10 Classics Available for Less than $10,000
What Are The Best Classic Cars For Under $10,000?
Updated November 9, 2018
Once they were either above average or just about right priced cars, but today they’re affordable classics and can each be purchased for under $10,000 USD. This means they still haven’t depreciated as one would have thought they would 20, 30 or even 50 years ago when they were introduced to the market. With classic cars market expanding at a steady pace, these iconic specimens might never again be available for as little as they are today. If you’ve aspired for one that you couldn’t have afforded back then, maybe it’s the right time to snag it today. Here are 10 such classics you might be interested in. They’re all available for less than 10 grand and are in fine driving condition.
Jaguar XJ-S H.E.
The XJ-S coupe is arguably one of the classiest ways of getting one self a rustic yet gracefully aged iconic car. Although its design language dates back to the early seventies, XJ-S is still one rather handsome grand tourer. Luxurious and capable, it’ll cost you anything between $3,000 and $30,000. Disregarding the more expensive models, of course, Jaguar XJ-S should easily be obtainable for less than 10 grand. And you get the high-efficiency 5.3L V12 mill to go with it. Of course, it isn’t as efficient as today’s engines, but back in the day it was almost 50% more efficient than its predecessor.
Toyota Supra (A60, A70)
A80 independent Supra isn’t exactly affordable and likely never will be. They’re true classics that, not only didn’t depreciate, but also increased in value over time. However, second generation Celica Supra isn’t at all expensive. A60 Supra is still one fun and lovely car, and one that can be found for less than $10,000. Furthermore, first non-Celica Supra, the A70 is also usually available for less than 10 grand. Now, although these two generations of the Japanese icon are miles apart compared to one another, they’re both fine performers and extremely good looking sports cars. $7,000 should be enough to get you either 175-horsepower A60 Celica Supra or 230-horsepower A70 turbocharged Supra. Naturally aspirated A70 Toyota Supra can be found for less, but not the one in solid shape.
Mazda RX-7 (FB, FC)
When we think about the RX-7, we actually think about the stylistically and technically superior third generation FD models. Sadly, these also cost the most. First and second generation RX-7, however, are even more affordable than the aforementioned A60 and A70 Supras. $5k to $6k should be enough the get you one well preserved RX-7 from time frame that fits anywhere between the late seventies up to the early nineties. What both these cars have in common is the 1.3L Wankel rotary engine. Advantage of buying the first generation FB RX-7 is the car’s iconic stature. On the other hand, second generation FC cars have always been somewhat neglected. They were never as popular as the third generation and never as respected as their predecessors. However, they might easily become future classics and now’s the perfect time to make a move.
The X1/9 designed by Bertone is a prime example that Italian sports cars don’t have to be powered by V-angle engines and come with 6-figure stickers. It was marketed by Fiat until the Italian auto giant moved from the US market in 1982. This is when Bertone took the full responsibility for the roadster’s well being and continued their production until 1989. Buying this 4-cylinder Italian targa roadster shouldn’t be much more expensive than $6,000. That goes for older Fiat versions at least. Newer Bertone X1/9 is usually more expensive, but even that one should be obtainable for under 10 grand. They aren’t as potent as their Japanese counterparts, but they still handle well and are genuinely fun to drive. Plus, Bertone name holds a lot of potential as far as future classics go.
Although golden era of muscle cars was already long gone by then, F-body Firebird stands as one of the most important Pontiac ponies ever made. Especially the Trans Am and Formula models. Rare low mileage Firebirds in pristine condition command much higher prices than 10 grand, but conventional models can be had for less than $5,000. Even fine Firebird Trans Am and Formula specimens don’t warrant much more than that. Add couple of thousands more and you should be able to find one solid daily driver. Not only that, but you’ll also get one powerful muscle car which has a tendency of becoming a classic in a few years time. After all, it was the F-body Firebird that’s finally returned the horsepower to the masses.
Cadillac DeVille (4th Gen)
Why the fourth generation? Because it’s the largest. It had the widest interior back then and only full-size GM cars of the early nineties would surpass it. Although heavy and powerful – 4,600 to 4,900 pounds with 472ci V8 or 500ci V8 under their hoods – the DeVille is one rather affordable classic car these days. For around $7,500 you’ll easily find one on good condition, ready to be taken on the road straightaway. Only thing it’ll require from you are frequent stops at the gas station as this thing guzzles fuel like there’s no tomorrow. How does 10 mpg on a fine day sound to you? Still, Cadillac’s interior luxury can hardly be matched by anything more affordable than that.
Being around for nearly three decades, civilian has gone through numerous revisions and upgrades. However, it never strayed away from its initial path. And that was delivering military-grade ruggedness and off-road capability to the general public. Classics in every sense of word, civilian Jeeps are available in every state imaginable. CJ-5 in good condition requires around $8k to $9k on average, but that really depends on many factors. Low mileage units can be less expensive than extremely high mileage options that have already been moderately restored. Not to mention extensive restorations and limited models which are often way beyond average buyer’s reach.
Toyota MR2 (W10, W20, W30)
Maybe third generation Toyota MR2 isn’t exactly a classic car, but it’s still one hell of a sports car readily available for under 10 grand. You’ll forgive us for including it on the list. Older MR2’s, however, have already completed the necessary transition from a random used car to a classic sports car. Nimble, quick and beautiful, the MR2 can be yours for anything between $4,000 and $10,000. Only the latest W30 Spyders can warrant a sticker larger than that. Even they, however, are often available for under 10 grand. And so is every single one of their 138 horsepower. If that seems too low of a figure for you, then W20 MR2 is the way to go. Second generation MR2 Turbo was available with a total of 200 ponies, and they aren’t much more expensive than naturally aspirated versions either.
A car produced by a company that’s been defunct for five decades is as good nominee for a classic as any. Studebaker, like so many defunct or otherwise put out of the business companies, never stood a chance against the Big Three. A shame because they made a few rather interesting models including the affordable compact Lark. Studebaker Lark with 258ci V8 under its hood costs anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 these days. Provided it’s in good condition, of course. Extremely well preserved models cost double that figure. Moreover, Larks fitted with straight-six engines are generally up to 20% less expensive than the V8 variants. Classics as they are, Larks warrant higher stickers today then they had back then, more than 50 years ago.
Model years tell the story of this peculiar little car better than anything. If ever there was affordable family car that’s become a classic, it’s the Bug. Of course, with such prolonged production run come extended price margins, even though Beetles never really changed much. At least not visually. Germans did utilize new technology in them as advancements were made. Anyway, a used Bug in good condition can be obtained for anything between $5,000 and $10,000. Of course, restoration worthy of a classic such as the Beetle usually pushes the prices into $30k to $40k range. This, however, won’t be necessary if you’re aiming for a daily driver. Up to 10 grand should suffice in that case, as already mentioned.