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Bargain "Classics"--$12,000 or Less and 20 Years or Older



  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    Andre, Sheriff Buford T Justice would be proud of you!

    Funny you'd mention that, because "Smokey and the Bandit" is what turned me on to the '76-77 LeMans, in the first place! I know most normal kids lusted after the Trans Am. Or Sally Field :shades:

    I always liked the 442/Hurst. I wonder why they weren't better sellers, compared to the Monte SS and Grand National? Did Olds just not market them?
  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    Well, the Hurst was a limited run (3001 and 3500 units in 1983-84), it wasn't as fast as the Monte Carlo SS or the Buick Grand National (or the Camaro Z-28 for that matter), all of which could probably be purchased for similar money (more or less). I suspect it was marketed to those Olds guys who lamented a lost opportunity to own a Hurst back in the day and wanted a modern one.

    It's funny, my brother's 5 year old minivan could probably out accelerate :shades: it, out brake it and out fuel economy it, but I don't find myself lusting so much after it LOL
  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    I finally posted some pics of the 240Z on my space. My favorite is a close up of the rear license plate. It has 37 years of registration stickers on the plate, it is literally 3/8" thick LOL
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    I always liked that color for a 240Z. There's a similar Porsche color which I think is called "Colorado Orange"

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  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    I really like the orange too, because it is such a "period" color (like the bike I got from Santa (in 72) which was orange too...) LOL

    I took my 3 year old out for a drive in it over the weekend. He was excited because he got to ride in the front seat (in his car seat) with Daddy...
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    3/8" stickers won't happen up here in WA. You have to buy a new plate every seven years. (trailers included)
  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,683
    If your car is old enough, you can get year of manufacture plates - no new stickers and no new plates. Yay.

    I had year of manufacture plates put on my car in 1996. I found them at a yard sale for a quarter.

    Do you have those on your Mustang? If you don't, you should seek out a set...they look cool on an old car.
  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    The mustang has recent personalized plates on it now. The car was originally from NY. I am not sure if CA DMV has released the Black Plates from the 60's yet. My 442 had the black plates, but those were original to the car. I don't think I would get the black plates for the mustang, as that might be a little misleading. Of course my wife will never sell the car, so I guess no one is really going to be mislead thinking they purchased a car that spent its whole life in sunny CA.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    The most recent issue of Corvette Magazine (the title is actually Magazine Corvette) features an article on Corvettes that can be bought for $12,000. They include low mileage, well maintained C3s, many C4s, some C5s, and even a few high mileage C6s. Apparently, some collectors and enthusiasts are really into C3s. As one might expect, C4s are plentiful and popular, and Chevy made incremental improvements to the C4 from the '84-'96 model years. C5s are somewhat less plentiful at the $12,000 price point, but popular. If you don't mind a 100,000+ car, you can score a C6.

    The previous issue had a similar article, using a $9,000 price point, and the next issue will feature Corvettes that can be bought for $15,000.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    High mileage C5 and C6 Vettes are bad investments. I'd only pay wholesale or less for one. Corvettes do not take kindly to high miles (don't be insulted--neither do Ferraris).

    About the only hi-performance car that doesn't seem to suffer too much with high miles is Porsche.

    Here's a good running C4 for $3000 asking:

    another good runner for $2800

    Here's a year 2000 C5 that I bet you could get for $12000

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    On the off chance that BMW E30s ('84-'91, and newer for the convertible) haven't yet been talked about in this discussion, good examples of these can be purchased for ~$2,500-$4,500. I bought an '87 325 four years ago, and I still enjoy driving it.

    Except for the M version, they're not the fastest cars from that period, but they permit you to enjoy the vaunted Beemer driving dynamics for a modest outlay. E30s are also among the lowest cost-to-own BMWs available. That doesn't mean they're inexpensive to maintain and repair, but from my experience, ownership expenses are not unreasonable.
  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    I totally agree. My neighbor ended up purchasing a 325i convertible (1989 I believe) for around $3K, aside from a seam split on the top of the back seatback, the car is immaculate. He also got the complete maintenance history as well. He bought the car because gas was heading towards $5/gallon and commuting in his truck was killing him. After he bought the car, he realized it was too nice to commute everyday in, so he ultimately purchased an 80's 320i for commuting.
  • bob550kbob550k Posts: 148
    Vettes are tough and high miles don't bother them in the least. Outstanding cars.
  • bob550kbob550k Posts: 148
    Now BMW's have eaten me out of house and home in repairs, my Vette just keeps going and going and going.....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    I meant that Vettes start to look very shabby with high miles (or even with not so high miles)---they don't hold up cosmetically and they get loose and rattley. Yes, the drivetrains are pretty indestructible and they are easily repairable---which is a *big* plus, I agree---but some parts are more expensive than you'd think. Vette interiors especially, age in dog years,and the switch gear is cheap, and fit and finish is pretty suspect--things like that.

    Easily correctible, if you want to buy a high-miler and spiff it up. A late model C4 is a very good buy right now and there are all kinds of opportunities for under $12,000 bucks.

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  • texasestexases Posts: 7,736
    "A late model C4 is a very good buy right now and there are all kinds of opportunities for under $12,000 bucks."

    Just saw the 'Wheeler Dealer' where they did just that, bought a ratty one for 2,100 pounds, fixed it up for about 1,000, not counting labor. That included an entire new exaust from the manifold back and a reconditioned instrument panel. They sold it for about 3,800 pounds. Buyer got a good deal, it seems.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    Yeah, how can you beat that for "bang for the buck"?

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  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The problem is - if you want something fast AND old and cheap, it's usually a deathtrap. for instance, a 20 year old Porsche 928 might fit the bill, but unless it's properly maintained($$$), you'd be stupid to actually drive it fast at that age.

    The smart money is on something fast, well made, and under everyone's radar. The Volvo 850 Turbo was a good example of this - a decade ago. Today, it's a lot tougher, since most of the middle-end cars are either aging classics or no longer made. A good example is the Surpa. Cheap used, fast, and oops - not made any more.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    Yeah but being a deathtrap is half the fun :P

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  • bob550kbob550k Posts: 148
    I don't know what vettes you've been looking at, but these cars are plentiful in southern california. There are certain years that are pretty crappy, just don't look at those. I saw a 100,000 mile ZR1 blow out around $12,000 at the palm springs auction, and it was nice.

    A well maintained 928 will drain your wallet faster than a topless blond and the boobie bar.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    I'll testify to THAT!

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Was wondering how we might revive this discussion. Shifty, do you think replacing the word "Classic" with "Collectible" would increase interest in this topic, without materially affecting the intent of the subject?

    I recall that some time back we reduced the minimum age to 20 years, from 25, and raised the dollar value for this discussion to $12,000 from something lower. By substituting "Collectible" for "Classic" we could also consider increasing the minimum age to where it was originally, and/or rolling back the dollar figure to $10,000, or whatever.

    Since it appears from some posts that some people don't make much distinction between classic and collectible, it may not matter much, but I thought I'd pass these thoughts along.
  • parmparm Posts: 724 - - tem=&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AVRI

    1970 Bonneville convertibles are one of my "guilty pleasures". Like the Super Bee, the front end of these cars are so ugly that I love'm. And, here's what appears to be a pretty nice one that recently sold on ebay for $12,000 - right at the threshold of this discussion. This car had been listed the week before with a "buy it now" price of $12,500. The high bid of $10,400 didn't meet the seller's reserve. It was soon relisted and immediately sold for $12,000.

    I'm sure Pontiac made a ton of these, but it's fairly rare that you see one in nice condition that's for sale at a reasonable price. Ironically, there are two other 1970 Bonneville convertibles on ebay right now. And, an auction for a third one sold earlier today for $10,476 - but, it wasn't as nice as the one referenced above. There's also a '69 on ebay, but it's not a '70 and isn't as nice.

    So, here you go. Submitted for your approval . . . . . . a 1970 Bonneville convertible!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    Yeah, those '70 Pontiacs are kinda ugly-yet-cool. Actually, I think the car looks gorgeous when viewed from the side, all sleek and voluptuous and whatnot. And I love the Bonneville without the fender skirts....really helps slim the car down.

    But I never cared for that rear-end treatment. I thought the '69 looked good, with the big bumper and the hockey stick-shaped taillights above, but on the '70, I think it's just a bit poor-fitting. And I never cared for the "6 headlight" look created by putting those horn ports in. FWIW, I never liked it in later years either, when they put the turn signals between the headlights on some Cadillacs and Pontiacs.

    Pontiac's image started going through some turmoil in the late 60's. I think 1967 is the last year the big Pontiacs really made a serious attempt at being sporty and youthful. That was also the only year they had a Grand Prix convertible, and the year with the hidden headlights, that made it look really futuristic. But then almost overnight, the '68 Pontiac seemed a bit dull and dowdy. The midsized cars looked good, but I just don't think the look translated as well on the big cars. But then I kinda like the big '69 Pontiacs. I had a Bonneville 4-door hardtop for a few years, and that thing was a nice least in that rare moment that occurred after it firing up without eating a starter, but before it overheated.

    By 1970 I think the big Pontiacs were just becoming, for lack of a better word, confused. At some angles they do look sleek and sporty, but then they have that retro look going on (they called it "neoclassic" back in the 70's), with the fake horn ports, tall, skinny grille, etc. Still, that deep red one you posted, Parm, looks really nice. Only real downsides I can see are no a/c and no power windows (yes, I guess I'm getting a bit spoiled). I'm sure it really moves with that 455, though! I'd love to know what kind of driving conditions you'd have to endure though, to support that 20 mpg claim.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,687
    But you can buy a really nice late '90s Boxster or Z3 for less than $12K easily.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Not sure what it would take to find a really nice one, but I'd like to get my hands on a first-generation AMC Javelin. This one looks like the best of a bad crop of them on eBay right now.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    If you want the same car with a better front end, look at the Buick and Oldsmobile versions of the same thing. They're generally very under-valued.

    Ebay Item number: 300353785696

    A good example. I think it looks a lot better than the Pontiac version.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    Nice car, but that's a midsize Cutlass. Actually, all of GM's intermediates were good lookers that year...can't go wrong with any of 'em. Now for an Olds equivalent of that Pontiac though, here's a dreadnaught class Ninety-Eight. It's a 4-door hardtop though, not a convertible, and being a C-body is a bit bigger than that Bonneville.

    And here's a 1970 LeSabre convertible. I think the big Oldsmobiles and Buicks were very handsome cars in 1970...a bit less controversial than the Pontiacs. But then, controversial can be charming sometimes.

    Kinda interesting how Buick and Olds played around with the split grille idea back then, along with Pontiac. And 1970 was the year the Dodge Coronet tried on that awkward double-loop bumper/grille that was kind of a love/hate thing.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Hey, that's the same color as my '72 98. Same or similar upholstery pattern too, although mine had no tears and was a lot cleaner. The body of my 98 had some rust, though. I think mine had ~128,000 miles on it when I donated it to the Salvation Army.
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