The Most Affordable Classic Cars to Buy in 2023

Many people assume that classic cars are expensive to buy. The rarity factor is what lures people into this kind of thinking. And, in some cases, classics can be pricey, especially when they were rare to begin with. Worldwide inflation would also seemingly impact classic car sales. But if 2022 showed us anything, it is that classic car sales are up globally, with auction listings rising from 31,098 in the first part of 2021 to 44,417 by the end of June 2022.

However, there are some affordable classics still making the rounds. Many of them price for under $10,000 in good condition. But which ones are considered affordable?

Five classics stand out for their relative affordability. If you’re looking to buy in 2023, here are the classics you might want to be on the lookout for.

Porsche 944

Porsche 944
Porsche 944 in Rheinbach, Germany I Source: Abehn, via Wikipedia Commons

Any Porsche is going to be highly sought-after, and many of the classic Porsches can be expensive – but not the 944. This rear-wheel, front-engine vehicle was made from 1982 to 1991 and was styled as both a cabriolet and coupe. It had a slew of strong turbocharged engines in its line-up and became a well-loved model over time.

The 944 had over 163,000 units sold, making it one of Porsche’s more successful sports cars prior to the Boxtser. The 1982 Porsche 944 sells between $6,500 and $13,500 based on condition while the 1991 944 sells slightly higher, ranging from $10,000 to $36,000.

Alfa Romeo Spider

Alfa Romeo Spider
1978 Alfa Romeo Spider I Source: Mick, CC BY 2.0, via Wikipedia Commons

European to its core, the Alfa Romeo Spider is a strong rival to the Triumph Spitfire and MGB. But the classic Spider was unique due to its immense price tag back in its heyday. The Alfa Romeo Spider also continued to improve until its run ended in 1994.

Between its second and fourth generations, over 40,000 Spiders sold in America. You can find these vehicles for under $10,00 listed in ‘good’ condition. The hitch is that Spiders tend to rust easily, so you might have to search a bit for a good condition model.

Chevy Corvette

Chevy Corvette
’73 Chevy Corvette I Source: Bull-Doser at English Wikipedia via Wikipedia Commons

The Chevy Corvette is a staple of the classic car world. You can easily buy them for under $5,000, and there are still many of them out there. The 1984 Chevy Corvette Coupe can be bought for around $3,600. One in good condition will not have the appearance of a cheap old clunker of a sports car.

If you want a convertible ‘Vette, the 1986 sells for somewhere around $6,900. About 7,300 units sold in 1986, so there are likely still quite a few of them out there. The 4+3 manual transmission and leather upholstery give you the sense of luxury without the high price tag.

1968-1973 Jaguar XJ

1968-1973 Jaguar XJ
1970 Jaguar XJ6-4.2 I Source: Alf van Beem, via Wikipedia Commons

Want a posh British luxury sedan on the cheap? If so, the Jaguar XJ is known to turn up for a reasonable price. They aren’t exactly the easiest classic to find, but the XJ is a classic worth bringing back onto the open road. You might be able to find one that has the straight-six engine or the more complex V12, and then there’s the small-block Chevy V8 that often gets swapped in by DIYers.

A Jaguar XJ Series 1 carries an average cost of $12,334. On the lower end, expect to pay around $1,900 for a fixer upper. For one in excellent condition, you could pay closer to $29,000. The six-cylinder models are easy enough to work on, but you will likely need to work on them.

1977 Jeep CJ-5

1977 Jeep CJ-5
1977 Jeep CJ-5 I Source: dave_7, CC BY 2.0 via Wikipedia Commons

If you’re a Jeep enthusiast, the CJ-5 is a classic you might want to add to your lineup. The CJ-5 ran from 1955 to 1983, so there are quite a few model years to choose from. There was originally only one engine – a ‘Hurricane’ F-head 4-cylinder based on the engine first used in World War II Jeeps. Over time, the CJ-5 expanded and enhanced off-roading prowess.

The 1977 CJ-5 Renegade came with either a V6 or V8 engine, the latter delivering 150 horsepower. In excellent condition, this vehicle values at around $62,200. However, you can find one in fair condition for under $20,000. Fixing it up can immensely boost the CJ-5’s value.

Which one will you end up buying?

Whether you go British and opt for the Spider or want the CJ-5’s off-roading capabilities, these five classics are considerably affordable compared to their competition. Think carefully about which one will make the best addition to your garage and turn the most heads at car shows.

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Author: Jen Chichester

Jen Chichester is a freelance writer who grew up around classic cars. She holds a M.A. in English Literature and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Advanced Studies in Human Behavior. When she isn't working, she's hanging out with her twin boys and taking care of her cats and guinea pigs.

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