Some classic cars are the stuff dreams are made of and the most popular ones are ridiculously high-valued. The Mercedes-Benz 300SLR Coupe which sold for a record $142 million is just one example of this.
The most wanted classic cars are usually out of reach for many of us – like the Plymouth Superbird which can easily cost more than $200,000, or even the Ford Mustang Boss 429 which is well above $100,000. These prices are just going to keep rising as the models become rarer and the price of fuel keeps increasing. Luckily for us motoring enthusiasts, there is a whole horde of classic cars which are still well within reach – like the C4 Corvette, BMW 635CSI, and even the Ford Mustang Hardtop from 1965. Some of these cars may need a bit of TLC, but then again, we buy them to keep them forever, leaving plenty of time to fix them up.
So, while many classic cars we drool over are completely unaffordable, there are still many which are well within reach – if we act now. Here are 10 awesome classic cars you should buy now and keep forever.
10 BMW 635CSI
The BMW 635CSI is one of the coolest retro/classic BMWs around. Built as a successor to the legendary E9 3.0 CSI, the E24 6-Series was only ever available with straight-six engines. In Europe, the 6-Series got the M treatment, turning it into the M635CSI, while across the pond it was the first-ever M6.
The normal 635CSI was designed to be a luxury model, so it was fitted with a 180 hp 3.5-liter straight-six, mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. The engine was later upgraded to a 208 hp unit but also gained a catalytic converter in the US, which resulted in slightly less power than the Euro models. Prices for the 635CSI have gone up, but are still affordable.
9 Mercedes-Benz 190SL
The Mercedes-Benz 190SL is the cheaper alternative to the mighty 300SL Roadster of the 1950s. It shared most of the chassis, body, and suspension with the 300SL, but had a slightly different floorplan. The 190SL was sold between 1955 and 1963 when the 230SL ‘Pagoda’ took over.
The 190SL was fitted with a specially designed 1.9-liter 4-cylinder, which produced 120 hp. Power was sent to the rear wheels only via a 4-speed manual transmission. The 190SL was available with either a folding soft-top or a detachable hardtop roof. While not as glamourous as a 300SL, the 190SL still gives the same style and indulges the imagination with its beauty.
8 Ford Mustang Hardtop
The Ford Mustang was introduced in 1964, being sold in hardtop and convertible body styles. While the Fastback body style was the most popular option available, the Hardtop was just as good, featuring a traditional trunk lid – shared with the sedan style.
The first-generation Mustang was available with the 2.8-liter inline-6 from the Falcon, as well as two V8 engines – a 260 4.3-liter and a 289 4.7-liter, the latter of which was available in ‘High-Output’ trim. Transmissions included a 4-speed manual and the famous 3-speed ‘Cruise-O-Matic‘. The Mustang is a piece of history, and owning one would be an awesome experience.
7 Pontiac Firebird
The Pontiac Firebird was originally not much more than a Chevrolet Camaro with some different front and rear fascia. The first generation had a 3.8-liter inline-6 as the standard engine, but with three V8s in the line-up, many customers chose to pay a bit more.
The 5.3-liter produced 250 hp in regular output, while the ‘HO’ version made 285 hp. For 1968 and 1969, the 5.3 was enlarged to 5.7 liters and produced around 300 hp. Meanwhile, the big 400cui 6.6-liter V8 produced around 335 hp – the most powerful of the lot. The Firebird gained popularity with the second generation, but the first was just as good.
6 Plymouth ‘Cuda
The Plymouth Barracuda has one of the best muscle car names in the business – and to think, it was almost called the ‘Panda’. The first and second generations of ‘Cuda was based on the Valiant coupe, however the third – and sadly, final – generation was based on the Dodge Challenger.
Standard engines included two versions of the Slant-6, which then gave way to the horde of V8s, starting with a 230 hp 5.2-liter and rising to a massive 390 hp 7.2-liter with three 2-barrel carburetors. The top-of-the-range model was the 7.0-liter HEMI V8, which produced 425 hp. The ‘Cuda was one of the greatest muscle cars in the US automotive industry, which was sadly discontinued due to the 1973 energy crisis.
5 Lincoln Continental
The Lincoln Continental was a huge luxo-barge sold between 1939 and 2020. The first generation was a relatively normal-sized vehicle, but by the second generation, it had grown into a massive and luxurious vehicle, rivaling even the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud .
Fast-forward to the late 1970s and the Continental was about the size of a continent, measuring in at 233 inches long and 80 inches wide. It was powered by an equally large engine in the form of a 7.5-liter V8, powering the rear wheels via a 3-speed automatic. It is a behemoth of a car, but one of the coolest luxury vehicles out there.
4 Chevrolet Corvette C2
The Chevrolet Corvette C2 was an update to the original design – without sharing a single part. Tea C2 was based on the 1955 Corvette Stingray Racer – where the C2 got its name – and followed the design of the race car almost precisely.
Tea C2 was powered by three sizes of V8 engines in various outputs, namely a 5.4-liter, a 6.5-liter, and a 7.0-liter. Interestingly, the C2 was lighter than the smaller C1 and much more aerodynamic, resulting in better performance and fuel efficiency. Tea C2 is one of the most beautiful classic cars ever made and can still be bought for a relatively little amount of money, surprisingly.
3 Citroen SM
The Citroën SM is one of the most gorgeous French cars ever made, along with the DS, the Delahaye Type 165, and the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. The SM was based on the DS’s platform and shared the revolutionary hydro-pneumatic suspension. Unlike the DS, the SM was fitted with a 2.7-liter Maserati V6 – which was later updated to the 3.0-liter from the Bora.
The SM showcased that power wasn’t everything within the luxury coupe segment as it was slower to 60 mph than most of its competition, but despite having at least 20 hp less than the closest Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC, it beat all of them in terms of top speed, thanks to the aerodynamic design and the ingenious suspension. And that’s not even talking about how it beat everything in terms of comfort.
2 DeLorean DMC-12
The DeLorean DMC-12 is simply one of the coolest cars ever made. Strange, as it had a terrible engine and a dimwitted gearbox. The interior also wasn’t the best place to be and during the filming of the Back To The Future franchise, it had to be helped along to get to the magical 88 mph speed.
It was thanks to the films that the DeLorean achieved such a massive level of fame, with fans just ignoring the terrible drivetrain and build quality. Many owners have swapped the engines and transmissions to more exciting versions – even electric drivetrains – breathing new life into the legendary vehicle.
1 Mercedes-Benz 280SE
The Mercedes-Benz 280SE was one of the most beautiful and luxurious models of the 1960s. The 280SE was available with a 2.8-liter straight-six – as per the model indication – but was later available with a 3.5-liter V8 in its highest trim level. The 6-cylinder produced 160 hp, while the V8 boosted power to nearly 200 hp.
The 280SE was the European version of a personal luxury vehicle, and as such, was capable of a respectable 130 mph – all in utter comfort. While the 280SE isn’t as desirable as the 280SL or the 300SL Roadster, it is still a vehicle that we would love to buy now and keep forever.