Many factors can influence classic car prices. One of the biggest is production numbers. As a general rule, the lower the production numbers, the higher the price old classic cars for sale command in the used car market. As such, cars with single-digit production numbers like the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut-Coupe or 1969 Chevrolet Corvette ZL1 can sell for millions of dollars at auctions.
However, every general rule has an exception, and in this case, we’ll look at 10 rare classic cars you can still buy for cheap, from American muscle cars to European sports cars.
10 BMW Z3 M – 16,434 Units ($20,000)
When BMW introduced the Z3 in the ’90s, many gearheads loved the fact that BMW had built an affordable sports car, but to some, the Z3 wasn’t sporty enough. As such, the BMW M Division got hold of the Z3 and turned it into one of the coolest classic convertibles you can buy – the Z3 M.
The M Division made some changes to the Z3, including new front and rear bumpers, quad exhausts, gills, and fender flares. The Z3 also gained more power, as it had the same engine as the E46 M3 – a 3.2-liter inline-six engine dishing out 321 hp.
9 Autozam AZ-1 – 4,392 Units ($25,000)
One of the unique features of the Japanese auto industry is Kei cars. Kei cars are tiny cars that you see everywhere in Japan. The Kei car industry started as a way for the Japanese government to create affordable and fuel-efficient cars for poor people.
However, automakers soon took advantage of Kei car rules and started building tiny, affordable sports cars. The Autozam AZ-1 is one of them. The AZ-1 had a wild design featuring unique gullwing doors and was a joy to drive thanks to a 63-hp Suzuki engine.
8 Cadillac Allanté – 21,430 Units ($10,000)
Cadillac considers itself to be the best luxury car manufacturer in the US. In the ’80s, the company wanted to cement its position as the top dog in the luxury space, so it decided to build a new top sports car that would merge European design and American power. The result was the Allanté.
Cadillac hired the legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina to design and build the Allanté in Italy, resulting in a gorgeous sports car with European build quality. Unfortunately, Cadillac had to ship the Allanté bodies all the way from Italy, which inflated the Allanté’s price and killed demand.
7 Porsche 944 Turbo – 25,245 Units ($26,000)
The 944 needs no introduction, as it’s among Porsche’s best-selling models. The 944 was a key part of Porsche’s series of front-engined entry-level sports cars, and it was almost perfect. Handsome looks, advanced Porsche engineering, and an attractive price made the 944, but there was a problem – performance.
The 944 had a small inline-four engine making less than 150 hp in US versions, making it uninspiring to drive. As such, Porsche went back to the drawing board and came up with the 944 Turbo in 1986. The addition of a turbocharger gave the 944 Turbo 217 hp to work with, making it a joy to drive.
6 Porsche 928 S – 60,870 Units ($23,000)
The 928 is an awesome grand tourer Porsche built in the ’70s. Porsche initially developed the 928 to be a more affordable and fuel-efficient replacement for the iconic 911, but internal politics saved the 911 and turned the 928 into a single-generation model.
Despite the 928’s lack of popularity, it was pretty cool. A unique design, Porsche’s advanced engineering, and the fact that it was the first production Porsche with a V8 engine made it a winner. Hagerty estimates the Porsche 928 to be worth less than $25,000, making it one of the least expensive Porsches.
5 Chrysler TC By Maserati – 7,300 Units ($8,500)
In the ’80s, Chrysler boss Lee Iacocca wanted to develop a new upscale grand tourer to build Chrysler’s image and attract better-heeled customers to showrooms. Iacocca had a great friend with Alejandro de Tomaso – who owned Maserati at the time – and both companies got into a partnership to create the car. The result was the TC, or ‘turbocharged coupe’.
The TC was initially a great idea, combining a Maserati body and interior with a Chrysler engine. However, the press criticized it for looking too much like the Chrysler LeBaron GTC, which cost a lot less. It’s no surprise that sales flopped.
4 Buick Reatta – 21,000 Units ($11,000)
When asked to name a Buick model, most gearheads will think of boring everyday cars. However, Buick has built several sporty vehicles over the years, and the Reatta is among the most underrated ones.
The Reatta debuted in the late ’80s and impressed many with its superb wedge-shaped design and advanced technologies, like one of the first touchscreens in any vehicle. Unfortunately, the Reatta’s 170-hp engine could barely compete with the top sports cars of the ’80s, which is why it was not a success.
3 AMC AMX – 19,134 Units ($21,500)
AMC is one of those defunct American carmakers we’d love to see make a comeback in the near future. Before financial troubles killed AMC in 1988, the company built several awesome models that earned it respect among gearheads.
The AMX is one such car. AMC built the AMX on the bones of the Javelin, but since it wanted the AMX to be a Corvette rival, it was smaller and had only two seats. There were several engine options for the AMX, with the best being a 6.4-liter V8 cranking out 325 hp.
2 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia – 42,505 ($18,800)
Volkswagen was the king of the automotive industry in the post-war era, largely thanks to the massive success of the popular Beetle. However, as other top German automakers started building sports cars, Volkswagen felt it was missing something.
As such, Volkswagen rolled up its sleeves and developed its first-ever sports car in 1955 – the Karmann Ghia. The Karmann Ghia used the mechanical underpinnings of the Beetle but had a sportier and much better-looking design penned by the famous Italian design firm Ghia. With around half a million units produced, it’s no surprise that Hagerty values the Karmann Ghia at around $18,000.
1 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra – 4,993 Units ($25,000)
The early ’90s was an exciting period for Mustang fans, as Ford was working on a new generation to replace the disappointing Fox body Mustang. But before doing away with the Fox body Mustang, the newly established Ford Special Vehicle Team decided to build a special version to show that even the Fox body Mustang could be fast. The result was the one-year-only 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra.
The Mustang SVT Cobra came with a 4.9-liter V8 generating 235 ponies, making it super fast. The SVT Cobra is still cheap today, but with fewer than 5,000 examples in existence, it’s one of the American cars we expect to appreciate.