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40 Long-Lost Sports Cars That Can Still Provide Thrills

Cameron EittreimJune 30, 2020

Subaru Impreza WRX STI
via: Motor Trend

12: Subaru WRX

Similar to the Saab the Subaru shares its sheet metal with, the WRX is the more popular of the two cars and the go-to car for tuners. The WRX has a famous boxer engine coupled with an intercooled turbocharger. The overall design of the WRX has remained very similar for decades. The winning formula is its lightweight design. Interior-wise, you get a barebones basic car, but the performance more then makes up for the shortcomings.

WRX
via: Edmunds

Nowadays, it can seem difficult to find a truly clean example of a WRX. Part of the reason for this is that most of these cars have been heavily modified and driven hard. But if you’re lucky enough to find a gently-used WRX, you’ll be in for a winning driving experience. The car has some of the best driving characteristics of any car on the road, and that’s partly why it’s a popular choice.

S2000
via: Motor Trend

11: Honda S2000

Honda isn’t the first name you think of when it comes to sports cars. But the brand has quite the presence on the F1 circuit. The S2000 was a “halo” car designed to offer Honda buyers something truly unique. Think of the S2000 as a Honda version of the Mazda Miata. A lot of the car’s characteristics are the same as the Mazda variant.

S2000
via: Motor Trend

The S2000 was sold in some bright color choices and the car had a lot to offer. Its quick acceleration and acceptable performance made the S2000 a solid choice. Prices on these cars have remained steady and you can generally find one that hasn’t been abused. The overall look and feel of the car are unlike anything else you’ll drive.

Mazda Protege 3
via: Car Gurus

10: 2003 MazdaSpeed Protege

Another limited-edition car that made its way onto the market was the 2003 MazdaSpeed Protege. You might think of the Protege as the cheap compact sold by Mazda for a decade, but there was also a performance version. The 2003 MazdaSpeed Protege was released at the peak of compact performance. Its competition was the Neon SRT-4 and the Focus SVT. What this car brought to the table was a fun performance, attractive looks, and a cheap price tag.

Mazda Protege
via: Car Gurus

With Mazda engineering behind it, you knew you were in for a fun time, and the 2003 MazdaSpeed Protege delivered. There was a wagon version of this car that’s also good looking and performs nicely. The Protege is an often overlooked model which means you can usually find a reasonable deal on one.

2003 Toyota Celica GT-S.
via: Edmunds

9: Toyota Celica

The final generation of the Celica was released at the onset of the new millennium. The car had a radical new design for Toyota, who was trying to attract younger buyers. The performance of the Celica is not anything to be excited about. But the overall design of the car makes it an appealing choice for anyone who wants an attractive sports car. Although Toyota didn’t put a lot of effort into the performance of the Celica, the design is still very handsome.

Celica
via: Edmunds

You could say that the Celica was a bit ahead of its time. The Celica is one of the most underrated sports cars that you can get. It was always sold by Toyota, but during the later years, it never garnered much attention. Still, for a stylish, modern-looking sports car that you can get for a little bit of nothing. The Celica is a great choice for an inexpensive sports car with plenty of room to build upon.

edmunds
via: Edmunds

8: Mazda Miata

The Mazda Miata is one of the best-selling roadsters of all-time. And with good reason, as it’s fun to drive and cheap to own. The Miata is not a powerhouse by any means, but what it offers is a lightweight design with a short wheelbase. This is the reason that Mazda has stuck to the same formula for over 30 years now. You can find a Miata in just about every price range, and parts are fairly affordable.

Mazda Miata
via: Mazda

The Miata is a car that’s cheap to own and thrilling to drive. Some later models incorporated a good deal of luxury features. It’s the earliest models that were known for providing cheap thrills to anyone on a budget.

Monte Carlo
via: Edmunds

7: Monte Carlo SS

This variation of the Monte Carlo hit the market right on the heels of one of the worst recessions in history. So naturally, buyers were too thrilled about buying a V8-powered luxury coupe. But you can find this generation of the Monte Carlo for almost nothing. It has a potent small block V8 under the hood. A lot of people don’t realize this was quite the performance vehicle for a short period that it was produced.

Monte Carlo
via: Edmunds

The Monte Carlo has always been more of a sleeper than you’d expect. The interior was upgraded dramatically for this redesign and the engine is reliable. If you love the sound of a chunky V8 engine, the Monte Carlo SS might be the perfect choice for a weekend sports car.

CTS-V
via: GM

6: Cadillac CTS-V

GM decided to cram a Corvette engine and a six-speed manual transmission into this otherwise calm sedan. What you got was a fire-breathing car. The CTS-V in the first generation has gone down in price quite a bit. You can find one in decent condition for a low price tag. Yet you still get Corvette power and a decent array of luxury features.

CTS
via: Edmunds

The CTS-V was only offered in a few color combinations, and you’ll want to find one that hasn’t been modified. Of course, tastfullyy-done modifications are fine, but you just don’t want to get one that has been raced and beaten up.

2009 Pontiac G8 GXP. X09PN_G8023 (United States)
via: GM

5: Pontiac G8

This was the final hurrah for the Pontiac brand before GM pulled the plug. We had a lot of good things to say about the G8, and there’s a good reason for that. The Pontiac G8 was one of the best rear-wheel-drive sports sedans. And it’s a shame the car didn’t get to live for that long. With a powerful LS series V8 and a ton of horsepower, the Pontiac G8 will tear up just about any pavement you want it to.

Pontiac G8
via: Edmunds

If you’re looking for a sports sedan that’s a departure from the ordinary, this is it. The Pontiac G8 is a stellar mixture of performance and power. Plus this was the last Pontiac model ever made. This means that at some point, these G8s are going to be worth a lot of money.

Chevy SS Sedan
via: GM authority

4: Chevy SS

The successor to the Pontiac G8 was another short-lived performance sedan. While the Chevy SS was almost a clone of the Pontiac G8, it had a lot going for it as well. For one, the bowtie boys got a true successor to the Impala SS of the 1990s. With a good amount of power under the hood, the Chevy SS is a winner in more ways than one.

Chevy SS
via: Edmunds

The Chevy SS looks a lot like many other Chevy sedans that have hit the market as of late. But if you can get past the rather bland looks, the Chevy SS is a winner in more ways than one. The sedan had the perfect blend of performance and features, not to mention clearance prices toward the end of production.

Chevy SSR
via: Edmunds

3: Chevy SSR

The Chevy SSR was one of the most unique sports cars of the last two decades. The look was designed to be a modern rendition of the classic El Camino. The performance of the SSR was top-notch when you compared it to other halo cars at the time such as the Prowler. The SSR has a functional truck bed and the SSR was also a convertible, which made it even cooler.

Chevy SSR
via: Wikipedia

The prices for these cars have remained somewhat steady, and this is partly due to its unique look. The SSR is going to be a collector’s item for many years to come. The car just has so much style that you can’t go wrong.

SC400
via: Club Lexus

2: Lexus SC400

When Lexus hit the market in 1989, it introduced some of the best-designed luxury vehicles on the market. To this date, the Lexus brand has been the only Japanese competitor to give German luxury car makers a run for their money. The SC400 is a great car with a silky smooth V8 engine.

SC400
via: Lexus

The rear-wheel-drive design is not lacking power at all, and you’ll notice the car has a wonderful interior design as well. Even with high mileage, these cars are extremely reliable, which is a great thing for anyone who’s looking for a reasonably-priced sports coupe. There was also a V6 variant of the SC known as the SC300, which is a Toyota Supra.

Acura Legend
via: Car Domain

1: Acura Legend

The Acura Legend is another underrated sports car that needs no introduction. The luxurious design and large interior volume of the two-door model make it a great choice. The V6 engine is more than powerful enough for most. The Legend had a lot of innovative features like vacuum-sealed doors, which made it a great choice.

Acura Legend
via: Autophllac

The Legend was discontinued in favor of the CL, but you can still find great deals on these cars. The Legend is fairly reliable and parts are pretty cheap to get replaced. If you want a fun car that’s also comfortable you can’t go wrong with the Legend. The car has a lot going for it and there’s a substantial network of enthusiasts around.

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