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Question of the Week: Tell us a car you think is still a bargain

At the Scottsdale auctions last week, six- and seven-figure prices stole headlines and gobbled up spots on top sales lists. Not all sales happen on an auction block though, and some models represent a lot of value for their asking price. We want to hear what model you think still trades for bargain prices.

The tides of a rising market often raise prices on just about all cars, but occasionally there are a few that still remain budget-friendly. These cars are perfect examples of great fun-per-dollar. They could be popular nameplates with two too many doors, or popular body styles with an engine one step down from the holy grail selection so many hunt for.

So, what car do you think is a great value for what you pay? Remember, this isn’t about the cheapest; it’s about the best value. Leave a comment below and we will compile a list based on the top responses.

I paid a reasonable price for my gated Ferrari 360 Spider. I got a very clean, low miles car that’s mostly stock, clean Carfax and original paint. The previous owners maintained the car properly and the records show it. The car runs and drives great. I picked this car because it’s one I can maintain myself and keep for a dozen years without the value dropping much. As long as I don’t crash it, my estate will be able to sell it for what I paid for it. I feel it was a good value.

Any old classic pickup, the odder or more unusual or rare, the better.

Pickups were usually designed to withstand abuse, at least the older ones were.

It’s almost like a double shot of vehicle mystique.

  1. The truck life.

  2. The classic automobile life.

Attaching picture of old blue.

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72-80 Dodge D series trucks which were facelifted into the 81-93 Dodge Rams. Distant 3rd place seller for most/all those years but both designs hold up pretty good. Aside from the Lil’ Red and Warlock editions these have been mostly ignored by the wider audience.

The 60s F100 & 70s F150s are climbing in value now (as the GM stuff is out of many budgets now). As simplicity in stock design/features (or the ability to swap that stuff out) increase I think more people will be interested in these Dodges.


The best buy is usually something someone else properly restored somewhat recently. They eat the loss since most builds aren’t done as proper investments.

If you know your stuff, a really original car is a great buy too. But it has to be good original --“untouched for 30 years” is buyer beware for sure.

Unless you are a pro at flipping/investing cars… the best buy is get what you really want in the best condition possible in the most informed way you can (i.e., if you are reading this you have access to Hagerty valuation tools) so that you enjoy the car immediately and for as long term as you can without really caring if you paid a wee bit too much [you just bought it early].

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The Autobianchi A112 Abarth!

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I’ve gotta think at some point the 97-05 Jaguar XK will start going back up in value. They are the best looking Jag you can still get for a reasonable price. I actually like them better than the E-Type.

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The Alfa Romeo 4C I think is and was a bargain (hence why I bought one)

A historic and prominent auto manufacturer with a rich racing history built a halo car for a bargain price to announce their return to the US market.

A carbon fiber tubbed beautiful Italian sports car that has been reliable for me, averages 27mpg and surprisingly cheap to insure.

My 6 and 10 year old boys argue who’s going to get it one day but it will be staying with me until I die or can’t get in and out of it anymore. Heck, I might still keep it once I can’t get into it just to stare at the gorgeous coachworks.

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1991 and 1992 third gen Trans Am convertibles with a 5 speed in good original condition. With only 104 built in 1991 and 116 built in 1992, they will begin to rise as people realize they are among the rarest third gen cars. Coming up on their 30th year since production too. Autos are OK also with 451 built in 1991 and 547 built in 1992, but the stick cars will go up first.

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Chevrolet Corvair is still great fun for the dollars spent. Good parts and knowledge support, and a unique and usable car overall.

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Tie for me:
C4 Corvette
4th Gen F-body

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1975 - 1996 Jaguar XJS
Way undervalued.
Just starting to get some love

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The 71-73 Mustangs. You seldom see them in a field crowded with the earlier Mustang classics. Sure, they got big and fat but didn’t we all? Actually, they are about the same size dimensionally as the current models. Parts are sometimes hard to find, especially the trim parts. There’s still a cool factor to a nice 71-73 fastback (Sportsroof).

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This year I purchased two vehicles that may have long term collectability, although I may not be around long enough to see that. So I bought them to enjoy and drive.

These cars are: Fiat 500 ABARTH - a fun to drive car with good power and fuel economy. Small, but it drives larger on longer, freeway type trips.

The other is the 2005 Chrysler Crossfire SRT6. Basically a Mercedes-Benz in Chrysler clothes. The SRT6 has a supercharged engine assmbled by AMG. I like the style of the coupe but chose the convertible for driving pleasure and long term value retention.

Both were purchased with acceptable mileage, in good to excellent condition at less than half the original sticker.

I also agree with a previous comment about the Corvair. The later versions were great cars to drive. The Corsa was the top series in 1965 and 1966. The 180 HP turbo had the most power but the 140HP 4 carb engine was a better driver, in my opinion.

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I’m betting on the e36 non-M3 BMWs (particularly the two door models) for a rise in value and collectibility in the next decade. The stage is set: they were popular when they were new, parts are largely affordable and easy to find, and good, clean examples are just starting to get rare. As the M car’s values are quickly rising above the pay grade of younger and less affluent enthusiasts, I believe these more basic models will first become the “settle for” cars for the growing masses of displaced M3 lovers; with the nicest, most original cars values spiking first before lesser cars start getting restorations. Like most cars from 25 years ago, in factory form, they are not particularly fast (compared to the twin turbo charged four cylinders available now) but the straight six cars are spirited and remain fun to drive and it is reasonably easy to add horsepower to them.

I do not believe they will become the next 55-57 Chevy or 64-66 Mustang but I believe they will achieve their own following just as the e30 has and values have nowhere to go but up.

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I saw a VERY clean Subaru Brat at my son’s soccer scrimmage on Saturday. Hard to believe that such a truck would be rust free in CO after so many years.

Agreed! But Italian cars are expensive to fix.

@tonyjustin my first car in 1979 was a 1973 Mach I fastback. Very, very cool car!

Duh. Miata. OB AMXs.

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1963-4 Studebaker Avanti 4 speed and supercharged
They are the ones that are the rarest and will only go up (slowly, but up) in value I bought mine 20 years ago, and it is in the same drive anywhere condition. It is worth more than all I’ve ever put into it. The fun factor is a big bonus too.

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