Classic Car Watch
Classics for $25,000 - $32,000

NOTE: This column displays cars I have found on the Internet. I am not selling them. Please follow the links if you are interest in a car. Be mindful of the date this article was published. For an explanation why I do this read the original column here.

August 1, 2013
By Scott Lewis

This month I am looking at cars in a price range that I normally would not. I prefer to look at cars below $20,000 (actually, below $15,000, but inflation has made that harder and harder). What is really different for this article... it is to go hand in hand with this month's Car Corner, where I look for modern "toys" in this price range. The price range comes from if my ex-wife sold our house so I could get my equity out of it.

Some cars didn't get into the price range. That was because I was looking for a couple of specific cars... and the only ones I liked were a little less than this budget. I did not want that to detract for the cars I put here.

So these are cars I would consider if I had the $35,000 equity in the house my ex-wife lives in. Hey... in three years when child support ends she is going to have to sell the house because she can't afford it without my help.

I did not do this topic justice. I kind of had a preconception on what I wanted here... and there are tons of cars available in this higher price range than I normally see. So consider the cars below a taste of what I would look for, more than a guide to the actual cars. I did not find it necessary to look at everything... that would take a year of columns... and then some.

Let's see what I found in a higher price range than I normally look:

1966 Mustang GT Coupe - $26,500

Description: Mustang GT Coupe . K-Code Coupe, 4-Speed , matching 271hp 289 HI-PO engine , Nightmist blue, blue/white pony interior, Styled Steel Wheels. A real K-Code, with factory options; GT, Deluxe interior, Visibility Group. Non Ford Retro A/C, not working. Have owned car for 10 years+, garaged. Beautiful driver. Never any damage, original paint. With full asking price I will include an OEM Autolite 4100 (HiPo) carburetor and an OEM Air Cleaner Unit. Clean title, funds must clear before car is released. K-Codes were less than 1% (1966 = 5,469 of the 607,568) of the Mustangs built.

Source: Cars Online

Found: 7/19/2013

Comments: If you are going to spend over $25K for a 60's Mustang... it had better be special. A K-Code Mustang with a Pony Interior is special. I like it.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro - $31,500

Description: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro X11 in Le Mans Blue (code 71) with Black bucket seats (712), factory gauge package. Built 350 & 4-speed manual transmission which is original specs but engine is not matching numbers. Norwood built. Very bright and pretty. Mechanically superb with lots of power.

Source: Chequered Flag

Found: 7/28/2013

Comments: A 69 Camaro in blue with a 4 speed, buckets, console and gauges. You knew this was coming, right?

1973 Chevrolet Camaro - $25,995

Description: This matching numbers 1973 Camaro LT is presented in Green Gold with Black interior. It has a L48 350ci engine that was rated at 175hp form the factory in 1973. Its backed by a M38 3-speed Automatic transmission with a 3.42 rear axle gear ratio. Other factory options include Tinted windows, Bucket seats, Seatbelts harnesses, Body side moldings, A/C,Front and Rear spoilers, Sport mirrors left and right, Power steering, Deluxe instrumentation and turbine wheels.

Source: Paramount Classic Cars

Found: 7/28/2013

Comments: Lately I have been really getting back to the first cool, old car I liked (when I was a teenager)... the RS version of the 2nd Gen Camaro.

1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am - $29,900

Description: 24,526 Actual Mile Documented Trans Am 400

Source: RK Motors

Found: 7/19/2013

Comments: In reality... this is the car I was thinking of when I started this column. A pristine Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am... but in blue. I love the blue... more than the traditional black.

1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am - $29,900

Description: This 1979 Trans Am, freshly restored from its numbers matching, W72 4-speed drive train to its new cloth interior and slick 17 inch wheels, is a super cool F2 that mixes plenty of old school attitude with consistent gains in value. Looking for an excellent opportunity to get back in touch with your child AND make a little money down the road? This Trans Am is your ticket!

Source: RK Motors

Found: 7/19/2013

Comments: I actually prefer the 79 Trans Am to the true Smokey and the Bandit 77-78 style. The dark blue looks great. And the bird decal is so perfect for this car. I love this car.

1972 Chevrolet Corvette - $29,995

Description: While Corvettes have a reputation for being brutal performance cars, there's no reason they can't also be pretty. This 1972 Corvette is a matching-numbers example, freshly painted in relatively rare Steel Cities Gray and ready to enjoy immediately. That handsome finish is this car's original color, masterfully re-created in modern urethane paint for an almost impossible shine.

Source: Streetside Classics

Found: 7/28/2013

Comments: Next up... I just stumbled onto this Corvette and realized I had to put a "chrome bumper" Vette in here. This car is nice, but I would search hard if I decided this is what I really wanted with 30 grand.

1977 Porsche 911 Widebody - $17,995

Description: We are pleased to offer this very clean accident free 1977 Porsche 911s. This Porsche has had been converted to a 930 steel body cabriolet. We believe that this 911 was a total stripped down conversion. The conversion was done the right way with no expense spared. This Porsche drives superb with no problem, it could be used as a daily driver.

Source Hemmings

Found: 7/6/2013

Comments: Here is a car that went below my budget. Hear me out. I really wanted an old school Porsche 911 (air cooled). And in the early eighties I remember that Porsche had a "Turbo Look" version of the 911. You got the flared fenders, wide wheels and whale tail spoiler, but without the turbo engine. I remember thinking then it would make for a better car to drive on the street than the radical Turbo, which had a reputation for being a handful for an inexperienced driver (inexperienced for Porsche 911s).

I really liked the look of this car, so I put it here. In reality, I would want to do a lot more research on these cars to find out what would be the best years to look at, and learn what to look for and avoid. I suspect a conversion is not the way to go. For now I just liked the pictures, and that was enough for this article.

1978 Porsche 911 - $26,800

Description: This 1978 Porsche SC Targa is equipped with a Manual transmission. The vehicle is Red with a Black Leather interior. Immaculate car, low actual miles! Non-Smoker, have original manuals, have all keys. This Porsche is in excellent overall exterior condition, excellent overall interior condition, leather seats - AM-FM, Leather Interior Surface.

Source: North Shore Autosport

Found: 7/6/2013

Comments: Even if I don't get a wide body 911... I must have a whale-tail. Details were few on this car, but it said more was coming. I didn't need to get that for this article, but feel free to follow the link for yourself. This car looks good enough to me that I could enjoy driving it on a twisty road and on early morning, sunny, weekend drives.

1988 BMW M3 Coupe, 67,100 mi., $24,500

Description: I did not capture the description from the original ad on AutoTrader.

Source: AutoTrader

Found: July 2013

Comments: I originally captured this ad for the companion Car Corner article, but decided this car is old enough to warrant being listed with some classics. After all, this car is 25 years old, the definition of a classic.

I love the body on this car... always have... even before they were "cool" to collect (and drive up the prise). Even though it does not have a lot of horsepower by today's standards, it is an amazing driving machine. Some day I would like to see one in my collection.

1991 BMW 850i - $29,950

Description: One of less than 550 North American models, this rare 6-speed manual 850i is terribly sinister in black on black with a number of performance upgrades to boot. This example features factory optional electronic damping control and traction control, as well as performance upgrades in the form of Dinan performance software, Supersprint exhaust, Eibach Springs, Bilstein Dampers, stainless steel brake lines and lightweight AC Schnitzer alloy wheels. 34K original miles.

Source: AutoTrader

Found: 7/28/2013

Comments: Here is another "dream" car. A car I have like since it was new and would like to have in a collection someday. Granted... this car is a major engine repair away from being totaled. Seriously, if this 12 cylinder engine fails... it will probably cost more than the car is worth to fix it. At that point I would consider a LS engine swap from a Corvette.

1987 Porsche 944 - $18,900

Description: 1 owner 33,000 miles. Original window sticker-books-manuals-records-receipts-full black leather-central locking system-16" disc wheels-external transmission oil cooler-full power seat left-automatic speed control-sport shock absorbers-alarm system-anti lock system (ABS)-electric sunroof-full leather seats front and rear-all per window sticker-listed new for $44,345. New shocks-clutch assy-A/C - Seals - Gaskets - Timing Belt Service - Master Cylinder and brakes - Turbo service - power steering rack and pump - water pump - fuel lines - $7,500 receipts in the last 1,500 miles. One of the nicest one owner low mile turbos for sale!

Source: Classic Auto Sales

Found: 7/6/2013

Comments: I was curious how nice a 944 I could find if money were no object. This was the nicest I found, but I did not look for very long. In reality... I would not spend this much for a 944 unless it was truly immaculate. This may be, but that would require a serious inspection.

There are plenty of 944s around for $10-15K that would make great drivable classic Porsches. I would probably look at those.

1965 Ford Mustang - $29,500

Description: 289 CI 4V V-8 (225 HP) engine. 4 Speed Manual Transmission. Vintage Burgundy Metallic paint. Black; Crinkle Vinyl, (STD) Standard Interior. All original. Numbers matching vehicle. Following Factory Accessories: Power Steering, Front Disc Brakes (Back Drum Brakes), GT Fog Lights, Rally Pack Gauges. Comes with custom fit car cover. Professionally restored in 2011.

Source: AutoTrader Classics

Found: 7/28/2013

Comments: Just a view extra Mustangs for fun.... like this early fastback. I like them a lot. They would be on my short list in this price range.

1970 Ford Mustang - $29,900


Source: Unique Specialty & Classics

Found: 7/28/2013

Comments: A Mach 1 in blue with a shaker hood... How can I not show you this. Personally... I like the 70 model year as a Boss, and for me that would me a Boss 302 "tribute" or clone. This car already has the shaker hood, it really just needs the stipes and such to look like a Boss 302.

1968 Ford Mustang California Special - $27,995

Description: This particular CS comes from long-term ownership, presenting in an extremely rare and unusual color combination of Lime Gold over a green interior, and it looks fantastic after a full repaint just four years ago. All the correct California Special bits are still present and accounted for, ranging from the blacked-out grille and fog lamps, to the hood pins, to the Shelby-style rear scoops and fiberglass tail with built-in spoiler.

Source: Streetside Classics

Found: 7/28/2013

Comments: To round out our "special" Mustangs... we need a California Special. I always liked these too.