These Affordable Classic Cars Make Surprisingly Good Daily Drivers
If you don’t have enough money to spend on the latest and greatest cars, your best bet is to look for a cheap classic car in the used market. The used car market is full of awesome classic cars that look great and perform well, but cost a lot less than comparable modern cars.
Unfortunately, while you may save a lot of money by buying a classic car, you might end up losing it all due to costly repairs, especially if you plan to drive it daily. As such, it’s important to be highly diligent when shopping for a classic to ensure that you end up with a reliable car. We did some research and found ten affordable classic cars that you can drive daily without worrying about costly repairs.
10 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W140) – $13,500
The legendary Mercedes-Benz S-Class has always been the gold standard for full-size luxury sedans. It has a great design, an array of luxury amenities, lots of power, advanced technology, and excellent safety ratings.
Mercedes-Benz has built multiple S-Class generations, but the 1990s W140 arguably beats them all. The W140 is an over-engineered masterpiece that never seems to break down, even after hundreds of thousands of miles. It can also be quick, especially if you find one with the 402-hp 6.0-liter naturally aspirated V12.
9 Porsche Boxster 986 – $11,000
In the ’90s, Japanese automakers like Nissan, Toyota, and Honda introduced multiple affordable sports cars, contributing to a decline in the demand for European sports cars. To remain competitive, Porsche developed a new entry-level model – the Boxster.
The Boxster had similar design cues to the popular 911, but it was different in several ways – most notably its engine location. Many gearheads were skeptical at first, but the Boxster turned out to be a huge success that’s still in production to date.
8 Toyota MR-2 – $9,800
In the ’80s, Toyota saw an opportunity to make a play for the sports car market. With the fuel crisis still going strong, gearheads demanded cheap, fuel-efficient sports cars, so Toyota introduced the MR-2 in 1984.
Everyone loved the MR-2, which explains why Toyota produced it for over two decades. There are three generations of the MR-2, but our favorite is the W20. It comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission, making it a joy to drive.
7 Honda S2000 – $17,300
Honda started building cars in the ’60s, but it wasn’t until the ’90s that the Japanese marque showed it could compete with the very best. Honda kicked the decade off with the iconic NSX and ended it with yet another fantastic car – the S2000.
The S2000 was an instant hit, loved by many for its striking open-top design and its ability to deliver a combination of everyday usability and track-worthy performance.
6 Chevrolet Corvette C5 – $10,000
Corvette sales were declining sharply by the mid-90s, despite the C4 Corvette being a major improvement over the C3. So, to ensure that the new generation wasn’t a flop, Chevy redesigned the Vette from the ground up.
When the C5 debuted in 1997, everyone fell in love with its new design and advanced technologies. With a 176-mph top speed, the C5 Corvette could compete with some of the fastest European sports cars of the day.
5 Saab 900 – $8,000
Most gearheads will never forgive GM for killing Saab. Saab is a defunct Swedish automaker who was known for building quirky cars with unbeatable quality and safety. Saab also had a reputation for building reliable cars, largely thanks to the 900.
Introduced in the late ’70s, the 900 was a compact executive car that was loved by many for its unusual design features, bulletproof reliability, and excellent road feel. It was also powerful, particularly the turbocharged version.
4 Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk2 – $8,000
Hot hatches are popular for a reason. They are cheap, easy to live with, and incredibly fun to drive even when equipped with small engines.
Of all the hot hatches you can buy, the Golf GTI is arguably the best. In fact, many consider the Golf GTI to be the main reason why the hot hatch segment exists today. Prices for the first-generation Golf GTI have been going up, but the Mk2 remains affordable. It has a similar design to the first-generation model and comes with a 1.8-liter four-pot generating 110 hp.
3 BMW E30 – $18,900
The BMW 3-Series is undoubtedly one of the greatest compact luxury sedans ever made. It continually offers style, performance, luxury, and reliability. There are seven generations of the 3-Series to choose from, but our favorite is the E30.
The E30 was an important car for BMW, as it influenced BMW’s design and engineering for decades and helped establish the German marque as one of the top players in the luxury sedan market. BMW produced over 2 million E30s, which is why it’s easy to find a cheap one in excellent condition.
2 Audi TT Mk1 – $7,300
Like many other European manufacturers, Audi needed a new entry-level sports car in the ’90s. So, in 1995, Audi unveiled the TT Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show and introduced it to the market three years later.
The TT was an instant hit, largely because it was one of the cheapest European sports cars. It was also a joy to drive, thanks to a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine pumping out 222 hp.
1 Porsche 944 – $8,900
While the 924 was a sales success for Porsche, it was hated by many gearheads for having a Volkswagen engine. Porsche didn’t want to repeat the same mistake with the 924’s successor – the 944 – so they equipped it with a proper engine.
The 944 turned out to be hugely successful, selling over 160,000 examples. We still love its beautiful design, Porsche’s advanced engineering, and the fact that it’s one of the cheapest Porsches you can buy.
Admit it, nothing is better than an 80s Mustang or a Pontiac. Some of these muscle cars really need to make a comeback.
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