10 Underpriced European Classics We’d Buy Over A Muscle Car Any Day

We’re not going to debate whether muscle cars are superior to European sports cars, or the other way around, as they both have their own signature selling points, and we love both in different ways. Take for instance the Ferrari SF90 and Shelby GT500; both are striking cars but destined for vastly different people, and they both excel in the different markets they compete in. Now, when it boils down to cars that are more closely matched, like the BMW M240i and the Mustang GT… well, we’d choose the Beemer over the ‘Stang every single day of the week; it’s more stylish, better built, and overall more sensitive of a purchase.

But modern cars set aside, we’re here looking at classic cars designed with beauty in mind with little to no regard for safety. So, throughout our list, you’ll see 10 classic European cars we’d take over a sloppy, yet powerful American muscle car manufactured before the year 1990. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

10 1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia ($15,000)

The Karmann Ghia was a so-called sports car produced by Volkswagen from 1957 to 1974. We use the term “so-called sports car” to describe the Karmann Ghia because underneath its gorgeous figure was just a plain, and simple Beetle, they even used the same naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engines that produced between 34 hp and 65 hp.

Sure, it was nowhere near being a fast car, but its exterior alone was more than enough reason to win over our hearts. There are tons of these sporty Beetles for sale, and we’ve found a beautifully-kept 1973 Karmann Ghia for sale on CarGurus for only $15,000.

Related: A Look Back At The 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

9 1987 Porsche 944 ($13,500)

When anyone mentions classic Porsches, people’s minds immediately jump to the legendary 911 name, but one of Stuttgart’s less famous creations was the 944. There was only one generation ever made of the 944 unfortunately, but they are readily available as around 163,000 were made.

Sure, that might not be an extraordinary low-volume like a Porsche Carrera GT or Ford GT for example, but because they cost just $13,500 on the used market, we figure not only will the inline-four powered Porsche be a fun car to drive , but also a sound investment.

8th 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SL ($25,000)

Driving a Mercedes-Benz, especially a topless one, is more than just showing off. That gigantic three-pointed star on the front end definitely represents driving elegance and will make other, less wealthy, individuals stare at you with envy, but there’s still more to it.

Driving a classic Benz is almost like climbing into a time machine, and instantly the sun burning your arm that’s rested on the door feels less intense, music seems quieter, birds sing more beautifully, and everything seems perfect.

Related: The Mercedes-AMG SL 43 Is The Entry-Level Model Of The Newly Developed Roadster Icon

7 1974 Alfa Romeo Spider ($10,000)

Just as the Mercedes teleports you into a world that existed many years ago, the Alfa Romeo Spider acts like the fountain of youth. Yes, that’s right, the little topless Italian sports car from the ’70s might only have had up to 132 hp from a 2.0-liter twin-cam four-cylinder engine, but the Spider’s ergonomics is where the secret ingredient lies.

The Spider was the perfect choice for anyone looking for a lively car that wanted to be thrashed around corners without spending more than $10,000 to do so; its understated beauty is just a bonus. Here’s a short video posted by the YouTube account Retro Classic Car where he takes us for a drive in a 1977 Alfa Romeo Spider.

6 1974 MG Midget ($10,500)

What a peculiar name to call your short little sports car you might wonder… but aside from that obvious flaw, the MG Midget is a magnificent little British roadster. The main aspect of the MG thrived in was well… nothing, but let’s elaborate.

The Midget wasn’t extraordinary in just one aspect, it was good in all of them. It looked sophisticated, it drove like a teensy go-kart despite it only having 65 hp, and it made you feel like you fit right into the Royal Family. MGs have a tendency to break down a lot, but we found one that was recently auctioned off for just $10,500 while being mechanically sound.

5 1987 BMW 325i ($14,000)

Perhaps you’re more intrigued by what a car can offer performance-wise than its exterior styling, behold, the BMW E30-generation 3-Series. It’s said to be one of the best handling cars ever produced, and because it has enough space to fit a 168-hp 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated straight-six engine from the factory, its tunability is endless as well.

If you were to pick up an E30, you can pay as little as a few thousand dollars for a properly beat-up one, but if you want a well-kept 325i, you still don’t have to spend more than $15,000. It might be much less powerful and expensive than let’s say the yet-to-be-revealed BMW M2, but it certainly has the same engaging personality.

4 1986 BMW 635CSi ($20,000)

As Hannah Montana once said, “You get the best of both worlds.” She probably wasn’t referring to the first-generation 6-Series, but we’ll choose to interpret it that way. The first-generation 6-Series was internally called the E24, and it was BMW’s first attempt at creating a potent grand touring car.

Therefore, it had space for four passengers, designed with an aggressive body style in mind, and in the 635CSi a rigorous 208-hp inline-six engine was placed under the hood. 0-60 also happened in just 7.6 seconds, which is actually quite impressive considering the era it came from.

Related: Unbelievable Story How An 18 Year Old Bought A Beautiful BMW 635 CSI for Just $30

3 1978 Fiat 124 Spider ($12,000)

The 124 Spider name might sound a tad familiar to most of you, and that’s because Fiat decided to revive its 124 in the 2010s and based it on an FD Miata platform. Besides its modern revival, the classic 124 was an exquisite little roadster every enthusiast dreamed of owning, and thanks to the wonderful art of depreciation, it’s finally possible!

When looking at a classic 124 Spider, the engine options range from the least powerful one being an 89-hp 1.4-liter four-banger, and the zippiest ones having a 101-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Either way, you’ll be driving a lightweight convertible designed by the iconic Pininfarina, and it’s worth every penny.

2 1989 Jaguar XJS ($12,000)

Driving a Jaguar puts you in the same class as someone that would drive a Mercedes-Benz, but the XJS in particular puts you in a whole different league. The XJS was one of Jag’s most iconic grand tourer vehicles, and underneath it shares many components with the legendary Aston Martin DB7.

Hiding underneath its stretched-out hood is a massive 5.3-liter naturally-aspirated V12 engine that produces around 290 hp, it is worth noting however that these engines aren’t the most reliable V12s known to man. But for just $12,000, it’s one seriously tempting deal, and perhaps a few repairs here and there might be worth it…

1 1971 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow ($20,000)

And we’ll end off this list with the cream of the crop, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. Everyone and their mothers know exactly what a Rolls-Royce is, and what it represents — the pinnacle of luxury and expensive taste, but one thing not many knows is how affordable the classic Silver Shadow is.

Related: Here’s What A Rolls-Royce Supercar Could Look Like

Oh, and don’t worry, just because it only costs $20,000 doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of the Rolls title. It made use of a 6.75-liter V8 engine that put out 189 hp, and because they sourced their self-leveling hydropneumatic suspension from Citro├źn, it literally drove as if it floated over bumps and imperfections on the road. If you’ve ever wanted to look and feel like the wealthiest man in town, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow is the perfect car for you.

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