For most auto lovers, the idea of owning a classic car seems like a dream. With some classic car models fetching millions of dollars, it may appear that having a classic car is out of reach.
However, despite what you see on the auction block, it’s possible to find an affordable classic car. Not all cheap vintage cars will fit what you want, but there are some great classics that are within your budget and will excite you. You don’t have to relinquish the dream of owning a classic car, but you may have to change your expectations.
As you look for affordable classic muscle cars or other types of vintage autos, remember that it’s not the same as buying a daily driver. Certain classic cars can be great investments, so you aren’t just satisfying a passion; rather, you’re beefing up your investment portfolio.
How to find cheaper classic cars
If you’re beginning your search for an affordable classic car, you’ll want to do some homework. Hagerty Valuation Tools® can help you navigate the numbers to ensure that what you’re paying is what the car is worth.
But buying a classic car is about more than finding an affordable car. You also want to ensure that you like the car you’re buying. Do you like the design, including the interior? Is it a car that you’ll be happy with long-term?
Research the cars in which you’re interested with an eye on whether price ranges are reasonable for you. Once you know what kind of car you want and how much you can pay for it, you can begin your search.
There are a few ways to conduct a search. You can seek out classic car dealers online, and you can also go to local car clubs to network. Classic car clubs are a great way to keep up with trends and to learn about classic cars that are for sale. Members are typically eager and willing to help other car lovers, and they can give you inside information unavailable to others.
Classic cars you can afford to own
What you decide to target depends on what you like and can afford. It may take time to locate a vehicle that meets your criteria. That said, here are five of the best values when it comes to classics. You might be surprised at how affordable they can be.
(Note: Prices are based on Hagerty Price Guide and range from a vehicle in “good” #3 condition to one that is in “excellent” restored or well-maintained #2 condition.)
- Dodge Dart Sport 360: The 1974–76 models of this were so fast that Car and Driver magazine placed the 1976 model second only to the Corvette in terms of speed. Today, the prices range from $4,300–$8,800.
- 1970-71 Ford Torino GT: This mid-size V8 boasts 220-300 horsepower depending on whether it is equipped with a 302-cid or 351-cid engine, and an interior that’s more stylish than you might remember. Look for price tags on coupes of this description to start around $12,200 and reach up to $25,100 for excellent examples.
- 1993 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra: It doesn’t have the instantly recognizable lines of the traditional Mustang, but this car’s limited run (fewer than 5,000 were made) combined with its 235 horsepower V8 engine and distinctive interior make it a find. Look for it in the $17,400–$26,600 range.
- Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z: In the 1980s, Camaros and Trans-Ams ruled the road. The IROC-Z, introduced in 1985, was offered as an option package on the popular Z28 and made Car and Driver’s “10 Best” list for the year. If it still makes your top-10 list, you’ll be glad to know current pricing on good examples are as low at $8,800.
- Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am: As equally adored as the IROC-Z, the Firebird Trans-Am was a close cousin to the Camaro and some fierce competition. Today’s values range from $5,400–$18,500 depending on engines and options.
Whether you're looking for an affordable classic car as an investment or simply because you want to begin a collection, there are many options that can help you start. While each of these vehicles has its own storied past, it also may have a bright future as an investment. Once you’ve found the classic car you want to bring home, Nationwide can help you arrange all your classic car insurance needs to help keep your new investment protected.