10 Classic European Cars That Are Much Cheaper Than You Think

10 Classic European Cars That Are Much Cheaper Than You Think

Many prospective buyers looking to jump into the world of classic cars might think a high-performance European car is out of their budget. In fact, there are a growing number of models from the 1960s to the 1980s that represent the best in innovation and performance from their time periods that can be bought for as little as $10,000.

Your choices for an affordable classic car go well beyond red, green, silver, or black. Spanning the entire European continent, from the UK to Germany to Scandinavia, there are reasonably-priced roadsters, hot hatches, cars that have dominated the racetrack, and even 4-door luxury sedans.

It would be easy to look for a classic staple like a 1967 Porsche 911 S Coupe in the hopes of scoring a bargain, but in reality, the most desired models can run in upwards of $100,000. To find more affordable European classic cars, it’s best to focus on options that still look and perform great, but don’t receive the same attention as a manufacturer’s most famous offerings.

10/10 1965 MG MGB MK I ($11,000)

Red 1965 MG MGB MK I convertible roadster
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Particularly for those living outside of Europe, it may be surprising to learn that the MGB was one of the most widely-manufactured and best-selling classic sports cars in the world. The British Motor Corporation (BMC) launched the first MGB in 1962, and the two-door open car soon became an attractive option for anyone looking for a high-performance vehicle without breaking the bank.

Red 1965 MG MGB MK I convertible roadster
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You won’t surpass any land-speed records, topping out at just over 100 MPH, but the MGB can be found easily on the classic car market, with 1965 models in good condition selling for as little as $11,000.

9/10 1974 Lancia Fulvia 1.3 SI ($25,000)

Blue 1974 Lancia Fulvia 1.3 SI parked in front of sea
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If someone is looking for a classic sports car that can take a beating and perform well on many surfaces and conditions, buyers won’t find a better option than the Lancia Fulvia. Lancia is one of the most successful manufacturers to participate in rally championships, winning titles that predate the formation of the WRC in 1973.

Blue 1974 Lancia Fulvia 1.3 SI parked in front of cargo train
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The lightweight yet durable Fulvia is often referred to as the Italian BMW. Buyers can get a taste of rally history with a model that survived the brutal racing circuits still intact, for as low as $25,000.

RELATED: The 10 Best WRC Rally Cars Of All Time

8/10 1974 Volkswagen Scirocco ($16,000)

Silver 1974 Volkswagen Scirocco
Via Wikipedia Commons

When shopping for a 1970s sporty compact hatchback, the Volkswagen Scirocco packs a distinctive punch on the road. The Scirocco is often confused with the Volkswagen Golf, with both being launched around the same time in 1974. In reality, compared to the Golf, the 1974 Scirocco has a more sports-oriented aerodynamic design and lower seating position.

Side shot of green 1974 Volkswagen Scirocco
Charles01 Via Wikipedia Commons

The Scirocco is often recognized by its four-round headlights, in an effort to meet D.O.T. regulations in the United States. As a daily driver, this high-performance hatchback provides more storage than a coupe and can be found for around $16,000.

7/10 1980 Saab 900 Turbo 5-Speed ($12,000)

Black 1980 Saab 900 Turbo 5-Speed
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Classic Saabs have never been hard to differentiate from other cars on the road, with their long front ends and noticeably curved windshields. The Saab 900 Turbo, introduced in the late 70s, was seen as a more high-performance alternative to the 99 Turbo which had the reputation as a safe family car.

Green 1980 Saab 900 Turbo 5-Speed
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The Saab 900 found itself well-positioned to take advantage of the turbo craze in the 1980s with its trademark inline four-cylinder engine slanted 45 degrees toward the passenger side of the car. Known for its incredible durability, you can find this 1980 5-speed Turbo for around $12,000.

6/10 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC ($20,000)

Silver Blue Metallic 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC Coupe
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The SL designation by Mercedes roughly translates into “lightweight-sports” and its models have seen tremendous racing successes beginning with the 300SL winning the Le Mans 24 hours in 1954. The 450 SLC coupe version was discontinued in 1980, which was unfortunate because it achieved a delicate balance between performance and luxury.

Silver blue metallic 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC

The 450 SLC presents a relatively affordable way to own a classic sports car with modern conveniences including air conditioning, power windows, and power steering. If you can find one for sale at around $20,000, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

5/10 1973 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow ($22,000)

Side shot of silver mink and Caribbean Blue 1973 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
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The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, introduced in 1965, was designed with the purpose of modernizing the luxury 4-door sedan. The Silver Shadow’s unitary chassis construction allowed it to be maneuvered around narrow European streets more nimbly than its predecessor, the Silver Cloud, while managing to offer even more interior room and storage space.

Silver Mink and Caribbean Blue 1973 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
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As far as Rolls-Royces are concerned, the Silver Shadow is in plentiful supply, with around 30,000 sedans produced during its 1965-1980 lifespan. The 1973 model may be your best opportunity to own a relatively affordable Rolls-Royce, for just over $22,000.

4/10 1975 Fiat 124 Sport Spider ($12,000)

1975 Fiat 124 Sport Spider
Pujanak via Wikipedia Commons

In an attempt to appeal to American drivers, Fiat made a triumphant entrance into the convertible market in 1966 with the Fiat 124 Sport Spider. In 1972, Fiat upgraded its engine in order to achieve more success on the rally circuits and succeeded in its goal during the 1972-1975 time period, winning the European Rally Championship twice.

Front shot of green 1975 Fiat 124 Sport Spider
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The Fiat 124 Spider presents an excellent opportunity to own a quintessential piece of Italian automotive style without going broke. The famous Pininfarina-designed convertible has often sold at auction for $12,000 or less.

Related: Here’s Why We Absolutely Love The Fiat 124 Spider

3/10 1979 BMW 320i ($14,000)

Blue over black vinyl 1979 BMI 320i
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The BMW 320i is part of Mercedes’ E21 generation of sports sedans, first made available in 1975. As a successor to the popular BMW 2002, the 320i addressed the changing safety and emissions standards of the time period, while making some other modifications to give it a smoother ride.

Blue over black vinyl 1979 BMW 320i
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The 320i came with a longer wheelbase, which also allowed for more room in its interior. Credited as one of the more comfortable sports sedans to ride in, a used 1979 BMW 320i provides plentiful performance and features and is a solid value at $14,000.

2/10 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider ($14,000)

Side shot of red 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider
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The Alfa Romeo Spider is a two-seat, front-engine, rear-drive roadster that didn’t exactly wow audiences when it was first unveiled in 1966. Nevertheless, the Italian charm of this Spider eventually won over critics, and it survived for nearly 30 years, undergoing 4 generations of revisions.

Front shot of red 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider
Mick via Wikipedia Commons

By 1978, the iconic Alfa Romeo Spider was still popular enough for the legendary F1 champion Niki Lauda to endorse a red-only special edition of the car with custom decals. Surprisingly, while some generations can be quite pricey, more affordable Spiders can be found in the 1975-1980 period, with 1978 examples selling for $14,000 or less.

1/10 1983 Porsche 944 ($11,000)

Red 1983 Porsche 944 parked on grass
Via: Wikipedia Commons

If there is one classic car bargain that all shoppers target, it’s any classic Porsche that can be found for less than the staggering prices of today’s models, which can sell for $100,000-$200,000. While that may seem like a pipe dream, the 1983 Porsche 944 which was actually introduced in 1982, comes complete with the Porsche style and performance that buyers drool over for a price that’s hard to turn down.

Front shot of red 1983 Porsche 944
Via Flickr

Based on the Porsche 924 series, the 944 is a front-engine, rear-wheel drive car, and its first-year model has some characteristics that separate it from future revisions. The 1983 944, which can often be found for just $11,000, still has manual steering and is also quite a bit lighter than more modern versions.