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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

According to you: 13 undervalued vehicles you can enjoy on the cheap

I recently asked folks in the Hagerty Community to submit their candidates for the most undervalued classics, and I received answers that were both insightful and surprisingly varied. The results go to show the diverse backgrounds of our Community fans, but they also make for good content elsewhere in the Hagerty mediaverse.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/according-to-you-undervalued-vehicles-you-can-enjoy-cheap/
192 REPLIES 192
wickedace
Pit Crew

I don't know how the Trans Am WS6 gets the mention but the Camaro SS is totally ignored. After all by this point the Trans Am was merely a badge engineered Chevrolet. One that weighed more as it was a bit plumper in poundage and styling than the Camaro. Also the LS1 engine you give kudos to was taken from the Corvette in a mildly de tuned configuration.
TA76
Advanced Driver

Rebadge? Nope do your homework.
Ogg
New Driver

Seems like everything is being sought after these days. I even saw a Ford Fiesta in mint condition get auctioned on BaT. Smh. I just scored a low mileage ‘05 325Ci in Oxford Green w Sand leather. Despite their MANY problems, E46’s are very well supported and super fun to drive.
wdb
Advanced Driver

Agree on E46, also E9x and E8x as long as you stay away from the turbo motors. The problem areas are well known and a sharp-eyed owner can stay ahead of them without much trouble. The biggest issue is often the last owner who just wanted a BMW and didn't budget for maintenance.
Corvetteman
Intermediate Driver

I just bought a 1985 C4 red Corvette that is just pristine. It has 109,000 kms original on the odometer and certified. All serial numbers match; the upholstery is immaculate, engine doesn't leak oil...everything is perfect. Great ride!!!
The cost was $10,800 CADN. What a deal!!!
under_neath
Pit Crew

With due diligence, the !996-2006 Jaguar XK8/XKR is an excellent ride for reasonable money. These cars have a high maintenance cost reputation but if you want a great GT experience you can’t beat a Jaguar. This may be heresy but the XK8 can reasonably trace it’s lineage to the fabled E models of yore. For less than $20K you can put the top down, thrill to V8 acceleration and find a small pub to enjoy a stout. Often overlooked, the XK8 should merit a mention in this thread.
ctaarman
Detailer

Hi under_neath,
As someone who wrenches on their cars and has owned multiple XK8/XKRs of this vintage, I'll tell you that I won't own another. Engines berfore 03 need chain tensioners replaced. All convertibles require replacing the hydraulic hoses $3K. Body control modules, main computers and other modules are beggining to fail and no one carries replacements, so you are at the mercy of salvagers who you hope have scruples. XKRs are the most challenging in this respect. Beautiful cars, but only for the highly adventurous.
JagAddict
Pit Crew

Good advice. I followed discussions on the XK8/XKR forum a while before purchasing my XK8. I therefor looked only for 2003-06 coupes and avoided the XKR. Naturally I wouldn't object to the extra power but the nearly 300bhp of my naturally aspirated XK8 is quite adequate and satisfying. In six years owning a high-mileage XK8, my only failure was the sending unit for the oil pressure idiot light. I'd like to replace my useless nav with a 3-guage cluster and add the Real Gauge upgrade. Having that would have avoided the needed precaution of a tow home when that sensor failed.
Jimincalif
Intermediate Driver

I owned a 2004 XKR and had little trouble with it other than the seat control module. It was under the seat with too little clearance between it and the floor pans. It would catch and there goes the module. I was always leery of high speed as the front end would lift and the steering became very lite. After a few years I up graded to a Aston Martin V8 Vantage. It is all the car the XKR wasn't. Ya parts are not cheap, but if you take care of it you will not have to spend a fortune. Talking about under valued bargains I bought it for $42,000 with 24,000 miles. It cost me another $3000 to replace needed deferred maintenance items. (ie; transmission pressure hoses, hood, deck, and one door struts, boot pop-up rubber stops, and brake rotors (pads had been replaced, but not rotors). I did spend another $2500 to replace the factory wheels with chromed factory wheels, but when your car is midnight blue they sure make it pop. This is the one that stays until I go. It's my survivors (cancer) car. .
Jr1
Detailer

Make sure that when you buy that Jaguar, you get one with a trunk big enough to hold the bicycle you will need to ride home each time the Jag breaks down.
Padgett
Instructor

Will admit to nine Jags before I took the cure. Even could repair the power brake with an cutoff piece of inner tube. Still cannot keep eyes off oil pressure gauge. DOHC-6 could go to 7,000 rpm. Once.

Padgett
Instructor

If extending to $20k you could get a '06 or later (headlight melting cured) XLR with a 320 hp DOHC-V8. For a few more shekles 443 hp -V with boost is available but was trying to stay under $5k.

JRJones
Detailer

With no prior Jaguar experience, I spotted an XK8 coupe on BaT and was knocked out by the styling. Researching a bit, I took the plunge and flew to Dallas for an ebay purchase, filled with trepidation. There were obvious nickle dime faults and some cosmetics, but it had the XKR trim package in Phoenix red! My first driving experience was getting to WI. A handful of electronic issues annoyed but it felt more than competent. I had shopped an XJS just prior to this experience and the XK8 was better in all regards. I was surprised at the ride height, I looked up at everything, and often everything was looking at me. Toll booth attendants were complimentary. With a clay and wax I ventured a cars & coffee and despite the vintage it attracts attention, "It is so low". Lots of people have no familiarity with the XK8.
I ran into Peter Egan at a picnic and he shared that he had and enjoyed an XK8 convertible. On a journalist foray to to the Jaguar factory, Peter was impressed that almost the entire engineering staff drove XK8s, an endorsement of sorts.
gggdds
Intermediate Driver

While I'm not familiar with all of the selections, I do have opinions on the one's I know, have researched and have actually considered....

The Solstice....
This car is close to useless. It has no storage space. Even if you keep it close to home, if you go to the supermarket, you better not take your lady, or your purchases will all be in her lap. How cars like this get into production is as mysterious as how some idiot politicians get into office....
The 928...
This car is out of production for a reason. I've never understood it's styling. It does perform though. It's low value is inversely related to it's high maintenance cost. I remember being offered one for free, running, and I turned it down. I absolutely hated the " looking upward" headlights...how you flash a car ahead of you? The earlier ones, while handling well, were, well, at least " low-go-showboats" No.
The Corvette...
Everytime I see a C-4, I'm distracted by it's beautiful lines. A sports car should always be a head turner, and the C-4 is just a pleasure to look at. The only reason I don't have one is it's size...it's a bit wide for my mountain roads. But I do love it
The Jag...
Jaguars always are sexy. I could easily be talked into one. A close friend has one--a soft top V-12-- and he says he always has a smile on his face when he drives it. Definitely undervalued...
The "Fiata"....
This is the "girlfriend-that-you-always-wondered-what-would-happen-if-...." I love the styling. I drove several and it felt like it an extension of my body. You "wear" it , like a 911. Having owned an "old" 124, it handled similarly--very forgiving--but the engine, instead of a sewing machine, felt like a young tiger. Almost bought one. Has the perfect top--no power, but you can handle it with one hand! The only thing that stopped me was the practicality of not having AWD. When I found I could have a Carrera 4 996 for less than an Abarth, I went for the former. But that Fiat. Still a place in my heart for it. I can't understand why they aren't selling more of them....
The Alfa...
Another car I seriously considered. The Spica injection isn't the best, but the car definitely has classic Italian spirit. Throw it into a curve to your heart's content and it' won't scare you...very well balanced. Very sexy, especially if you can lose the stupid bumpers. Another "girlfriend" I wonder about. Seriously undervalued....
TA76
Advanced Driver

Storage space? Really?
Driver17
Intermediate Driver

Really. Took a tour with a friend and his wife, them in the Solstice, us in our Boxster. They were really mad when they discovered all our luggage space. When we returned, he started looking for a Boxster.
They are nice-looking, and nice driving though!
TA76
Advanced Driver

If you buy a Solstice it is not for the storage. It is like saying a Trans Am's rear seat is not big enough for my kids to ride in.  Obviously your friend did not do his homework, plus the Solstice is a whole lot cheaper than a Boxster. Being a Pontic guy I have friends with them and they tour with out a problem.   Just saying . . .                                      

MattK
Advanced Driver

Beauty In a car is Subjective. I find the Porsche 928 Fantastic looking, very futuristic, powerful and it holds up extremely well. Low value? Have you priced any lately? Pop up headlights? I think they look cool in all iterations on cars. That C-4 you so admire has them, (Actually they flip) Isn't there a problem there for flashing ahead of you? As well in a fiero, a buick Reatta, a Lotus Esprit, a 4rth gen Firebird etc. etc. Just flip on the headlight and flash. Think that C-4 is wide, I owned one, loved it. Try a C-5 that's Wide. Anyone else "giving away" a 928 for free.....send it my way.
97Cobra
Detailer

Nice read interesting the changes in engine choises. Never knew Subaru made a flat 6. Good work 👍
Jr1
Detailer

That car with the flat 6 was as expensive as a BMW. So, have fun searching for one. They are kind of rare.
AG1962
Instructor

Subaru STILL makes a flat six. Check out the Outback line.
ADM
Pit Crew

I can't believe the relatively modest prices of the ZR-1. Bill Stephens, the arrogant commentator on Mecum auctions, keeps saying he's going buy one, and prime examples have gone across the block, for cheap money, right in front of him. So, buy one!.....and park it next to your '96 Viper coupe.
Padgett
Instructor

ps on the original Top Gear a Crossfire beat a Viper in a drag race. Probably an SRT.

wdb
Advanced Driver

I had an SVX with a 5-speed WRX gearbox. It is a really lovely GT car. Production volume was pretty low however, and the cars were unloved, so finding a good one is a real test. SVX-specific parts are hen's teeth anymore also. It's kind of sad actually as the car really is a treat. That big six gets snarfed up by Vanagon folks and airplane builders too.
BaxterFranks
Pit Crew

Currently my convertible addiction is being feed on the cheap by a 2012 BMW 128i. Before that I owned a used red Solstice. At 6'2" the MX5/124 or the T-Bird were not options. Also bought a 97 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP in the fall of 96 the day it hit the dealers lot. When the needle bearings failed in the nose piece at 50k, it was rebuilt with the smallest pulley that the stock belt & tensioner would run, picked up another 20hp.
billyt
Intermediate Driver

How about the 2003 and 2004 Mustang Mach 1's ? They get no love at all.
Flatman
Pit Crew

I think the real question should be whether there will be a great ‘reset’ in used car values once auto manufacturing resumes. And how soon that will happen. Easy money and few alternatives have created a bubble in the used car market. Inflation expectations have juiced the collector car segment. A lot of these cars have no where to go but down. There are reasons why they are the last to go ballistic. Will it be 3 months, Or 6 months - before buyers start to disappear.
Jr1
Detailer

I'm looking for a sumer-only car to take to the Cruise Nights. However, the shortage of new cars, has caused a huge rise in the cost of used cars. The new car buyers are scarfing up all the good used cars because their old car has died. Dealers are surviving by selling used cars for inflated prices. I will wait until the new cars start coming again, and the sellers start cutting the price of the used car to get rid of it. I will be standing there with the cash. That $7000.00 car they bought for $10,000.00 will be happily sold to me for $5000.00
DT
Instructor

Don't hold your breath. Everything is going to be in short supply for the foreseeable future If we don't get back to manufacturing our own products. China has a us by the short hairs and isn't letting go anytime soon.
Studenorton
Instructor

Tediously speaking for the Captain Obvious Car Club here, but it's always interesting to see market spikes and valleys from the contrasting points of view of potential buyer vs holders and sellers.  It takes a lifetime to learn to 'hold your head right,' but there is always some good news if you want to see it.  This is a good place to see it.

Uniquecoaches03
Intermediate Driver

Great list. I agree with almost all of them, minus the Dodge Dakota and the Jaguar. I have owned 5 Jaguars in my life, all of them classics,minus the XK8. Every single one of them came home several times on a motorized stretcher. Biggest disappointment was the XK8. What a magnificent sculptured modern convertible. The ride was awesome, top down in the fall weather, a cruise up the river road, perfect. Except half way thru the rally,it died and we had to call a tow truck. Spring Fling, another great tour up and down the river valley, oh yeah, the XK had to be towed home. A nice Sunday drive out into the country but didnt plan on an extended stay in the country. Yep, had to be towed home. Idling in the driveway on a cold winter morning, developed a knock. 78k pampered miles with proper oil changes and service, didnt matter. Number 4 cylinder rod bearing just gave up and flaked away. never spun the bearing,just lost all of its material surface and left the shell. Thats okay as we dumped that sad moment in life for an older 2001 996 Turbo. Now its smiles per hour or until the local Police catch me having too much fun on country roads.
jimisbell
New Driver

I guess I have the same eye as you. I have owned 4 of those picks and still own two of them, Sky and Lexus SC. Great picks.
Release182
New Driver

Need to add second gen Probe GTs to that list. Not the quickest but a blast to drive with a stick. Huge greenhouse. Low to the ground and most can be had sub five grand. 

AreJay
Pit Crew

Yes! My ‘06 Solstice gets attention all the time. It’s the only one at the autocross track! Space is a valid critique of these cars but with a hitch and a motorcycle trailer, I travel freely anywhere with my lady. Added a turbo kit to the 2.4L and it goes like stink now. I’ve had it 4 years, no mechanicals even though I push it hard at the track. 

DAY
Detailer

Did you upgrade the pistons and rods and crank with the turbo addition? What's the life expectancy if you don't do that? I have a Turbo 2008 Solstice and love it.
AreJay
Pit Crew

Researched that. The internals of the ‘06 are fine for turbo. Not recommended without upgrades for the ‘07 and later. 

janedon
Advanced Driver

I kind of Laugh when folks rag on about the Reliability of (Now) classic cars--Very few folks would risk using a classic car as a daily driver--& we take much better care of a classic than a regular daily driver-- When just used for "{Sunday drives) or car shows--it's easy to keep them reliable enough for those purposes-



1964tbird
Pit Crew

Very true!
DAY
Detailer

I have an 83 Chevy G-20 Van I drove as a daily drive (bought at barely one year old from my sister) until it neared 300,000 miles. I recently decided to replace the 305 with a 350. It was still running great and not burning any oil, but I figured it was about time for something to give out. Sure enough, when I got inside, I found the the timing chain so loose it I'm lucky it didn't jump time. I have had the transmission and rear end rebuilt and repainted and restored it now, and it is now one of my collectibles. I also am restoring my mom's 78 Grand Prix. She also put nearly 300,000 miles on it. Repainted to original color and bumpers re-chromed. Since it hasn't been driven much for several years, I will have to go through all the systems, brakes etc.
NickB
Intermediate Driver

1978-83 Chevrolet Malibu w. 9C1 police pkg. Featherlite GM "downsized" model with RWD, killer suspension, decent brakes, and yeah, an anemic 150 hp V8. Easily remedied in an afternoon with a crate motor swap.
UncleJerry
New Driver

For "on the cheap" as article states, I seem to never see the Love here for the 2002 thru 2005 Ford Thunderbird!, Mine is a 2003 Limited Ed. ,Whisper White convertible! IMHO, these are very classy cars with good power thanks to the Factory Jaguar small V8 rated at 285 HP stock! A Ford body with Lincoln suspension underneath! Only car late made to to resemble closely to any 50's, a 1955 Thunderbird 2 seat'r and can be had with power convertible top & a removable Hardtop with small round opera glass as 1955. Many Power/ Luxury options included & lots of nice Leather! Mine with under 60K miles, Only thing not stock is Performance Exhaust, Gets compliments at car shows, even with all the old classics & cruises the interstate at 75mph all day long to anywhere! I've had for over 4 years and never a single issue, Made for just 4 years & only 63k made total! What's not to Love! : )
63vette63
Pit Crew

FWIW, I would only have any interest in a few of these vehicles. In descending order: the ZR-1 (having owned 8 '60's Vettes and currently a '93 6 speed coupe) and the Solstice/Sky (having owned 3 Fiero GT's which I agree with Cadero2dmax that Fieros are a blast to drive and call me crazy but I still love the look of the '86 - '88 GTs with the factory spoiler - they look odd without them to me). A lesser interest would potentially be the Fiat Spider but, of course, I'd have to drive one first (I've owned 3 '60's 850 Spiders which were also great fun to drive) and last of all, the Trans Am, since I'm not really a fan of the styling after the 2nd gen F-bodies.
Padgett
Instructor

Would have bought a Solstice with the promised Fiero GT V6. They didn't and I stuck to Fieros. Since the '70s have always had a long roof/ tow car/GT/DD mostly configured as a two seater with A Lot of luggage space. Current DD is a CTS coupe. Grand Cherokee tow car is an inch longer. That takes care of the front garage.
dooscoop32
Detailer

One vehicle I would like to nominate for this list would be the 2008-10 Chevrolet HHR SS.

The SS version is like a whole different vehicle in an HHR body. For starters, it has 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes which is an exclusive for them. It has a race-tuned high-performance suspension, unique front and rear fascia, a spoiler mounted on the rear liftgate, an analog A-pillar-mounted titanium boost gauge, leather-wrapped steering wheel along with SS-only 18 inch high polished aluminum wheels among many other unique features.

But the best feature of the SS is its engine. It is a 2.0L turbocharged powerplant just like the one used to power the Pontiac Solstice GXP and the Saturn Sky Redline. This engine has 122 cubic inches but in 5-speed form, produces 260 HP. That is more than 2 HP per cubic inch!! That is the highest ratio of horsepower per cubic inch of ANY engine GM has ever made.

And I can attest from personal experience of owning one, that this vehicle is a blast to drive. The handling is amazing and the fuel mileage is great if you stay out of the turbo. Or if you decide, you can fool a lot of people at red lights who think they are going to race a regular old HHR. But they soon found out differently!

DAY
Detailer

Then, you would really love the Turbo Solstice.
janedon
Advanced Driver

The HHR "Could" have been such a great success "IF" it had been Larger & more Useable-

Jr1
Detailer

Thanks for nothing. Now the car I'm looking for will be 40% more expensive.

I was bidding on a Fiero GT 1988, and the books all said it was worth about $7,500 for a great daily driver with no blemishes. I missed a local one that went for $7,400.00 which was almost perfect except for a few minor scratches. 32,000 miles, V6 Five speed. I bid it to $7,500 on Haggerty and there was about 1 hour left . Then someone dropped in a $11,000.00 bid at the last second. WHO DOES THAT? Someone with money to waste?

Now that all the good Fieros are gone, I'm looking at a Solstice in the $8000.00 range which will probably go for $12,000.00 .
AreJay
Pit Crew

Baha, you can have mine for $18K CDN (not really…keeping it until I can drop-in an LS). 

Sigfus
New Driver

The 1980-82 C3 Corvettes! Beautiful design and very nice cruisers
parolla
Pit Crew

I agree with Padgett on the Buick Reatta. Its affordable, reliable, and a very comfortable highway cruiser that gets lots of positive comments and looks even in a top end heavy market like Scottsdale. Its tough to get more feedback for the dollar than a Reatta.