Think Small: 5 little vintage vehicles under $20,000
Why is it that so often, little cars equal fun? Here are five classics that fit in that category, all of them under $20,000. Prices are from the Hagerty Price Guide, based on the average value of a vehicle in #3, or Good, condition across the given range of model years. (Want to read more about how we rate a car’s condition? Click here.)
If you want to find the value of a vehicle from a specific model year, look it up using Hagerty’s Valuation Tool. You can even specify trim level and engine choice (if applicable).
Sweden’s idea of a front-wheel-drive sports car was slow—its Ford V-4 engine had 65 horsepower—but not unpleasant to drive. Production of the three models—the Sonett II, Sonett V4, and Sonett III—totaled barely 10,000 vehicles, so they are rare but not unobtainable.
Yes, it looks like a baby 1968 Chevrolet Corvette, but the Opel GT is a pretty solid little car on its own. Sold by generally clueless Buick dealers, most Opel GTs had a 102-horsepower four-cylinder and a smooth-shifting four-speed manual transmission.
The 1971–73 240Z is a genuine collector’s item, but the 260Z is sort of overlooked. Virtually the same car as the 240Z but with a bigger engine, the 1974 model was introduced by Datzun as the 260Z, one year before the company introduced the 280Z.
The biggest problem with the 260Z was vapor locking in warm weather, but there’s a fix, and any 260Z that has survived this long probably has been equipped with one of the known solutions. No longer must you drive around with the (rear-opening) hood partly open to cool the 2.6-liter inline six-cylinder.
The Samurai was a 2022 Hagerty Bull Market pick, and the itty bitty 4×4 is definitely loads of fun off-road. On the road, not so much. It is the only press vehicle I parked and refused to drive on my 100-mile hilly daily commute: The 1.3-liter, 63-horsepower four-cylinder couldn’t keep up with traffic.
If you don’t mind a steering wheel that makes you feel like a bus driver, you might like the turbocharged Omni. Its drivetrain is a respectable 142-horsepower four-cylinder paired with a slightly balky manual transmission and front-wheel drive. Wider than most small cars, the Omni is a legitimate four-passenger sedan.