The thing that makes these rides so special is that they offer performance that new models do at a fraction of the price. While some of these cars could easily still be compared to new models from other segments, they’re still very affordable for what they can do.
Undeniably, one of the greatest hot cars of all time is the first model year of the Chevrolet Corvette. Granted, power numbers are nothing compared to the modern supercars we have listed so far, but this classic beauty is timeless. Cars with the original paint are easy to spot…they are all Polo White. Power comes from a 235 cu.in. inline-six. The 1953 Corvette features the Blue Flame version of this engine. The Blue Flame designation means that the engine features hydraulic lifters and produces 136 hp.
The 2008-2009 Tahoe, Yukon, Escalade, Silverado, and Sierra used engines of the LFA variety which can be converted to an LS2 with minimal effort swap the cam, lifters, and a few covers and you have an LS2 for the price of a wrecked ten-year-old soccer chauffeur.
Find one of these in any old breadvan in the RV section of Craigslist no lowballs, I know what I have. The Cones-in-a-Parking-Lot Society scoffs at you for doing anything to a stock Miata outside of firming it up, so putting used engines in Miatas means provoking an internet army. It’s rare to hear about a swap that improves something about the stock balance of performance and durability, because most of them throw it out the window.
In other words, the 2019 Honda Civic Type R won’t be bringing any unnecessary changes. For around $34,000, you’ll be getting a whopping 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque courtesy of a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine which generates 23.2 psi of boost and redlines at 7,000 rpm.
Of course, no good list of crazy cheap cars would be complete without some American muscle. Of course, the Ford Mustang is iconic as any of its counterparts, so we sprung for the 1996-98 SVT Cobra. Unfortunately for the purists, this is the first model Mustang that saw Ford retiring its 5.0L V8 in place of a new 4.6L Modular unit. The Crown Victoria actually shares the same engine, albeit in a slightly different configuration that makes about 100 fewer hp.
On top of some truly wonderful styling, the 1968 Hemi Road Runner had a 426 cu.in. engine under the hood that pushed out 425 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque. The standard gearbox was a four-speed manual with an Inland shifter, but Hurst shifters were phased in after the first few months of the 1968 model year.
Pick one of these crazy cheap cars up for your next autocross project for around $4,500, assuming you can actually find someone willing to sell. These cars are only getting harder to come by, and you can likely kiss any expectation of the car having under 200k on the clock goodbye.
These crazy cheap cars are some of the most badass wagons on the market, plain and simple. It does 0-60 in 4 seconds flat and features the same 6.2L supercharged V8 (inspired by the C6 ZR1 engine) as its sedan brother. It’s good for 556 hp, 551 lb-ft. of torque, and a shitload of good times, screeching tires, and sideways turns.
Sure enough, there are plenty of kit cars and replicas for sale right now that are going for less than $30k! You could be driving your dream car tomorrow and unless you’re an absolute stickler for detail, you probably won’t even notice the difference!
That’s right, this AWD 250 hp and 236 lb-ft hot hatch makes do with a 3.2L V6 in place of the standard 4-cylinder. The power gains aren’t that impressive, but the AWD system and V6 engine certainly make this car a whole other beast.
Don’t gamble do a reseal. Plan on spending weekend and a few hundred dollars to pull the engine, take it apart, and have a look at what’s inside. You get peace of mind from having fresh gaskets, belts, and timing, and you can check out the internals.
Hatchbacks were smaller, much more economical and still more practical than the favorite American body style: the sedan. The same philosophy works today as well, more or less, which is why we’ve gone through the trouble of rounding up the best hatchbacks 2019 is bringing our way, which we’ve also already done for MY 2018.