Being a car enthusiast, you might say there are plenty of cars I would consider my ‘dream’ car. Of course, a 1970 Boss 429 Mustang will run me close to a quarter of a million dollars, but just because my dream car seems a little out of reach doesn’t mean other potential dream cars are that impossible to own.
Silver Shadow Rolls Royce
Built between 1965 and 1980, the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow has the classic look that just screams the highest level of quality and design that the British luxury car-maker is known for. You just can’t get a more luxurious car than a Rolls Royce, except for maybe a Bently, which is made by the same company. It’s safe to say any true auto enthusiast would dream of owning a Rolls, but many might not know it isn’t really that crazy to own one. Ok, so a new one will cost you as much-if not more-than my own personal dream car, but you can easily pick up an early 70’s model Silver Shadow for around $15K or less. That’s not bad considering the level of quality in which a Rolls Royce is produced. They are literally hand made. If you see wood on the dash, it’s REAL wood that the factory cut and varnished themselves. In an age of mass production with ultra-cheap labor, you can’t get anything better for an automobile at that price. Of course, a tune-up and/or replacement parts may cost you an arm and a leg.
Magnum PI Ferrari 308
If you grew up in the 1980’s like I did watching the rogue private investigator played by Tom Selleck cruising the backroads of Hawaii, you’ll remember one thing for sure-the red 308 Ferrari he drove. That iconic ride is so distinctly Ferrari and was once considered a dream car that only the well-off could own. Now, for between $25K to $40K, and a retro Detroit Tigers baseball hat, you too can look like Magnum PI cruising down the street. It’s arguably still not a cheap car, but it sure will get you noticed, and given the price for just about any other Ferrari, it would be considered an ‘entry-level’ car of its kind, and wouldn’t be a bad investment.
Nothing says performance and style like a Porsche, but even old Porsches, except for maybe the 914, ok, and the 924, aren’t exactly cheap. Then there’s the 944, which if you remember from the iconic John Hughes film Sixteen Candles, the coolest guy in the movie (Jake Ryan) drove a red 944. For a long time I dreamed of picking up a date in a cool red Porsche like the one he drove in the movie, and now, that dream car will cost a whopping $5K or less. I couldn’t even get a classic Mustang for that-at least one that doesn’t need a total overhaul.
A 1995 Lexus LS400 was probably the most luxurious (LS stands for luxury sedan) Japanese car you could ever buy. With premium options, an LS400 could have had a sticker price of more than $40K, and why shouldn’t it, for that kind of money you got the reliability of a Toyota, but the luxury of a Cadillac. It was such a cool car that even Bill Gates drove one, making the Lexus the car to have if you wanted to be like Bill. But that was then and now, for less than $5K, you can own one of these comfortable and luxurious cars. I would say that out of all the cars I’m putting on this list, it would arguably be the best buy for the money. Back in the late 90’s, it was rumored that this very car was a status symbol for Microsoft employees, not just because Bill Gates drove one, but because it was also a really nice car.
Pontiac GTO 2005-06
The Pontiac GTO introduced in 1964 is widely regarding as being the first true muscle car. It’s aggressive styling and brute horsepower started a trend among American carmakers that would define an unforgettable era in automotive history.
Fast forward to 2004 with the reintroduction of the GTO. By now, American carmakers were long criticized for putting out cars that lacked the sleek styling of their European counterparts. The new GTO not only looked like a European sports car, but boasted big performance as well. The 2005/06 models got even better when GM replaced the LS1 motor with the more popular LS2 engine used in Corvettes, giving the GTO more than 400 horsepower and a 0 to 60 time of less than 5 seconds. The cool styling and strong performance made the car a big hit, but at a hefty price of well over $30K, ok, arguably that’s cheaper than a Corvette, but we are still talking about a two door sports car. Keeping in mind a 2006 Pontiac GTO is only 5 years old, you can easily pick one up for about $15K, not bad considering the LS2 engine by itself costs about that much.