Journal: What's the Best Vintage Car Under $7,500?

What’s the Best Vintage Car Under $7,500?

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
January 22, 2013
24 comments

After years of touting how great it is to own and drive a classic car, you’ve finally convinced your friend, nephew, neighbor, or other unsuspecting soul to make the plunge and buy their first vintage automobile.  What would you recommend they get for under $7500?

Here’s how Afshin Behnia, Petrolicious founder/CEO and incurable Alfista, answers the question:

“I’d recommend a 1970 – 1975 Alfa Romeo Spider.  These 2-liter ‘Series 2’ Spiders are very fun to drive and easy to work on and surprisingly reliable.   And because Alfa Romeo’s twin-cam engine design remained mostly unchanged from the 1300cc engines used in Giuliettas from the ‘50s, once you learn how to work on the Spider, you’ll be able to work on most other Alfas (and believe me, you’ll end up with more Alfas!)”

In case Afshin’s got you interested, check out the Spiders he recommends here on eBay.

– – –

Now we’d like to hear from you:

What’s the best vintage car under $7500 for a first-time buyer?

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24 Comments on "What’s the Best Vintage Car Under $7,500?"

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Andreas Ludwig Julius Sourisseaux
Andreas Ludwig Julius Sourisseaux
3 months 4 hours ago

We should also consider the Lancia Fulvia. Highly underrated. Wonderful car. I regret that I sold 1975 in verde irlandese

Peter Lukáč
Peter Lukáč
4 months 28 days ago

Alfa Spider is really great! I am looking for BMW 2002, great, but not expensive car! Or Citroen DS, there are some cheaper vehicles, too, with big charisma. 🙂

Michael Squeo
Michael Squeo
3 years 10 months ago

I think I own (owned) three terrific candidates. My 65 four-carb Corvair Corsa is the most vintage of the group, then my 72 Volvo 1800 ES and now my too new to be vintage, even though it is 25 years old, 87 Alfa Spider. Three very different cars, all of them fun (yes the ES was fun) and all gathered attention wherever they went. That’s my 2 cents. Someday I’d like a 71-72 1800 E, and also a Triumph TR-6, but they’re not in the under $7500 segment anymore.

Niklaus Gingro
Niklaus Gingro
3 years 10 months ago

I’m gonna be a little different and say the NA miata, the first year was ’89 so it’s 24 years old now. Close enough. And for $4k you can get a mint first year Miata.

Paer Pettersson
Paer Pettersson
3 years 10 months ago
“Each to his own” – a phrase of humbleness, but also one that would take things into consideration that exceeds personal taste. I’m thinking variations in climate, family situations, local gasoline pricing and so on. Being a devoted petrolhead, it’s easy to get carried away in this question and immediately start to search the back of your mind what kind of exotica one could get for this budget. But, if one truly wants to spread the enthusiasm and greatness of this passion to a novice, it might be good to start with something fairly usable, reliable and with decent supply… Read more »
John Papalardo
John Papalardo
3 years 10 months ago

So many potential answers to this question!! Lots of cool rides for under $7500 – but depends on what you want — my favorites.
Open top: Austin Healey Sprite Mk II
Muscle Car: Ford Falcon 64ish
Sedan: W111/W108 benz.
Some examples – not mine – no affliation.
http://www.dailyturismo.com/2013/01/5k-flash-1963-austin-healey-sprite-mk-ii.html

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1965-Ford-Falcon-Futura-project-car-GREAT-SHAPE-DONT-MISS-THIS-/160961813116?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item257a125a7c

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1970-Mercedes-Benz-280-SEL-sedan-/321058453756?_trksid=p4340.m748&item=321058453756&ViewItem=&_trkparms=clkid=5109706238667193522&forcev4exp=true

Craig Zeni
Craig Zeni
3 years 10 months ago

I’d concur on the open car, spreading it to all Midgets and Sprites 1974 and earlier. A hoot to drive, simple to repair, very few parts made of Unobtanium. The greatest enemy of these are the tin worm and the dreaded previous owners with the concomitant hack job repairs to wiring and other systems.

Michael Tester
Michael Tester
3 years 10 months ago

It’s truly much harder now to find value classics but the Porsche 944 definitely is one of these. You can get them in the 6 or 7 grand range. Solid construction, fun to drive. Great, unique sounding engine. These are on the cusp of increasing in value now because of how much the 911 has gone up. Datsun 240 and 280z’s are great as well. Not the quality of a Porsche but better styling than the 944 I think.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
3 years 10 months ago

As another Petrolicious fan from the UK, I also have to go with the MGB although I would go with the GT version with its Pininfarina designed coupe body. Cheap to buy, massive support network and very tuneable.

I’m not sure if they classify as vintage yet but the front engined Porsches can be brought for that money (here anyway). The 944 would be my pick especially the Turbo.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason
3 years 10 months ago

Are the 944’s easy to work on at all? It is always a car that interests me especially when I see them done nicely.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
3 years 10 months ago

I had a 944S2 with the 3.0 twin cam engine which is a complex unit on account of the need for balancer shafts to smooth out the big 4 cylinder engine. Cam belts and rollers need to be changed regularly, and also watch timing chain tensioner hasn’t stretched. Also the gearbox had to be dropped in order to change the clutch.

The driving makes it worthwhile I’m considering getting another although probably look at a Turbo this time.

Ryan Hoyle
Ryan Hoyle
3 years 10 months ago
I’ll step out on a limb and make the odd recommendation. I love Fiat Spiders. I have a 1979, but for under $7500 you can get any year you like. There’s a bit of variation through the range, early ones with smaller engines, up to 2liters from 79 to 85. Carbureted until 1980, then fuel injection. It’s light, has enough power to be quite fun, and can be modified quite easy. My carbureted dual overhead cam engine sounds just awesome. The best? probably not, since I always find myself wanting others to add, but maybe fortunate for my wallet I… Read more »
Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia
3 years 10 months ago

Good call. Also, aesthetically, I LOVE the 850 Spiders. Any idea if they’re fun to drive / easy to work on?

Ryan Hoyle
Ryan Hoyle
3 years 10 months ago

I love the lines on the Fiat, I don’t know how I skipped that in my first comment.
The 850 spider is a really cool little car too, smaller than the 124 spider, but still neat. They’re mid-engine, so they aren’t as easy as the 124 to work on, but shouldn’t be much harder than a 914? basically same mounting place. I haven’t driven one, but they’re suppose to be fun to drive, they have tiny engines though, 843cc. Not a whole lot of power stock.

Jeff Knoespel
Jeff Knoespel
3 years 10 months ago

I would say something like a Porsche 914, or an Alfa Spider. I like the idea of a BMW 2002 those other guys suggested, too. Or also maybe a Triumph Spitfire. If I had to pick though it’d be one of the first two I mentioned. 🙂

ben hengst
ben hengst
3 years 10 months ago

Best and vintage are rather subjective. For example, if you want something pre-73 that is easy to source parts for, get a bug. Though if ‘vintage’ just means just 20+ years old then there’s nothing wrong with one of the 1.6 miata’s. The good news is that there are many options for all of us.

Roadster206
Roadster206
3 years 10 months ago

Gen 1 Rabbit GTI! not sure if it applies as a official vintage but always loved them.
Datsun fairlady roadster would be another good one.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason
3 years 10 months ago

Awww yes, the GTI. That is a car I still want to own at some point.

blaine kelley
blaine kelley
3 years 10 months ago

had a MkII … it was a blast

BiTurbo228
BiTurbo228
3 years 10 months ago

A Spider’s a very good bet, although there aren’t many in good condition for less than £4700. Over here, an MGB or a Spitfire is a great bet. A Midget is good too. Even something like a Jensen Healey, or any other overlooked British sportscar is good too, if you don’t mind a little fettling.

You used to be able to get a tatty but driveable Berty coupe for around £4000 here, but they’ve shot up recently. Shame, as I was getting close to being able to afford one.

I suppose Beetles are good too, but they’ve never really interested me.

Adam Spooner
Adam Spooner
3 years 10 months ago

I second Josh’s recommendation.

Disclaimer: I’ve owned 2 BMW 2002s.

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia
3 years 10 months ago

Truth be told, my first vintage car was a 1974 2002. Bought in 1990 and had it for 3 years. Extremely fun car, in fact a little too fun (too many tickets).

Josh Clason
Josh Clason
3 years 10 months ago

I may be biased but I am going to say the BMW 2002. It is still very affordable and very solid runner can be had for under $7500. Also parts are usually widely available and are reasonable. Plus it is a blast to drive.

Adam Holter
Adam Holter
3 years 10 months ago

Best vintage car…hmm. For the first-time vintage buyer, I say buy American. I’m not really brand-specific, but any ’60s American sedan will prove to be a simple, reliable car to own, drive and work on. Parts are readily available and fairly inexpensive. Why do you think I own a Dodge Dart?:)

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