At some point in every auto enthusiast’s life, they’ll yearn to own a classic car. Whether you go through with it or not doesn’t make you any less interested in cars. But if you’re going to make the leap, at least save a few bucks. These cheap classic cars are sure to turn heads, and will be easy to fix, without breaking the bank.
Chevy Novas, and many other mass produced American cars
The key ingredient to a perfect, affordable project car has to do with how many were made. The more a car was produced, the more parts will be available and the less likely they’ll be marked up as “rare classic cars.” That makes a ton of American muscle cars easy to restore, but the Chevy Nova is quite possibly the cheapest according to Hemmings. This is partly because over 1 million of them were made, so parts are readily available, but they’re not of ludicrous collector’s status, so they don’t cost much up front.
Early Ford Mustangs and Dodge Chargers could also be good options, but those iconic names tend to ramp up the price. Though, if you do find one for cheap and fix it up with the abundance of MOPAR parts floating around, then you can flip it for a pretty penny.
Most ’60s and ’70s MGs are small, simple, and inexpensive
From across the pond, you have the majority of the MG lineup. Jut search on Classic AutoTrader for sub $10,000 and you’ll find they make up a large chunk of the list. In fact, they’re some of the cheapest running cars due to how plain simple they are.
There are MG Midgets out there, but I’d personally go with an MGB. They can be found with a hardtop, which is less prone to the elements (though, if your MG will be garage kept, just bring it out on sunny days), and are all-around fun cars. But they’re also dirt cheap online.
There are a few kinks, parts being one of them. They can be ordered and are abundant but may be slightly expensive due to overseas shipping. Though, perhaps more troubling is that these budget British roadsters often need constant work. They spring oil leaks, and once you fix those leaks, they spring more leaks. But if you like to tinker, then these are great options. Just make sure the thing isn’t a total rust bucket.
You can’t go wrong with a classic Volkswagen Beetle
While classic Beetle’s (and most Volkswagens) often face rust problems similar to MGs, they’re stupid simple. That rear-mounted configuration and air-cooled philosophy make the engine as basic as possible. Not only that, but Volkswagen parts are everywhere, as the cars were mass-produced here in the states, and ridiculously popular.
Of all the options on this list, or any list of easy to restore classic cars, the Beetle might be the safest. There’s very little to it, it’s small, and the lack of a cooling system means there’s one less thing to leak. But a word of warning to anyone buying a cheap classic car, as you will inevitably spend more than you thought.
A note about buying a sub $10,000 classic car
The cheap classic car you buy won’t be in perfect condition. Just ripping the band-aid off now. There will be problems, you may not even be able to drive it home, and you will have to fix things as you go along. In fact, members of a Chevy Nova Forum even recommend buying a $30,000 finished car rather than a $10,000 project, as you’ll get to enjoy driving it more.
But if you’re looking for a project, then the options on this list should serve you well. They’ll fill you with pride with every fix. And if you’re lucky, the car will sell for more than what you bought it for when the time comes.