6 cars Hagerty readers consider great value classics

There are literally thousands of options when it comes to purchasing vintage and collector cars, but some present a bigger bang for your buck than others. We asked the Hagerty Forums to chime in last week and the ensuing discussion brought to light some great cars that any enthusiast should consider adding to their stable.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2020/02/03/cars-hagerty-readers-consider-great-value-classics

Nice to see this list includes a couple of cars already enjoyed in our collection of show/driver quality cars.

Our C-4 1988 red Corvette convertible is a one-family 150,xxx mile example with AACA Senior status and is regularly driven coast to coast and border to border on tour. The 1965 Corvair Monza convertible is a 23,xxx mile 4-speed Marina blue with white top and interior, and is also a pleasure to drive cross country and is shown in Driver Participation Class.

All this discussion of potential value does not diminish te pure enjoyment of showing and tour-driving our other antiques and full-Classics:
1915 Hudson SIX-40 Phaeton
1930 Packard 733 Dual Windshield 7-Passenger Touring
1937 Buick Roadmaster Phaeton (convertible sedan)
1941 Cadillac convertible coupe (cabriolet)
1954 Cadillac convertible coupe

Potential value is just one of many measures, but the real enjoyment of driving, and sharing these significant cars with the public is immeasurable, at least in my opinion.

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Ahhhh. Thank you for this much more budget friendly list of fun cars.

Yes, yes, yes, I’ve heard all the jokes, but if you’re looking for a car that’s a blast to drive at a great value, I say it’s a Fiat 124 Spider. Really quite advanced for the time, a twin cam overhead engine that loves to rev, disc brakes on all 4 corners, 5 speed gearbox, and a roof that goes up and down with one hand. I bought mine new and it still drives like it’s running on rails. Plus it easily fits my 6’2" frame, try that in an MG.

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That Corvair picture does little to sell the car…

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Add $10000 to any of those cars to cover the parts and labor needed to get them road worthy.

@ajakeski - I don’t think I would agree with you. The #3 values quoted in story represent good “driver quality” examples. Like any vintage vehicle, things will pop up over time that need addressed, but I think it would be reasonably easy to source any of the cars on this list for the prices quoted without needing to double the budget for repairs.

Multiple on this list are fairly young in the grand scheme, and well cared for original owner cars are still to be found.

I sure hope the 4th Gen Firebirds and Camaros get their day in the sun. My first new car was a red 1994 Firebird Formula 6 speed with T-tops, and it was a total breath of fresh air at the time. I put 100k miles on that car and still sold it for half of what I paid new. This 1995 Camaro Z28 6 speed convertible I have in my inventory has only 9475 original miles, and is one of only 95 6 speed convertibles in this color. I think it will become a highly desirable 90s classic muscle car at some point, but I’m sure it will be sold before I can benefit from such recognition.

Sure glad my '86 is getting up in value. Not a perfect car, but I’m tweaking it a little at a time

People have asked my repeatedly if I’m going to buy a C7 or even a C8, but my '92 (w/49K) is still all the car I want.

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I am late to the Corvette game but I found this little gem and am loving it.

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So glad to see that Classic car owners have the MGB listed.
I absolutely love driving mine around. Every time we are out, we get so many compliments !


I’m with you, rbbob.

I find it very hard to believe that an MGB could find it’s way onto the list but not a Fiat 124 Spider. A far superior car in every sense of the word, but still very affordable. Sure, I might be a little biased, having owned my 71 124 Spider since I was 16 back in 1984, but virtually every car magazine article I’ve ever found has agreed with me on this.

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so so far ahead of its time. From twin overhead cams, 4 wheel disc brakes, 5 speed gearbox, pininfarina design, the best designed convertible top around with folding glass quarter windows!

No doubt each car included in this list has plenty of fans. Yet it doesn’t take long for those who feel left out to chime in (even when the list was based on member input like this one). Personally I think that this is a great list representative of a variety of choices that score well in both fun and value.

None of the six cars mentioned here would top my own personal list of desirable bang for the buck classics. But I definitely have to give this group of cars a thumbs up considering that I have found myself tempted by 3 out of the 6 cars mentioned at one point or another (MGB, Corvair, NA Miata).

I like Hagerty’s choice of the 2nd generation 2-door hardtop. I find this configuration to be the most attractive as far as Corvairs go, especially with those oh-so-slender C pillars. Unfortunately they chose an image of a 500 series Corvair which was the base level car. I would have chosen a photo of a car from either the Monza or the Corsa series.

When I was considering buying a 2nd generation Corvair many years ago I was torn between the 2-door hardtops and the convertibles. I love convertibles, especially as a 2nd car. Unfortunately with the soft-top up it’s obvious that the Corvair was designed as a hardtop first and foremost. I still wouldn’t mind owning one of these 2nd gen cars be it a hardtop or a ragtop.

The chrome grill/bumpers and bright wire wheels found on the earlier examples are truly the icing on the MGB cake. :+1:

I can understand your sentiments. Perhaps the Fiat 124 Spider falls short in terms of parts availability and community support in comparison to the MGB? Was that orange a factory color? It looks stunning on this car. I’ve never considered one of these cars too seriously but in terms of shortcomings I’ve always thought that it appeared as if Fiat only budgeted enough for Pininfarina to design the Spider’s exterior, leaving the cabin design to an intern (who wasn’t majoring in design).

True, the corvair was designed as a hardtop first.

I believe a lot of the love for the 2nd gen of it is because it’s more than passing resemblance to camaros of that era.

But the convertible model was designed at the request of Harley Earl’s wife, if memory serves. Unfortunately, that first model was crushed before they realized what they had. Its wheels, though live on on another ride.
Always a mystery to me, as a chevy outsider why the vette was always a fiberglass body while the vair was not. Must have been something to do with the cost.

I know nothing. Thanks for correcting me.

I’ve had my 1992 SC400 since Summer of 2017, ( it was 25-years-old then .)

I tend to keep cars almost forever, and as I drive minimally, I wanted my “Last Car” to be something exciting — something special .

While I’d gotten used to, and now preferred front-wheel-drive; the idea of an honest-to-goodness front-engine/rear-drive, sporty-yet-luxurious Coupe — a true GT car ; inexorably enticed me. ( OK, so I love hyphenations… )

These were imagined, engineered, and then built; to challenge, compete with, and also beat all those German luxury performance coupes, at their own game. Certain American ones too, though they were easier conquests.

By all and any counts, they succeeded; Honda had already launched Acura, and then Toyota and Nissan followed suit, with their Lexus and Infiniti marques.

The original Lexus SC’s are still affordable, but becoming rare. They’re over-engineered for reliability, so mileage may not be a factor.

I love mine and don’t regret its purchase at all… I paid less than 7% of its original $42,000 price!