Many of us are tempted by the idea of owning a classic sports car. Many enthusiasts think that they offer a better driving experience than modern sports cars. Classic cars can also be a lot more characterful in other ways than their modern counterparts. Many prefer the styling of classic models or their more obvious quirks. They may have even wanted to have them when they were younger, but couldn’t afford them back then.
A lot of classic sports cars are not an easy ownership experience. In fact, quite a few of them could bankrupt you through their expensive repair bills. But, there are quite a few that are fairly cheap and easy. These would be really suitable for anyone who wants to get into classic car ownership for the first time. There’ll be some cars in this list that are obvious choices, but there are also a few others that might not be!
10 Mazda MX-5 Miata (NA) – $8,400
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a perennial choice for anyone who wants a great classic or modern sports car. The NA generation has reached proper classic status now, and as a result many people are looking at it as a potential first step into the classic car world. It’s a very sensible choice in that regard, as it’s known for being incredibly reliable and easy to maintain.
Even though it’s a proper classic now, examples of the NA MX-5 are still relatively affordable on the used market. You can still get an early model for around $8,400 on the used market, making it a relative bargain for what it is! A good NA Miata will keep going for almost forever, and give you a lot of driving fun no matter where you take it.
9 MG MGB – $7,300 To $12,400
When you ask somebody to think of a classic British sports car, the car they’ll likely be thinking of is MG’s MGB. Whether it’s the earlier (and more desirable!) chrome-bumper versions or the rubber-bumper ones that came later, the MGB has remained a stalwart of what a classic British sports car should be. It also makes a really great starter classic, thanks to its relatively simple mechanicals and plenty of support from owners’ clubs and communities.
Even though it’s well-established as a classic car these days, examples of the MGB are still relatively affordable. A later rubber bumper example will cost you around $7,300, while an earlier model will cost a bit more at around $12,400. Whichever era you want your MGB to be from, you’ll be getting a classic British sports car at a pretty good price!
8 Porsche 924 – $7,500 To $11,000
The Porsche 924 has a somewhat divisive reputation. On the one hand, it’s often looked at as a poor man’s Porsche. This is due to its cheaper price point, as well as early models having an engine that was largely the same as one from a Volkswagen van. On the other hand, it is now a bona-fide classic sports car. As a result of this, it’s one of the best entry points around both for classic Porsche ownership and classic sports car ownership in general. While it may not be the most glamorous Porsche you can get, it is at least fairly reliable thanks to its strong mechanicals.
Usually, owning a Porsche is an expensive proposition. That’s not the case with the 924! A regular 924 will set you back around $7,500, while a 924 Turbo will cost you a bit more at around $11,000. Both of them are almost stupendously cheap ways to get into Porsche ownership, and both of them will give you a great first classic sports car experience.
7 Porsche 944 – $10,500 To $21,000
The Porsche 944 was a later development of the 924 mentioned earlier. Much like the 924, the 944 does have a bit of a reputation for being a poor man’s Porsche. But, that shouldn’t put you off considering one. The 944 is one of the best first classic sports cars out there on the market. It gets a lot of praise from the less snobbish enthusiasts, and it’s a Porsche, so it should generally be very reliable.
As with the 924, the 944 is one of the cheapest entry points into Porsche ownership. Good condition examples of the lowest-spec 944s go for around $10,500, while the faster and more desirable 994 Turbos go for around $21,000. That’s a price range that’ll get you a great classic Porsche for not a lot of money, and also get you a classic sports car that’s great for first-timers.
6 Chevrolet Corvette (C4) – $7,300
The Chevrolet Corvette is one of the longest-running production car models in the entire world. As a result, there are several generations out there. Some generations are well-liked, while others are ones that even Corvette diehards wouldn’t take if they were given away! The C4 generation is perhaps the one that gets forgotten the most. It’s certainly not the best-looking Corvette model, and subsequent generations of the car have been regarded as being better overall. But, it is a very good car to get if you want to get started into classic sports car ownership! A lot of C4 Corvettes were made, so spare parts are plentiful. There’s also a sizeable owners’ community out there.
The C4 isn’t the most glamorous of the Corvette generations. But, it is one of the most affordable! A 1987 model can be had for as little as $7,300. This is a lot cheaper than what you would pay for other Corvettes from both older and younger generations.
5 Triumph Spitfire – $7,700
Like the MG MGB, the Triumph Spitfire is one of those cars that sums up the look and philosophy of a quintessential British sports car. It’s a small, nimble roadster with the engine in the front, the power going to the rear wheels, and fantastic styling by Giovanni Michelotti. Its name is even quintessentially British, as it was named after the Spitfire fighter plane! It’s a fantastic car to dip your toes into the world of classic car ownership. It’s relatively easy to maintain due to it sharing parts with other Triumph and Standard cars of the era, and there is plenty of owners club support out there too.
You can get a good early 1960s example of the Triumph Spitfire for around $7,700. That’s a really great price, considering you’re getting a proper classic British sports car!
4 Volkswagen Corrado – $10,600 To $18,500
In the world of VW Group-produced sports cars, the Volkswagen Corrado does go overlooked a lot of the time. Its Scirocco predecessor usually gets all the limelight. That’s a bit of a shame, as the Corrado is a great buy for anyone who wants to get into classic sports cars for the first time! There are plenty of different variants out there, including one with the legendary VR6 engine. It’s also fairly easy to maintain, thanks to it sharing a platform with the Volkswagen Golf of the same era.
Although the Corrado is the correct age to have proper classic status, it still hasn’t managed to get that universally. As a result, even the higher-performance models are fairly affordable on the used market. A 1.8-liter base model will cost you around $10,600, while a VR6-powered example will require you to shell out a bit more at around $18,500. Both ends of the Corrado model spectrum are performance bargains and will be a great entry into owning a classic sports car.
3 Toyota MR2 (Mk II) – $11,100
While Mazda had the MX-5 Miata as its cheap and cheerful sports car, Toyota’s was the MR2. Toyota took a different approach to Mazda, going for a mid-engined rear-wheel drive layout instead of the classic front-engined rear-wheel drive setup. The result was a car with almost perfect weight distribution, but with very different driving dynamics from what a lot of customers were used to. The handling difficulties shouldn’t put you off, though. It’s been one of the best starter classics out there for years now if you want a fairly trouble-free sports car. It’s cheap to run and, thanks to extensive parts sharing with other Toyota models of the era, fairly easy to maintain.
Even though the MR2 is a proper classic sports car now, they’re still fairly cheap in most cases on the used market. A good second-generation example will cost you around $11,100. While that’s not as cheap as they once were, it’s still pretty good value for money for a ’90s classic.
2 Mitsubishi 3000GT/Dodge Stealth – $6,300 To $20,000
The Mitsubishi 3000GT (also sold in North America as the Dodge Stealth) is a classic Japanese sports car that’s often overlooked. Its peers, such as the Nissan 300ZX, get a lot more attention. In some ways that’s a bit of a shame, as the Mitsubishi 3000GT was actually a very advanced sports car for its time. Top-spec VR4 models had four wheel steering, full-time all-wheel drive, and active suspension, all things that you wouldn’t even find on the most exotic supercars of the day!
The Mitsubishi 3000GT is fairly affordable if you’re willing to go for one of the lower-powered versions. A base model version is worth around $6,300, making it a pretty good choice if you want a classic sports car on a budget. If you want the VR4, however, you’ll have to fork out around $20,000 for one. If you can afford it, you’ll get a fantastic classic sports car with a more modern feel that’ll make it great for first-time classic owners.
1 BMW M-Coupe – $32,000
Affectionately dubbed the “clown shoe” due to its distinctive shape, the BMW M-Coupe has become a properly desirable (if somewhat underappreciated) classic as time has passed. Enthusiasts have come to love its quirky looks, renowned driving dynamics, and its classic BMW straight-6 engine. It’s easy to maintain, too, thanks to it sharing parts with multiple BMW models of the same era. All these look like the perfect ingredients for somebody who wants to buy their first classic sports car!
Due to how much people want these cars, the BMW M-Coupe is not cheap on the used market. You’ll need around $32,000 to get one in good condition. That money will be well worth it though, as you’ll get a great sports car that’s easy to keep going.