5 Cars to Buy Now

story by David S. Wallens. lead photo courtesy Porsche. other photography as credited.

The car that got away. You can still picture it now: That Porsche 911 Carrera RS you sold in a fit of fiscal responsibility 20 years ago, rounding a corner and exiting your life just before its value abruptly soared to seven-figure heights. Or that pristine Pagoda Benz you passed up on the used-car lot, shrinking in your rear-view mirror because you couldn’t justify another vehicle in your fleet.

Memories like these are painfully clear thanks to 20/20 hindsight. And while we can’t offer you a time machine, we can help you focus on today’s reasonable buys–ones that come pretty close to currently worshipped chariots. Who knows, these cars may end up spawning another generation of non-buyer’s remorse.

ASTRONOMICAL

Back in 1973, Porsche built only 1580 copies of these lightweight, race-ready machines, and today you’ll spend about a million dollars to put one in your collection.

Photography Courtesy Porsche

Photography Courtesy Porsche

ECONOMICAL

That basic 911 chassis continued unchanged until the end of the ’90s. How about a 1984-’89 911 Carrera instead? The flares, Fuchs and fuel injection are still part of the package, and today’s good cars sell for $30,000 to $50,000.

 

ASTRONOMICAL

Pagoda prices are a tick off their highs at the moment, but a topflight example–whether it’s a 230, 250 or 280 SL–can still be a six-figure purchase.

Photography Courtesy Mercedes-Benz

Photography Courtesy Mercedes-Benz

ECONOMICAL

Mercedes-Benz followed the much-loved Pagoda cars with its R107-chassis roadster, a design that launched in 1971 and lasted all the way through the 1989 model year. Which one to get? What’s your budget and taste? The earlier cars sport smaller bumpers, while the late, V8-powered cars make more horsepower. In between there’s a lot of variety, from less than $40,000 for the best 1972 350 SL in the world to the high teens for a driver-level, last-of-the-line 560 SL.

 

ASTRONOMICAL

Prices on the 1958-’61 Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider recently jumped up, meaning a top example is now worth close to $175,000. Budget a little more than six figures for a No. 2 car; the same goes for the follow-up model, the similar-looking, six-cylinder 2600 Spider.

Photography Courtesy Alfa Romeo

Photography Courtesy Alfa Romeo

ECONOMICAL

We’re going to lump together all of the 1970-’93 Spider variants, from the chrome bumper cars through the last models, complete with their smooth, aero-friendly bumper covers and side skirts. When we rounded up all four generations for our November 2015 issue, we did pick a winner: the 1974 Spider. Prices for all of these cars are still flat, meaning around $20,000 covers a really good one.

 

ASTRONOMICAL

Even though 2000GT values are off their million-dollar highs from just a few years ago, this car is still a half-million-dollar purchase. The price tag is one concern, but here’s another: Would you fit in the driver’s seat? Let’s just say that Toyota’s first sports car wasn’t quite built to accommodate today’s average American.

Photography Courtesy Toyota and Nissan, Respectively

Photography Courtesy Toyota and Nissan, Respectively

ECONOMICAL

How about the Japanese sports car designed for American markets–the one that, thanks to Peter Brock’s BRE team, instantly became an SCCA champion? Yes, we’re talking about the Datsun 240Z. Both Hagerty and Bring a Trailer seem toagree that an early, best-of-the-best-of-the-best 240Z is now worth around $50,000, but many are still trading for tens of thousands less. Our advice here: Buy the cleanest 1970–’73 car that you can find.

 

ASTRONOMICAL

Can you buy a legit Cobra for less than seven figures these days? It has happened in recent years, but don’t expect much change from your million-dollar bill.

 

Photography Courtesy Ford and Dodge, Respectively

Photography Courtesy Ford and Dodge, Respectively

ECONOMICAL

The earliest Dodge Vipers weren’t the fastest ones built–they made do with a 400-horsepower V10–but they come closest to being the Cobra’s spiritual successor. Those 1992–’95 Vipers feature massive side pipes and brutal table manners, and they lack roll-up windows, exterior door handles and factory a/c. First in line doesn’t mean most expensive: Early cars are selling at auction for $30,000, give or take a few grand.

 

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Comments
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alfabeach
alfabeach New Reader
4/18/19 9:19 a.m.

All good picks.

GLK
GLK New Reader
4/18/19 9:41 a.m.

Jerry Seinfeld once quipped a classic Porsche RS is a “dead guy's car.” Meaning you don’t generally see them up for sale until the current owner dies.

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