Fifty years ago, if you had a spare $5,000 burning a hole in your pocket, you could go out and buy yourself a brand-new, absolutely stunning, obvious future classic: a Corvette. Today’s $5,000 won’t get you quite that far, but you can still buy some pretty badass American cars that, for whatever reason, are underappreciated by the general public.
Here are 10 cars that stand out as possible future classics in their own right (spoiler alert: one of them is actually a Corvette). Each and every one was built with a good dose of character — something most cars on the road today are sorely lacking — and they all can be found for under $5k in reasonably good condition. Put in a little extra effort, and you can probably find a great one.
Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
The Turbo Coupe is one of the most underrated American cars produced, period. As a direct result, it’s also dirt cheap. A quick recap: underneath its entry-level luxury sports coupe facade, it’s basically a Mustang SVO, which is anything butunappreciated today.
Chevrolet C4 Corvette
How can a Corvette be underrated? Well, 1) because it doesn’t have the “classic” look of its two immediate predecessors, and 2) it doesn’t have the blazing speed of its successors (especially true for the first couple years of production). In a very real way, though, it’s the missing link that connects the modern Corvette with its ancestry. Right now, you can find the odd C4 Corvette for under $5k — but you had better believe that value is on the up and up.