24 April 2017

Top 10 classic cars under $10,000 that are hot right now

The hottest cars under 10 grand right now, mostly aren’t cars. They’re trucks. Eight of the top 10 under 10 are trucks, in fact. This underscores what we saw in January during this year’s Scottsdale (Ariz.) Auction Week.

If you’re into classic trucks and have been considering a purchase, now is the time to plunk down a stack of bills, as their appeal is increasing. Following are 10 classics you can buy for less than $10,000 right now, which are poised to appreciate. Get yours before the rest of the market catches on…

The Hagerty Vehicle Rating, which measures a vehicle’s performance relative to the rest of the market by examining insurance policies and quotes, Hagerty Price Guide value changes, and sales activity in both the private and auction markets, shows us which of these vehicles are doing particularly well. Scores over 50 indicate that a vehicle is appreciating faster than the market at large, while scores below 50 show slower growth. These aren’t necessarily the hottest cars on the market right now, but over the last 12 months these 10 cars have seen the biggest increases in their ratings.

1973-1979 Ford F-Series 88

Average Condition #3 value: $6,300

Still built on the redesigned version of the fourth generation F-series’ platform (1961-66, redesigned in 1965), this sixth-gen carried significant improvements including front disc brakes, a roomier cab, double-walled bed, and relocated gas tank. They’re still relative bargains with median prices at $6300. In spite of increased galvanized steel use, rust remained an issue. Make sure you inspect any potential purchase thoroughly.

1973-1987 Chevrolet C/K series pickup 88

Average Condition #3 value: $7,400

Not surprisingly, the Ford pickup’s arch nemesis has also seen a spike in popularity. While Chevy’s third generation light truck soldiered on for eight more years than Ford’s, there was a mid-cycle refresh in 1981. Earlier third-gens are pricier though, and if you’re interested in one of these American working heroes, find the cleanest one you can. Median values are $7400 for clean, solid drivers and both quotes and auction activity has increased recently.

1960-1966 Chevrolet C/K series pickup 87

Average Condition #3 value: $8,800

Chevy’s new light truck that launched the C/K series debuted in 1960.  The C denotes a two-wheel drive pickup and a K denotes four-wheel drive. We’ve seen private sales activity increase strongly on these venerable pickups obviously indicating that people are interested. Additionally, quotes and auction sales have ticked up too. While they are more expensive than the 1973-87 Chevy trucks, they’re still available for less than $10K.

1973-1991 Chevrolet C/K Blazer 87

Average Condition #3 value: $8,400

In case you couldn’t tell, classic Chevy trucks are hot and so are fully enclosed models based on them. The Blazer was an SUV before the acronym existed and the second generation is currently lighting up our phone lines via people asking for quotes and insuring their new purchase. With a median value of $8400, it’s easy to understand why there popularity is rising.

1946-1949 Willys-Jeep CJ2A 84

Average Condition #3 value: $8,800

Based on the Jeep that helped the U.S. and its allies win WWII, the CJ-2A was a no-frills civilian work vehicle. A center-mounted rear view mirror was optional. Over 214,000 of these recognizable American icons were built and their popularity clearly endures. Like the Chevy Blazer, policies and quotes are increasing on this classic workhorse.

1978-1987 Chevrolet El Camino 82

Average Condition #3 value: $8,200

If it’s got a truck bed, it’s a truck, right? But what if the vehicle is based on a Chevy Malibu? Whatever you consider the El Camino, its fifth generation is notching increases in quoting, auction, and private sales activity. It was popular in our last round of “10 under 10,” but it seems that the GM G-body truck’s attractiveness has accelerated since. If this trend continues, finding one in decent condition under $10,000 may become difficult soon, but their median value currently sits at $8200.

1971-1976 Buick Electra 225 81

Average Condition #3 value: $5,900

Styled under Bill Mitchell and offered with a 455-cid V-8, 1974-76 Electras also had optional driver and passenger airbags. Considering the C-body’s presence, it’s amazing that these are the cheapest cars, right now, on this 10 under 10 list. Just $5900 should buy you a solid #3 condition Electra.

1965-1970 Oldsmobile 88 81

Average Condition #3 value: $7,750

The sixth generation Olds 88 featured more organic styling than the previous generation, mirroring the rest of GM’s line. It also included GM’s Comfortron Air Conditioning that was previously exclusive to the Cadillac line. Comfortron was essentially climate control—you set a temperature and the car automatically maintains your setting, year round. But if power is what interests you then rest easy: The 88’s base engine was a 330-cid V-8 with options all the way up to the “Rocket 455”–a 455-cid V-8.

1957-1960 Ford F-series 78

Average Condition #3 value: $9,900

Although it was the F-series’ third generation, this was Ford’s first “modern” pickup truck. Following GM and Chrysler’s lead, Ford designers integrated the fenders into the cab. They went a step further though, by integrating the hood as well. In 1959, Ford brought the four-wheel drive model in-house (it was previously outsourced to Marmon-Herrington). This truck barely cracks into this list as its media valuation is $9900.

1972-1980 Dodge D/W Series Pickups 77

Average Condition #3 value: $7,800

If you remember Dodge’s “Li’l Red Express” pickup then you’re familiar with this generation. Other special editions include the “Warlock,” the “Macho Power Wagon Top Hand,” and the “Midnite Express,” which was only available in 1978. While special editions are obviously more expensive, these pickups are still relatively cheap. And they are Dodge’s first pickup with an independent front suspension. Want a big-block? In 1974, you could select a 440-cid V-8, but beware that these were post-oil embargo 440 engines, which made only 255 hp net.

24 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Jim Larson Waterford Mi. April 25, 2017 at 19:24
    In 1976 I ordered a K-10 Blazer, black w/black top and saddle High Serra trim, 400-sb, tach, rally wheels! Sold it for more than I paid for it. Also, 1977 I did ordered same Blazer only in blue....
  • 2
    Mike Bux NY April 26, 2017 at 15:43
    Old jeeps. CJ, TJ YJ are getting very popular due to abandons and very low price of spare parts. Even Russian Luk Oil is manufacturing parts for Jeeps now.
  • 3
    George CT April 26, 2017 at 15:49
    Hey, what about the 80's Jeep Grand Wagoneer? I have seen them appreciate like crazy.
  • 4
    Rob Stevens Corvallis, MT April 26, 2017 at 16:23
    So what happened to the 1940/41 Ford Pickup Truck?, as it is recognized as one of the most beautiful pickups ever made, and unrestored, can still be found for under 10k.
  • 5
    Nick Freedman Petaluma CA April 26, 2017 at 16:27
    Have a great El Camino for sale...https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/cto/6070859766.html
  • 6
    Dan Thomson Kearney, ontario, canada April 26, 2017 at 16:45
    What about the Ford Falcon. Good enuf for Mad Max. The platform was used for the Mustang and there was prototypes designed when the Mustang was being developed. Cayuse, Coyote, Challenger 1 and Challenger 2. Google it !!
  • 7
    Rich Arizona April 26, 2017 at 17:20
    I want my 1973 Dodge D-100 SE long bed back !! 318 / 727 trans...Drove it hard for 20 years in construction. Sold it to my boss 21 years ago for...$1,500...Loved that old Mopar !!
  • 8
    Kathryn Heinrich OREGON April 26, 2017 at 18:20
    We have a 1979 Ford Bronco. It's a great truck. This body style was only made in 78 and 79 in the Bronco, but I rarely see it mentioned as a classic when Broncos are discussed. We love ours and have taken it to few car shows. Hope to see these Broncos get more attention in the future.
  • 9
    Racedoc Ct April 26, 2017 at 18:39
    "Classic:" Another fine English word that American pop culture has trashed!
  • 10
    sam hester cullman al April 26, 2017 at 19:15
    love the 78-87 el camino.just bought one.never se any dodge trucks in this area.
  • 11
    BigKahuna13 Huntington, NY April 26, 2017 at 19:18
    My wife's hand me down car in high school was a 73 Electra 225 with a mammoth 455. It was an ugly brown 4 door with a vinyl roof but it was spotless and it was like having your own party bus/hotel room on wheels. Seated 8 comfortably. Plus...we were in high school...and greatly enjoyed that car...'nuff said! (PS it's ok we're married 25 years now)
  • 12
    Bob Kennedy Phoenix, Arizona April 26, 2017 at 19:38
    I love those old pickups. For me there are only two brands to consider,,, both Detroit icons. I'll take a Ford or Chevy any day!
  • 13
    Huxley Farnsworth DE April 26, 2017 at 19:42
    How about the 1882 Chevy Suburban I just bought? Two tone paint, factory one way back door rearward glass, Seats like you're driving your couch. I like it as much as my 1985 C1500, actually more since it has Cruise, A/C, P/W, P/B, Power steering, electric seats and 4 doors.
  • 14
    jacques jim rousseau aylesford nova scotia canada April 26, 2017 at 20:40
    i like them all,also the ugly chev.please u never mentioned the 30ts,40ts,50ts ford pick ups,panels also the 60ts, 70ts,right up to 2017 n dodge had no mediocre looking trucks either .so please be honest they all had their charm. haha
  • 15
    Neiv ziarno Woodmere new york April 26, 2017 at 21:34
    I bought a 1971 k5 and they are going up in value tremendously . The parts are cheap to replace anything and they are the most popular at the shows . This was a great written article thank you for the information yoav . And most of all the kids love them and they are part of our American history .Thanks Neiv Ziarno 🇺🇸🇺🇸
  • 16
    George Giese Arizona April 26, 2017 at 23:50
    A few years back I sold a restored 1980 El Camino for $20,000! That just has ta be, just gotta be a world record . . . but the guy who restored it spent over $60,000 on it so go figure. I sold it after the boys at Rustle & Steal tried to trick me out of it for $7500 - Drew, will you ever learn how to play properly??
  • 17
    walt florida April 27, 2017 at 01:44
    Am restoring a 1976 Buick Electra right now. 91,000 actual miles. Restoring engine. Elegant interior.
  • 18
    Eric Hammar Las Vegas, NV. April 27, 2017 at 14:03
    How about them old International Harvester Pickups, Travelall, Scouts?? They always get left out...AWESOME TRUCKS!
  • 19
    BOB NEVADA April 27, 2017 at 18:07
    Still have my 73 chevy long bed that came with a wood floor bed and a factory driver side tool box in the lower part of the bed, the only one that I have ever seen
  • 20
    William Gilbert Corvallis, Oregon April 27, 2017 at 08:51
    You left out the 1937 Chevy 1 1/2-ton flatbed truck I'm trying to sell for $5000.
  • 21
    Linda Houser Stockton, CA April 27, 2017 at 10:13
    I have a 1998 Chevy pick up with 46,000 original miles. I bought it new.
  • 22
    Dean Marshall Michigan April 28, 2017 at 21:14
    Glad to see the CJ2A included since I own one, but I have to agree that the IH Scout is becoming more collectible. My Dad had one when we were kids and it seemed like he was always pulling someone out of the ditch with it. It was a 4 banger too.
  • 23
    Dave Raleigh, NC April 28, 2017 at 23:48
    Hmmmm, maybe it's time to switch to classic insurance fro my 84 K5 Blazer I've been hanging onto for all these years. I always knew it would be a classic.
  • 24
    Jim Hampton Roads, VA. April 29, 2017 at 10:53
    Been watching older diesel pickup prices lately? Early Dodge Cummins are getting a lot of attention! Jim

Join the Discussion