Best Classic Cars Under $10k

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Classic car collectors and enthusiasts on a budget shouldn't be discouraged, and there are plenty of amazing options still available for under $10k.

It will be a struggle to find one of the primary classic cars for a price under $10,000, but you can sacrifice mileage or condition and find a good option to fix up. Some amazing vehicles can be found on this tight budget.

The ten best classic cars for under $10k include

  • 1962 Ford Thunderbird
  • 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Monza
  • 1990 Chevrolet Corvette
  • 1973 Porsche 914
  • 1978 Pontiac Bonneville
  • 1938 Buick Special
  • 1971 Cadillac Eldorado
  • 1965 Ford Mustang
  • 1973 Porsche 914
  • 1979 Mercury Cougar

The best classic cars under $10,000 are usually old cars with a lot of character. They can be in good condition and have a lot of mileage but serve as the perfect project cars to fix up and restore. These cars are great for people who don't want to spend much on their vehicles but still want something reliable and fun to drive.

We have compiled the best classic cars for under $10,000 in this guide through careful research based on our rating system. This includes vehicle condition, vehicle value, and the overall capabilities of the car type.

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10 Best Classic Cars Under $10k

It is a common misconception that collecting and restoring classic cars has to break the bank. In reality, you can find some high-quality options for under $10k that don’t need much restoration work done.

The best classic cars under $10,000 should have some unique features and the potential for restoration to improve the value. They are popular because they offer great value for their price.

The old cars have a lot of charm and character. They are often cheaper than new cars and are easier to maintain. An abundance of classic cars can be bought on a budget.

We have gathered the seven best classic cars for under $10,000 for you. These classic cars have all been tested and proven to be reliable.

1. 1962 Ford Thunderbird

The 1962 Ford Thunderbird is a classic car that has been in production for 50 years and is still considered one of the best classic cars to buy. The car was a true testament to American style at the time with its sleek design and powerful engine.

This classic car listing is for $8,000 or the best offer, and the vehicle is in good condition. The interior likely needs some work, but it is an extremely solid value for a rare car with lots of performance capabilities at this price.

This vehicle has an all-original 390 overhauled V8 engine that gives it plenty of power and torque when put into reverse gear. The price tag on this vehicle makes it affordable to buy and maintain as well as affordable to insure and fuel.

This vehicle has an iconic design with sleek lines that make it stand out from other vehicles on the road. Its interior seats four people comfortably in front of a large dashboard with gauges for a speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, oil pressure gauge, and temperature gauge.

2. 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Monza

This 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Monza is a classic car with many features you would not expect from such a low price. It offers a lot of performance and style at an affordable price of only $9,990.

The Monza is built with the Chevy small-block V8 engine with 110 horsepower after being restored in 2015. It has a 2-speed GM Powerglide Transmission and is designed with the rear seats in mind.

It also has air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, power windows and locks, and more. This includes solid gas mileage, a smooth ride, and safety features like airbags and antilock brakes.

Much of the original equipment, including the rear and floor panels, has been replaced to provide a slightly modernized look. Despite its age, the speedometer only rears about 17,000 miles, so it's barely been used.

It has a sleek aerodynamic design with a very low center of gravity. It was one of the first cars to be fully designed with safety in mind. This car is also very versatile and can be used as a daily driver or for cruising around town with friends.

3. 1990 Chevrolet Corvette

The 1990 Chevrolet Corvette is the perfect entry-level sports car for those who are looking for performance and reliability at an affordable price. The design of this vehicle is also attractive, and it has a sleek body style that will make you want to take it out on the road.

This line of Corvettes is well-known for their performance and reliability. It has an air-conditioner, power steering, and 4-wheel disc brakes. This means you can get around in this car safely, even in the rain or snow.

The one downside to this vehicle is the total mileage of 94,000, but with a few upgrades, you can quickly turn this into a more valuable vehicle. Pricing currently sits at $9,995.

This car is reliable and affordable, but it does not have the latest features. The engine starts easily, and it is smooth to drive.

The car's interior has been well taken care of and looks nice. The car's exterior also looks good, although it may seem old with some scratches on it.

4. 1991 Pontiac Firebird

The 1991 Pontiac Firebird is a popular high-performance classic car for under $10,000. It has an engine that delivers up to 170 horsepower and a 4-speed automatic transmission.

The Firebird has a 5.0L V8 to provide some added performance. This model comes in red with multi-color cloth upholstery in the interior, as well as air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power locks, anti-lock brakes (ABS), and more.

The Pontiac Firebird was designed to be an all-around sports car with a powerful engine and features such as aerodynamic bodywork. It also had a sleek design that made it look like an exotic sports car rather than a family sedan.

This exact model is available for only $8,000, but it does come with 135,846 miles. This might seem alarming to some, but this is one of the best budget cars to restore and includes many modern features.

This is also the base coupe model with refreshed front and rear styling, including updated panel extensions. This model also includes all of the features in the Sport Appearance Package.

5. 1978 Pontiac Bonneville

This 1978 Pontiac Bonneville was a car that was released in the late 1970s. It is a mid-size car with an original 400 V8 engine, heavy-duty body design, and a high-quality interior in excellent condition.

The great thing about this car is it has never changed hands until now. The original owner has taken care of it and kept it in amazing condition with only 12,345 miles on the odometer and no major upgrades done.

This is also an awesome retro cruiser or pro-touring vehicle, and the popularity of this model has only grown in recent years. For only $9,800, this is an incredible value and an extremely rare classic car find.

The Bonneville instead had a front-engine, front-wheel drive layout. The car also featured an unusual design with its twin headlights and quad-round taillights that were placed on each corner.

It has a great body shape with sleek curves and a long hood, which makes it look like a muscle car. It has a retro style, which makes it an attractive vehicle for people who want to get into the vintage car scene.

6. 1938 Buick Special

We love this 1938 Buick Special because of the vintage design, vibrant red paint, and upgraded interior. This vehicle has a short history of owners with tons of features that make it a strong choice on a budget.

It is a two-door sedan that has been on the market since 1938. It has a straight V8 Engine, and it can reach up to 80 miles per hour. The car offers some unique features, such as a folding windshield, which makes it easier for passengers to enter and exit the vehicle.

This car is currently priced at $8,900, but the owner lists the mileage as zero. We recommend confirming this before purchase to see how much use it has experienced.

However, looking at the vehicle, it's in excellent condition. The motor has been completely rebuilt, and features like a new heater, wipers, defroster fan, and more have also been upgraded.

The 3-speed manual transmission runs with solid precision, and the 6-volt system makes this car feel much more modern than the design indicates. This is a highly recommended classic car to add to your garage for daily driving or restoration on a budget.

7. 1971 Cadillac Eldorado

The 1971 Cadillac Eldorado is a high-performance budget classic car with many features. It has a sleek design and a powerful engine, providing up to 365 horsepower when configured properly.

The exterior is painted cotillion white, and the interior includes all burgundy seats and upholstery. The interior also has some upgrades, including new power steering, power locks, power seats, and power windows.

It has an automatic transmission and a lot of engine power to take on the road. The interior is also nice and comfortable for long drives. The power top convertible also makes it a flashy choice for summer months.

Currently, the odometer reads 59,694 miles, so while it has been used, there is still plenty of life left in this car. And that is without factoring in any upgrades, making this one of the best available classic cars under $10k.

This 1971 model is part of the ninth generation of Eldorados and is considered one of the most impressive. It included new panel designs, upgraded seating, and a lamp monitor system, and the convertible was brought back.

8. 1965 Ford Mustang

The 1965 Ford Mustang has become one of the most iconic cars ever. It has a 5-liter engine with an aluminum block and can reach speeds up to 120 mph. The car is not just an American icon, but it is also a favorite among collectors and enthusiasts all over the world.

The Mustang was introduced in 1964 in response to the Chevrolet Camaro, which was introduced earlier that year. This budget classic car offers great performance and style, and due to its popularity, it's not difficult to find parts for this model on a budget.

When looking at this car, you won’t be impressed right away. It certainly needs a lot of work, especially on the exterior, where the paint is fading, and the interior is a mess. But a restored 1965 Mustang is worth a lot of money, and this is a good project car.

We don’t recommend this car to everyone, but for $9,500 and only 65,746 miles, you can turn this into an impressive classic car. It has a clean title, factory power steering, power top, and more. But it's also missing lots of parts, like no fuel lines or exhaust.

9. 1973 Porsche 914

The 1973 Porsche 914 is a famous classic car that typically sells for 4-5x the price of $8,900 when in better condition. Budget collectors should look no further if they want to add a Porsche to their portfolio.

The 914 is a sports car with a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. It has a flat-six engine that produces 130 horsepower and can reach 0-60 in 8 seconds. It also has a four-speed manual transmission and front disc brakes for more safety.

However, this car needs a massive restoration too. It currently does not drive due to some missing components, which is why this classic is available for such a low price. But the exterior is still beautiful, and parts are widely available.

It comes equipped with a Fiat 4 engine and only 13,887 miles on the odometer. The exterior is painted in a burnt orange/red finish with a black hardtop. It also includes all of the original materials and steel frame body.

The interior needs some work, and the seats could use a replacement. This would be a quick fix, and only the seating, carpets, and pedals are worth swapping out.

Overall, this car lacks many functional features like a working horse, speedometer, a/c, and more. The returns could be impressive if you can commit to fixing it up.

10. 1979 Mercury Cougar

The 1979 Mercury Cougar is one of the most affordable classic cars and is a solid choice for restoration. This car is available for $9,629 and is currently in excellent condition with very few damages worth noting.

It had many advanced features, such as a fuel-injected V6 engine, four-wheel disc brakes, four-speed automatic transmission, and an automatic choke. It also had unique headlamps and taillights.

This design includes a 118.0-inch wheelbase and a 21-gallon fuel tank. It is a wide-body two-door coupe with six total seats inside for the driver and multiple passengers.

The 1979 Mercury Cougar is a classic muscle car that is high-performance and affordable. It also comes equipped with updated rims and premium wheels. This car has been around for decades but still performs well today.

The orange exterior is a unique color and definitely rarer compared to other models. This helps when fixing it up to increase value, and the odometer only reads a total of 62,219 miles.

How To Find Classic Cars For Under $10k

Classic cars are rare and usually cost a fortune when you find one. But some amazing classic cars can be bought for under $10k.

If you are looking for a timeless car that is built to last, you should consider purchasing a classic one. Some people may think these classic cars are too expensive, but many affordable options are available.

Below we will show you how to master the search to stay within your budget. Follow these tips.

Do Your Classic Car Research

First, you should research classic cars and list the features you want most in your classic car. This allows you to narrow down the search for a more refined process later.

When doing so, you can locate vehicles around the country that fit within your budget. For example, what decade do you want your car from? What style of car do you prefer?

Do you want a muscle car? A convertible? Do you want something that dates back decades? Once you have a clear idea of what you want, it will be easier to find the right one.

These are critical questions to ask. If you want a powerful 1960s muscle car like a Mustang, quick research will show you this budget isn't suitable for that. But buying one in poor condition to restore is possible.

Know Where To Look

Next, you’ll need to know where to look. There are many options with available vehicles for purchase, but knowing which sources are most trustworthy is important to avoid scams or bad prices.

Below we will list the best places to find classic cars for cheap so you can stay within your $10,000 budget. This is a short list of options, but you can also ask friends and family for referrals too.

Filter Your Search By Vehicle Condition

On many of the top classic car marketplaces, you have the option to apply advanced filters when searching for a vehicle. You can adjust the filters by car type, price, and location, so you only see perfect matches.

You can also set the maximum price to $10,000, so it's easy to shop for classic cars under this number to stay within your budget.

Avoid Extra Features

When looking for a budget classic car, you should first search for the most basic features. This will ensure that your budget stays in check, and you don't have to worry about paying too much.

Avoid any extra features when searching, such as having leather seats or an upgraded stereo system. These features quickly run the price up to over $10k.

Where Can You Find Classic Cars For Cheap?

Classic cars are becoming more popular among younger generations, but they are still expensive to buy. That’s why people want to know where they can find classic cars for cheap.

You will find many different online marketplaces to find potential classic cars, but we have listed the most reliable options below for you to consider.

Classic Cars Marketplace

We always recommend the Classic Cars marketplace as one of the first options when searching for classic vehicles. They have advanced search capabilities and a packed marketplace with cars all over the country.

You can also use them to sell your cars, making them fast and easy. There is also an option to reach out to them for help with your search to get access to verified dealers as well.


Hemmings is similar to Classic Cars, and they have a marketplace online with thousands of vehicles. There are also advanced search filters to look around based on model types, features, or even budget.

They also have a marketplace for car parts, so if you plan to do some type of restoration with your budget car, this is the place to go.

Craigslist & Facebook Marketplace

Lastly, you can check online marketplaces like Facebook and Craigslist. This is the place to go if you want to find better pricing. However, you run the risk of dealing with unprofessional sellers and scammers.

What Is The Cheapest Classic Car To Maintain?

Both the 1962 Ford Thunderbird and the 1991 Pontiac Firebird are relatively low cost to maintain, but it depends on your driving frequency and style. Both of these vehicles are performance muscle cars, but with a unique difference.

The 1962 Thunderbird uses a design for the change to unleaded fuel, meaning it provides much more power, but this could also result in higher costs.

Because of this, you will notice the 1991 Pontiac Firebird is likely the cheaper option for regular maintenance. It’s also much newer, but total mileage and use is the deciding factor.