16 February 2012

What's entry level these days?

Six or seven years ago and certainly through the depths of the recession, it was possible to pick up a fair number of interesting older cars for well under $5,000, especially those that had a bit of a “tarnished” reputation when they were new. Good examples of these are cars like the Porsche 924, Triumph TR7, Fiat X1/9 and Pontiac Fiero. The first editions of all of these cars were truly lousy. Each improved considerably near the end of its run, but the market remained oblivious to the fact.

Good examples of all of the above used to be around for truly comical money, less than $3k, in some cases. No more. The few remaining nice examples of these formerly unloved disco-era cars now push 6 grand in a lot of cases. That isn’t to say that the occasional craigslist bargains don’t still show up if you’re quick on the draw. A good friend in Sacramento, Calif., just pulled a ’77 Datsun 280Z with around 100,000 miles and nice original paint off craigslist for $3,600, a solid deal on a usable and very fun collector car.

The point is, if you’ve been thinking about an entry-level collector car from the disco era, the time to scratch the itch is now. The sun may truly be setting on the collectible credit card car (at least those from the 1970s).

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