10 Affordable Fun Cars from the 1980s and ’90s


We’re not usually the type to write rebuttals to other collector-car stories. But this recent, rather ill-informed article from The Street generated enough chatter around the Hagerty editorial water cooler that we couldn’t leave it alone.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/01/04/affordable-cars-from-the-80s-and-90s


Like the article, but XJS had inline 6 not V6 when it didn’t have a V12…


@tr6driver You’re right. I could have sworn I wrote “6-cylinder” the first time. Story updated.


Where is the BMW e30? My favorite car from the 80’s thats also affordable!


@hamersmt Totally worthy! We just took the cars from The Street’s story, so it’s based off that list.


As someone who owns two of the cars on the list, thanks for setting the record straight, Mike!


What does everyone think of the 2nd Gen Honda Civics? 1980-83. Are they appreciating in value or holding firm? Thx!


My 1996 LT4 collector edition convertible corvette is usually one of the the only C4s at a show or a cruise night and I always get a lot of compliments. It has a custom grind cam, ported and polished heads and manifold which put down 380 rwhp (about 440 at the crank). I’m a huge fan of rare 50s-60s-70s cars but i really appreciate the 80s and 90s cars. The only cars I’m not into are brand new cars that anyone can walk into a showroom and buy off the lot. It just seems too easy.


How about the e29? E30’s are expensive! I bought an e29 for $200 last year.


I’d be wrong to view the Jags and XJS models with old school glasses these days. What’s constantly lost or unaccounted for is the benefit of 20-30 years of problem solving. The fixes are in people. There is absolutely no good reason for anyone to have to suffer through engine fires or oil stained driveways today. Every single issue that these cars had is accounted for and ones thinking needs to be adjusted as well


Why do you think e30’s are expensive? They can be had all day long for $2500-5000 and if you find one in that price range that’s not a rust bucket you could still afford to put $5000-10000 into one and practically have a brand new car for less than $15k. Ask me how I know!


@ajsimpson99 It’s pretty much the same with my Alfa Spider. Those cars have a misaligned reputation. They are not unreliable but they are high-maintenance. Still, there’s more than 30 years of problem solving to work around most of the issues.

You’re making me want to put the Jag on my list.


Mike, I am of course biased having been an XJS Jag guy for the better part of the last 20 years.
The XJS has suffered through a lot of unloved years for past transgressions but the last few years have shown love to the car with value appreciation and it looks like the love will continue to grow.
Buyer beware, though. Doug Dwyer a highly respected Jag-Lovers forum contributor is found of saying “There is nothing more expensive then a cheap Jag” so, future potential Jag buyers should expect to do reasonably well for themselves by employing the same sage advise that is applied to buying Porsche cars. Buy the very best examples of what you can afford and start from there.
There are a few distinct notables found in the XJS that are NOT present in any of the others on the list as well as a multitude of cars in general.

  1. The ride quality can only be compared IMHO to the likes of Rolls Royce or the Bentley’s of the world. The XJS under the Jaguar marquee represents one of the last genre of champagne sipping vehicles (If that was still allowed).
  2. While not known for blistering 0-60 times the 5.3 & 6.0 V12 will still get you to 150 and keep you there all day long every day without breaking a sweet. But, the magic of this V12 truly happens when that indescribably smooth turbine engine whines up during acceleration, Oh what a feeling and I’m not talking Toyota LOL.
    2a. Not widely known except for the inner circles of Jaguar but there is an unmatched excitement of adding a 5 speed manual gearbox. Surely you will know what the second coming feels like.The heavens will open up and trumpets will sound from the sky. You will know heaven on earth.
  3. It is also a virtual guarantee that no one else will ever show up to a party wearing your classy dress. It just won’t happen.


Love this article! I’m so tired of the cars of the 80"s and 90’s as being referred to as the “Malaise” years. As the proud owner of an 83 Mustang Gt Turbo (for 24 years) I can attest to the fact that for very little money these cars can be modified and up graded engine and suspension wise which I believe is how they were engineered to be. As you said the Mustang is plentiful in all its itinerations and modifiable in all of them as well. They may not always be the fastest on the road but they can still be a rush to drive and a thrill behind the wheel. Again thanks for a great article.


I’ve always lived jags since i was young would love to get know in that range and follow your idea to out that 5-10k into it. Any suggestions on what to look for (signs if abuse and wear, major issues to avoid) and where? I’m collector-curious and want to start my “collection”


No Cadillacs?
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