5 cars that are either bargain buys or money pits

After World War II and into the 1950s, cars like Duesenbergs, V-16 Cadillacs, and Pierce Arrows—the top-shelf classics for decades—were available on the used market for next to nothing. Languishing unwanted at the back of third-rate used car lots, many got scrapped because they were money pits—expensive to source parts for and difficult to keep running..

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/02/18/bargain-buys-or-money-pits

My opinion is if you’re really passionate about a car you’ll find a way to get the parts and service to keep it running. There’s always a way if you’re willing to spend the time and money. It won’t seem like a money pit but a labor of love.

If you’re just looking for an investment car or dipping your toe in the hobby for the first time, get an easy to care for car. That usually means something domestic and/or produced on a popular platform. Leave the quirky/exotic cars to the ones who really understand and care about them.

Whitemmd: couldn’t agree more! I call it “love, warts and all”. I owned a stock ‘72 Pantera, it had problems and quirks. Once those were addesed with the help of a local Pantera loving mechanic, a well sorted, reliable unique sports car emerged. I now own a ‘95 Ferrari F-355 with 56k miles. Non-owners constantly bemoan engine out service costs. Yes, but it’s a Ferrari and it’s awsome, unlike anything else of that era. Save a little off to the side each month, say $100 and you’ve got it covered. Just my two cents.

The Jaguar XKR / XK8’s belong on this list, one way or the other.

And so it goes with many of the new vehicle overloaded with to much tec stuff thrown in to make sales. I own a repair shop and have been in the business for 38 years. Many of the cars today will be to expensive to upkeep about the time the payments run out and all that gimicky stuff begins to fail. Its initially hard to tell witch ones are going to be the worst, but usually bloated luxury models witch won’t be collectible anyway. Already we are replacing headlamps without bulbs that cost $900 to $1500 and they are out of warranty.

The only way you’re going to find a low mile 8 series Bimmer for 12k, is if it is wrecked, blown motor, no service records, etc.

And the C140 coupe, with the V12? A Sacco-designed car with none of the issues mentioned for the 215, albeit still needing attention and care to maintain and survive

Funny thing. An identical red BMW just popped up on BaT this morning.

Hence the reason the humble Volkswagens have shot up in value. Give me roll-up windows, manual steering, manual seat adjust, manual transmission, NO RADIO (the engine sound should be enough), NO on-board computers, and a bit of aluminum foil to wrap my cell phone so I’m not pestered by anyone while enjoying the simple pleasure of driving.

1 Like

I like your thoughts on this! I’ve always wanted a vintage VW, and dig the Type 3 wagons… bugs, notchbacks, things… all of them.

1 Like

Good grief - Bad use of English again. By “Reply” they mean “Post”. To me, an Englishman, to reply one must have some verbiage to which to reply - Not add a comment or discussion to an ongoing subject.
Anyway, what I wanted to say is having had three older Maseratis (Mistral, Sebring, Biturbo) I know how expensive they can be - but not as bad as “modern” classics. But I find some cars are not too bad. I am restoring a 1957 Aston Martin and as it has none of the do-dads of more modern machinery, it is quite reasonable to fix. Only the engine can be expensive. My favourite is my MGB GT V8 for which parts are very reasonable. And it goes like stink with an engine that is definitely not standard. Keep away from those cars with all the super “features”.

All old (classic, antique, collectible … whichever title you choose) car ownership is a very personal experience. I can judge your choices of cars you choose to own as you can judge mine. So, “money pit” is in the eye of the beholder; but if the car makes you happy and/or doing the repairs makes you feel accomplished, then your car is not a money pit.

In the broadest terms, all cars are “money pits”! Don’t believe me? Just ask your wife! However, most husbands will agree that wives are bigger money pits than cars!

Ok Hagerty,this is helpful and gives tremendous insight as to what to expect when venturing into a market in which these cars are included. Although absolutely gorgeous and filled with so many,‘features’,to enhance the driving experience,I wouldn’t touch any of these with a ten foot pole.

A 1996 LT 4 is a money pit .Hard to find parts .
Shocks can’t find.

Have you checked with any of the Corvette specialists catalogs, they have everything you could possibly need to fix/maintain your LT4.

The article failed to mention the NUMEROUS issues to be expected with those Corvettes.

The modern “conveniences” and high tech nonsense built into the cars of the last 35 years will seriously impact their collectability…go visit a mondern assembly plant and you will observe the implanting and imbedment of all the components necessary to provide the techy goodies…imagine having to disassemble the entire front end of a car to replace a radiator…that is why I am building a family car that will be new from front to back but will be easily repaired with a set of sockets…a 56 chevy four door with modern suspension, disc brakes, ac, pb, ps powered by a 350 vortec and a 700r four speed…it will be a reliable and comfortable family sedan as long as they allow us to purchase gasoline.

1 Like

Nice wagon, I drove a green 68 to high school. Loved it. Some trees killed it on a curvy dirt road. And it was a temperamental maintenance car with early Bosch fuel injection and disk brakes.

1 Like

My driver is unusual for this site, a vehicle that i think will be of interest down the road. A 09 Infiniti EX35 journey. Rear wheel drive. Car is 10 years old and still looks good. Has been close to trouble free. 297hp V6 ( HR V6, upgraded for high revving and output) and 5 speed automatic that’s known for long term durability. Used in that years 350Z and several other models, parts will never be a issue. Same for the 4 wheel independent suspension. The interior is high quality, Infiniti didn’t change for many years.

Overall it’s a good looking small SUV that performs well, rear wheel drive, handles and brakes well. A vehicle you can use and enjoy at a low cost. The styling is such that people think it’s a current model car, ten years later.

That wasn’t my VW wagon, I just thought it was a really neat example. That one sold for strong money on BAT based on the photo info when I pulled it up.
I’ve got a 1929 Model-A Tudor… sort of a wagon feel to it. About the opposite of the vehicles featured in this article we’re discussing.