Some iconic cars have maintained their value for years or even decades. The McLaren F1 is a glaring example. But unfortunately, that isn’t the case with all classic vehicles. There are some timeless automobiles that are rapidly losing their value.
Chevy El Camino – The Supercar and Pickup Truck Love Child
The 1960s saw some of the most radical car designs ever. Automobiles were still relatively new things and manufacturers had a lot of room to play. One of the bizarre experiments of this time was the El Camino. Unlike other pickup trucks that have separate cab and truck beds, this thing had an integrated design. It was because the car was derived from a Chevy station wagon platform.
Boasting up to 350 horsepower, this car was made in 1987. Trading for under $30,000, these trucks are not expected to hold their value very well because they are just a collector’s item and offer no functionality.
Ford Torino – A Car that Failed Because of the Gas Crisis
When it came out in 1968, this car was one of the most popular sports cars of the time. Times were good, gas was cheap. But once the gas crisis showed up, people scrambled for ‘economic’ cars that had tame engines.
This beast of a 2-door street-legal race car had engine options with up to 356 horsepower in the starting years. With the passage of time, as gas got expensive, Ford tried to tune the power down to 226 horsepower but nothing could save the car. Production was finally stopped in 1976. The chances of this car holding its value for the coming decade are rather bleak.
Chevy Camaro Z 28 – Say Hello to the Comfortable Race Car
The Z28 was the most comfortable trim of the Camaro offered by Chevy from 1970 to 1975. Only 13,000 units of this comfortable and capable road-legal race car were ever made. After this car was discontinued, the Z28 badge became a legend, increasing the demand for these cars.
The demand also increased due to the huge tuning potential this car had and the fact that you could drive it daily. However, the primitive engine is no longer attractive and there is hardly the concept of a luxury car without dual-zone climate control. As a result, you can buy this one for pocket change in the years to come.
Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda – No Engine Swap Possible
Launched to rival the likes of Charger and Camaro, this car has looks that are still relevant even after 40 years. The Hemi ‘Cuda was a pony car with up to 425-hp engines. This car from the early muscle car era is something you can still be proud to own.
However, like many other cars on this list, this one also needed a lot of gas to go. This became a threat to the existence of this legend as the 1970s were not a very good time to have a big honking V8 under the hood that does under 10 miles on a gallon of gas on the highway.
BMW M3 1990 – A Tuner’s Dream Car
One of the most legendary cars to ever come from the German automaker BMW is the 1990 M3. The BMW S14 engine under the hood of this car was a sick motor. This 2.5-L dual overhead cam engine revved all the way up to 7250 rpm and produced just north of 400 horsepower.
The best thing about this car is that the S14 motor can handle much more power than 400 horsepower and tuners love that. However, the M3 has seen better days, and now these things trade for anything between $1,000 to $10,000, and the prices are expected to go lower than that.
First-Gen Dodge Charger – The Ancestor of ‘Demons’ and “Hellcats”
Yes, yes, yes. Well-kept examples of this thing are still trading hands for $100,000. However, you can easily grab one for under $20,000. When this car came out in 1966, it was the very pinnacle of automotive engineering. With up to 6.7-L V8 engine options and manual transmission, this car was an icon.
The Charger was famous and all but when people shifted to more efficient cars, Dodge released the subsequent generations with smaller engines. If you are a fan of the classics, this can be your next car. However, do keep in mind the amount of money and effort you’ll need to put in to make this a sub-10 second drag car.
Ferrari Mondial – The Forgotton Italian
Designed by Pininfarina, one of the most decorated auto designers of all time, this mid-engine V8 touring car was worth $42,000 ($130,000 in today’s money) when it came out. The pop-up headlights and extended hood gave it a mean look and excellent aerodynamic properties.
As popular as it was back in its day, the Mondial has not done a good job at preserving its value. You can pick one of these up for just under $30,000. In another decade, this will not be an expensive car. Especially when you think it’s a Ferrari.
1st Gen Ford Bronco – Ford’s Utilitarian Approach
The year was 1966 and Toyota was selling astronomical numbers of their SUV ‘the Land Cruiser’. Ford, being the leading automaker in the US, wanted in on the SUV game and the Bronco was their answer to the Land Cruiser. This three-door SUV came with an I-6 or V8 engine and was warmly welcomed.
This vehicle was a worthy rival of all other brands selling SUVs to the American population. Ford sold 24,000 of these vehicles in the first year for a starting price of just under $2,200. The outdated tech and styling of this car are why it will not be worth much in a decade except for the collector pieces.
First-Gen Toyota Supra
This article might look a bit in the favor of the Supra but it deserves that. Before the cooler models of this car, this is what the Supra looked like. It has the same guts under the skin but the exterior is not ‘sporty’ per se.
The market value of these cars is currently around $15,000 per piece and that is only going to go down as enthusiasts don’t like spending more money on a car that looks like the kid-hauler for school and ice cream.
Chevy Bel Air – The American Convertible Luxury Car
There’d hardly be a 1960s movie that does not have one of these in it. Known internally at GM as “The Hot One,” this car had all that a rich man from the 60s could ask for. This included an engine output of 200 horsepower to start with. The other things were floor carpeting, chrome headliners, chrome spears on the front bumpers, and full wheel covers.
All that luxury cost as much as $3,000 for the basic variant back in 1956. That translates to $27,000 today. As the standards of vehicular luxury changed, the Bel Air just got ignored. It costs under $25,000 today and the prices will go down as it ages.
Jaguar XKE – The English Classic
Manufactured for the North American market, the XKE was Jaguar’s 2-seat convertible sports car. A sleek design and long hood give this car the classic 1960s look. This British car had an engine that produced 265 horsepower, an intimidating figure for that era, especially when you consider the fact that this had a six-cylinder engine and not a V8.
These Jags are trading hands for under $80,000 these days but being a non-limited production model, this car has no considerable collector value. These things will be pretty cheap in the years to come. Minus the exemplary units, obviously.
Corvette C-3 – Sleek and Sophisticated
The third-gen Corvette saw a drastic change in interior and exterior design, features, and performance. This car was offered as a convertible and a coupe, with the latter having a removable T-Top. The interior got nicer materials and more basic amenities than the predecessors. It was offered with V8 engines ranging from 5.0-L to 7.0-L displacement and 180 to 425 horsepower.
Even though this thing was an icon of sports and luxury when it came out, these cars are losing value and will not be worth much in ten years. This is because of the plethora of issues in these cars owing to their age. You can buy one of these for under $30,000.
Ford Maverick – The 1970’s Road-Legal Race Car
This two-door sedan from Ford could easily pass as a sporty family car but, on the very basic level, this was a beastly sports car. It came with engine options from an I-6 to V8 and had a power output of up to 230 horsepower with an optional 4-tube carb.
These things were a treat back in the 1970s but as the market shifted towards more economical options like the Accord and Corolla, the demand for this car died and Ford stopped production in 1977. You can get one of these for as low as $15,000. Lack of interest shows that this thing will be worth even less in the years to come.
Mini Cooper – Britain’s VW Beetle
This is the car that changed the automotive industry forever, especially the affordable car market. It was this car that adopted the transverse engine mounting layout. This did not only move the engine further from the passenger compartment but also eliminated the need for a drive shaft, making the floor flat.
The Mini had a design so radical that it still has more or less the same design language. This car is rightfully hailed as the most British thing ever. However, the price for these things is not very high and is not expected to go high either.
Miata – The Tiny Friendly Beast
If you want in on the sports car game with the minimum possible budget, the Miata is where you need to start. Launched in 1989, the Miata was meant to be a cheap sports car with huge tuning potential. The I-4 under the hood might not be a powerful engine but it does the job for this lightweight car.
You can pick one of these up for just under $15,000 any day of the week and they’ll only get cheaper. This car has not preserved its value because even though it is fun to drive, there’s nothing particularly amazing about it.
VW Beetle – The People’s Car
Now, this is a car that needs no introduction of any sort. Volkswagen is German for ‘people’s car’ and the Beetle was just that. It was a post-WWI car made under the Nazi regime to give people a mode of personal transport like in the US. It is a 2-door rear-engine 5-seater car made for the economic commute.
The Beetle was never a car fun to drive, all the focus was on economy and practicality. These cars, about a century old, now are a rare find but not priceless as you might expect them to be. You can get one if you tell the owner you’ll pay the tow truck.
Ford Mustang First Gen – The American Pony Car
Being one of the longest-running models of Ford, the Mustang is one of the best cars to come from this American automaker. It will not be wrong to say that if Gale Halderman had a dollar for every teenager’s wall posters, he’d have died a billionaire.
This car came with engines capable of up to 335 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque. All that power translated to a standing quarter-mile time under 13 seconds. Trading for an average price of just under $50k, this gas guzzler will not be a very valuable car in the coming decade.
Toyota LC 70-Series – The most Dependable Vehicle to Ever Be
Known as the most dependable off-road vehicle to ever be, this thing needs no introduction. The formula for this SUV was pretty straightforward; keep it simple and over-engineer it as much as possible. It featured a good-old V8 under the hood and was meant for just one thing; outperforming and outliving the competition.
The demand for these was high until recently. With the new trend of crossovers and the increased availability of SUVs, people seem to keep away from these old machines. Consequently, the value has plummeted and there is no apparent hope for a comeback.
First-Gen Datsun 200 SX – The Japanese Approach to Sports Car Making
Also known as the Nissan 200SX and Nissan Silvia, this car is one of the favorites of tuners. The first generation came out in 1965 and was an immediate hit. Unlike the American-made sports cars that had big V8 engines, this car came with an I-4. This 1.6-L motor could put out a maximum of 135 horsepower with the help of a turbo.
The lightweight body of this car made it rival the big cars with a small engine, making it a favorite with enthusiasts. As of now, this is still considered to be a great car for tuning but the prices are going down with no apparent hope of recovery.
Ford Fairmont – Ford’s Response to the Oil Crisis
Ford designed this car in response to the emissions regulations made in 1973 and the oil and gas crisis of 1973 that followed. The aim of this car was to deliver luxury and comfort using the lowest amount of petrol. The basic engine option was a 2.3L I-4 that produced under 100 horsepower.
The car was one of the first ones to get a steel unibody construction and Ford’s Hybrid McPherson Strut independent suspension in the front. Considered to be one of the best cars from the 1970s, this thing is worth under $20,000 today and will be worth even less in the coming years.
Lincoln Continental – The American Luxury Icon
From Michael Corleone to Tony Montana, every mob boss had one of the Continentals in their inventory of cars. This was the physical incarnation of the American luxury automotive concept in its time. While the exterior commanded presence and intimidation, the interior was the nicest place a rich guy could be in, when out of their home or office.
With an American V8 under the hood, this car had the guts too. Now, after about a century since this car was released, its value is on the decline. No one wants to have a gas-guzzling V8 in their garage, especially when the carb’s butterfly valves are sold as antiquities.
1978 Magnum – Dodge’s “Personal Luxury” Car
Dodge designed this car to make the thrill of driving a Charger available for its customers in a nicer, softer, and luxurious car. The front and rear sway bars with multi-link suspension, pressure brakes, power steering, and a 6.6-L V8 made this car a true sports sedan. It was even used as a police interceptor in the 1980s.
As the definition of automotive comfort and luxury changed, so did the price of this car. Once a flagship model of Dodge, these things are now available for under $15,000. Although this car is sporty and comfortable, Magnum is not a name that can fetch a million dollars even if it has just 5,000 miles on the odometer.
Lamborghini Urraco – The Best Lamborghini Engine Ever
Made to rival Ferrari Dino and Maserati Merak, this car was aimed to be an ‘affordable’ Italian car. It is affordable even now. You can get one for as low as $50,000. That’s a big chunk of money but it is a Lambo after all.
This 2+2-seater coupe from 1972 has a 2.9-L DOHC V8 as the top-tier engine. This motor is good for 250 horsepower and accelerates to 100 kph in just under 5.6 seconds. The main reason behind this car’s low value is that it was never a flagship model. This car, still cheap today, will not be worth much in a decade.
Toyota Trueno – The Affordable Japanese Sports Car of The 1980s
Being the technologically advanced automaker that Toyota is, they launched the Trueno in 1983 with things American automakers did not offer even in the most expensive models. The front-engine rear-wheel-drive car had a manual transmission, an optional limited-slip differential, MacPherson strut front suspension, a high revving (7800 rpm), twin-cam engine equipped with oil cooler, and a near 50/50 front/rear weight balance.
All of that combined to give these cars a solid demand from the enthusiast community. As a matter of fact, this was the precursor to the Corolla lineup, the best-selling car in the world until now. The Trueno is worth under $20,000 these days and as newer and better-tuning cars are coming to the market, this one is bound to lose value in the near future.
RX-7 – The Underrated Mazda
This car has a very special feature – no pistons in the engine. This is, in fact, one of the very few cars in the world to have a 1.3-L Wankel rotary engine that can deliver up to 120 horsepower at the crank. This was Mazda’s reply to the sports car race of the 1980s.
Even though the Wankel rotary engine is known for its instant torque delivery and high power-to-weight ratio, it comes with its own problems. The engine needs oil to be burnt with the petrol and is hugely inefficient. The seals on the rotor are also notorious. Even though this is one of the best Japanese cars of all time, the problematic engine is making it cheap.
Second-Gen Honda CX-R – The Reliable Sports Car
With four-wheel double-wishbone independent suspension, a DOHC 1.5-L engine, and Honda’s latest at that time VTEC, these cars were the marvel of automotive engineering. Maybe a bit too advanced for that time as well. The prelude was regarded as a sort of sporty version of the more domesticated civic sedan.
While this car was way ahead of its time when it was released, the demand for it plummeted with time and it was discontinued in 1991. This was done mainly because of the better options from other Japanese brands. Sadly, there’s no hope for this once-legendary car to be worth something substantial again.
Second-Gen Honda Prelude – The Japanese Sports Icon of the 1980s
Known as the mini-grand Turismo rather than a compact sports car, this 2-door 2-seater Honda was the 1980s sports car on a budget. It featured a 2.0-L I-4 engine, like most of the Hondas of that age. Its motor produced 160 horsepower and was mated to the front wheels via a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.
With the passage of time and the advent of better, more powerful, reliable, and lightweight engines, this Honda saw a lack of interest among people. You can find this once-exemplary car for sale for around $15,000 and those prices will go down with time.
Mk4 Supra – The Illegal Supra
Called the tuner’s dream, this car is really a marvel of engineering. Everything from the styling to the engine of this car is still relevant more than 30 years after it hit the market. With people having tuned this car up to 2,000 horsepower on the stock block, the possibilities are literally endless with this car.
While all the three previous generations of this car are a rare find and cost a lot, this one is not as expensive and is expected to cost even less in the years to come. This is because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the USA has banned this car owing to reliability issues.
Mitsubishi Starion – The Ancestor of Lancer Evo
Also known as the Dodge Conquest and Colt Starion, this Japanese car was one of the best small sports cars of its time. It is powered by an I-4 engine that is mated to the rear wheel and has a turbo slapped on top. This was the very car that laid the foundation for the legendary Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, one of the best Japanese cars.
Starion was a fun car and a popular one too but it was never an exclusive one. If a car belongs to a mediocre producer and is not exceptionally good, it declines in value over time. The Starion will be worth peanuts in the years to come.
1969 Skyline GT-R – The Car that Made Godzilla Possible
It will not be wrong to say that the GT-R is the single best car to ever come out of Japan. The Nissan GT-R we have today is the offspring of this legend. This car was designed by none other than Shinichiro Sakurai. Under the hood was a 2.0-L I-6 that produced 160 horsepower.
This car was a revolutionary automobile by all means and ushered in an era of technological supremacy in the automotive sector. But unfortunately, its best days are now over. Other than the exceptionally well-kept collector pieces, you can grab one of these for under $20,000, an insult for this legendary car.
Oldsmobile Omega – A Gem from The Forgotten Car Manufacturer
The Omega was Oldsmobile’s flagship model for the mid-1970s. This car had features like improved noise insulation, rear anti-roll bars, and detailed trimming that its competitors didn’t have.
The Omega was characterized by its waterfall grille, soft suspension, and all the interior amenities a buyer in the 70s could ask for, including A/C and a radio. Under the hood of this sedan is a 5.7-L V8. Owing to the old age and unavailability of parts and mechanics, this car is worth under $15,000. It will be even cheaper in the time to come.
MR-2 – The Ferrari-Rivaling Toyota
This was the first Japanese production car to have a mid-engine configuration. The transverse I-4 behind the driver powered the rear wheels via a manual transmission. There was even an option for a 1.8-L supercharged I-4 engine that produced 15 horsepower.
The perfect weight distribution and a lightweight body of under 1150 kg made this car perform better than many cars four times its price. An added benefit was that of independent suspension at all wheels and disc brakes on all four of them. All-in-all it was a good package. However, sadly for this radical Toyota, more choices and better options in the market have driven this thing out of business.
Land Rover Defender – Still a Cool Car
The Defender, with its characteristic five-spoke wheels, is one of the most easily recognizable cars. The boxy SUV is a pretty capable one. It is known for being minimalist and dependable. This car came out in the 1980s and has remained the first choice of overlanders for a long time.
As of now, this SUV is not out of demand but is not a best-seller either. The main reasons for the decline in the popularity of this vehicle are the antiquated technology and the availability of better options on the market. Who will spend $50,000 on a 40-year-old Defender if they can get a Sportage for the same money?
Toyota Celica ST – Toyota’s Pony Car
This was a car made by Toyota exclusively for the North American Market in 1970. The aim of this car’s existence was to compete with Ford’s Mustang. Being a pony car meant that it was cheap to buy and affordable to drive and maintain while being fun and engaging to drive. It did deliver all of that.
The Celica earned name and honor among petrolheads and its 2.0-L I-4 is one of the most tuned engines. The change in trends meant that the Celica was too sporty to be practical and too practical to be a sports car. This has lead to a decline in demand and the future of this classic icon is not a very bright one.
Mercedes G-Wagon – The Ultimate Off-Roader
Well, we are not talking of the latest G-Wagon, that thing might not get cheap in our lives but the older ones would. You can easily mistake a 1970s G-Wagon for a new one and you’d not be wrong. A little has been changed by Mercedes.
The older versions of the G-Wagon are trading for well under $30,000, 1/7th of the price of the new one. The main reason for this is that these SUVs are severely outdated. In addition to that, these are German after all. A German car can only serve you for so long. The hefty repair bills that follow the G-Wagon make it cheaper to buy.
Fiat 124 Spider
This car from the 1970s might not be the best one on the list but it was the most affordable convertible sports car of its era. With a DOHC I-4 engine that powered the rear wheels, and a curb weight of just under 950 kg, this car was every bit as fun to drive as it was affordable.
This Fiat remained a favorite with car lovers for many years and Fiat actually released three more generations of this car due to the positive response. This forgotten gem is now worth under $20,000 apiece and some are even available for under $6,000. The prices will only go down in the coming years.
Lotus Esprit: A Cheap Supercar
It might look like the DMC Delorean but one, it is not a Delorean, and two, it will not travel in time at 88 mph. This was a rear-mid-engine rear-wheel-drive car made by Lotus between 1976 and 2004. Lotus, now known for making insane cars like the Evija, made this model an affordable sports car.
As of now, the car has aged well and if you have one, it can fetch you just under $50,000. However, the future might not be very bright for this car so if you have one, consider getting a good price for it while you can.
Chevy Vega – The Not-So-Cool Chevorlet
The Vega was a cheap model for the ones who wanted to be a part of the Chevrolet club. As you’d expect, the Vega did not get a big honking V8 for an engine and was rather given a tiny I-4 with just 2.3-L displacement.
This car got a lot of praise when it was introduced and was even named the car of the year for 1971. However, it was soon discovered that this car had every problem in the book from an unreliable engine to engineering mistakes. Fast forward to 2021 and you can buy these things for under $2,000 and it looks like even the scrap yards aren’t gonna accept these things after a while.
1980 Toyota Hilux – The Indestructible Truck
This might not be a sports car or an important vehicle but it was the most utilitarian and the most durable vehicle to ever be. You could throw any abuse at it and it just refused to fail no matter what. With the humble I-4 engine producing roughly 100 horsepower, this was the vehicle that made the likes of Dodge Ram1500 possible.
As of now, these things sell hardly for $10,000 on a good day and will be worth even less in the coming years. The reason? More options in the market. It might not be a show stopper but it does deserve a mention in the list of classics.
1950 Jeep CJ – The First Mass-Produced SUV
This was the first mass-produced civilian 4-wheel-drive car. Jeep started making these things in 1945 after there was no need for the military jeeps owing to the end of WWII. The ideology beyond this vehicle was that of a bare-bones utilitarian vehicle that made no compromises on capability.
This Jeep delivered what it promised. Dependable and reliable; it was anything but comfortable. As the market shifted towards comfortable off-roaders, the demand for this thing diminished and Jeep started making luxury off-roaders. There is no bright future ahead of this 1950s vehicle. It is a classic but won’t be worth much in the decade to come.