23. BMW M3 E46
In October 2000, the E46 M3 debuted with an all-new engine, drivetrain, and components. And ever since, people have regarded it as one of the finest BMW M cars and the perfect driving machine. All M cars are a blast to drive, but the E46 M3 was a big improvement over the E36 M3 from the ’90s. Better yet, it is one of the last analog sports cars you can still buy.
With a 343 HP straight six-cylinder engine, almost ideal weight distribution, great chassis, six-speed manual transmission it provides a respectable performance. In fact, the E46 M3 has won the hearts of car enthusiasts all over the world. It is a sales success and one of the best second-hand performance cars you can buy today.
22. Acura Integra Type R
If you are a fan of Japanese cars and want to own something equally historic and a blast to drive, the Acura Type R is the car for you. As one of the most brilliant front-wheel-drive cars they ever produced, the Acura Integra Type-R is the definitive JDM legend. It is still especially popular among enthusiasts for its swift performance and fantastic handling.
The front-wheel drivetrain is the main reason the Integra Type R is so universally loved and sought after. Despite just 187 HP from its high revving 1.8-liter engine, the Integra Type R offers great performance, even by today’s standards. This is a definite future classic and a car you should buy today.
21. Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
Classic C1 to C3 Corvettes are already too expensive for the average car buyer. Also, the standard C4, despite its great handling, may be too low on power for some owners. The solution is ZR1, the mighty C4 Corvette which could outrun most of the supercars in the early ’90s. Under the hood, they installed the LT4, a Lotus-engineered V8 engine with quad-cam heads and 32 valves to produce 375 HP and later 400 HP.
The engine is an engineering marvel and performs exceptionally well. With a beefed-up suspension, gearbox, and pair of extra-wide rear tires, the Corvette ZR1 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. And that’s what made it one of the fastest cars of the era as well as a true modern classic today.
20. Volkswagen Golf R32
When the NSX first appeared in 1989, it revolutionized the supercar market. Basically, the buyers got the Ferrari performance and look at a supermarket price. And best of all, it came with Honda’s signature reliability and maintenance costs.
But the heart of the NSX is the 3.0-liter V6 delivering 274 HP and later, a 3.2-liter V6 producing 290 HP. Since the car was light, the 0 to 60 mph time was a lightning-quick five seconds and the top speed was over 170 mph. The prices are still affordable now, so you should hurry up before they soar.
19. Acura NSX
When the NSX first appeared in 1989 it revolutionized the supercar market. Basically, the buyers got Ferrari performance and look for supermarket price along with Honda`s signature reliability and maintenance costs.
The heart of the NSX was a 3.0-liter V6 with 274 hp and later 3.2-liter V6 with 290 HP. Since the car was light, 0 to 60 mph time was lightning quick 5 seconds and top speed was over 170 mph. The prices are still affordable but do hurry up.
18. Ford Mustang GT 5.0 HO
The Fox-body Mustang grew more powerful with each model year, starting from 175 HP in the 1983 model. But by the late ’80s, the venerable 5.0-liter V8 engine was pumping 225 HP and 300 lb-ft of torque, which translated to quite competent 0 to 60 mph times.
This car marked a return to the roots with a strong V8 engine and exciting performance. Also, late ’80s Fox-body GT was popular so they are plentiful today. And that makes them a great choice for entry-level collectors. On the other hand, the aftermarket for those cars is enormous, so you can make your Fox-body GT even faster both easy and inexpensively.
17. Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z
The third-generation Camaro was a well-received and popular car. But after a while, the buyers wanted more performance and power. So, Chevrolet delivered it in the form of the legendary IROC-Z version. Debuting in 1985, the IROC-Z was a tribute model to the Chevrolet-sponsored International Race of Champions racing series.
However, it was much more than just an appearance package and a cool name. Under the hood was a 350 V8 that produced 225 HP in the early years and 245 HP in later versions. The buyers could opt for manual or automatic and the suspension was tuned as well as the steering. Chevrolet even offered a cool-looking convertible, which was the first Camaro ragtop in 18 years.
16. Lotus Esprit V8
They offered the Esprit from the early ’70s all the way up to the early 2000s. It was always a fantastic supercar despite the fact it had smaller engines than its competitors. But the last and best version was the V8 that produced 350 HP.
With its lightweight body, it could outrun many competitors while still retaining that classic wedge look. This was a bona fide exotic car, yet the current prices are relatively affordable. However, that will change, so you should buy this piece of classic British engineering right now.
15. Nissan 300 ZX
One of the best cars in the long line of Z-named Nissan sports coupes was the 300 ZX they introduced in 1990 and discontinued in 1996. Car enthusiasts respect this model since the 300 ZX was a proper sports coupe. And it came with the technology and performance to rival much more expensive, exclusive cars. The twin-turbo V6 engine pumped out 300 HP and the 300 ZX could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds, topping 150 mph.
The prices for this model are currently at around $10,000 for decent examples with full-service history and no accidents. You can find them at lower prices, but it is possible they will not be as good. Since the ’90s Japanese cars are slowly becoming more desirable, you better hurry up since the Nissan 300 ZX could soon go up in the skies.
14. Mitsubishi 3000 GT
The 3000 GT is another ’90s legend mainstream sports car enthusiasts have forgotten, which is quite a shame. With its pop up headlights, rear panorama glass, and big spoiler, the 3000 GT screams early ’90s car design. However, there is much more about this car than contemporary nostalgia since this is one serious driving machine.
Under the hood is a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with 300 HP that sends power to all four wheels over an intelligent AWD system.
13. Mazda RX-7
If you know a thing or two about Japanese sports cars you know the RX-7 has a special place in the nomenclature of performance cars from the “Land of the Rising Sun.” The reason is the engine. In contrast to other cars on the market with conventional piston engines, the RX-7 has had a Wankel rotary engine since the beginning.
Mazda offered the third generation in 1992 and discontinued it in 2002. It provided between 252 and 276 HP as well as a vivid performance thanks to its low weight and perfect balance. They are still affordable, so hurry up.
12. BMW 1M
Despite having powerful engines throughout the range, the BMW 1-Series didn’t have a true performance version until 2008 when BMW presented the 1M. This was the most powerful 1-Series with a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine that delivered 335 HP to the rear wheels over the six-speed manual transmission.
The combination of a lightweight body, powerful engine, and race-tuned suspension proved fantastically popular. In fact, all the 1Ms sold out the same moment they went on the showroom floor. And as you probably guessed, the 1M costs a lot considering it is 10 years old, but every day it gets more expensive.
11. Mercedes SL600
When you think of the best car of the 1990s, there is one car that stands out. And that is the famous Mercedes SL, the R129 generation. The SL roadsters were always fantastic driving machines and ultimate Stuttgart classics. But the R129 was the symbol of the decade and the automotive personification of success, power, speed, and quality.
The mid-90s SL 600 with the V12 engine had an MSRP of over $120,000. And that is approximately $200,000 at today’s rate. Today, those cars are significantly less expensive, but not for long since more people are realizing how good the SL 600 is.
10. Porsche 928
The 928 is a Gran Turismo coupe with a powerful V8 engine in the front and a transaxle gearbox. Also, it has the ideal weight distribution, an intelligent suspension, and space-age design. In contrast to the 911, which still has some VW Beetle cues, the 928 looks like it came from another planet. Despite the fact that early 928s deliver less than 300 HP, the car was fast.
Porsche made the 928 for effortless cruising and driving in comfort, speed and luxury. But for decades, this model was in the shadow of the famous 911. However, recently people have started to realize just how good those coupes are. And of course, the prices have started to go up.
9. BMW 635 CSI
Debuting in 1976, the new 6 Series was BMW’s entry in the Gran Turismo market as well as one of the most elegant coupes of the period. It came with a recognizable design, four headlights, and a big BMW grille. Also, they built the 6 Series on the 5 Series base featuring only powerful six-cylinder engines.
The 6 Series proved to be popular, spending over 13 years on the market. BMW managed to produce over 100,000 of them, which are still sought-after models on the used car market. Interestingly, more than half of the cars they produced were sold in the USA. The prices are still understandable but soon those elegant cars will be out of reach.
8. Alfa Romeo Spider
When it entered the car market in 1966, the Alfa Romeo Spider was the Italian answer to the popular British roadsters. Eventually, it became so globally popular, it became the Alfa Romeo model with the longest production run. Initially, they called it the Duetto, building the Spider on Alfa’s 105 sedan/coupe base. They topped that off with a Pininfarina-designed body, all alloy twin cam engine, and rear-wheel drive.
During the late ’60s, Spider became popular thanks to the movie, The Graduate, in which Dustin Hoffman drove a red Alfa Romeo Spider. Alfa made over 124,000 of those elegant Spiders, selling most of them in the states. The final model year is 1994 and there were four generations of the model.
7. Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat presented the 124 Spider in 1966, selling it in America until 1985. Pininfarina designed the car while Fiat built it on the 124 Sedan platform. The mechanics were straightforward with a twin-cam engine, four-speed manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive. The early models got 90 HP from the 1.6-liter engine, while later versions got 2.0-liter engines with fuel injection and 102 HP.
Surprisingly, the 124 Spider was one of the more comfortable options. It featured a roomy cabin, big trunk, and good ride quality, so nice examples are highly-desirable. But don’t worry, Fiat built over 200,000 124 Spiders. And best of all, most of them are in America, so finding one won`t be hard. You can expect to pay around $15,000 for a near mint 124 Spider.
6. Jaguar XJ6
When they introduced the XJ6 in 1968, there was nothing similar to it on the market. The XJ6 was a low, sleek, and elegant sedan. They equipped it with powerful straight-six engines and even offered a 5.3-liter V12 for the most demanding customers. This was the first car that was the perfect blend of luxury with a sports appeal.
Also, its signature shape lasted all the way up to 2009 through eight different generations. In all of its iterations, the Jaguar XJ6 was always a popular luxury car in America. And that means there are plenty of those around. Some of the early models are quite affordable, so this could be the perfect starter classic if you are into legendary British motors.
5. Land Rover Defender
When they presented it in 1948, the Land Rover was a simple but effective off-road vehicle. And along with the Jeep Willys, it was the pioneer of the segment. They built it out of necessity as well as the need for a capable vehicle that could be used for both military and civilian purposes.
Soon, Land Rover started exporting these cars all over the world and millions of buyers found out how good it was. Today, the rise in price marks newfound respect for this model.
4. Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
Although it was inspired by the wild SVT Cobra Rs from the ’90s, they didn’t call the 2003 model “R” since it wasn’t a limited production. In fact, it was available to the buying public, rather than just racing drivers and private teams. The SVT took a standard 4.6-liter block and mounted different heads and a supercharger to produce 390 HP and 390 lb-ft of torque.
They named the engine the “Terminator” and the rumor was that it delivered more than the advertised 390 HP. To handle all that power and torque, Ford equipped the SVT Cobra with an independent rear suspension, which is a setup similar to the first Ford GT. Even though this is a 15-year-old Mustang, the prices are high and they will only get higher.
3. Jaguar XJS
Introduced in the mid-70s, the XJS was a big step for the company. Under the long hood, there was the well-known 3.6-liter six-cylinder. However, you could opt for a 5.3-liter V12 engine, which was a better choice if you wanted the full GT experience.
The XJS was an extremely popular choice, especially in America where Jaguar sold the majority of 115,000 cars they made. Due to its elegance, power, and speed, the XJS remained in production for an incredible 21 years. And, it is still a respectable car in every way. So, it is no surprise that prices are rising each year.
2. Mercedes 450 SLC
Debuting a year after the SL roadster, the SLC was a popular GT car that shared most of the engines, design, and interior with the SL. However, it provided much more comfort, better ride quality, and driving refinement. Despite the fact they offered it with smaller engines, for a more than solid performance, you want either the 450 SLC V8 producing 225 HP or the 500 SLC V8 with 245 HP.
They offered the SLC coupe for 10 years, from 1971 to 1981, producing over 62,000 of them. But those who can’t afford the SL models are turning to the SLC. And so the higher demand is making them more expensive.
1. Pontiac GTO
The first year for the modern GTO was 2004 and the car met universal praise from both buyers and the car press. The design wasn’t exactly new or aggressive, but the GTO had a muscle car form and street presence. Under the hood was an LS1 5.7-liter V8 producing 350 HP and enough performance to be one of the hottest American cars for the 2004 model year.
The target sales figure was 18,000 but Pontiac sold almost 14,000, which was a success. Even though they withdrew this model from the market by 2006, it was the last GTO And that is why the prices will probably go up soon. These cars are the 30 vehicles you should buy right now before the prices soar. So, if you want to start investing in collector’s cars, look for one of these classic beauties while they’re still affordable.