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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

7 under-the-radar classics lurking below $20K

If you've been paying any attention to recent auction sales, it would be pretty hard to convince you that the automotive hobby hasn't turned into a rich person's game, and the 99 percent have been priced out entirely. But that's not true at all.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/7-under-the-radar-classics-lurking-below-20k/
110 REPLIES 110
asemastertech
Intermediate Driver

My '74 Dart Sport Hang 10 was certainly a chick magnet. Took a cutey for a ride the night I met her and 37 years later she is still my wife. Wish I still had the car too.
REJ
Pit Crew

Craig Fitzgerald must not be aware of the rapid inflation of everything in the past year, including classic cars! Try buying a running, or at least practical restorable sixties or early seventies 2-door MOPAR for $7,400. The current Hagerty valuation tool appears to be behind in updating...
KYColonel
Detailer

Not interested.
There are much better choices out there for less than $20k.
I suspect that Cougar is a nice car and the price seems reasonable,
but that roofline is double ugly, IMO.
I'll pass.
MustangJim
Technician

The Ford loyalist in my says Cougar but I am all in that Dodge Dart Hang10. I remember when they we're new and for some strange reason I always thought that they we're cool cars. If the V8 replacement is a 360 then thats a pretty cool ride. If the Cougar was a V8 T-Bird of that generation I would go for that as I did not really like the roof line of the Cougar. So, Dart for me!
Gary
Detailer

Only thing I see worth even thinking about is the Opel GT.. All the Opels with the 1900cc were great cars. Unfortunetly GM decided they weren't making enough money on them and switched to Isuzu with the Opel name, like nobody was the wiser! If I was going to pick a cougar it would have to be 1967-68, either that or a hot 30-40 year old cougar.
JohninNC
Instructor

Don't forget about the 5.0 Thunderbird! Those Cougars with the 5.0 are pretty cool. But the fox Mustang.... it's the one to have.
DanC
Intermediate Driver

As a Mercedes Salesman in 1980-85 I was in love with the 107 Chassis 450 SL. They made tons of them and a huge % of them were well cared for and available today. I got my white on red '75 SL in the low $ teens with 45,000 miles on it in 2014. Drive it on every sunny day I can. Solid, head turner, and really not a financial drain unless you count the MPGs. There are tons of them available from 1974-1990 and don't get over $20K until the retractable hard top models.
DanM
Pit Crew

Hey; What about the Chrysler TC by Maserati? 89-91 Still sitting in the garage after a gal on the phone tried to (unsuccessfully) drive over the top of us. Scared the crap out of the both of us. Still a great looking and great handling car.
ThePorscheMan
Detailer

Next to my old Merc' 220S those Lotus Elite's were the slowest car I've ever driven and I'm 99.9
% sure the other Merc' there never came in that two-tone let alone woodgrain on a 2 door from the factory.
MattLaube
Intermediate Driver

The wood grain indeed was factory- it just looked cheap !
beeser
Intermediate Driver

Is the Mercury 2-tone? Or vinyl-topped?

Chrysler also offered "Sports Grain" on '67-'68 Newport 2-doors and convertibles.

BTW, the story states that Plymouth was "mid-tier". It was not. Plymouth was Chrysler Corporation's entry-level brand, to compete with "egalitarian" Ford and Chevrolet. Dodge was slotted against Mercury and Pontiac/Oldsmobile.
MattLaube
Intermediate Driver

Opel GT was my younger sisters first car. Fun, easy to repair and for a time my family were big Opel fans..inexpensive, German build quality ( But GM none the less) and better that the US counterparts ( none)
Worked on and drove the Lotus at a Lotus dealer in 1978. Odd, hard to park, broke often.
My Grandma drove the Monterey...as her "last " car. Need I say any more ?
Hang 10 Dart..seriously ...rusted out in months not years,abysmal build quality ( I worked at a Mopar store) smog motored slug ...ewwwww!
Rider79
Technician

I kind of like all of these, except the Cougar with that ugly C-pillar.
gary21sn
Pit Crew

Most on that list are not standing the test of time. What were they thinking?
964c4
Detailer

I think we have reached the bottom of the barrel.
janedon
Advanced Driver

yes-Despite the flippers there are many "Classics" regular folks can afford-- & it feels great to be the Only one with That car at local auto shows-
Ryantomorrow
New Driver

Considering the rapidly increasing value of the foxbody Mustang, the SVO (84-86) remains strangely undervalued. Produced in far fewer numbers than the 5.0s, and with much more interesting components, you can still find clean, low mileage unmodified examples below $20k.

I am, of course, slightly biased here.
PDMRCAING
Intermediate Driver

my first new car The SVA was wild for its time.
PDMRCAING
Intermediate Driver

SVO lol
jekirkbride
Intermediate Driver

The Lotus Elite, "a sporting drive in relative comfort thanks to its shooting brake (read: wagon) body style."
Ahem. We call them Cross Overs these days.
DonHO
New Driver

My wife, who was my girlfriend back in the day, really wanted an Opel GT. I would take it to fulfill her dream. But, her dream car now is one she owns, Cadillac XLR, purchased 2 years ago with 17,000 miles on the odometer so her dream changed.
WOOM
New Driver

No Fiat 850 Spiders?
MattLaube
Intermediate Driver

When was the last time you saw one moving under it's own power? Most Fiats aren't worth the hassle but my late cousin Bill auto crossed a 124 ! I had a 67 124 with no 4th gear...no problem just go to 5th
Reatta
Intermediate Driver

When I saw this list, I thought it was a parade of ugly vehicles, not a list of low priced collectibles. Lets face one fact. A lot of these cars were made when they built ugly cars and by ugly car manufacturers. Do you want an ugly car? Do you want a car you can't trust. Do you really want to see some of these in your garage? I have to admit that there are 3 cars in this list, that I like. But the rest are just plain horrible. A 1963 Pontiac Tempest is usually below 20,000 dollars restored and you get good looks and performance. Plus, you can be accepted at most car club shows. Try a little harder with your next list please.
MattLaube
Intermediate Driver

I would have a rope drive tempest...especially with a V 8 !
ve3hzz
Intermediate Driver

Only 1 I'd even consider from this list is the baby vette! Opel GT but as others said piles of rust. Buy a pristine low mileage example bit I bet that one is pushing 20G mark! Lots of other cars in this price point so don't understand this list! Slow day to produce content? 😴 better to not write an article then phone it in!! Sorry 2 thumbs down 👎 for this list ....
IF it has wheels I'm into it!!
ROK
New Driver

While this group may be inexpensive, it's likely for a good reason. Future value? Who knows, lots of cars reach a point where they no longer decline in value and perhaps some of these will be a future million dollar car, but I don't see that as a reason to buy one. Buy what you like, the opinion of others as to the value of my cars is not relevant.
KingofThings
Pit Crew

Considering the 1975 Dodge Dart Hang 10.
Do any vehicles have front quarter panels?
Snowman53
Pit Crew

Fun to see the Opel listed. The 1969 discussed would have been an easy buy. My first new car was a 1975 Opel Manta. Loved it! Mine had the Bosch fuel injection and it actually worked pretty well. Drove it in a number of University of MN Sports Car Club TSD and map rallies. Only had it for two years as the insurance and car payment were more than my checkbook could stand. Sold it to a friend and bought another friend's '71 F250. I can still hear the 1.9-liter motor winding out and feel the shift lever slipping through the gears. Good memories.
Microbob_1984
Intermediate Driver

My brother's 1974 Manta Rallye was the last year for the carbureted cars. He swapped out the Solex factory carburetor, with the water-heated choke, for a Weber carburetor with a manual choke, when we couldn't get the carburetor vacuum leaks to stop after rebuilding the stock carburetor. There was a factory space in the dash for a manual choke knob, used on European cars, that we installed the choke cable into. American cars were fitted with an automatic choke, thanks to the EPA, to meet U.S. exhaust emissions rules at the time.
alfredxm
New Driver

How come you guys never mention one of the best British cars available....Sunbeam Alpines
56Tiger
Pit Crew

That woodgrain Mercury brings back fond memories. A 16 year old friend of mine in high school had a new '72 Pinto. It had to go into the dealer for some service work and he borrowed his mom's '69 Colony Park woodgrain sided wagon for a few days. First, we turned the air cleaner lid upside down on it and removed the air conditioning compressor fan belt for "more power." Then we took it over to the muffler shop and had dual exhaust installed. It sounded great (to us)! When his mom got it back, she promptly drove it over to Joe Kerly Lincoln Mercury in San Jose, and told them to fix whatever was wrong with her car- "It's too noisy!" When the service writer told her, "Mrs. Dalis, you have dual exhaust." She replied, "Dual who?" Then she said, "Just put it all back- I'll deal with my son when I get home!"

We laughed about that for the next 48 years...
HGillett
New Driver

This is exactly the scenario I was in when I bought my 1965 Ford Meteor Montcalm convertible. Minor paint blemishes but the only fix needed was a brake adjustment. Haven’t seen another car like it and it’s a great summer cruiser. Bought for $6500.
Zaskar
New Driver

Interesting but eclectic selection of vehicles. I have nothing against any of these but there surely needs to be a ‘blast from your personal past’ to appreciate any of them. My baby-boomer youth resonates a little with the Duster and Opel but not enough to select either of these over my early-model Boxster that also falls into this price range.
nielen
Pit Crew

I recently sold a 1986 Toyota Celica Supra in excellent condition for $18k on another auction site. Some really good cars can still be had for small money.
tcruarceri
New Driver

At first I saw the Mercury Monterey listed and laughed because there is one listed locally with a weird "factory" wood kit and a slightly high price. I keep scrolling and there is a screen shot of that exact car! Small world.
tm
New Driver

I have a 1997 XJS in my garage in great shape worth 6,500 I also have my sons 1970 Swinger 340 4 speed (numbers matching) that we picked up for 35,000 (Canadian) I want a 1968/69 firebird but have to sell the Jag first. I love to dream about getting another late 60 or early 70 muscle car .... but now at 70 it's getting harder to work on stuff. Interesting list. There was a1969 Lotus Europa for sale on Craigslist Vancouver for around 5,000 but went very quickly.
jorge1958
Pit Crew

Would be nice to see this list with just American cars/trucks
Hacksaw
Intermediate Driver

UH, None of them.
JSD13
Pit Crew

As my driving all totaled is under 10K miles per year these days I'm looking at cars more as lawn sculpture. The Opal takes the cake here but there is something to be said for the Lotus in a "Back to the Future" sort of way. I've only seen one of these. It was parked in the front yard of a house in a tony west of Boston suburb in the early 80's. It seemed to remain stationary for several years and then just disappeared. If I had to drive one it would be the big Ford, so comfortable but where would you park it?
Doublek
New Driver

FB_IMG_1640061814209.jpg

The Jeep, always liked that year and body style, also liked the Houncho pickup version,several running around out here in North Dakota, no worries about rust. Currently own a 1973 Beetle, my daily driver in the summer. Insured by Hagerty.

Biloger
New Driver

What no C-4’s. They are the sleeping giants. You can pick up a clean low miler for under $20. A fun old school hotrod!
Kevin1
New Driver

In the first picture, the 1975 Dodge Dart, is that Paul Michael Glazer from Starsky and Hutch?
Kevin1
New Driver

It would never make this list, but a friend of mine gave to me his 1980 Chevy Citation X11 V6. Red leather interior. He bought it in 1986 and left it at his vacation home. It just turned over 100,000 original miles. I drive it almost daily.
KRW6
New Driver

I dont consider any of those real classics, theyre all ugly, but if I had to choose, it would be the Opel.
Sir-Ian
New Driver

Why are these articles always about American produced automobiles? Some of us own some from across the pond.
Spyder
Pit Crew

In 1974 I bought a 1970 Opel GT for $1800. Since I was a kid, it was my go to school and work car. One time my friends and I decided to see how many people we could put into the car - we got 5 of us in. I started modifying it. Added dual exhaust - which was a mistake - went back to single exhaust. Added a header and some spoilers and them some new custome wheels with BF Goodrich TA radials BR50x13. Wow were these wide. Added "racing" swaybars front and back. The swaybars were the best item to add. The Opel GT handled like a go cart after that. I also modified the body besides the spoilers. I hit a metal post protecting a traffic light one day when it was raining. The body shop decided that they couldn't fix the front end properly and that the lights would not flip up correctly after that. I was going to try to turbo charge the car, actually bought a turbo charger but never got up enough courage to do the work. I tried to sell it about 4 years later but no takers. I decided I was going to keep it and modify it some more, making the wheel wells larger - like the TransAm. I took the car apart and put everything away. I had the car up till two years ago. When I stripped the car, back in the late 1970's, even the paint, I found that the car had been in an accident or two. The driver's door - which was from another car, did not fit quite right at the top, and the passenger quarter panel was a pile of bondo. Anyways, I sold most of the parts on ebay and someone bought the shell for $600. whoever bought the parts got some real good parts.
Oh yeah, I remember my friend and I decided, one night, to go over this small bridge near a lake. The road leading up to the bridge was a long downhill slope - probably at least a 100' in elevation above the bridge. Well Opel GT's can fly. And we survived and the car did not seem to have any wear from the flite.
Microbob_1984
Intermediate Driver

Our family had two (2) Opels when I was in college in the late 1970's and early 1980's. I drove a green 1972 Opel 1900, with a four-speed stick and dealer-installed air conditioning. My younger brother drove a 1974 Opel Manta Rallye. Two (2) friends each owned an Opel GT at that time as well.

Finally, I would argue that your comments about the Mercury Cougar could apply just as well to its corporate cousin, the Ford T-Bird from the same era. Both shared a platform with the Lincoln Mark VIII and used engines from the same family, Ford's "Modular" engine family. The T-Bird and Cougar got the 16-Valve version of the 4.6L, while the more upscale Mark VIII got the 32-Valve version of the same motor.
acooper529
Advanced Driver

So.. having lived and wrenched through this time period, let me ask you.... is any old car that somebody kept in good condition now a CLASSIC? I have had most of these in the service bays and there is almost NOTHING special about them.... save a Dart with some tape-on decals. Exactly what is going on here that I have totally missed?
abone2010
New Driver

Triumph GT6 was a bargain up to 3-4 year ago but I think it’s too late now. Fiat 124 Spyder or Sports Coupe continue to be. I’ve owned one of each back in uni days and they were incredible cars. Refined, reliable, attractive and a lot of fun. The sports coupe was my favourite of the two. An incredibly undervalued car. An extremely good example can be had for under $15,000. A beautiful Italian touring coupe.