If you take a look at the classic cars market right now, you’ll be shocked by the outrageous prices gearheads are having to pay for some models. Well-known classic cars like the Ferrari F40, Lamborghini Countach, Toyota Supra Mk4, and many others are selling for much more than they cost when new, which is discouraging for gearheads interested in owning a classic.
However, if you look harder in the used cars market, you’ll find many hidden gems living in the shadows of the more popular cars, and since not many gearheads are interested in buying them, they’re often a bargain. We did some research and found ten underrated classic cars on the market today.
10 Subaru SVX
In the late ’80s, Subaru decided they wanted to build a new sports car that would help them compete with European automakers in the performance market. After several years of development, Subaru unveiled the SVX at the 1989 Tokyo Auto Show. It made its debut in the U.S. for the 1992 model year.
The first thing Subaru got right with the SVX was its design, as they hired the legendary Giorgetto Giugiaro to come up with it. The SVX was also a blast to drive, as it was equipped with a 3.3-liter DOHC flat-six engine developing 231 hp.
9 Porsche 968
From the ’70s to ’90s, Porsche built a series of front-engine water-cooled RWD sports cars in an attempt to attract budget-conscious buyers. The last car in the series was the 968, which debuted in 1991 to replace the 944 as Porsche’s entry-level model.
The 968 had a largely similar body profile to the 944 and even shared 20% of its components. At the heart of the 968 was a 3.0-liter inline-four engine producing 237 hp, making it a joy to drive.
8 1989 Ford Taurus SHO
When asked to name the greatest Fords, most gearheads will mention the Mustang, the Cobra, and GT40. Not many will say the Taurus, even though it single-handedly saved the Blue Oval brand from bankruptcy in the ’80s.
The Taurus was such a huge success for Ford that they decided to build a high-performance version in 1989 – the Taurus SHO. Powered by a 220-hp Yamaha-built V6 engine redlining at 7,000 rpm, the Taurus SHO had a 0-60 time of around 6 seconds and a top speed of 143 mph.
7 Lancia Thema 8.32
The Thema is an executive sedan built by Lancia from 1984 to 1994, then later revived in 2011. We’ll focus on the old Thema though. The first-generation Thema had a great design, a luxurious interior, and several advanced technologies that allowed it to compete with anything from Mercedes-Benz or BMW.
However, many gearheads complained that it was underpowered, so Lancia went back to the drawing board and developed the crazy Thema 8.32. As the name suggests, the Thema 8.32 was powered by an 8-cylinder, 32-valve engine built by Ferrari, giving it great performance.
6 Corvette C4 ZR-1
The fourth-generation Corvette was an important car for the beloved nameplate, as it was a huge improvement over the ancient third-generation version. It had a new design and, more importantly, a lot more power than the later C3.
The best version of the C4 Corvette came five years into its production run. Dubbed the ZR-1, this beast had a Lotus-designed V8 engine developing 375 hp, giving it a 0-60 of just 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 175 mph. You can get one of these babies for less than $30,000, which is a huge bargain.
5 Vauxhall Lotus Carlton
In the ’90s, GM bought Lotus and Vauxhall in an effort to take on European manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW. In 1992, GM asked Lotus to work its magic on the Vauxhall Carlton GSi 3000, resulting in a super sedan known as the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton.
The Lotus Carlton had a boring-looking exterior design, but what was under its hood made up for it. Lotus increased the engine displacement and added two turbos, increasing the car’s output to 377 hp.
4 Audi TT Mk1
The ’90s were challenging for every European sports car manufacturer. Cheap Japanese sports cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata were flooding the market, leading to a drop in their sales. Tired of Japanese manufacturers dominating the entry-level sports car market, Audi introduced the TT in the late ’90s.
The TT was instantly popular thanks to its unique design, excellent build quality, and affordability. It was also fun to drive, thanks to various four- and six-cylinder engines.
3 Porsche 914
In 1969, Porsche and Volkswagen collaborated on a project to build a new mid-engined sports car that could compete with British roadsters. Porsche needed a new entry-level sports car, while Volkswagen needed to add a new sports car to its lineup. That’s how the 914 came to be.
Gearheads had mixed reactions to the 914, largely because of its unusual design. It was also quite underpowered for a Porsche, but that didn’t stop them from selling over 100,000 examples. The 914 is still one of the cheapest Porsches you can buy today.
2 Mazda Eunos Cosmo
When naming the greatest Mazda models, most gearheads mention the RX-7 and MX-5. Rarely does the Eunos Cosmo ever get mentioned, even though it’s a key part of Mazda’s history.
The Eunos Cosmo debuted in the late ’80s to compete in the luxury coupe market. It had Mazda’s fantastic triple-rotor engine under the hood producing over 300 hp, making it a blast to drive. The Eunos Cosmo also had several advanced technologies, including the world’s first built-in navigation system, a climate control touchscreen, and a CD player. Sadly, the car was never sold in the U.S. market.
1 Lancia Flavia Coupe
In the early ’60s, Lancia introduced the Flavia to take on the likes of Mercedes-Benz in the European executive car market. The Flavia was a decent car, but many complained that it was ugly. So in 1962, Lancia hired Pininfarina and asked them to build a sportier, better-looking version of the Flavia, resulting in the Flavia Coupe.
The Flavia Coupe was an instant hit, largely thanks to its improved looks. It wasn’t that thrilling to drive, though, as it was powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder with only 89 hp on tap.
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