-five grand doesn’t get you much in a used car nowadays, particularly given the current level of insanity with late model used cars. You could get some 60k mile used 5-year old economy sedan or a 7 year old SUV…or you could put your man pants on and buy a 13 year old BMW M6 with a V10 and 6-speed manual gearbox. Find this 2009 BMW M6 convertible offered for $25,000 in Fort Worth, TX via craigslist.
The 2nd generation Ford Cortina was released in 1968 by Ford of Britain with the catchy slogan: “The New Cortina is more Cortina.” The statement was true because the compact sedan used a Kent inline-4 power up front and simple lightweight formula that makes it a great competitor to the BMW 2002..at least across the pond where you could get both cars. Prices of Cortinas aren’t as overhyped as the BMW 2002, but you don’t see them very often and are almost always grey market examples like this next Portuguese migrant. Find this 1969 Ford Cortina 1300 Deluxe offered for $14,600 in Las Cruces, NM via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
wagon. But you could get to an M3 with 5 doors with a basic 2.5 liter powered 323i/325i with a manual gearbox, so that’s gotta be worth something. Find this 2000 BMW 323i Wagon offered for $12,500 in Emeryville, CA via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
The third generation of Audi’s S6 platform is known for having a V10 engine that shares some similarities with Lamborghini’s V10 that lived in the Gallardo. The V10 is simultaneously the best thing about the C6 generation Audi A6 and the worst. The best because everybody needs a V10 and the worst because you might spend more to maintain it than Caltrans spends to maintain the 405 freeway. Today’s S6 is offered for a price that is somehow lower than the slammed suspension. Find this 2008 Audi S6 V10 offered for $8999 in New York, NY via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
of the Golf platform (Golf hatch/coupe/sedan/GTI) and that was certainly the case in 1986 when this Golf Cabrio was born. It was sold alongside the Mk2, but sits on a Mk1 chassis and is one of the nicer preserved Cabrios you’ll find on craigslist. Find this 1986 Volkswagen Cabriolet offered for $12,500 in New Canaan, CT via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
The Volkswagen Type 3 Fastback was sold from 1961 through 1973 in three distinct configurations, the notchback (looks like a notich), the squareback (has a square back), and the fastback…which is fast? This next thing is a fastback, but it has been converted into a Baja ready off-road machine without a back seat or any of the creature comforts that your wife might expect in a classic. But those rock skid bars look cool. Find this 1968 Volkswagen Fastback Type 3 offered for $4000 in San Diego, CA via craigslist.
Prices of the E34 M5 have risen in the past few years, probably because people figured out that these were fast, fun, rare, and worth saving because sites like DailyTurismo sung their praises (our own CFlo owned one for a few years and loved it) but I don’t think we should take all the blame for the rapid price appreciation. Much of it goes to the fact that new cars are so artificial and the E34 M5 is purposefully analog in its application of speed. It is like driving a big American muscle car that feels tight in the turns. Strange experience, but worth the entry price on this next one. Find this 1991 BMW M5 E34 offered for $12,500 in New York, NY via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
BMW’s E39 generation 540i is a legend. They are not M5 fast, but they are not M5 expensive. They are also more comfortable in everyday driving than an M5 and cheaper to maintain. I’ve always said that if you buy a 330ZHP or a 335i you’ll just hit yourself for not going to full send and getting the M3, but with the 540i, it might be a more sensible car for the guy looking for some executive class ride for cheap. This next one has a few needs, but it’s got a 6-speed manual. Find this 1998 BMW 540i offered for $5000 in Little Italy neighborhood of downtown San Diego, CA via craigslist.
The world is changing. It is going electric. I’m not saying that it is a bad thing, because certainly cleaner airs and happy atmosphere is important, but our years of driving around in turbocharged 300+ horsepower sport sedans with manual gearboxes and fun handling is nearing the end. Soon the fun analog stuff we’ve become accustomed to will be driven out of our price range by wealthy collectors or recycled into battery containment pods. The wheat will be sorted from the chaff. But don’t fret. Instead, keep driving and maintaining the good stuff while you can and prepare for the “nightmare buffet of artificially flavored, hyperpalatable, yet ultimately bare-marginally satisfying, pseudoabundance”** that is coming. Find this 2010 BMW 335i M-Sport offered for $16,500 in Santa Clara, CA via craigslist.
The first generation Opel Manta is an affordable classic that deserves a spot in your garage…wait a minute. I’ve seen this car before. Oh we featured this car in December of 2020 and it was a good deal then and it is cheaper now, so go buy this Opel Manta before it gets relisted 6 months later for another grand off the asking price. Find this 1975 Opel Manta offered for $11,500 in East Meadow, NY via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!