30 Vintage Cars for Under $10,000

America’s love affair with the car runs deep. From Portland to, well, Portland, every town in America is probably going to have at least one gearhead who can rattle off all the differences between model years on 1940s Fords like they’re reciting the alphabet. For them, buying and/or restoring some of the classic cars of yesteryear is pretty much the only hobby that makes any sense.

And while the phrase “collecting vintage cars” might immediately conjure up images of country club elites and wildly rich retired comedians, it certainly doesn’t have to be that way. There are cheaper hobbies, but you can keep your car-collecting costs low if you’re ready to compromise on buying cars in mint condition. Whether you enjoy doing the restoration work yourself or just don’t mind the wear and tear, you can find options for true classics that can be had for less than five figures.

So, here’s a look at some of the best vintage cars you can find for less than $10,000. These beauties might even be worth buying during the pandemic.

Last updated: July 24, 2020

1905 Oldsmobile

  • Price: $8,495 on ClassicCars.com

If you’re in the habit of laughing at people referring to cars as the “horseless carriage,” maybe it’s because you’re not familiar enough with the earliest designs. When looking at this 1905 Olds, one does get the sense that there was some overlap in parts and design work for carriages and cars.

1923 Dodge Brothers Sedan

  • Price: $8,950 on ClassicCars.com

While the 1923 Dodge comes a lot closer to what you would recognize as a car today — note the presence of an “interior” — it’s still clearly from another era. The car’s engine produces just 25 horsepower, enough for a “touring car” in the 1920s but, clearly, one to keep off the freeways these days.

Pictured: 1923 Dodge Brothers Sedan Series 116

1926 Ford Model T

  • Price: $6,500 on ClassicCars.com

Really, the Model T should be cheap. That’s the whole thing about the Model T: It was cheap. Before the Model T — and the assembly-line production developed at Ford factories — car ownership simply wasn’t affordable for the vast majority of the country. The Model T unlocked the car for the middle class, launching American car culture itself. This isn’t a vintage car; it’s THE vintage car.

Pictured: 1914 Ford Model T Touring

1929 Mercedes-Benz Gazelle

  • Price: $7,500 on ClassicCars.com

That’s right, you can get a Mercedes for less than $10,000. Of course, you will need to reach back as far as the 1920s to make that happen, but in doing so, you can also get the chance to own a Mercedes designed by legendary auto engineer Ferdinand Porsche before he left to found his own company.

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Pictured: 1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK

1931 Plymouth Sedan

  • Price: $9,520 on ClassicCars.com

The 1931 Plymouth, made by Chrysler, was much like a Ford Model T: designed to be affordable for the average American. In fact, when Walter Chrysler began selling this model in 1928, Henry Ford told him that he would go broke, as there was no way to beat out Ford and Chevrolet.

But the Chrysler Corporation survived the Great Depression, and today, Plymouths make a beautiful classic to display in your driveway.

1932 Studebaker Custom

  • Price: $7,500 on ClassicCars.com

Studebaker isn’t a name you see on the market anymore. Actually, it hasn’t been seen since 1966, when its last manufacturing plant shut down. But the Studebaker name survives today because of 114 great years of auto production and is a must-have for any serious collector.

1936 REO Flying Cloud

  • Price: $8,495 on ClassicCars.com

The elegant design of the REO Flying Cloud has a form that’s immediately reminiscent of car designs of the 1930s and 1940s, meaning you’ll be unmistakable on the road driving one of these. This model was initially offered with the option for a semi-automatic transmission dubbed the “self-shifter.” Of course, getting one did add a whopping $85 to the sticker price.

1938 Ford Deluxe

  • Price: $8,295 on ClassicCars.com

This 1938 Ford Deluxe has been beautifully restored, featuring a ’51 truck frame with an open drive shaft and hydraulic breaks. It also has a gorgeous ’63 Ford 260 V-8 engine.

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1940 Chrysler Windsor

  • Price: $8,500 on ClassicCars.com

This 1940 Chrysler Windsor isn’t exactly a sports car — the 115-horsepower engine produces a top speed of just 80 mph and goes from zero to 60 mph in just under 20 seconds — but it does represent a chance to enjoy cruising in a 1940s classic.

1940 Pontiac Sedan

  • Price: $7,000 on ClassicCars.com

Pontiac’s history stretches all the way back to 1893, when Edward Murray of Pontiac, Michigan, founded a buggy company. In 1909, the company was bought by General Motors, which helped turn it into a tru
e auto manufacturer. Pontiac was actually the first model to offer different engine options to customers.

1941 Packard 160

  • Price: $8,595 on ClassicCars.com

The 1941 Packard moved the headlights into the fenders to give the vehicle a sleek, modern look that defined a new generation of cars. During this time, Packard also dropped the V-12 in favor of a 356-cubic-inch V-8 engine that many fans consider Packard’s best engine.

1949 Willys Jeepster

  • Price: $7,995 on ClassicCars.com

One of the original Jeeps, this model landed somewhere in between the utilitarian postwar Universal CJ Series and a more family-oriented station wagon. For Jeep fans and military history buffs alike, this car is a great purchase.

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1950 Crosley Coupe

  • Price: $8,500 on ClassicCars.com

Not a lot of people still remember automaker Crosley. The company ended up getting pushed out of car making by the big three, ultimately shutting down in July 1952. However, some classic Crosleys are still around, and you can find at least some for relatively cheap.

1950 Plymouth Deluxe

  • Price: $9,500 on ClassicCars.com

The 1950 Plymouth Deluxe uses a slight roll at the bottom edge of the face plate to give the impression of more size. However, don’t let that make you feel overconfident if you take the Deluxe out for a spin — the fluted, three-rib bumpers are nearly impossible to fix up after being dented.

1951 Dodge Pickup

  • Price: $8,995 on ClassicCars.com

Dodge’s postwar B-Series trucks were superior to their competitors from Ford and General Motors in many ways. In particular, the cabin offered better visibility as well as higher seats and more space.

1952 Ford Victoria

  • Price: $9,950 on ClassicCars.com

Ford was just three years into switching back to making new model years of cars rather than bombers when it hit upon the new body design for 1952 that increased length and width while reducing how high the car rode off the ground. The company wound up selling some 77,320 1952 Victorias, and some can still be had for a reasonable price.

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1952 MG TD

  • Price: $9,995 on ClassicCars.com

This rear-wheel-drive standard transmission roadster represented
some of the most advanced engineerings of its time. Of course, that doesn’t include seatbelts or airbags — the steering column itself is a large steel spike — but with just 52 horsepower, you shouldn’t be able to get into too much trouble.

1955 Hudson Hornet

  • Price: $9,295 on ClassicCars.com

This ’55 Hudson Hornet comes with a V-8 automatic transmission and rebuilt carburetor. The seats and steering wheel are original — and not in the best condition — so this car may be best for someone looking to give it some love and care.

1960 Chevrolet Corvair

  • Price: $9,995 on ClassicCars.com

OK, so you might not want to drive the car that inspired “Unsafe at Any Speed,” but owning this little piece of automotive history should still appeal to plenty of collectors. After all, this is the car that played a key role in making seatbelts standard in every car.

1960 Jaguar Mark II

  • Price: $9,750 on ClassicCars.com

One of the co-founders of Jaguar, Sir William Lyons, stuck to the theory of cars with “grace, pace and space,” and the Mark II would appear to be a great example. Featuring a Jaguar XK6 engine, this could be one way to really impress the rest of the folks at the country club without breaking the bank.

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Pictured: 1963 Jaguar Mark II

1962 Ford Thunderbird

  • Price: $7,495 on ClassicCars.com

Imagine being able to travel back in time with a 1962 T-bird to show old Henry Ford what his Model T wrought? This beauty could produce a roaring 300 horsepower that would likely mean Ford could have fun, fun, fun till the time travelers take his T-bird away.

1962 Austin-Healey Sprite

  • Price: $7,000 on ClassicCars.com

This roadster is one that — at least from its outward appearance — would really live up to its name. Its genesis grows from designer Donald Healey being tasked with designing a smaller sports car to balance the larger offerings from Austin-Healey.

1969 Lincoln Continental

  • Price: $5,795 on ClassicCars.com

Interestingly enough, the Lincoln Continental that’s been a reliable family car for decades was originally planned as another version of the flashy Thunderbird. However, the proposed stretched version of a two-door hardtop didn’t appear to be sporty enough for the typical T-bird driver and the design was salvaged as the Continental.

1971 Volkswagen Beetle

  • Price: $6,500 on ClassicCars.com

Now that Volkswagen has officially discontinued the Beetle, this classic model is limited to only what’s out there already — and it’s hard to imagine a world where children don’t play punch buggy.

This beauty listed on ClassicCars.com, in particular, is a great price for a totally rebuilt motor, new paint and new interior. All you need to buy is a radio.

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1973 Cadillac Eldorado

  • Price: $9,495 on ClassicCars.com

The Eldorado, in production for 50 years, was at the top of the line for Cadillac models of the mid- to late-20th century. The legendary automaker describes it as a “true driver’s luxury coupe.”

1978 Porsche 924

  • Price: $9,495 on ClassicCars.com

A classic Porsche — or any Porsche, for that matter — under $10,000 is a very rare find. This 924 model from 1978 is in pretty decent shape; it runs and drives well, and comes with original Porsche seat covers. However, the car could use a tuneup and exterior buff.

1979 Chevrolet Corvette

  • Price: $7,750 on ClassicCars.com

Which model year Corvette you might want to buy is a debate that could likely take ages, but if you want to go by popular demand, 1979 would be your car. Corvette production peaked in 1979, making it the year the most Vettes were sold by Chevy for any model year to that point.

1980 MG MGB

  • Price: $8,495 on ClassicCars.com

The MGB, launched in 1962, became the world’s bestselling sports car and held that title for nearly two decades. In its 18 years of production, over half a million MGBs were made.

1984 Dodge Charger

  • Price: $9,500 on ClassicCars.com

The Dodge Charger is one of the few cars on this list that is still in production today. An extraordinarily popular model, this particular car listed on ClassicCars.com comes with quick ratio steering, performance-tuned suspension and a high-compression engine for ultimate power and speed. Best of all, the interior is all original!

1985 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

  • Price: $8,450 on ClassicCars.com

Another favorite, the Firebird ran from 1967 to 2002 and was built as a direct competitor to the Ford Mustang. American muscle car enthusiasts will appreciate this car with its T-Top, factory gauges and original interior.

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Levi Leidy contributed to the reporting for this article.

Photo disclaimer: photos are for representational purposes only and may not reflect the exact car mentioned.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 30 Vintage Cars for Under $10,000