We readily admit that some of these used cars — OK, maybe most of them — don’t meet the typical definition of cool. "Hipster chic" would probably be a more accurate term.
But the fact remains that you don’t have to drive a boring, characterless, soul-sucking used car or one with a bajillion miles just because you don’t have a lot of money to spend. Luxury coupes, muscle cars, convertibles, V8 engines — they’re all available for less than $6,000 with almost comically low miles. In most cases, we have the nation’s elderly drivers to thank for keeping these low-mileage jewels in such tremendous condition. Thanks, Grandma.
Let’s take a look at 11 of these diamonds in the rough that are currently listed right here on Autotrader.
Forget hipster chic — the Camaro Z28 was awesome in 1982, and it still is today. This particular one is one heck of a survivor: a rare Indy 500 pace-car replica boasting a mere 55,686 miles. Just revel in the super-’80s silver-and-blue paint job with kind-of matching white-and-blue interior. Everything is meticulous, and the seller is asking less than $5,000. Plus, if you’ve ever watched "The Americans," this is basically the car that Soviet spy Philip buys, luring him to the decadent, capitalist dark side.
There’s no shortage of Mustangs out there. Actually, there are about a million Mustangs out there, and their condition ranges from mint to raccoon-infested. Let’s skew to the left, shall we? There are plenty of variations on this classic muscle car, but what we have here is a V8-powered GT coupe in white that’s in original condition apart from its seat covers. If you want a used Mustang without a lot of miles, look for something like this. (For a Mustang of a different sort in amazing condition and with super-low miles, check out this little beauty.)
Believe it or not, this is a James Bond car. Sure, it was Timothy Dalton in Licence to Kill, and it doesn’t quite have that Aston Martin verve to it, but the Mark VII LSC is cooler than you’d think. Unlike other American luxury yachts from the era, the Mark VII was a more modern luxury car, complete with tidier styling, an air-spring suspension (removed on this particular car) and most notably of all, the same 5.0-liter V8 found in the contemporary Mustang. Actually, $6,000 is pretty cheap for one of these — they often cost more.
Somewhere, there’s a guy buying a beige ’98 Taurus with 180,000 miles on it for $2,295. Instead, he could be cruising this fine world in a Pontiac Fiero. Now, was the Fiero a great car? A cool car? Will it help you get girls? We’ll let you decide. However, it’s most definitely not boring, and we’re quite certain it’ll get you noticed (in good ways, most likely) far more effectively than the vast majority of cars that cost less than $6,000 … or $3,000. Plus, this particular Fiero is seemingly in amazing condition with just 42,199 miles.
Ironic hipster chic, here you go! The badge says Maserati, but the styling and everything else say Chrysler LeBaron. And it’s yellow! Feel that brown Italian ruched leather on your skin. Marvel at that lusty Chrysler turbo 4-cylinder. Ponder at the parcel shelf in place of a back seat, making the TC exactly like a Mercedes SL. Peer through the removable hardtop’s circular opera windows. Lament that there’s no contemporary Chrysler 200 by Maserati.
OK, so the gold paint isn’t ideal, but the Lexus SC is nevertheless quite cool. This was a great-looking car that remained unique and fresh throughout its lengthy lifespan in the 1990s. This was the car that showed the world that Lexus could build something besides a sensible, boring luxury sedan — the brand has struggled to prove the same ever since. The SC was showered with awards from multiple publications. Plus, this particular model is the more distinctive SC 400, meaning that it has the 4.0-liter V8 sending 256 horsepower to the rear wheels. Among more reasonable inexpensive used cars, this is a great find.
"What’s a Cadillac Allante?"
So shall begin every conversation you have henceforth when driving someone in your sweet, luxurious Cadillac convertible. They won’t ask that in a $5,500 Corolla. Or an SC 400, for that matter. The answer to their query is that the Allante was Cadillac’s first serious answer to range-topping European convertibles like the Mercedes SL and the Jaguar XJS. It featured styling by Italian design house Pininfarina, more modern and European-inspired features than the rest of the Cadillac lineup and more torque (270 lb-ft) sent to the front wheels than any contemporary car. It also cost a whole lot of money, and nobody bought it. Lucky for you, it doesn’t cost nearly as much now.
And now for a completely different red 2-door Cadillac. This sweetheart with a mere 48,800 miles has been well-cared for over the past 35 years. Well, as far as we can tell, anyway. But that definitely can’t be said of most old Cadillacs from this era. We readily admit that this model falls into a slightly different hipster-chic category, but we think you’ll definitely be cooler driving this than whatever bland, used econobox you might be able to find for $5,000. Sure, the gas mileage will be appalling, but if you’re a hipster, you’re probably cycling most places any way. (Alternatively, there’s this ’89 Eldorado with only 33,665 miles for $1,800!)
Honestly, we’re just amazed this car still exists … and with 59,000 miles on the clock … for $3,800. The words "matching pillow interior" are in the description, for Pete’s sake. Is it cool? Not even a little bit, but its survival is certainly special.
Here come the Men in Black. It’s the M.I.B.’s, uhh; here come the M.I.B.’s. The good guys dress in black — remember that, just in case we ever face-to-face and make contact. The title held by me, M.I.B., means what you think you saw, you did not see. So don’t blink, be — what was there is now gone. Black suit with the black Ray Bans on … and driving a black Ford Crown Victoria.
Obviously not the best movie car, but hey, you can’t get a DeLorean for $3,950.
To end on a slightly newer and perhaps more realistic note, how about this 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix GT Coupe? There’s still something cool about this model that makes it more special than contemporary midsize sedans, and the GT Coupe was the coolest of them all. Perhaps not the statement piece that the other cars on this list are, but for $4,995, this particular Grand Prix with only 25,185 on the odometer would make for a reasonably rad ride.