10 Cheap European Classics Every Gearhead Should Drive At Least Once

10 Cheap European Classics Every Gearhead Should Drive At Least Once

We mostly associate European classics with the luxury sports cars from automakers such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and of course the crème-de-la-crème Ferrari and Lamborghini. While many of these classic cars cost a ton, the market is also flooded with affordable classics that still offer a ton of driving fun.

The good thing is, these European classics have escaped the eagle eye of the collectors, so mostly come cheap and ready to roll. Parts are mostly not a problem because of aftermarket, and many of these were sold in the US, so are rather familiar faces.

They come with panache, and a whole lot of cool, and most of them are available in enough numbers to be affordable, plus make you look good when you drive in them. The engines under the hood are also thrilling enough for a powerful rush, so you know you have a good deal when you get yourself any of these.

10 1970 Volvo P1800E

1970 Volvo P1800E Classic Car In Black
Via: Bonhams

This iconic Volvo was made famous by Roger Moore in the British thriller series, The Saint. Also dubbed as the Swedish Sex Symbol, the P1800 sports car from the house of Volvo was produced for a short period between 1961 and 1972.

1970 Volvo P1800E Classic Car
Via: Bonhams

The P1800 started its career with a 1.8-liter inline-4 engine cranking out 100 horses but the fuel-injected P1800E armed with a larger 2.0-liter B20E engine hammered out 130 horses for a 9.5-second waltz to 62 MPH. These jaw-dropping, gorgeous classic cars offer tremendous reliability and can be bought for less than $30,000 today.

9 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC

1979 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC Classic Car In Black
Via: BringaTrailer

The Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC was a luxury sports car that was technologically well ahead of its time. True to the Mercedes-Benz slogan of “the best or nothing”, plenty of features like air-conditioning, power steering, power windows, leather trim, and the revolutionary advanced crumple zone technology, came as standard with the 450 SLC.

1979 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC Classic Sports Car
Via: BringaTrailer

This true-blue sports car also boasts a rally car heritage. It’s got a 4.5-liter fuel-injected V8 mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission and can be yours for just $18,000.

Related: 10 Cheap German Sports Cars That’ll Make Gearheads Green With Envy

8 1975 Lancia Fulvia 1.3S

The European Classic Car: 1975 Lancia Fulvia 3 Coupé 1.3
Via: Andrew Bone Flickr

The Lancia Fulvia debuted in 1963 and from day one it was destined to be a great commercial and racing success. It’s an incredible example of a classic Italian sports car and is pretty rare in the US. However, there’s a lovely example of this classic beauty on Hemmings that can be yours for about $30,000 today, and it’s worth every dollar.

The Gorgeous European Classic Car: 1975 Lancia Fulvia 3 Coupé 1.3
Via: Andrew Bone Flickr

With this money, you get a classy mid-70s Italian coupe powered by a characterful 1.3-liter V4 gas engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and all the eyes on you.

7 1987 Porsche 944 S

1987 Porsche 944 S Classic Sports Car In Red
Via: Mecum

The 944 was armed with Porsche’s in-house 2.5-liter inline-4 so Porshephiles across the world called it a “true” Porsche. The 944 S was sportier than its non-S sibling and offered better performance. It also gets 4-valves/cylinder with the “regular” 944 engine, cranking out 190 horses and 170 lb-ft of torque.

The Classic European Sports Car: 1987 Porsche 944 S In Almond Metallic Paint
Via: BringaTrailer

With improved output figures it rockets to a 0-to-60 MPH flight in just 7.7 seconds on the way to a top speed of 142 MPH. One of these beauties was sold recently for less than $20,000, but it could have been yours.

Related: Ranking Porsche’s Greatest Sports Cars (1 That’s Worthless)

6 1978 Volkswagen Beetle

The European Classic: 1978 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Champagne Edition In White
Via: BringaTrailer

The VW Bug is one of the oldest and most-revered automotive nameplates to date. It was sold in millions across the globe for donkey’s years until summer 2019 when Volkswagen pulled the plug on this iconic car.

The European Classic Car: 1978 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Champagne Edition In White
Via: BringaTrailer

It’s a must for any gearhead and is quite affordable otherwise, as there are plenty of them in the used car lot. A one-of-1100 1978 Volkswagen Beetle Champagne Edition convertible that was built to celebrate the production of one million Volkswagen Rabbits was sold for less than $15,000. There’s another mint example for under $20,000.

5 1967 MG B GT

1967 MG B GT Classic European Sports Car In Blue
Via: BringaTrailer

In 1965, MG took the covers off the fixed-roof B GT designed by the legendary Italian coachbuilder and design house Pininfarina. It looked so beautiful that Road & Track included it in the list of “16 of Pininfarina’s Most Beautiful Designs That Aren’t Ferraris” in 2019.

The Classic European Sports Car: 1967 MG B GT In Blue 
Via: BringaTrailer

Today, it may not be a highly sought-after classic car, but it’s worth a buy for $30,000. For this, you get a mint condition 1967 B GT carrying a 1.8-liter inline-4 engine mated to a 4-speed manual transmission and a timeless piece of British automotive history.

Related: Ranking The Best Cheap Roadsters To Buy Used

4 1972 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

1972 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Classic Sports Car In Green
Via: BringaTrailer

The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia was the product of the joint partnership of Volkswagen, Italian design house Ghia, and German coachbuilder Karmann. Volkswagen gave it the Type 1 Beetle’s chassis and mechanicals while its beautiful exterior styling came from Ghia.

The European Classic Sports Car: 1972 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia In Green
Via: BringaTrailer

Plus, Karmann more or less hand-built the entire bodywork of this historic sports car. It’s a semi-rare collectible that turns heads at car shows making it a must-have for car enthusiasts. You need to shell out less than $20,000 for an excellent model.

3 1991 BMW 8 Series

1991 BMW 850i Classic Sports Car In Calypso Red Pearl
Via: Mecum

This V12-powered grand tourer was born in the 1980s, but it finally reached the showroom floors in 1991. It used a solid 5.0-liter V12 mill that hammered out 350 horses and 346 lb-ft of torque. A 0-to-60 MPH feat was achieved in just 6.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 173 MPH.

1991 BMW 850i Classic Sports Car In Calypso Red Pearl
Via: Mecum

Despite its powerful persona, it failed to make a mark in the 1990s and BMW drew the curtains on it in 1999. A clean example can set you back by about $20,000, and it’s worth every penny.

Related: 10 Powerful ’90s Sports Cars Anyone Can Own

2 1983 Alfa Romeo GTV 2.0

1983 Alfa Romeo GTV 2.0 Classic European Sports Car
Via: Automeetic.be

The comfortable and capable Gran Turismo, the GTV 2.0, carried a 2.0-liter inline-4 engine that churned out 130 horses and 131 lb-ft of torque. This powerplant was good enough for an acceleration of 0-to-62 MPH in about 9.7 seconds and a top speed of 115 MPH.

The Classic European Sports Car: 1983 Alfa Romeo GTV 2.0
Via: Automeetic.be

Dubbed as “Milan’s forgotten swansong”, this car is a rarity in the US but is a must for classic car fans. This one is up for grabs on Hemmings for less than $30,000. It’s got an exceptionally low mileage of about 13,000 miles and is in top condition.

1 1975 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

1975 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow 4-Door Saloon
Via: YouTube

Debuting in 1965, the Silver Shadow was Rolls-Royce’s first new car in many years. So it had to be a masterwork. A classic fully-functional Rolls-Royce for only $25,000 should be good enough for any classic car collector, to go for the kill.

The Affordable European Classic Car: 1975 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow 4-Door Saloon
Via; YouTube

We’re talking about a 1975 Silver Shadow model on Hemmings that’s powered by a 189-horsepower 6.7-liter V8 engine married to a 4-speed manual transmission, and it’s in pristine condition inside and out. What’s unique about these Rolls is that they feature a heroic high-pressure hydropneumatic suspension system borrowed from Citroën.

Sources: Hemmings, BringaTrailer

Third-Gen V8-Powered 1982 Pontiac Trans Am In Black Paint

10 Most Beautiful Classic Cars Collectors Stay Away From

Read Next

About The Author