Why drive a soul-crushing sedan or family hauler if you don't have to? Driving a retro car is a lot fun and more affordable than you might think.
There's a healthy supply of both American muscle cars and European two-seaters that cost less than a new Toyota Corolla or Kia Sedona. You can't cram a gaggle of kids into the retro cars we love, but they'll put a grin on your face and save you money.
San Francisco hot rodder and mechanic Jeff Gwynn has worked on cars for more than 30 years and says that budgets shouldn't get in the way of having fun. Besides wrenching on classics and late-model cars like his own BMW 2002tii, 1957 Chevy Nomad, and 1967 Chevy C10 pickup, Gwynn has gone as far as building a $500 vintage BMW into a race-ready machine to win 24 Hours of Lemons. He suggests looking for cars that are cosmetically sound and that haven't been garaged for too long.
"A good clean body and nice interior is important," Gwynn said. "It's a lot easier to fix mechanical flaws than sand the whole body down and paint it."
Older cars aren't impressive in terms of gas mileage, but the extra fuel cost can be offset by low insurance rates.
Ready to have an affair with the Mrs. Robinsons of autos? Besides Gwynn, several other retro car experts helps us find a few models that make the cut.
The Porsche 911 is an iconic sports car with a history of winning races and hearts. Porsche pretty much maintained the classic 911 design established in 1963 for more than 30 years. That's an eternity in car years, allowing the sloping roofline to make an indelible mark on the world.
"If you want a good driver's car, take a look at the 1978 to 1983 Porsche 911 SC," says Gwynn. "A lot of people also like the 993 series that ran from 1994 to 1997. After that, 911s got bigger and switched to water-cooled engines"
Rare and special edition Porsches command steep premiums, but there are plenty late 1970s to early 1980s 911s that can serve as daily drivers that cost $15,000 to $23,000.
Gwynn notes that Porsche engine parts can be expensive, but there are plenty of Porsche gurus to turn to for inspections.
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