10 classics for under $10k


If you don’t have a lot of cash to spend but want to get behind the wheel of an interesting car, there are a lot of choices out there. There are plenty of average #3 (Good) condition cars up for grabs with values of less than $10,000. From German sports cars to American pickups, this list has something for just about every interest (and wallet).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/08/17/july-2018-10-classics-for-under-10k


The Mercedes pictured is not a W140. That is a W126 that started in 1979 and ended in 1992. The W140 was its predecessor and started in 1992 and ended in 1999.


@luc6189 - Good eye. We have updated the photo in the article.


I tried to order a 1994 F150 lightning with a manual transmission and was told by two separate dealers this was not an available option. I don’t know if they were just wanting to move what was on the lot or not but I have never seen one with a manual transmission factory installed.


@Metalartcycles - You are correct. I got a few specifics mixed up when researching. The only option was the E40D 4 speed automatic. We will update the article.


The RX-7 is a 1984-85 style, not a 1979. It’s actually a rare one with steel wheels. Almost all had alloys. In addition, it’s a RHD Japan Turbo. Really rare. We added turbo rotaries to the US in 1987 with the Turbo II. The one pictured would be a real collectable.


Classics for under 10K
Two never mentioned

  • first generation Lexus SC300 & 400
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse 1990s & 2000s
    The SC’s can do things most drivers never conside & perhaps the most reliable auto ever built except for the LS400s. See Top Gear Video= https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS-ysvO2hMc
    I’ve owned 3 / 1992, 1995, and currently 2000.


While these are all great vehicles, beware the $10,000 price figure. If you want something that’s reliable, safe, and runs well, you’re likely to spend another $5k - $10k to get there. Almost no one maintains old cars, and once you clean out the old gas that’s been sitting in there for years, perform routine maintenance items that have been ignored for decades (and replace parts that have worn out because of that), and fix whatever is broken (hopefully not the engine or transmission), the final tab is going to look a lot different than the purchase price. It sure would be nice to buy an antique and just get in it and drive, but I’ve yet to have that happen!


I have a 1984 F150 short box, pristine condition, set up as a hot rod. It turns heads where ever I go, and has the H.P.s to back it up. Have owned since new. Proud to be in the 'Ford Nation"! fullsizeoutput_305|690x421


The silver 924S pictured sold for around $19,900 two years ago at Amelia Island. Later that same year in Monterey car week, another 924S sold for $18,000 or so. So why wouldn’t a 88 924SE with 500 U.S. models, and about 980 total world wide bring more money? It’s time for one to sell at auction to see which are more desirable as Porsche allowed customers to add features like ac, sunroof, radio, center glove box/arm rest, passanger side mirror, LSD, and even power steering to the already light weight, club sport, MO30 160HP design.


I recently purchased a 2002 Boxster S with 85,000 miles, with many options and a new top with a glass rear window for $11,000. It has had the IMS bearing replaced and other work done and drives like a new car. I’m thinking these cars up to 2004 will hold their value or begin going up.


I bought my '02 Boxster S two years ago for $9K. Lovely car. It’s worth $12K now. Pensacola, FL


They also never mention 80s Dodge Turbo cars like the Daytona and Dodge Shelby cars.


Another great Mopar movie to watch is “Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. Lots of early ‘60’s Mopars, an incredible cast of the era, lots of car chases and crashes of big Mopars and lots of fun! Make sure you catch the scene with “Sylvester” airborn in the red rag top! Enjoy!


As is the norm it seems, no MoPars from mid/late 70’s on mentioned. A Charger/Magnum is a great car ( I have 4 so I should know… / also Cordobas) and very nice ones can be had for <$10000. So as the “F” body Aspen/Volare’s. T-tops and relative for the times horsepower. Let’s not forget the early 80’s FWD turbo cars. Fun cars, and Still see them around.


1978 Trans Am with a 6.6 400 engine


I am surprised the BMW E36 M3 is missing from this list. I own a pair of 1999 E36 M3 convertibles.

Granted the pristine “garage queen” one with incredible ownership providence cost more than $10K.

The other one is still a very tidy and well loved example that I have spent less than $10K total including the original purchase and all repairs/services.

It’s hard to say if these cars will appreciate or not. The really clean low mileage examples of coupes, sedans, or convertibles are getting harder and harder to find.


I’ll allow the 1960 to 1966 Chevy/GMC pickups. However the rest are just really cheap used cars. I’ve seen most of those “classics” sitting in the back lot of every second hand used car dealer every where I go.


My B-Sedan Vega ( don’t laugh I was just .7 sec. slower than John Mortons Factory 510 Datsun.) was not quite ready for ICSCC spring driver training at Portland International Raceway so I borrowed my mothers 1974 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ because my parents were in Hawaii. The turn workers and my driving instructor we astonished when they saw me go by. My member friends at Team Continental all came to the grandstands to watch the kid trash the hell out of that car.
I really learned the lesson " easy in - hard out " that day. Of course I had the AC and the high end radio cranked up. Having the 37 lb tires pumped to 58 REALLY helped the handling. As I started to leave the pits to go home some TC guys knocked on the window and asked if I was going to put the beauty rings back on ? They slapped them on and I was gone. Two months later I was at the folks house for dinner when my Dad made the comment that those factory tires were not so hot as they were worn out at 12,000 miles. I quickly agreed.


I’m not sure they are all “classics”. There are some there that I would never own nor ever pay much attention to. A 924, a 300ZX, or the Mercedes. So what, but I will say you better have deep pockets to pay for the parts.