8 Best Daily Driver Classic Cars
There are a few ways you can approach the classic car market, and one of them involves getting a cheaper second vehicle to use as a daily driver.
The best daily driver classic cars make you feel like you are driving a piece of art without sacrificing reliability. This is why these cars look so great and have a certain level of exclusivity that not many other cars can offer.
When you can get a reliable classic, it rides with excellent fuel efficiency and comfort while providing above-average road performance. But they might be less suited for winter conditions, so be sure to do your research.
We have done the job for you and listed some of the best daily driver classic cars below. All of these options give you that vintage feels on the road while remaining low cost.
1. 1983 Volkswagen GTI MK2
The 1983 Volkswagen GTI MK2 is considered to be the best daily driver classic car because it is lightweight and durable. It has a 1.8 inline 2.0-liter engine that provides excellent power, making it ideal for daily use.
This car was one of the first to have a fuel injection system and an automatic transmission. It has an air-cooled engine, which makes it an excellent choice for a daily driver.
The car was designed to offer many features, including four-wheel disc brakes, fuel injection, air conditioning, power steering, and an automatic transmission.
This Volkswagen GTI MK2 has been widely used in racing events because of its speed, agility, and lightweight. This is a modern classic car that has been improved with new technologies.
You can expect a max speed of 150 MPH with impressive acceleration to go from 0 to 60 in only 7.2 seconds. The compact design is also convenient, with affordable pricing and low maintenance costs.
However, this is not an easy car to find, so you will need to look around closely. It can be found for $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the vehicle's condition.
2. 1992 Saab 900
The Saab 900 was an iconic car in its day, and it still remains popular today. The company produced some great vehicles over the years, but this one is one of their most legendary models.
The car is well-known for its robust design and performance. The sedan is available in both turbocharged and non-turbocharged models.
It has a top speed of 127 miles per hour, assuming you can get your hands on the turbo engine. This engine produces 160 hp, which means it can reach 60 mph in about 12 seconds.
The car has many features and benefits to offer, and it’s worth considering if you are looking for an affordable classic car. It is relatively efficient and provides 20 MPG in fuel economy so that you won’t break the bank on fuel.
The five-speed manual transmission is easy to maneuver, and this vehicle is completely front-wheel drive. This vehicle's poor handling in rugged winter conditions is the one downside you should expect.
You can expect to pay a bare minimum for this vehicle too. Edmunds estimates the average price between $499-$3,491.
3. 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS
The 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS is one of the best classic cars that you can consider for daily driving. It has earned an impressive reputation as an incredibly reliable vehicle and ranks as a classic for a reason.
The Impala SS has a powerful V8 engine that gives it flawless performance. Its exterior is distinctive with its sharp lines and sleek design. It's also a family-friendly car with plenty of space for passengers and cargo.
The car features a 5.7-liter V8 engine with 260 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. This is plenty of power and speed for a daily driver vehicle and includes a four-speed automatic transmission.
With these features, this classic car is worth considering for those who want to buy one or are looking into buying one. It is also a completely rear-wheel drive machine, so winter handling isn't the best.
Because this is such a renowned classic, pricing is not as cheap as some other vehicles mentioned in this guide. With low miles, you can see the average prices between $20,000 to $40,000 right now.
4. 1981 Porsche 924
The Porsche 924 is one of the best daily driver classic cars worth considering. This car was available from 1981 to 1993 and is still sought after today.
The Porsche 924 was a great competitor for the BMW 3-series and had many features that make it an attractive option for buyers.
This is a two-door, 2+2 sports car with a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive configuration, front-engine, and rear-wheel drive layouts. The engine in this car produces 150 horsepower, with excellent handling.
It was designed to be the successor of the 911, but it ended up being replaced by the 944. However, this car still has many features that make it an excellent choice for any buyer.
It also includes a turbocharged four-inline engine with a 121.02 cu-in displacement. You can expect a vintage feeling with high-end performance between this engine design and the five-speed manual gearbox transmission.
Pricing is highly affordable, too, and you should only expect to pay around $12,000 to $17,000 on average for this vehicle.
5. 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata (NA)
The 1996 Mazda MX-5 Miata (NA) is one of the top-rated daily driver classic cars worth considering. This car is known for its sporty feel and affordable price.
This car is a perfect example of how a daily driver can be affordable and still be fun to drive. It has a sporty feel and is great for commuting.
It’s also great for commuting and driving to work, as it gets an average of 28 miles per gallon on the highway, making it a practical choice for commuters.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is powered by a 1.8-liter engine with 133 horsepower and 114 lb/ft torque, giving it enough power to move fast without breaking your wallet.
The vehicle is primarily aimed at enthusiasts who want to enjoy driving in the great outdoors. It also offers good fuel economy for those who want to use it as their daily driver.
The car is praised for its lightweight, nimble handling and easy-to-use manual transmission. It is exceptionally affordable for under $10,000 in nearly every condition, and you should have no issues finding one available near you.
6. 1991 Toyota MR2
The 1991 Toyota MR2 is a daily driver classic car worth considering. It has a vintage design with a sleek exterior, all for an affordable price.
The MR2 was designed as a sporty, compact, and affordable sports car. The design had an appearance that was meant to be aerodynamic with sleek lines and a low-slung stance.
The interior of the MR2 was well-crafted, with comfortable seats and plenty of space for passengers and cargo. The car has a lot to offer, with its sleek design, powerful engine, and long-lasting build quality.
This engine produces 200 horsepower, which is more than enough for this car to reach top speeds with reliable acceleration and handling.
Many people are drawn to the car because it is affordable and reliable yet still offers plenty of power from its lightweight engine. It also has a low center of gravity which helps make it fun to drive and easy to handle on winding roads or in the rain.
This car is widely available, with average pricing between $12,000 and $20,000. There are also some unique custom options on the market closer to the $30,000 range.
7. 1970 Nissan Datsun 240Z
The 1970 Nissan Datsun 240Z is one of the top-rated daily driver classic cars worth considering. It has a cult following for its performance, design, and affordable price.
It is a great car, especially if you are looking for something with a lot of power, speed, and good looks. It has many features that make it a great car for anyone looking for something fun and unique.
It is powered by a 2.4-liter inline-four engine that produces plenty of power and 151 horsepower. It also features a 4-speed manual transmission and strong acceleration to go from 0 to 60 in only 9.4 seconds.
This vehicle also has a top speed of 127 MPH. While it may not be the most practical daily driver, it boasts all the capabilities needed to provide an excellent driving experience.
It is a two-door coupe with only two seats, so if you need a spacious interior, it would be wise to look elsewhere. You also should check to see which fuel type it takes, many vehicles around this time accepted lead gas, so some kind of additive would be required.
It can be found for around $25,000 to $40,000, depending on the exact trim level and condition of the car. This might be a bit high, but it will retain its value well over time.
8. 1977 Fiat X19
The Fiat X19 was very popular at the time because it had a lot of features for the price point. It could be driven in all weather conditions, had a good fuel economy, and came with an air conditioning system.
This car has a 4-speed manual transmission that provides reliable handling and accuracy. The 1.3-L engine is not overly impressive when discussing power and speed, but it is perfect as a practical daily driver.
It has a comfortable interior with an open cabin design, which provides enough space for two passengers. This includes a two-door design, making it extremely easy to drive with excellent fuel economy.
In 1977, Fiat released the most ever trim levels, colors, and alternative designs for this car too. This meant you finally had plenty of options worth considering as this car began gaining more market popularity.
This car is still competitively priced, but you will only pay between $2,500 and $6,000 on average.
What To Look For In A Daily Driver Classic Car
The daily driver is what we most often see ourselves in. It is the car that we take to work, go on errands, and use for leisure. It also gets the most miles per year, so it can be used as a cost-effective form of transportation.
To find a classic daily driver car, you should look for a reliable vehicle with essential features. Consider these factors first.
First, you should consider the longevity of the car and how durable it is. This can be attributed to both the vehicle type and its current condition.
We never recommend anyone buying a vehicle with over 100,000 miles unless the price reflects that because it will wear fast.
Cost Of Maintenance
Next, you should consider how much it will cost to maintain the vehicle. Older cars with many miles will likely be much more expensive to maintain than cars in the mid-1990s with few miles.
This should be a major deal breaker to ensure you get a vehicle you can count on for the long run without breaking the bank.
The price of the vehicle is obviously important too. Classic cars for daily driving should not be overly expensive because they won’t be treated like a true classic car.
This means they will wear faster, and the value will deteriorate quicker because of daily driving.
The practicality of a car is the final factor to think about. Buying a classic sports car to drive every day in the winter would not be a wise decision.
This isn't a practical car to use every day, either. Instead, look for a car that would not be a hassle to put on the road daily.
How Durable Are These Daily Driver Classic Cars?
The durability of these daily drivers comes down to the materials used in their construction and the design choices made by automakers back in the day. The reason these are ranked so highly is because of the reliability they can provide.
Most of the vehicles listed in this guide are durable sedans that could last for up to or even more than 200,000 miles with proper care and maintenance.
While some cars might only need minor repairs to keep them running smoothly, others might need more extensive work done to keep them going.
Overall, you can have excellent levels of durability from these classic cars, but they will never match the same longevity when being used daily as a modern-day car would. But don’t forget you are paying much less for the classic car.
Are Daily Driver Classic Cars Cheaper To Maintain?
This is difficult to answer because it can vary widely based on the exact vehicle. In general, they will probably cost slightly more to maintain because they are older.
This means parts are not as easy to find and will require regular maintenance more frequently compared to a modern-day car.
However, you will likely save money when a larger fix or repair is required. This is one of the benefits because these older cars are much more versatile when it comes to modifying and customizing them.
Advantages Of Using A Classic Car As A Daily Drive Vehicle
A classic car is a great vehicle to own. It can be used as a daily drive vehicle and has many advantages. But this depends on what you consider to be most important too.
Below are the top three most critical advantages for any daily driver looking for a classic car.
The obvious benefit you get from a classic car is its vintage style and design. It will also get attention wherever you go because you stand out from the crowd with a vehicle that isn't seen every day.
This can be beneficial if you value the look and style of your vehicle. They are easy to customize, too, so you can easily adjust the style and look.
Low Upfront & Recurring Costs
One of the primary benefits of using a classic car as a daily driver is the reduced upfront pricing. You can also expect lower maintenance costs because things like insurance tend to be cheaper as well.
This allows you to pay a little more upfront because you have fewer monthly costs. The prices for many of these vehicles are much lower, meaning they are probably purchased in cash with no monthly payment either.
Improved Driving Experience
Another great thing about owning a classic car and using it as a daily driver is your improved driving experience. It is more fun to ride around and commute to places with a unique vehicle like the ones in this guide.
Blending all of these benefits together makes it hard to deny how amazing classic cars can be as daily driver vehicles. Choose your car carefully to ensure it provides this feeling of excitement when on the road.
Disadvantages Of Using A Classic Car As A Daily Drive Vehicle
The disadvantages of using a classic car as a daily drive vehicle are that it's not as practical for the modern world. You could find this out the hard way if you aren't prepared.
But the good news is that some vehicles are perfectly suitable for all types of driving. However, you should still consider the following downsides before making your decision.
A downside to using a classic car for daily driving is the reduced safety features it can provide. The safety features of a classic car are not as reliable as those of a modern one.
While they are not unsafe, modern vehicles are simply safer. For example, the presence of airbags is not available in all types of classic cars.
You do have the option of customizing or modifying your classic car to improve its safety, but it will likely never match what a modern vehicle can provide.
Less Fuel Economy
Driving a classic car is a great way to get out and enjoy the open road. However, there are some drawbacks to driving an older vehicle. One of the drawbacks is that gas mileage can be much lower than in modern cars.
The fuel economy of a classic car is greatly reduced because of its age and design. Older vehicles typically use more fuel and produce less power than newer models. This makes them less efficient in terms of gas mileage and overall performance.
Availability Of Parts For Repairs
Another issue you could face with an older classic car is the need for repairs. When this happens, you need to find compatible parts to make the repair, but they are not as easy to find in stores.
They require parts for repairs that are not as popular anymore, so tracking them down to make the proper fix can be quite a hassle for some vehicle types.