According to You: Which classics were underappreciated when new?

1992 Lincoln Mark VII LSC Special Edition

We asked and you answered! Last Friday was Collector Car Appreciation Day, so we wanted examples of the breed that people don’t necessarily consider. We can all appreciate a hot Corvette, a plucky Porsche, or one of the many muscular American icons that had an instant following that only grew as time progressed. My initial suggestion of the Chevrolet Nova was well received by members of the Hagerty Community, as the compact was forced to play second fiddle to other Chevrolets in the same showroom. Your feedback went above and beyond my sample answer and covered all the bases.

Well, perhaps not every single base—but the submissions represent a good smattering of vehicles that will inspire you to think about underappreciated classics. So have a look!


1980–81 Buick Skylark Sport

1980–81 Buick Skylark Sport

Now this will get the ball rolling! Hagerty Community member @Gerald knows that GM snuck some gold into them there X-body hills, and not just in the form of the Citation X-11.

The 1980–81 Buick Skylark Sport Sedan looked like a Mercedes sedan of the period (sort of, if you squinted), and it had no hood ornament (rare for a Buick), a front air dam, the 2.8 liter (same as Mercedes-Benz’ I-6) V-6, and a four-speed transmission. I’d take it in for service and they’d have to find someone who knew how to drive a stick. Actually, not bad-looking for the period but, like all cars back then, it rusted like crazy.

The interior was bulletproof—luckily, because I discovered the passenger side floor was gone, held up only by the thick vinyl backing of the carpet. Patched it with fiberglass. Drove and handled nice for the period. Very few sold; people just didn’t associate “sport sedan” with Buick. Mine looked just like the picture except it was a four-door and wore no stripe.

1994–1998 (SN-95) Ford Mustang

1994–1998 (SN-95) Ford Mustang

@MarveH: People thought the 1994–98 SN95 Mustangs looked soft or something; I don’t know, because looks aren’t the number one thing for me. Many didn’t like the weight increase but that was from the reinforced structure over the Fox-body Mustang. (If you want any power from a Fox you have to do those reinforcements on your own anyway.) Another complaint was the 4.6 V-8—Ford left a lot of power on the table with its measly 210 hp. It doesn’t take much, however, to get even a two-valve mod motor up to some serious power.

Oldsmobile Jetfire

oldsmobile jetfire
GM Heritage

We couldn’t agree with @Frank more: It’s taken way too long for collectors to appreciate the Olds Cutlass Jetfire, which, he writes, “flat out flew, but like the Fuelie Corvettes, they were hard to work on as the ‘new technology’ was foreign to the average person.”

Lincoln Mark VII LSC

Lincoln Mark VII LSC underappreciated classic cars

Perhaps the first production hot-rod Lincoln always had a following, but it was never as popular as the song that mirrored its mission. But @John couldn’t afford the most luxuriously aggressive Fox-body Ford product until now:

I finally acquired a car that I liked when new but couldn’t afford. I worked at a dealership where I was able to “test drive” a Lincoln Mark VII LSC. Fast forward to last January and I bought a black-on-black ’92 with 38,000 miles. It is not a race car, but a nice road-trip car that both corners and drives well. They have a small but strong following, but not mainstream by any means. To drive one is to understand, and you will become a fan.

BMW M Coupe

BMW M Coupe
BMW/Daniel Kraus

@Randy: Are we talking about just American cars, GM cars (with a concession to 5.0 Mustangs)? Because on a much—much—smaller scale, I’ll mention the 1999–2002 BMW M Coupe and 2.8/3.0 non-M coupes.

Admittedly a polarizing style, built by enthusiasts for enthusiasts! The dealerships hated them for lingering so long, and many were traded to among dealerships as an add-on with a car another dealership wanted to have; they’d trade you the one you want as long as you take the second-place coupe too! Nowadays, and particularly with the 2001–02 (S54 engine) versions, clean low-mile cars are going for 150 percent of their MSRP! The 1999–2000s aren’t doing too badly either, especially compared to their more numerous open versions (the Z3 and M Roadsters).

Ford Mustang II King Cobra

Ford Mustang II King Cobra

While the Mustang II sold like hotcakes, it just never got the respect it deserved from Mustang purists. @Hooch speaks up for the black-sheep Stang: “I love a hot-hatch compact car with a V-8.”

AMC Hornet Hatchback

AMC Hornet Hatchback underappreciated classic car

While I am not sure that @Mitch is correct about the Hornet being the first hatchback on the market (1971 Vega?), there’s no doubt that this car doesn’t get enough recognition.

Underappreciated then, underappreciated now: 1973 AMC Hornet Hatchback. The very first of the hatchback trend, and the six-cylinder drivetrain was bulletproof. I drove mine 174,000+ miles with the original clutch. It finally “gave up the ghost” after the front suspension became too rusted to weld on, so my cousin pulled the engine and tranny and drove it in his Gremlin for several more years. Until that unibody rusted out. I bet that engine is probably still running somewhere!

Volvo 140/240 Series

Volvo 244s transparent underappreciated classic cars

@snailish: In North America, I vote for Volvos. I’m talking about the bricks from the late 1960s to ’80s. Sure, they had their niche cult following, yet wider appreciation wasn’t in the cards. But now you have all sorts of flavors of in the Volvo fanbase: original, LS-swapped, etc.

@Dennis: I know I loved mine, @snailish! I had a 1970 Volvo 142 in dark blue (rather than white, red, or black). I think it was just me and Corvettes that had four-wheel disc brakes as standard equipment (of the non-exotics in that era). And it even had a mechanical system to provide some antilock brake protection. I swear it saved me from rear-ending someone. I could go on . . . but as the advertisement of the time predicted, I had mine for 11 years.

Fox-body Mercury Capri

Fox-body Mercury Capri underappreciated classic cars

@Scott: I wanted a Mustang GT for my first car, however, I was responsible for insurance and fuel. Insurance made it a no-go and I was disappointed until I discovered a most unappreciated alternative—the Fox-bodied Mercury Capri with the 5.0 engine and automatic transmission. OK, the last part wasn’t great but it dropped the insurance cost down to a level I could afford. We spent many weekends searching for one between Chattanooga and Atlanta only to find a copper-colored example with TRX wheels and tires within a half mile of my parents house. Man, those TRX tires gripped the road.

My dad bought the car about a week before he told me as he was waiting on a new set of Michelins he’d ordered. I’d fill the tank with Amoco Gold (white gas as my dad called it) and add a can of 104+ octane boost. The exhaust fumes would bring tears to your eyes but good Lord, that car would fly. I wore those tires out in 24,000 miles and had to buy the next set ($400). They must have changed rubber compounds as the second set lasted much longer.

1955–57 Chevy Task Force

underappreciated classic cars

This truck brought about an interesting thread about the rise in popularity of all work trucks in recent history. Tri-Five Chevy automobiles have been in the spotlight since 1955, but when did you really see the trucks going for big bucks? More to the point:

@DUB6: Sajeev, I agree 100 percent with you on the Nova but my vote is really for a truck rather than a car. The 1955–57 Chevy 1/2 pickup was just looked upon as a work vehicle (business or home or farm) when introduced. It lived in the shadow of the Tri-Five cars for years. Still does to some extent, but due to the surging popularity of light pickups in general, they certainly qualify as “classic” and “collectible” these days. I learned how to drive in a green ’55 long-bed Stepside and thus fell for them early in life, but I don’t think they were appreciated by the masses as much when new as they are now. I see them restored and shown all the time.

@Jeff: I would say that the Cameo version was always somewhat special.

“Bullnose” Ford F-Series


@Jeepcj5: My 1985 F-250 and 1986 F-150 were underappreciated. Even though Fords are usually the best-selling truck, older/classic Ford trucks still live in the shadow of Chevy trucks. Also, my 1968 Chevelle Malibu, because it’s a four-door post sedan. When I got the car years ago, most people turned their nose up to a four-door. It seems that a lot of people are coming around to the notion that any old car is neat in its own way.

Cadillac Roadsters

@TG: Allanté, anyone? I love mine . . . take all of the lingering 1990s-era complaints off the table, and it is a great car. It’s 30 years old and the styling is not terribly far off the mark of Cadillac’s current offerings. Plenty of power, handling is a little soft but as to be expected for a luxury-oriented car. Fun to drive and turns heads everywhere I go—particularly heads of people not involved in car collecting who don’t know they are supposed to hate it.

@David: TG, I’m adding another Cadillac . . . the XLR.

@audiobycarmine: The XLR is/was always a wow car. It’s the “Waldorf-Astoria” of Corvettes.

All of them!

Patrons crowd the yard at Grimsthorpe Castle to see the Concours de l’Ordinaire underappreciated classic cars

@Justin: This is an easy answer: ALL of them! Remember, every high-dollar collector car was once a worn-out rusty junker that no one wanted. Most of them only become collector cars because they get expensive.

Most people want them because everyone else wants them, this is certainly the case with my early Broncos. Ten years ago I tried selling my ’73 Bronco, which had a 1990 EFI Mustang engine, a five-speed from a Dodge Dakota, power steering, and disc brakes, all for $5500. Only one person came to look, and they complained about the dings, dents, and faded paint.

Now that Broncos are expensive, I have random strangers stopping and wanting to buy mine. They don’t want it because they “have always wanted one,” rather because they think they can quickly flip it for a fast buck or use for a status symbol now that Broncos are expensive. Remember, some Dodge dealers converted the Super Birds and Daytona back to Chargers with the normal front end so they could sell them. And some of the Cobra race cars were given away because they couldn’t sell them. You never know what car is going to be the next one to shoot up in value.

@77GL: All of them. Cars have always been built to be disposable and that destiny came true for almost all of them.




Check out the Hagerty Media homepage so you don’t miss a single story, or better yet, bookmark it. To get our best stories delivered right to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletters.

Click below for more about
Read next Up next: Auto Anthro: Dale Earnhardt and the myth of the American West


    I still love the Lincoln Mark VII LSC. I have fond memories of a friend of my Dad having one and being a back seat passenger as a kid while his friend floored it.

    I’d say the Capri is the best of the bunch with the v8 and manual trans. Along with these I’ve got to include the Chrysler Shelby turbo 4 cylinder cars, especially the little Omni GLHS. if you can find one that wasn’t beat to hell, they are an absolute ball to drive. The very best of the bunch was the Shelby Daytona VNT. Such fun little cars.

    So true about the large number of the very high priced muscle cars 60s and 70s being restored were in rough shape. Motors that were unmercifully beaten evert day that were driven. I took a blue 1970 Pontiac Trans Am RA111 4sp. in 1973 on trade to a friend who needed a work car, that being my 1964 Tempest 6 cyl. power glide. The Trans Am was my everyday daily driver. Problem was my wife didn’t drive a stick car. Around 1975 I pulled the 400 and trans out to replace it with a 400/T400 trans so the wife could use. The numbers matching motor and M21 were sold to a friend, and that was that. Used that car everyday until I sold it in 1985 for $600.00. I lost track of the car after I moved. Many, many years later I tried to find the car but was unable to. I had not a single picture of it, or an old registration with a vin number. Just another daily driver. If I only knew.

    I wish I had pics of my cars. Nothing spectacular at all but memories. 1960 Chevy Impala…nice car. ‘66 Chevelle ragtop that I put a Z28 350 into…….surprise with the 283 flags on the fenders. ‘72 SS 454. ‘79 Cutlass with a 4 speed, had to put a lot $ down to get that ordered, nice ride. ‘84 Delta 88 Royale. ‘88 Maxima. ‘92 Diamante. Not sure why those never went over. Nice, nice car for the money. ‘97 Maxima, nice car. 2008 IS 250 Lexus, gotta love Lexus dealerships, at least that was my experience. Now, 2020 MB GLC 300, nice but about $10,000 worth of electronic gizmos I don’t need, like, or want

    I agree with the Lincoln pick. I’ve had an 89 LSC for 30 years. It has 53k on it. Always garaged. Love it. Wife HATES it. She often tells me to get rid of “that thing”. I drive it once in a while and I’m reminded why I bought it. She doesn’t like it at all! I guess at some point I’ll let it go….

    Let your eyes pick your classic. The one you like to look at. Who decides which ones are classics? I don’t know any of them. Who decides the value? I don’t know any of them. I value what I like. Enjoy your classic whatever you make it.

    Well, my comment regarding the ‘73 is incorrect as Vega did have one in 1971. But doesn’t Vega automatically disqualify it from anything using the “Classic” descriptor? 😁😁😁😁

    Dad had a ‘73 Vega, self-destructed faster than an original Mission Impossible, Jim Phelps tape..

    Dad had a ’69 Catalina. My secretary had a (year unknown) Vega. Each was asking $600. My sister wanted the Vega for its fuel mileage. I let her have it, and I never stopped laughing.

    Wonder how many late ’80s – early ’90s Chrysler Le Baron, Dodge Shadows and Plymouth Dusters w/ the 3.0 V-6 and 5-Speed were discarded for lack of interest at the time. VERY good values and underappreciated in my estimation.

    My mom had a Vega that was destroyed while she was driving it. A loaded 18 wheeler ran a stop sign and hit the Vega in the drivers door. My mom was able to crawl out of the passenger door with bruises. The reason you could put a smallblock in one was the strength of the body.

    A coworker removed the front quarter panels of his Vega to clean and repaint them. After cleaning, there wasn’t enough metal left to bolt them back on to the car.

    Apparently the Thunderbird ceased to exist post 1966! However, from 1967 to 1971 a very stylish and comfortable car was put forth to the masses that was as good as just about anything else out there and with a little muscle under the hood. In fact the 1968 Bird was the most powerful ever. Never has a car provided so many smiles (to me) and been so under appreciated by the public!!

    I like seeing the Volvo 140/240 series listed absolutely and completely underappreciated IMHO. Perhaps not as sexy as my 1800ES but much more capable cars than is realized,
    A former co-worker had a most unfortunate meeting with an apparently often hit telephone pole after finding black ice in the curve. He said the rescue workers commented that it seemed to them that only buyers of Volvos & Saabs seemed to survive that telephone pole.
    That’s a horrible statement, but also quite real. Then only injury was the spousal bruising from the seat belt. He purchased another the following day.

    Dave F.

    100% on the 240 Volvos. My wife and I have three – hers, mine, and ours. The ‘ours’ – a ’93 Classic – has only 132K – probably the last car we’ll ever need. Oh – and a ’78 GT just for fun.

    Waitasec- I do not see any of the Fox Body wagons on here!

    Good drivers and an easy candidate for a 5.0 engine swap.

    1961 and 1962 Olds Jetfire. YES YES YES.
    It didn’t even have to be turbo equipped. The Cutlass 215 C.I. all-aluminum V-8 is enough in my book. Oldsmobile dealers ended up removing alot of the turbos at owner request. Jetfires had a methanol/water additive required to make them operate properly. Many owners neglected to keep the levels up. Go figure!

    A big YES for the ’60 & ”61 Buick Skylark also. Pretty sure Buick didn’t offer a turbo-charger though.
    We owned a “61 Buick Special wagon when I was a kid that packed the 215 C.I. 2 spd. automatic.
    I remember the heater blew cold air if we sat at a traffic light in drive too long in the near zero winter days.
    I believe GM sold the aluminum V-8 print specs and rights to Range Rover a short time later.

    You have to also include the 1963 Jetfire as well as it was the last year and in many ways the best looking with its redesign. One year model as the 1964 was fully a new car…..Jetfire’s are starting to pop up and even have a website focused on them. Would have loved to have one with a 4 speed………the Slim Jim automatic is poorly designed and impossible to find anyone today who wants to rebuild them…….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *