Classic cars have been gems since the 1980s when the market started promoting them into collectibles. In the beginning, collectors preferred the best classics from the 1930s and 1950s. They bought the well-maintained cars with bespoke bodies, lots of chrome, and a documented historical influence. In the modern-day, any car can be a collectible as long as someone has chosen to invest his time and money to preserve it.
The problem with the car collection market is that the market sometimes promotes some mediocre cars into collectible classics and increases their value while leaving out some of the good ones to rot in the shadows. There are some beautiful classic cars that are clean, rare, and affordable. And they perform even better than the highly praised classic cars. The classic car market does not recognize them, and so the public thinks they are bad buys.
10 Chevrolet Corvette C4
Being a proud member of the legendary Chevrolet Corvette series, no one would expect the C4 to be a forgotten classic. It is a car that took the streets with a bang back in the 1980s with its wedge-shaped body and pop-up headlights. By the time Chevrolet was introducing the C4, the Corvette lineup was on the verge of dying, but thanks to this rear hatch, bright-colored sports car, the Corvette was saved.
Chevrolet designed the Corvette C4 with everything new, from the chassis to the engine, and everything in between. The Corvette C4 was built to hold the road like a pro, and its performance could challenge some high-end European exotic sports cars at the time. Despite all the efforts Chevy put in place to make this a perfect car, the C4 has no place in the high-valued classics.
9 Toyota MR2
Back in the mid-80s, and even today, the world considers Toyota to be a dull automotive manufacturer that specializes in economy vehicles with no interest in super exciting cars. That is not entirely true, though; the MR2 was a mid-engine sports car that offered excellent performance and superb road handling. It was affordable too.
The first-generation Toyota MR2 featured a 1.5/1.6L four-cylinder engine placed between the rear axle and the cabin, right behind the driver. The central positioning of the powertrain is what gave the MR2 such nimble handling. It was fun to drive. The most interesting model was the one that was equipped with a 1.6L supercharged engine that cranked out 145 horsepower. It does not sound like enough power, but the Toyota MR2 accelerates from 0 – 60 mph in just 7 seconds. It is one of the forgotten yet fantastic classic cars that you can buy today for less.
8 Mazda RX-7
Some of the old and forgotten Japanese sports cars of the 1970s are now becoming more popular in the United States. More and more classic car enthusiasts are importing them from Australia and Japan. Some of them with RHD-only configurations.
The Mazda RX-7 is a compact sports car that has all the features of a successful classic car – but it remains forgotten. Mazda produced 500,000 RX-7s between 1978 and 1985. America was its lead market. The car was powered by a 1.1 to 1.3L Wankel rotary engine that produced a maximum power of 135 horsepower. The Mazda RX-7 is not only an affordable performance classic car, but it also has some real, and documented racing success.
7 Toyota Supra MK III
The first generation Supra was launched in 1978. Its original design was based on Toyota Celica. It was a long and wide, adorable sports car.
However, many classic car lovers of the Supra usually go for the MKII and MKIV. It was the MKIII that separated the Supra from the Celica lineup after Toyota gave it an overall transformation both in the chassis architecture, and the bodywork. Being one of the overly overlooked, yet beautiful classic cars, the Toyota Supra MKIII comes way cheaper than most conventional vehicles of its class and performance.
6 Porsche 944
Porsche 911 is a legendary sports car that did and still does put the company in the limelight. It, however, could not be the face of the company all by itself. So, Porsche decided to introduce other models after it, which included 924 in the mid-70s, and 944 in 1983. The 924 was a beautiful entry-level sports car that featured a water-cooled front engine.
The 944 was an improved design of the Porsche 924. It was given a more potent 2.5L, 4-cylinder engine with an initial power output of 170 horsepower. After several improvements on the car, Porsche created the 944 Turbo S – a lightweight sports car with a 2.5L turbocharged engine that cranked out respectable 250 horsepower. The good or rather unfortunate news is that this small, fast sports car did not rise in value when every other vehicle around it rose. It is a fast car that can outrun many expensive classic cars today, and it costs only around 5,000 dollars.
5 Triumph Spitfire
The Spitfire is a beautiful, small two-seat convertible that was launched in 1962 at the London Motor Show. It is a British classic sports car with an Italian touch on it – it was designed by an Italian auto designer, Giovanni Michelotti, in 1957. The last model of the Spitfire was produced in 1980.
A large part of the Spitfire was based on the Triumph Herald saloon, including the engine and the running gear. Its four-cylinder engine produced only a maximum of 75 bhp, which is quite ideal for a car its size. Its open-top and nimble handling make the Triumph Spitfire one of the most fun-to-drive small classic vehicles. Unfortunately, nobody thinks about it.
4 Mercedes 450 SL
The Mercedes 450 SL is one of the best classic sports cars that was produced to offer both performance and comfort. Mercedes built this car as a top-of-the-line sports tourer from the ground up. Despite its beautiful styling and performance, the car has never received the cult-like following it deserves.
With as little as 10,000 dollars, you could easily bag yourself this classic machine, rest assured that it is worth more than that – a forgotten collectible that could challenge anything over and above many overrated classic mediocre cars. The 450 SL is equipped with a potent powertrain and comes with two options of either hard or soft top.
3 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
The first Karmann Ghia was produced in 1955. Volkswagen wanted the Karmann Ghia to represent the company in the sports car segment. The models that followed the first Karmann Ghia were not so different, only slight tweaks in design and performance.
It is one of the best sports cars in the history of Volkswagen, especially in its design. An American industrial designer, Walter Dorwin Teague, included the Karmann Ghia in his list of the considers “most beautifully designed products” in the world. Carrozzeria Ghia, the brains behinds the styling and the overall design of this car, made sure that it will never age. The Karmann Ghia has become more desirable lately, but the car remains one of the most underrated cars in the collectibles market.
2 Ford Ranchero
By the late 1950s, pickup trucks had become a major car segment, and the big names in the automotive industry were already getting deep into the business. As it has always been its norm, Ford wanted to build something different, and so they created a pickup truck that was in between a car and a pickup. The result was the 1957 Ranchero. Ford knew that small car-like trucks would have a massive influence on the market, especially to car users who didn’t haul heavy loads. And also those who didn’t want to buy two cars.
Ford gave the Ranchero everything they deemed right for the public. An optional big-block V8 engine, bi-color exterior, and Ford’s passenger car styling. It also had a stereo, and seat belts. It was a hit and was produced between 1957 and 1979 – seven generations. With all these features, the collectible car market has thrown Ford Ranchero in the shadows.
1 Honda CRX
Honda CRX is one of the most impressive classic cars. It is both affordable and performs like the big guys on the road. Produced between 1983 and 1991, the CRX was based on the Honda Civic design but with a much lower, sportier body. The two-seat sports car had a lightweight frame, and agile handling, making it a real sports car.
The primary selling points of the CRX were the lightweight body and the high-revving four-cylinder engine that produced 140 horsepower. The car had a massive fan-base, which makes me wonder why the classic car enthusiast disregards its worth and leaves it entirely out of the picture.
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