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Grace
Hagerty Employee

8 cars and 2 trucks you can score for under $15,000

When it comes to collector automobiles, it can seem like your money doesn't go as far as it once did. We dug into the data to see what affordable vehicles can be had for a reasonable budget of $15,000 in #3 (Good) condition. Why #3 condition? Our research has found that, time after time, the condition of the average collector automobile falls right within this classification. A #3 car is ready for a long drive without making excuses, but it may have some flaws and/or incorrect parts.

 

Here are 8 cars and 2 trucks we found that fit the bill. While this is not a comprehensive list of vehicles that fall within a $15,000 budget, these are some well-known and emerging collectors to consider if you're in the market. We also posted a livestream on this subject, which you can find here.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/valuation/8-cars-and-2-trucks-you-can-score-for-under-15000/

54 REPLIES 54
Music_michael
New Driver

No, no no.... why are you including the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow in this list.  I own four of these and you insure all four of them. Any Shadow for $8000 is not worth owning.   You are absolutely misleading your readers with this particular car, I know because I keep four of them on the road. You absolutely must be mechanically inclined, have a shop with all the proper tools, otherwise you will have to utilize a Rolls-Royce specialist which can be up to $150 or more an hour.  These cars, if not properly maintained, can be death traps because of the non-standard braking system. I think you should remove this car from the list.  Articles like this are precisely the reason why these cars have not appreciated where they should be because they give people the idea that it’s simple, easy and cheap to drive a Rolls-Royce. They buy the darn thing, then can’t afford to maintain it and then guys like me have to go behind them and clean up the mess or worse yet they end up in junk yards. Honestly, I wish you would just stop writing about these cars. One final thought, referring to this as a mass produced car is laughable, production run of 16,000 units I mean, Toyota makes that in one day

Joeebuns
Passenger

I agree with Music Michael. I have a 78 Shadow and it is the most comfortable car I own. I have 5 which include Mercedes , Jaguar and CadillacThere is no Shadow worth buying for $8700.
tim92
Passenger

It may, but what do you think of NIO? More information here: https://trustedbrokers.com/uk/stocks/NIO/
70sKid
Pit Crew

Now these make for some interesting and varied choices. I really dig the inclusion of the 944S and the GTV-6. But as a I have a thing for roadsters and Japanese engineering both, so I'd likely go on the hunt for one of the Datsun Roadsters out of this lot. (That 944S is quite the looker though.)

LaxLo12
Passenger

I'm surprised you didn't include the Mercedes Benz SL 500 Roadster in your list.

zmega
Pit Crew

Absolutely the R129 Mercedes!
GaryDean
New Driver

I absolutely love my 1999 SL 500. Just be sure to either buy one that has already had the hydraulic cylinders that operate the soft top replaced, or if you're mechanically inclined, you can rebuild them yourself for about $250 worth of gaskets.
JasonFromCT
Pit Crew

Nice read. Though if you find me a cherry LX 5.0 Notchback 5 spd for 15k I’ll buy 2. I think that was a couple years ago prices. I recall a perfect untouched one was on eBay out of the Mass. area a few years ago and sold for over 15k. You’re a cheap heads and intake package away from a 300hp, sub 3000 lbs car. It’s just too tempting to leave them stock. 

JasonFromCT
Pit Crew

Looks like 25-30K is the real number on these, and that's not even pristine condition. So like I said, I'll take 2 at 15K 😉
2Classics95N72
Intermediate Driver

Great list and I agree, probably because I went out and purchased a great, low mileage 1995 Corvette (Red).  I've always had some sort of "Classic" in the garage and now have the Corvette which provides me with my "Muscle Car" quest and also the "72 Beetle" which; well is simply a "Fun", "True", "Always gets Comments" - "Classic".  Yes sir, although $15K is not "jump change", it is an affordable price that can get you into enjoying the weekend cruises in a "Classic".  Thanks.

Oddball
New Driver

Corvairs, you can get an absolutely perfect first or second generation Corvair for this money.  Also, Porsche 928’s, but oh, the repair costs will kill you! Fiero’s with the V6 too.

RACN33
New Driver

When are going to include the Crossfire SRT6 on your list. The coupe version, in good or excellent condition, are going for under $15,000. This version of the Crossfire has an AMG Supercharged engine producing more than 350 HP, and has beefed up suspension and breaking. Reliabilitity of these cars is terrific, and there is a 3000 plus worldwide support system group on facebook to maintain and enjoy these cars. They are fun to drive and quicker than most of the cars on your list.

RACN33
New Driver

When are you going to include the 2005 Crossfire SRT6 on your list. The coupe version, in good to excellent condition, is going for under $15,000. This version of the Crossfire has an AMG Supercharged engine producing more than 350 HP, and has beefed up suspension and breaking. Reliabilitity of these cars is terrific, and there is a 3000 plus worldwide support group on facebook to help maintain and enjoy these cars. They are fun to drive and quicker than most of the cars on your list. 

77GL
Intermediate Driver

Jeeps?  Blazers?  Come on.

PopsMcDaddy
Passenger

Blazers, Yukon's, and Wranglers are on here but why not Wagoneers? Way cooler than those other options. 

golfnut53083
Intermediate Driver

I recently purchased a 2000 BMW Z3 roadster for my wife. 54k miles, no accidents and rust free for <$10k. With the 2.8L 6 cylinder and a 5speed, it is a hoot to drive! 

RCD
Passenger

How about BMW Z3 roadster.  I own one and it is a great drivers car. '02, 3.0, 5S, 55,000 mi in #2 condition. Worth about $13,000.

Aquay_Mizmo
Intermediate Driver

The 2004 - 2006 GTOs are the buys of the century.  Incredible performance for the money.

quaybon1
Pit Crew

good choice
02-orignal-ownr
Detailer

You can still buy a really nice carbureted BMW 1600/2002 for well under $15k.  I'd also add to the list most any BMW E30 Three series (1984-91) other than an M3--some of the more popular--and low mileage--models are creeping over the $15k barrier, but many nice ones are available--and not just the plain Jane 4 door sedans.

DrWho
Pit Crew

The Miata photo is of an early NB, i.e. 1999 - 2000. The 2004 - 2005 Mazda speed has different headlights and front end. These Turbo cars at this price usually have 100K plus miles. Better to pay more and buy a low mileage car. Mazda did not just bolt a turbocharger on the standard engine, but revised the entire power unit. I am told that by changing the computer (Fuel metering) there is a lot more power to be had.

DrWho
Pit Crew

Buy the Datsun 2000 Roadster - a much better car than an MGB. Buy the best one you can.

Alleycat
Passenger

gee........you forgot the BMW 840CI....probably the BEST for under 15k !

GregS
New Driver

You can still find Honda S2000's for under 15K....What a great roadster, fun to drive, reliable, easy to work on, and parts aren't too expensive.... and available! A good looking roadster, that if maintained, keeps it's value.

bravobill
Passenger

Some of these cars just ... just ... ahh, you just have to sit back once in awhile and think ... what are we doing.  It's nostalgia.  Look it up. 

Calcifer
New Driver

You could include the best handling car ever to come off an american assembly line at the time it was produced in 1988. Good examples of Pontiac Fiero's are selling for 5k and award winning showroom examples can be had for 10k. In 1988 Autoweek did a comparison between the base Fiero and the top of line supercharged MR2 and still prefered the Fiero

cyclemikey
Intermediate Driver

The "average value" is deceiving, particularly when your selection includes a broad age range, as it dos for the C4 Corvette. You aren't getting a '96 C4 LT4 for $6500, and probably not for $15,000 either, not a really good one that's worth owning.

Sgvette63
New Driver

Not many C4 Corvettes worth owning at all, even at $6500.
Bommer
Passenger

I know that there are questions that you can ask and every time get a different answer. For your list I have 1 yes and 2 maybe.

Maui944
Navigator

Great list!  Really well done!!  The 944 S2 is the best of the bunch.  It is really refined for this price point and nothing can keep up with it around the corners!!!  Very reliable as well.

JohnEStark
New Driver

I know you can’t list them all, but the absence of the Fiero will cause a lot of people to overlook one of the most fun for the $ vehicles in this class.  Good drivers. Under 7k, easily to fix cars for under 5k, and swapped 3800 or v-8 cars around 10k.  A pretty good fanatic family exists for friendship and fix-it help.  
JEStark. 1978 Fiero GT

CarlClearwater
Pit Crew

One of the Best Values right now are the 97 to 2004  Mercedes Benz SLK’s. Retractable Hard Top’s with high reliability ratings. Very well built and fun to drive. Most have been well cared for and low mileage. You can find some beautiful examples for under $10K. 

pianomanic
Passenger

Second Gen Camaro's  (1974-1982 only) are not only inexpensive and cool to look at, but also really cheap to maintenance and very reliable cars that drive pretty well. 

MattK
Detailer

I can attest to the Corvette bang for the buck. I had bought an 84 C-4 for $7500. What a blast. And with just a little care they hold up really well. I replaced the blinky digital dash myself (A common problem with this dash.)  Sent in the core and got back a newly refurbished dash and dropped it in. LOL the Blinky Dash saved me from getting a ticket! I apologized to the officer and I wasn't going really that fast, I said the dash board went out on me and needed repair (The dash would blank out) then I promptly banged the top of the dashboard and the dash came to life! The officer let me slide. 

Ajtarman
Passenger

The writing style exhibited in this

article is tedious and distracting.

Like the rear end of a '58 Buick

Special. Author needs to write

How he/she talks. Shorter sentences. Lose the painful

Participles.

GaNavy
Passenger

My dad owned a Datsun 2000. It was a blast to drive, but one of the most cantankerous cars our family ever had - very difficult to keep in tune. Like its contemporary Fiat 124 Spider, the 2000 is a lot of fun but will test your patience.

 

Speaking of the 124, it might have made this list, too.

quaybon1
Pit Crew

Z31 (1984-89) and Z32 (1990-96) Nissan 300 ZXs should be included on the list for sure. The Z31s are very reliable and fun to drive, but parts are sometimes difficult to find. Our 87 is a great driver. The 3.0 liter is bulletproof. We have had virtually no issues. The 90-96 models offer the same reliability and parts are much easier to find. American cars from the 80s suffered from bad quality control, resulting in poor reliability. These lists, of course, are objective, but there needs to be some criteria when making choices.
WillP
Passenger

SRL 311 Datsuns in #3 condition for 15 K ? Where ?

Sgvette63
New Driver

If someone spends $15k on an ‘84 Corvette, even if “near-perfect,” they need to have a competency hearing and be assigned a guardian.

Bullypit
Pit Crew

The Rolls would blow the budget before you left the lot - that is why they are so cheap.  I like the Datsun 2000.  In 1973 I had a choice between a 1968 2000 for $1600 and a 1966 Sunbeam Tiger for $1200.  I chose the Tiger and still have it (now worth $50K+) so I guess I made the right choice, but the Datsun is still a cool car...

TimK
Detailer

Regarding the C4 Corvette. Although I prefer Fords, like most American boys around my age, and many girls, I always wanted a Corvette. Reality always got in the way including the cost of insurance. My favorite Vettes are the C3 but the C4 is affordable. I've had my 87 for 17 years but haven't driven it in 2 years for various reasons due to work now needed and having other spending priorities. Thankfully Hagerty makes it affordable to keep insurance on it.

I never was a Porsche fan but I do like the more traditional style of 944. I almost bought one 20 years ago but the seller changed his mind.

The RR is not a car for the budged minded, even if you can get one reasonably priced. I had 67 RR in my shop once to replace rusted brake lines. Just looking at the brake lines then studying their braking systems I knew it would be a nightmare job that I did not want to do. I know there are factory trained mechanics who like to work on them, be ready to pay one because without proper training and tools, even a good mechanic will probably be in over their head. Something enjoyable happened while the Rolls was here, though. We have a video of our granddaughter in the backseat, rolling down the window and asking us if we had any Grey Poupon. I just wish I had a 67 Ford LTD to park next to the Rolls with a sign saying this car, the LTD, was quieter than that car, the Rolls.

Historian
Detailer

Sgvette63 has no clue what he's talking about. It is true that bone-stock C4's had issues, but it doesn't take a genius, nor a huge amount of money to make it into something to be proud of. In 84 and 85, they dominated all their Euro counterparts in road races, and with some minor improvements, I have seen them blow the doors off C5's and C6's on the track. The C4 also has a loyal following among owners, contrary to what Corvette snobs like him think.
farna
Advanced Driver

For $15K you can get any number of collector cars. AMCs have always been great bang for the buck cars, and you can even find a decent AMX two seater for $15K if you look hard enough. Almost any other AMC in #3 condition will be under $15K, and many will be #2. AMC just isn't appreciated -- it's popularity that drives prices up on the equivalent Big Three models. Want a mid 60s Chevelle hardtop but can't afford it? Consider a 67+ Rambler Rebel. Similar size and power as any small block Chevelle, half the cost for the same condition. Not only that, you will get as much or more attention because you'll likely be the only one at a show. My brother hated that my car got more attention than his when we took my 63 Rambler Classic wagon and his 65 Mustang coupe to Pigeon Forge one year!!

TonyT
Instructor

Here in the People's Republic of Kalifornistan, all of your suggestions/examples (except the Datsun) will require a biannual emissions inspection which means one will go broke and crazy trying to find the correct parts to keep the high-mileage engines in compliance with the smog police. So, vehicles made prior to 1975 are much more in demand because we can make them go faster and sound gooder without repercussions. And speaking from experience, one would need treatment for masochism if one were to select the Rolls...

scottgf
Passenger

Good luck getting a nice Datsun Roadster in this price range, especially the 2000. I’ve been following these on BaT the past couple months.  No way to get one there in this range.   Cheers 

Zephyr
Instructor

The last time I saw these particular models of Alfa, Rolls, and Datsun on the street has to have been at least 30 years ago. Price might be good, availability not so much. 

daffodildeb
Pit Crew

Surprised the Porsche 986 Boxster isn't on the list!  It's a serious sports car, well within their budget.

Rosemary
Passenger

can you ship to the UK, regards John Clark.

spoom
Technician

Not surprising why some of these cars are on the list. If the C4 had been the first 'vette, it also would have been the last. Same with the Fox 'stangs. Just placeholders for great names, they lowered the bar to where the prices followed. (and stayed)