Every few years, a new generation of young car enthusiasts tips the scale of the market and demands classic cars. This time, Japanese classics are the trend, and the search for affordable ones becomes pertinent. And given that the value of classic cars continually grows and changes over time, affordable classic cars represent incredible investment opportunities as well.
These Japanese-made cars defined their era and still have miles left on them, yet are guaranteed not to break the bank. But just in case they are still too pricey, we’ve included a few American alternatives that are readily available and even cheaper.
10 Japanese Classic: 1992-95 Mazda RX-7 $23,000
The Mazda RX-7 is one iconic modern classic that took the sports car market by storm. Although Mazda started producing the RX-7 as early as 1978, the third generation featured many changes beyond exterior design.
Apart from being a luxury sports car, it was up to the performance task, offering a 1.3 L (79 cu in) twin-turbocharged 13B-REW engine that could crank up 273 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. It provides tremendous on-road experience and can go from rest to 60 mph in 5 seconds.
9 Japanese Classic: Toyota MR2 $12,500
The Toyota MR2 is a more practical car with a compact design. The MR2 production spanned from 1984 to 2007 and saw about three generations. It was more of a budget-friendly compact sports car.
The earlier models produced 112-horsepower from a 16-valve, twin-cam 1.6-liter engine, but with time progressed to a 2.0L engine that could compete with some Porsche and Ferrari models. Quite interestingly, the MR2 is currently cheaper than the $20,000 mark.
8 Japanese Classic: Honda Beat $13,217
This was the last car to be approved by Soichiro Honda before his demise. The beat is a compact car that was produced between 1991-1996. It had a great sales year initially, but it declined as time went on.
This convertible had a top speed of 84 mph and could go from rest to 60 mph in 13.1 seconds, which is pretty decent. It offers a 0.7L MTREC (Multi Throttle Responsive Engine Control) system to produce 63 bhp and 48-pound feet of torque. Its successor, the Honda S660, was released in 2015.
7 Japanese Classic: 1972 Datsun 1200 $3,500
Now known as the Nissan Sunny, this very comfortable car comes at low maintenance cost and even lower price tag. It’s a second-generation Datsun that was launched in 1970 and became a notable rival for the Toyota Corolla.
The Datsun Sunny features a 1.2 L A-12 series engine that can produce 69 horsepower at 6000rpm. Its engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission, and it’s an economical car, with 28.7 mpg in overall driving.
6 Japanese Classic:1964-67 Datsun Roadster 13,500
Although Nissan produced the Roadster in the 1960s, it can still hold its own today. It’s a cool convertible that features 14-inch wheels and an independent front suspension that utilizes coil springs over hydraulic shocks.
It has a 1.6 L R16-powered in-line four-cylinder OHV engine that produces 71 kW and 95 horsepower. The top speed of the roadster is 105 mph. This Datsun Roadster can be gotten for as low as $10,000 but may require a careful inspection and minor repairs to ensure an optimal riding condition.
5 American Classic: 1990 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z $10,500
The Chevrolet company launched this third-generation Camaro in 1985. However, it was released as the 1990 chevy. It’s one of the cheapest American muscle cars and some even sell for as little as $5,000.
It was one of the best cars of the ’90s and had a maximum output of 245 horsepower and 345-pound feet of torque from a 5.7-liter V-8 engine. It goes from 0 to 60 mph with a manual gearbox in 6.9 seconds and has a quarter-mile time of 15.4 seconds at 91.5 mph.
4 American Classic: 1981 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe $13,500
This Chevrolet Corvette coupe has a badass look that could turn heads in its direction. Although the Corvette coupe did have sufficient sales, it’s a pretty good car that should not be forgotten.
It has a 350 ci pushrod V-8 engine that produces 190 horsepower and 280-pound feet of torque. The Corvette coupe is fitted with a manual transmission and could go from rest to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. The coupe is less pricey, and getting one that costs less than 10 grand should not be difficult. However, most of the used models we’ve seen go for around $14,000.
3 American Classic: 1979 Pontiac Firebird $14,500
In the late 70s, the Pontiac Firebird rose to fame due to the free publicity it got from the iconic Hollywood movie, Smokey and the Bandit. The Firebird is an affordable classic car, which could go for as low as $10,000. This 1979 second-generation Pontiac Firebird is powered by a 6.6 Liter V8 90-degree engine, which produces 220 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque.
It has an elegant exterior design, with its two-door coupe type body and comfortable interior. It has a top speed of 93 mph and comes with a 3-speed manual gearbox.
2 American Classic: 1978-80 Plymouth Fire Arrow $11,000
The fire arrow is a cheaper stylish model produced by Plymouth, although it came with subpar horsepower. It’s a cheaper alternative to most modern hatchback coupe, and some even go for $7,000.
The fire arrow features a large 1.6-liter engine but gives only 105 horsepower. The car operates a five-speed automatic transmission and has a top speed of 99 mph. Even though it’s no longer in production, getting a used fire arrow shouldn’t be too difficult.
1 American Classic: AMC AMX $17,500
It’s a two-seater sports car that was made to rival the Chevrolet Corvette. Since the AMC has gone ahead to produce more awesome automobiles, the AMX is arguably the best car to ever come from AMC.
The AMX had a V8 engine that could produce about 225 horsepower in early models and even progressed to 325 horsepower in the 1970 model, which is quite the feat. With such high-performance figures as this, the AMX is a good investment.
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