Sports cars are kinetic poetry, with their perfect balance between jaw-dropping performance and super agility. The sleek design and aerodynamics of these machines are akin to the fusion of art and engineering, like a harmonious marriage of form and function. Captivating onlookers with their silhouettes, sports cars are finely crafted sculptures in motion. Fans of these wonderful machines know their history well. The earlier sports cars were lacking in many ways, like fuel economy, overheating, etc. However, there are several classic cars that can be rightly considered sports cars worth every penny, even in today’s time. Whether to keep in a collector’s showcase or to run them on the streets for pure driving pleasure, these classics are reliable cars that stood the test of time and still maintain a great reputation in the car scene.
Here is a list of 10 such classic sports cars that are worth the money, to help the average gearhead find their ideal classic machine that can effortlessly conquer curves and straightaways alike. Stats are obtained from Hagerty, Classic, and Fuelly.
10 1992 Mazda RX-7 FD – $20,000
An exquisite sports car from Mazda’s arsenal, the Mazda RX-7 FD. The heart of the RX-7 FD is a rotary engine, a marvel of engineering ingenuity that Mazda has perfected over the years. There are several of these engines available in the RX-7 lineup, mainly differentiating one another as twin-turbo and single-turbo variants. Single turbo engines can be peaky in their power output, while twin-turbo engines are known to be more consistent. Despite being a rather small company in comparison to automotive giants like Nissan, Mazda’s unwavering pursuit of performance and innovation has placed the RX-7 FD on the map as one of the most impactful performers of the 1990s car racing scene.
Boasting remarkable agility, courtesy of its near-perfect weight distribution and finely tuned suspension, the FD leaves no stone unturned in terms of both corner entry and exit acceleration. It is an affordable sports car available on the market for under $20,000, and yet commands respect and the undying admiration of car enthusiasts.
9 1996 Toyota Celica GT-Four – $20,000
The 1996 model of the Toyota Celica GT-Four was like durability on wheels, capable of capping at 153 mph, using a decently powerful engine that could generate 239 horsepower. Toyota is known for their rock-solid build quality, which this car has definitely come to inherit. Apart from reliability, the car came with top-notch handling abilities, due to its all-wheel drive powertrain and active suspension. The Toyota Celica GT-Four showcases a rather strong aftermarket presence, and might make a wonderful project car. Despite its phenomenal credentials and the great bragging rights, the Celica GT-Four is rather affordable.
Typical of Japanese cars, the GT-Four is available in the market at a cheap price, often for less than $20,000. This classic car is undoubtedly a steal for the price tag. This machine might be a worthy investment, seeing how Japanese classic cars are slowly becoming greatly sought-after collector’s items.
8 1971 Nissan Datsun 240Z – $30,000
The Nissan Datsun 240Z was a Japanese sports car that served as the machine that shook the European marketplace and altered their perception of Japanese cars. Equipped with a decent 2.4-liter inline-six engine that produced 150 horsepower, this machine built quite the reputation for itself in the marketplace for its reliability and longevity.
The 240Z kept running on the streets for a long time, and some still do, after half a century of its original release. The market valuation of this machine stands at around $30,000, which is rather cheap for the comfort and reliability that come in the package. The car is worth every penny, however, and could very well become a sought after collector’s item in the future.
7 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 – $57,000
The 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 was the most balanced Japanese circuit racer to ever grace the car scene. While facing stiff competition from opponents such as the Nissan Silvia and Mazda RX-7 FD, none dared close the gap when against it. For $56,900, one could lay their hands on a 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R R32, with an all-wheel drive system that allows it to excel at both straights and corners. The highest ever recorded sale for the R32 was valued at around $379,000, which is an insane number. The base variant is available with a six-cylinder engine that can produce 276 horsepower, but this engine is quite tunable and one can also find later variants with more powerful engines.
The car is known to be heavy regardless of which year or model you purchase. Continuous replacement of tires might be required due to the weight of this vehicle, which might burn a hole in your pockets, but it is worth every penny. Offering a top speed of 156 mph, the 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 is one heck of a machine to own if one is looking for a good AWD classic sports car.
6 1989 BMW Z1 – $61,000
The BMW Z1 comes with distinctive vertically sliding doors, which offer a combination of style and innovation. It has an aerodynamic silhouette designed for performance, and its lightweight construction and traditional rear-wheel drive configuration allow it to run along the roads with agility and precision. The 1989 BMW Z1 was a marvelous machine, with a 2.5-liter inline-six-cylinder engine that could provide the driver with 170 horsepower. The top speed of this machine was claimed to be somewhere at around 137 mph.
The BMW Z1 was ahead of its times in several ways, for example, it had easily replaceable body panels and those amazing vertical doors that would drop into the sills. The design was unusual but looked quite futuristic and showed a strong spirit for innovation, something that BMW really needed, given the competitive times. The current value stands at $61,400, but the most recent sale was at around $128,800. Those are quite promising numbers for anyone looking to buy a car that has a high resale value, and it is worth every penny.
5 1995 Acura NSX – $85,000
Fitted with a six-cylinder engine capable of pumping out 252 horsepower, the Acura NSX is a marvelous sports car from the era of the 1990s, when the racing scene was being ruled by Japanese machines. Acura is a Honda brand, and just like its parent company, Acura made sure to fit the NSX with only the best equipment. Japanese hardware has a great reputation in the car scene, and the Acura NSX’s durability and longevity is a testament to that.
If found in good condition, the 1995 Acura NSX will fetch sellers around $84,900 in today’s car marketplace, and it is definitely worth the price. However, it is best to purchase this machine as soon as possible because the market value of the NSX seems to be on the rise.
4 1963-1966 Chevrolet Corvette – $93,000
The 1960s Chevrolet Corvette was an amazing American machine that demanded well-deserved attention and made lesser vehicles wilt in their presence. With the same level of sophistication as their predecessors of the ’50s, these Corvettes are symbols of the pre-muscle era sports cars. They had great ground clearance because most cars were designed to drive on rougher terrains, and their chassis and suspension were modeled after pickup trucks and off-road 4x4s. The 1963 Corvette can come equipped with a range of V8 engines, each delivering a wallop of performance that have what it takes to leave drivers grinning from ear to ear.
These were different times, where fuel efficiency was horrendous in any car. The Corvette was no different, with an abysmal average fuel economy of 10.56 mpg to its name. With an ever-growing demand for these rare classic cars, the current market value hovers at around $92,700, but the most recent sale was valued at around $197,063.
3 1977-1988 Porsche 930 Turbo – $141,000
The Porsche 930 Turbo was nicknamed “The Widowmaker,” a testament to its unbridled raw power and lightweight body, which resulted in an insane power to weight ratio sometimes known to cause the car to crash despite being such a great handling model.
A Porsche 930 always makes its presence known, with its wide fenders, iconic whale tail spoiler, and those unmistakable round headlights. While it gave around 282 horsepower, the car was such a lightweight machine that it could sprint from 0-60 mph in less than 5 seconds. The average value of this amazing sports car is around $141,000, and it can be expected to fetch around $284,000 in prime condition.
2 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster – $340,000
The base model of the German built Porsche 356 came with a four-cylinder engine that could do 50 horsepower on a good day. Several variants pushed as far as 60 horsepower as well. In today’s time, those numbers don’t satisfy any sports car enthusiast. However, at the time, it was a great car with decent power, and wonderfully agile too. One must not forget to acknowledge the meticulous craftsmanship that defines the Porsche 356 Speedster as well. This machine laid the foundation of what Porsche would later shape up to be, with the 356 being the first lightweight, nimble roadster by Porsche that enthralled drivers for generations to come.
According to Classic, the 356 Speedster can cost around $340,000 on average. For collectors of the modern era, this Porsche 356 Speedster’s worth extends far beyond the realm of mere monetary value, for it represents an era and a legacy like none other.
1 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird – $413,000
One cannot discuss the Plymouth Road Runner Superbird without acknowledging its iconic design. It had an elongated nose and towering rear wing, which have become the stuff of legends. A design that dares to be different, a car that refuses to conform to societal norms, the Plymouth Road Runner Superbird cements itself in sports car history as one of the greatest classic cars that is worth every penny, especially since it came equipped with a V8 with unparalleled competence, pushing the car forward with 425 horsepower.
Valued at $413,000, the Superbird really looks like it jumped straight out of a science fiction TV show, like a time machine or a flying car. One of the most admired Plymouth sports cars of all time, the 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird is, without a doubt, a symphony of mechanical brilliance, leaving onlookers awestruck and envious.