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Affordable Dreams: Exotic Cars That Won’t Break the Bank

Vukasin Herbez February 9, 2023

Photo Credit: Auto Evolution

Panoz Roadster

Younger enthusiasts don’t remember the name Panoz. But back in the ’90s, this company was one of the best-known limited-production American brands. Successful in racing, Panoz was one of those brands that offered a lot of racing technologies in street-legal vehicles, which made them favorites with fans of performance driving. The Roadster model was introduced in the early ’90s and represented the modern-day version of the legendary Shelby Cobra (via Motor Biscuit).

Photo Credit: Auto Evolution

It was a stripped-down open-top two-seater built of aluminum. which kept the weight down. Panoz used a lot of Ford Mustang SN95 components including the engine, drivetrain, and suspension. That meant the Roadster had 300 HP and brutal performance. Panoz received a lot of criticism for copying the layout of the legendary Shelby Cobra. However, its determination to make this car and sell it to power-hungry clients remained the same.

Photo Credit: Auto Evolution

Lamborghini Urraco

You might be surprised to find a proper Lamborghini on this list but just look at the spec of this ’70s wonder. The mid-mounted 2.0-liter V8 with 180 HP is capable of reaching 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. Compared to later models and well-known Lamborghini supercars, this is not good but still a performer by ’70s standards (via Lamborghini).

Photo Credit: Auto Evolution

Urraco was produced in dark times as a performance car and was also rumored to be assembled poorly. Lamborghini managed to produce over 700 of them and many drivers think those little, wedge-shaped cars deserve a better look.

Photo Credit: W Super Cars

Lotus Esprit V8

The Esprit was produced from the early ’70s up to the early 2000s. It was always a fantastic supercar despite the fact it had smaller engines than the competitors. The last and best version was the V8, which featured 350 HP and a lightweight body that could outrun many competitors while retaining that classic wedge look (via Supercars).

2004 Lotus Esprit - 2002 Lotus Esprit
Photo Credit: Auto WP

This was a bona fide exotic car, but current prices are relatively affordable. However, you should snap this piece of classic British engineering right now. For the price of a new mid-size SUV, you will get a Ferrari-beating performance and exclusivity. However, maintenance can be tricky, but it’s worth the time and investment.

Photo Credit: Auto Evolution

Alpine 610/GTA

If you think France didn’t produce any relevant sports cars in the last 30 years, think again. The Alpine A610 started in 1991 as a replacement for the Alpine GTA and old A310 from the late ’70s. The fiberglass-bodied coupe featured several exciting features like the futuristic interior, rear-mounted turbocharged V6 engine from Renault, and vivid performance (via Autocar).

Photo Credit: Auto Evolution

The 3.0-liter V6 produced 247 HP, enough to launch this lightweight coupe from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and close to 170 mph top speed. The Alpine cars have a small cult following but are mostly unknown to American enthusiasts, even though some models were sold here.

Photo Credit: Ferrari

Ferrari 348

Introduced in 1989, Ferrari 348 was a modern-looking machine and a successor to the popular 308/328 range. It featured a new platform, engine, and three body styles – coupe, Targa, and convertible with a wide rear track and a hint of Testarossa design. It was a handsome machine with good performance from the 3.4-liter V8 engine. The 348 was well received by the press as well as the customers. Ferrari managed to sell over 8,000 examples until 1995 when the F355 replaced it (via Ferrari).

Photo Credit: Ferrari

However, the quality could have been better in early examples. Its 348 owners reported massive maintenance costs since the car required extensive work to be fully functional. That is why Ferrari 348 costs just over $70,000 on today’s market, with the best examples going for around $90,000. The car is still great to drive. And if you get the convertible, you can fully enjoy the glorious V8 soundtrack. Still, beware of its high maintenance costs.

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