 at 14:36
    My husband absolutely loves classic cars like this. It would be so fun to get a Pontiac Firebord for him, that is one of his favorites. A Ford Model A would also be really cool! It's such an iconic car, I am sure he would love it.
  • 11
    Bob Bacchi LaJolla, CA May 31, 2017 at 20:47
    One of the real sleepers is the '98-'02 Pontiac Firebirds. I was lucky enough to get an ,01 V6 in Jan 2016 with 27,500 miles for $5000. It's like a new car inside and out. I have been offered 10K to 12K for the car. Not for sale. Since then I have been looking online and CL at the Birds and found you can get relatively low mileage V6,s in that price range. By low mileage I mean 45 to 80K. Yes, the TransAm and Ws are going to be somewhat more, But don't think the 3.8 V6 is a laggard . It goes!
  • 12
    John KY June 1, 2017 at 10:34
    Come on folks. It is not about numbers matching, correct window glass or how many "garage queens" we have up on blocks. Its that joy and thrill we lived as a teen going on a date in an old whatever to the movie,cruising the burger joints and hoping we had enough gas to get home. Take your kids (or grandkids) down to the car lots and shop on the back row. Help them find a 90`s camaro, mustang, or whatever turns them on. Then help them to enjoy their "ride" and insure our passion is passed to the next generation.

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