These days, it seems as though all the great classic cars have been discovered and in turn, skyrocketed in value. There are still some hidden gems living in the shadows of more popular cars that are great to drive, and often times, a bargain to buy.
The Ford Mustang is easily one of the most iconic cars ever made, but it’s Mercury brother, the Cougar tends to be forgotten. The first-gen Cougar has more or less the same bones as the Mustang in a package that’s easily as pretty.
BMW’s shark-nosed E9-chassis coupes (3.0CS) are some of the brand’s most beloved cars, but their sedan counterparts are excellent as well. Similarly great looks, with top-notch straight-six power. The U.S.-only Bavaria with its 2.8- or 3.0-liter straight-six is an excellent classic car find.
The Chevrolet El Camino is the definitive American ute, but the Ford Ranchero was there first. While we could wonder why the Ranchero never got the love of its Chevy counterpart, we’d rather just built a hot rodded version.
You always see a little Datsun Roadster at classic car shows, but for whatever reason, it’s not as beloved as its British contemporaries or Datsun’s later masterpiece, the 240Z. Its styling definitely borrows from the European roadsters of its day, but it’s much more reliable.
The Fiat 500’s slightly bigger brother, the 600, might not be quite as cute as the tiny city car icon, but it’s still a design triumph. While the regular 600 (pictured above) is great, the variants it birthed, like the innovative 600 Multipla, the lovely 600 Jolly, and the Abarth 750, are even greater.
Volkswagen in the mid-1970s was very interesting. It finally had a replacement for the iconic Beetle in the Golf hatchback, and it replaced the stylish Karmann Ghia coupe with this, the Scirocco. Its Giugiaro-penned lines still look fresh today.
Never having achieved the success of the American “Big Three” Studebaker has always been doomed to obscurity. The Lark was one of the more interesting compact cars available in the early-1960s, and they’re somewhat of a bargain now. You could even buy a Super Lark with a supercharged V8–the prototype for the muscle cars that dominated the 1960s.
The AC Cobra wasn’t the only British roaster Carroll Shelby stuffed a Ford V8 into. The other was this, the Sunbeam Tiger, which previously existed as the four-cylinder Sunbeam Alpine. Prices on these are rising, but they’re still a bargain compared with the Cobra.
AMC made some of the coolest muscle cars of the 1960s and early-1970s, but they never get the same love as those from Ford, GM, and Chrysler. The two-seat AMX, a quasi-Corvette competitor, was easily the coolest.
Ferrari Dino 308 GT4
It’s hard to say any Ferrari is overlooked, but the Bertone-designed 308 GT4 has always lived in the shadow of its (prettier) two-seat brother, the 308 GTB. The GT4 is still an excellent handling car with a lovely 3.0-liter V8, and hey, we kinda dig the looks.