Home New Generations 20 Overlooked Classic Cars You Probably Forgot
New Generations

20 Overlooked Classic Cars You Probably Forgot

Vukasin Herbez September 8, 2017

Like most people, you probably noticed that classic cars continue to be extremely hot. For over a decade, the interest in those classic, muscle and even ’80s and ’90s models has been peaking. This has resulted in rising prices of the finest models and their spare parts. Before this trend, those valuable classic cars were rare pre-war examples, limited bespoke Ferraris from the ’60s and similar exotics. But, now practically everything over 30 years old is worth some serious cash.

The best examples are those popular Volkswagen T1 vans from the ’50s and ’60s. They produced this utilitarian vehicle in the millions and used it for all kinds of purposes. Today, highly original examples can fetch up to a quarter of a million dollars in a car auction. That’s a large amount of money for those old slow vans.

Classic cars have become big business. Over the years, there have been some mundane, mainstream models that have achieved big prices and collector status. Even so, there is still a significant number of forgotten, overlooked models that flew under the collector’s radar. Consumers can buy them for a reasonable amount of money and enjoy them without worrying they will damage a valuable investment.

If you’re in the market for an interesting, cool-looking classic vehicle that the car collectors haven’t recognized yet, keep reading. Here is a list of vehicles that are relatively inexpensive. Best yet, they are all within reach of the average classic car collector’s budget, so start looking for your next classic car before the values go up.

1. Porsche 914

The Porsche 911 is currently one of the most sought-after classic cars on the market. The prices for the most ordinary, decent models are close to $50,000, but rare or racing models can approach one million dollars. Most classic 911s sell for over $100,000, which is crazy since those early cars are rust-prone, hard to drive, uncomfortable and not exactly lightning-quick.

At the moment, it is fashionable to own a classic 911, and the prices reflect that. However, you can own a classic Porsche with a centrally-mounted engine, high power, and a Targa top for around $15,000 in the form of a two-seater 914. They offered the Porsche 914 from 1969 to 1976 as an entry-level model. They designed and produced it in cooperation with Volkswagen, so sometimes they called it the VW-Porsche 914.

Behind the driver is a Volkswagen-derived flat-four engine with around 100 HP. It doesn’t sound like much, but the car is only approximately 1,980 pounds, so the performance is lively. In fact, the 914 has the perfect weight distribution that guarantees superb road handling.

Porsche also produced the 914-6 with 110 HP coming from a flat-six engine. But this is a rare model. During its seven years of production, they built over 118,000 914s. Best of all, Porsche sold most of these cars in the U.S., so there are plenty to choose from and lots of affordable options.

2. Sunbeam Alpine and Tiger

Classic roadsters make it possible for you to enjoy open-air driving and the analog feel of a vintage car. That is why most classic roadsters are expensive, and the prices will most certainly continue to rise. But one of the most interesting but forgotten models is the Sunbeam Alpine. It was an English two-seater convertible they built from 1959 to 1968. The Sunbeam is a classic English brand long gone from the market. In fact, only a handful of enthusiasts remember it.

The Alpine is an attractive car with dependable, conventional mechanicals and a small 1.5 or 1.7-liter four-cylinder. Over the years, Sunbeam built over 60,000 Alpine roadsters, so finding one isn’t a problem. For under $20,000, you can find an attractive model of this interesting car. However, if you are looking for a more serious machine, you may want to look for the Sunbeam Tiger.

This model looks like the Alpine, but it packs a 260 or 289 Ford V8 engine under the hood, giving it an enhanced performance. Interestingly, the legendary Carroll Shelby designed this model before he worked for the Ford Motor Company. The Tiger is significantly more expensive and rarer than the Alpine because they only built 7,000. However, the history and performance are well worth your investment.

3. Ferrari Mondial

To be honest, there are no inexpensive or overlooked Ferraris. The brand is so popular, and the history is so well-known, all Ferrari models have a well-documented army of fans. However, you can still find some bargains if you look hard enough. Currently, the most affordable classic Ferrari is the compact Mondial four-seater.

Ferrari built the Mondial between 1980 and 1993 in over 6,000 vehicles. For 13 years, the Mondial was Ferrari’s entry model. This means it was small, underpowered and not exactly pretty. But, it was a Ferrari and you still got the screaming engine, red bodywork and the famous prancing horse on the grille.

The heart of this car was a mid-mounted V8 engine that delivered between 160 and 220 HP, depending on the version, and whether it was naturally aspirated or turbocharged. However, drivers shouldn’t expect any neck-snapping performance out of the Mondial. However, it can still provide enough excitement for Ferrari aficionados.

Unfortunately, most car fans have forgotten this little car since it didn’t have the prestige of the Testarossa or other V12 models. This means the prices for the Mondial are low. For $30,000 to $40,000, you can call yourself a Ferrari owner. Just be aware that the maintenance costs for these Ferraris are high despite the low buying price.

4. Studebaker Lark

At one time, the Studebaker car company was one of the biggest car companies in America. As an independent manufacturer, Studebaker wasn’t a part of GM, Mopar or Ford, rather, it was a sole player on the automotive scene. For decades, Studebaker was a popular economy car choice, but after World War II, things started to change. The popularity of the company started to fade and eventually, the “Stude” was closed its doors in 1966.

But before that, the company produced two interesting models. One was the Avanti, a futuristic-looking coupe with big ambitions. The other was the Lark, a compact economy model with cute styling, and a wide arrange of body styles and engines. Today, people have forgotten the Lark as a top Ferrari model. However, not only it was one of the first compact cars from a domestic car company, it was one of the most successful cars for a while. They offered the Lark from 1959 to 1966 in three model generations.

Most of the cars featured straight six engines, but V8 power was also available. Today, you can pick up a Studebaker Lark Convertible for under $15,000, which is a steal. If you want to stand out from everybody else in those car shows or meets, go for the Studebaker Lark.

5. Alvis TD 21

Some drivers are discriminating classic car fans who lust after those classic mid-century Bentleys, Aston Martins and Jaguars. They want British elegance, roaring straight six engines, the finest leather interiors and a wooden steering wheel. They also want wire wheels, a coupe or convertible body style and a chrome grill to show off their taste and elegance.

But what if you can barely afford a Toyota Camry and can’t pay a million dollars for a Bentley Continental Type R or Aston Martin DB5? Should you just keep dreaming because your favorite classic car model is painfully out of reach? Dream no more, because you may be able to buy an Alvis TD 21.

The Alvis car company is a long-gone British manufacturer of exclusive sports and luxury cars which was active before the war. However, during the ’50s and the ’60s, Alvis lost ground to other car brands and closed its doors in 1967. Before the end, they produced the TD 21, a beautiful luxury coupe with a straight six engine and upscale equipment. From 1958 to 1963, Alvis made just over 1,000 gorgeous cars, which made them a major competitor to those contemporary Aston Martins, Jaguars and Bentleys.

The prices of the Alvis TD 21 and its successor, the TF 21 should have skyrocketed years ago, having rarity, pedigree, and aesthetics. But, somehow, the market and classic car fans seem to have forgotten about this car. That is why a nice Alvis TD 21 costs just under $50,000 and provides the same amount of elegance as a Jaguar XK 150. If you are intrigued, search those European classic car ads to find a model with left-hand drive.

6. Lamborghini Jalpa

If you look at the prices of those famous classic Lamborghinis, you’ll see that only a few are under the one-million-dollar mark. Even the legendary and relatively common Countach is approaching that figure. So, you have to act fast to acquire the Lamborghini most classic car enthusiasts have overlooked. And one such model is the Jalpa, a car that still offers the signature Lamborghini styling cues and performance.

Named after a breed of fighting bulls, the Jalpa was Lamborghini’s entry-level model, which they produced from 1981 to 1988. They based the design largely on the iconic Countach with the wedge-shaped body. It also had similar fender flares, a low silhouette and a spoiler in the back.

Most Jalpas came as a Targa with an open top, which was a desirable option. They placed the engine behind the driver, as in any super sports car. But, instead of a familiar V12 unit, it was a 3.5-liter V8 with 260 HP. That may not be much by today’s standards; however, back in the day, it delivered respectable power that translated into a decent performance.

Since the Countach was so popular and defined the ’80s-style supercars, the Jalpa fell into oblivion. Also, they produced just 410 of them, so most supercar fans are not aware this model exists. However, that’s what keeps the prices down. Today, a Jalpa in decent shape with a decent service history can go for less than $100,000. And that is a steal compared to other Lamborghinis of this period.

7. Datsun Fairlady Roadster

Most car enthusiasts know that many Japanese manufacturers started as downsized copies of European and American cars. Back in the ’60s, Japanese brands simply duplicated the most successful concepts and designs, installing smaller engines and selling them at a lower price. The formula seemed to work, because today, Toyota is the biggest car company in the world.

However, one of the most interesting Japanese copies of European cars was the cute and compact Datsun Fairlady Roadster. Datsun built it between 1959 and 1970. Interestingly, they also called it the Datsun Sports. They borrowed the design, technology and feel directly from the British roadsters of the time like Triumph and MG. However, Datsun did more than just reproduce the British roadster.

They gave it some significant power with a 2.0-liter engine, updated handling and improved driving dynamics. And, most importantly, Datsun guaranteed the quality of the car, which is something British cars had difficulty doing. Datsun made over 40,000 of those cool little cars over an 11-year production period. They sold most of them in the United States with left-hand drive.

But it was the successful replacement of the legendary Z 240 sports coupe that left the Fairlady Roadster in the past. Today, you can find a decent Fairlady Roadster classic car for just over $15,000. For a decent price tag, you can own a well-built, cool sports convertible. But, be sure to check for a regular repair and maintenance history.

8. Full-Size American Sedans of the ’60s

It seems like everybody is looking for those famous classic muscle cars like the Mustang, Camaro or Corvette. However, this has resulted in putting those models well out of reach for the average classic car buyer. But people have forgotten many of those full-size American sedans, two-door hardtops and coupes. In fact, there are many interesting models from practically every U.S. manufacturer that fall into this category.

Those full-sized American sedans from the 1960s included the cool Chevrolet Impala, the elegant Ford Galaxie, the luxurious Dodge Monaco and the extravagant Cadillac. All those legendary machines came with V8 engines, often with a big block to guarantee power and torque under your right foot. If you concentrate on the classic cars from the ‘60s, you can find nicely-equipped sedans for under $15,000.

They provide a nice driving experience, affordable maintenance bills and unlimited fun. So why spend your life savings on a Pontiac GTO, when you can have fun for a quarter of the price in a classic sedan like a Pontiac Bonneville, for example?

9. Volkswagen Scirocco MK1

Today, the hot hatch crowd is crazy about the MK1 Golf GTI, pushing the prices up. The early Golfs are still within reach of most classic car enthusiasts, but if this trend continues, these once-affordable economy cars will become expensive. But what should you do if you like this German icon, but are not able to pay top dollar for a perfect MK1 GTI? You can buy a Scirocco, instead.

They introduced this forgotten model at the same time as the original VW Golf MK1. It was a sportier, more dynamic-looking version of the same platform. With a lower roofline and a wedge shape, it was modern for the period, but it offered the same performance as the regular Golf. Best of all, the Scirocco looks better than the Golf. Also, you can get it with the same engine and modifications, but at a less expensive price.

10. Ford Falcon

Ford introduced the Falcon in 1960. It was Ford`s first compact model and an instant bestseller. With a modern-looking body and a wide selection of economical six-cylinder engines, the Falcon was affordable. Still, it was a high-quality product that appealed to a lot of customers. Soon, Ford introduced more powerful versions, V8 engines and a convertible body style, which made the Falcon even more popular and interesting.

However, in 1964, with the emergence of the Ford Mustang, the Falcon’s appeal started to fade. The main reason was that the Mustang and the Falcon shared the same platform and most of the engines. However, most people turned to the better-looking Mustang. The Mustang went on to become one of the world`s most popular classic cars, while most people forgot the Falcon.

Ford ceased production of the Falcon in 1970. Today, the Mustang is expensive, but car fans can find those classic Falcons for half the price. There are still plenty of cool-looking Falcon sedans, coupes, two-door models, wagons and even convertibles. The parts are inexpensive, and the Falcon is the ideal canvas for modifications. In fact, you can bolt everything from the Mustang onto the Falcon, as well. Ford made over two million Falcons in various versions and body styles, so it shouldn’t be a problem to find one in decent condition at an affordable price.

11. Oldsmobile Toronado

Today’s classic car enthusiasts may not remember the Oldsmobile since they retired the brand in 2000. However, back in the 1960s, this company enjoyed a reputation for inventive technology, style, and luxury. Oldsmobile represented the cutting edge of GM at one point in time, presenting models that were far ahead of their time, displaying power and style on the global market. And one such car is the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado.

This was a large, powerful personal luxury coupe with a twist since it was front-wheel drive (FWD). In those days, only a few imports were front-wheel drive. All domestic cars, regardless of the class or engine, were rear-wheel drive. However, Oldsmobile wanted to introduce something else, so they constructed the ingenious FWD system.

Designers created an attractive shape with a low roof and hidden headlights for the Toronado. The car’s power came from a big block 455 V8 with 385 HP. The Toronado was a success because it introduced superb driving characteristics, leaving most competitors in the dust. The first two generations were the best. Later, the Toronado was a Cadillac Eldorado with a different grille.

Interestingly, the prices for this gem are not high. For less than $20,000, you can find a perfect 1966 to 1968 Toronado. And, it could change your perspective on the driving and the handling of those big, classic American cruisers.

12. Chevrolet Corvette C4

Chevrolet introduced the C4 Corvette in 1984, so it’s an 80’s classic car. With a wedge-shaped body, pop-up headlights, a rear hatch, and bright colors, this car is a pop culture icon. However, there is more to this car than those funny stereotypes and GTA Vice City games. In fact, the Corvette C4 was the car that singlehandedly saved the Corvette from its demise due to the recession and lack of popularity.

Chevy enthusiasts viewed the C3 as a joke. It had lukewarm ’60s styling and an engine delivering less than 200 HP. However, in 1984 everything changed with the arrival of the C4. It was new from the ground up with an updated chassis and enhanced engine.

The C4 came in a modern design with a contemporary digital dashboard. Over the years, Chevrolet turned it into a world-class sports car. It offered superior performance and road handling to rival those exotic yet expensive European cars. In fact, the chassis of the C4 was so good, they still use it in modified form for the current C7 generation.

In 1990, they presented the mighty ZR-1 with 400 HP and a performance that could beat any Ferrari at that time. But people have overlooked the C4, despite its qualities. The C1 and C2 Corvette prices are astronomical, while the early C3s are expensive. However, the C4 is a good value people will appreciate in years to come. You can find a C4 for around $10,000 and the fantastic ZR-1 for $20,000, but they are worth every penny.

13. BMW E21 3-Series

Most people concentrate on the BMW 2002 or E30 generation of the 3-Series. They keep forgetting about the first modern 3-Series model in production from 1975 to 1983. Internally known as the E21, this BMW possessed all characteristics of the brand. And, it was one of the best affordable driver’s cars of the late ’70s.

With its lightweight two-door body, sporty design, rev-happy six-cylinder engines and rear-wheel drive, the E21 was the purest form of driving pleasure. However, the most desirable version is the 323i delivering 147 HP, which is more than enough in a car this light.

14. Buick Reatta

It seems like everybody forgot about the sleek Buick Reatta. Buick presented it in the late ’80s as their halo car. It was a cool-looking two-seater coupe or convertible built on a shortened GM E platform. Under the hood was a 3.8-liter V6 with independent suspension and disc brakes all around.

All Reattas were highly optioned cars, too. And, despite dating from the late ’80s, it featured board computers and lots of modern electronic systems. The production lasted four years and they build over 21,000 of them.

15. Cadillac Allante

Cadillac envisioned the Allante as a competitor to the Mercedes SL convertible. It was a two-seater luxury convertible the Italian company, Pininfarina, designed. It came with a Northstar V8 engine and front-wheel drive. That was quite an unusual combination, but the car looked and performed quite well.

The production process was specific because the actual fabrication happened in Italy in the Pininfarina factory. And then they shipped cars to the U.S. by jet, which affected the cost of the final product. The Allante stayed in production until 1993 and they built just over 21,000. The car proved too expensive to produce. Allegedly, the factory lost money on every Allante they made.

16. Toyota Celica Supra

Everybody lusts after those Mk 4 Supras from the early ‘90s. But, people forgot the first model from the series, the Celica Supra. For those customers who found the standard Celica not agile or powerful enough, Toyota introduced the 1978 model year Celica Supra. It came in a cool-looking hatchback body style and a six-cylinder engine powering the rear wheels. The base engine for the Celica Supra was a 2.5 liter straight six with 110 HP.

And for those who wanted more power, the 3.0-liter with 116 HP was also available. Despite the fact it was nothing special in terms of output, the Celica Supra had sharp handling. Also, it had an optional limited-slip differential, which helped with drifting and spirited driving. The model proved popular, so the Supra later evolved into a separate model.

17. Mercury Capri

Over the years, Mercury sold numerous models under the Capri name. First, it was just a trim level on a regular Mercury sedan. And then, it was a re-badged Ford Capri from Europe. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, it was the Mercury version of the Fox-bodied Mustang. However, in 1991 it was a totally new and separate model.

They assembled the 1991 to 1994 Mercury Capri in Australia on a Mazda 323 base and sold it in the U.S. This cool-looking two-seater roadster had a 1.6-liter engine and front-wheel drive. Despite being a decent car in all aspects, it failed to gain significant popularity, so Mercury withdrew it from the market in 1994.

18. Mitsubishi Starion

The Mitsubishi Starion is a forgotten JDM legend from the early ’80s. It featured a turbocharged engine, cool period styling and mandatory pop-up lights. With its rear-wheel drive and composed handling, it was Mitsubishi’s answer to the Mazda RX7 and Nissan 300 ZX.

Buyers could choose between 2.0 and 2.6-liter engines, both with the same power level, but the 2.6-liter had much more torque. On the American market, they also sold the Starion as the Chrysler Conquest.

19. Subaru XT

The Subaru XT is an ’80s legend destined to be a classic, but most car enthusiasts forgot about them. With Wedge shaped coupe body, pop-up headlights, digital dashboard and optional all-wheel drive, the XT was a capable, modern car for its time.

Production started in 1985 and stopped in 1991. Buyers loved its angular wedge design and features, so they received it with praise. The best XTs come with the 2.7-liter flat-six engine and the signature Subaru all-wheel drive system.

20. AMC Pacer

The Pacer is a car that people equally love and hate, but it is legendary and recognizable. It was AMC’s effort to produce a compact car. However, it turned out to be less compact than its competitors, and with numerous flaws. However, the design and the legend that revolves around its charm make it one of the most quirky and iconic ’70s legends.

The prices are still low, and most people have forgotten about this cool car. If you like the Pacer, you can find them affordable, but don’t expect a great performance because that’s not what this car is all about.

These are the 20 overlooked classic cars you probably forgot. Did this list jog your memory? If you want any of these classics, you’d better move fast. Soon, they’ll be even more expensive and hard to find.

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