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.

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