Cars and Facts

10 Badass Future Collectibles for 20k or Less…

Over the last few years’ values in the collector car market have gone up and down more times then Oprah’s scale. Cars that were once in the six-figures are now in the five-figures with more market flux to come. Buyers who are new to the market can easily become confused and it is very easy to get taken advantage of by sellers who are less than honest.

I get emails constantly inquiring as to what cars to pick up as future collectibles. I also get asked my opinion on what the best bang for the buck is amongst these automobiles. After doing a bit of research, I’ve put together a list of automobiles that I would classify as having “Future Collect-ability”. These are cars that can be purchased right now and are priced between: $8,000 – $20,000.

1. 1983-1984: VW Rabbit GTI

90 hp / 106 ft-lbs tq. 1.8-liter 4 cylinder, Top Speed: 114 mph

What you are looking at here is the first real hot hatch to be brought into the United States. Even though it only had 90 hp, the high-revving GTI was a total blast to drive. It was quick, handled great and looked the business with its signature grill and wheels. Good examples can be had for between: $8,000 – $10,000.

2. 1985-1993: Mustang LX Notchback

205-225 hp / 240-300 lb-ft tq. 5.0L V8. Top Speed: 125 mph

Mustang LX Notchback

I’ll never forget my high school Social Studies teacher Mr. Warmuth, I had his class just before school let out at 2:30 pm. Inevitably; right around 2:15 pm the burnouts of cars leaving the school parking lot would start and after each one, good ole’ Mr. Warmuth would say, “Aaaaah, it’s the mating call of the Asshole!” Most of these mating calls were caused by late 80’s 5.0L Mustangs shredding their tires upon departure. GT’s were everywhere, but those in the know knew the LX Notchback was the one to have. It was lighter, faster and a total sleeper. Good examples can be had for between: $10,000 – $14,000.

3. 1986-87: Buick Grand National

245 hp / 355 ft-lbs tq. 3.8-liter Turbo V6, Top Speed: 121 mph

Buick Grand Nationa

If you grew up in the 1980’s then you no doubt remember the Buick Grand National. Some purists don’t consider the GN a true muscle car because of its Turbo V6. They should however, because this black bastard put many an unaware big block in their place. Good examples can be had for between: $13,000 – $18,000.

4. 1986-1991: BMW E30 M3

196 hp / 170 ft-lbs tq. 2.3-liter Inline-4, Top Speed: 143 mph

BMW E30 M3

Today when we think of quick imports we envision small Japanese pocket rockets like the Subaru STI or Mitsubishi EVO. Sure those are great automobiles, but let me introduce you to the one that started it all – The BMW E30 M3. I remember being in school back in the late 80’s, and seeing this thing roll through the parking lot. It was white, with flared fenders, a wicked little front spoiler and a rear wing. My first thought was, WTF WAS THAT? Like the GTI before it, this little Bavarian bad boy was the catalyst, at least in my opinion, to the whole import craze. The styling was a huge leap of faith for BMW back then as wings and spoilers were seldom seen. By taking a chance on this M3, BMW not only created and icon but a car that is still unbelievably capable to this day. Good examples can be had for between: $18,000 – $20,000.

5. 1985-1989: Chevrolet Camaro IROC -Z

190 – 230 hp / 320-330 ft-lbs tq. 5.7L V8, Top Speed: 140 mph

Chevrolet Camaro IROC -Z

The third generation Camaro came out of the gate in 1982 without much grunt. The base engine was a 2.8L V6, with 112 hp that didn’t have enough power to pull a drunken college kid off a toilet. Fast-forward 2 years, when Chevy decided to drop the 305 cu in engine under the hood. It was the same body, but with a whole new attitude. So many of these cars have been bastardized over the years, but clean examples are still out there. Good ones can be had for between: $9,000 – $12,000.

6. 1991: GMC Syclone

280 hp / 350 ft-lbs tq. 4.3L Turbo V6, Top Speed: 126 mph

1991: GMC Syclone

Ok, picture yourself cruising the streets back in 1991 in your brand new $120,000 Ferrari 348ts. Then up next to you at the light, some punk shows up in his brand new all black GMC pick-up truck. You dismiss it… that is, until the light turns green and he dismisses you. This truck is still one of the best “sleepers” of all time. Click the link to read about the above confrontation. Good examples, if you can them, can be had for between: $9,000 – $13,000.

7. 1994-1996: Chevrolet Impala SS

260 hp & 330 ft-lbs tq. 5.7L LT1 V-8, Top Speed: 140 mph

Chevrolet Impala SS

You’ve got to love GM for being creative back in the day. In the mid-1990’s GM didn’t really have anything to wet the appetites of the performance enthusiast aside from the Camaro & Corvette. Enter the ’94 Impala SS: What GM engineers did was simple. They took a standard Caprice Classic, dropped in the Corvettes LT1, dipped it in black paint and shod it with 16 inch 5-spoke wheels. Oh… and then there was the sales ad: “Lord Vader, your car is ready” – simply Badass! Good examples can be had for between: $8,000 – $18,000.

8. 1993-1998: Toyota Supra

220 – 320 hp / 210 – 315 ft-lbs tq. NA or Turbo I-6, Top Speed: 155 mph

Toyota Supra

I remember when this car came out in 1993; it was sleek, fast and REALLY EXPENSIVE. In fact I think it was one of the most expensive Japanese imports for a non-luxury brand with well-optioned turbo models coming in at over $40,000. It was the release of 2001’s “The Fast & the Furious” that really put this 3rd generation Supra on the map. The final race between the 1970 Dodge Charger and the orange Supra Turbo sent this car into movie icon history. Good examples can be had for between: $18,000 & up…

9. 2001-2004: Chevrolet Corvette Z06

405 hp / 400 ft-lbs tq. 7.0L V8, Top Speed: 186 mph

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The 2001 Z06 was the first real Corvette that the world took notice of. Based on the C5, it boasted 405 hp and a top end of almost 190 mph. This meant it was a major threat to anything with that wore an Italian or German badge. With the release of the new C6 Z06, the ones from 2001-2004 sort of got lost in the shuffle, but take heed… these hammers from the Bow Tie Boys will make great future investments due to their performance and race bred pedigree. Prices are just starting to drop on these with good examples for between: $17,000 & up…

10. 2006-2007: Dodge Magnum SRT-8

425 HP / 420 ft-lbs tq. 6.1L V8, Top Speed: 170 mph

Dodge Magnum SRT-8

Every now and again the guys from Chrysler release something that is truly ridiculous. In 1994 it was the Viper, in 1997; the Plymouth Prowler and in 2006 they release the Dodge Magnum SRT8. In comparison to the other SRT8 models, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, the Magnum SRT8 was produced in very small numbers. It boasts a 6.1L, 425 hp HEMI V8, that runs this grocery getter from 0-60 in 5.1 seconds and onto a top speed of 170 mph. Not bad for the ole’ family truckster eh… Prices are just starting to drop on these with good examples for between: $18,000 & up…

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Terry Parkhurst

Future collectible: 1999 Acura Integra Type R. This is the car that replaced the Chevrolet Camaro, for people under the age of 35, as the ride of choice for Boyracers.

The engine is peaky, the manual transmission has a good feel to its engagement and the handling is mucho better than most American muscle machines.

Preferred color is yellow on the outside with a black interior.

The problem is finding a car that hasn’t had its clean lines hidden under innumerable “aero” body add-ons and the engine modified to the point of being ready to grenade.

Collectable Carl

…Well, the only three get a passing grade in my book. #’s 4, 8, and 9.
As for the rest —> to the JUNKYARD

Biggest jokes on your list: 1,2 and 5


Well then slick… what do you recommend?


fyi, the tri 9 impalas came with 17″ wheels.


FWIW the 305 was available on the camaro in 1982 in “cease-fire” crossfire form with 165hp and 4bbl carb form at 145hp and the base motor was not the 2.8L V6 but rather the 2.5L Iron “puke” Duke 4 cyl.

I think the LT1/LS1 trans am will be a future collector as well (i have a 95 T/A) because they are the last of the trans ams. The camaros may as well be collectible but they got their 5th gen and we didn’t. Now with Pontiac gone, the Trans Am is destined to never return.


Good “Stock” Picks, Now, if anyone can prioritize these by percent value increase over time, id appretiate it!?

Fred Phelps

This list is a joke.

VW Rabbit?? Are you serious? Whoever wrote this list must be smoking crack. Good luck finding one of those without rust holes big enough to stick your legs through. The cheap yugoslavian steel used for the body rusted on the dealer showroom floor. Crappy interior, an engine that couldn’t pull the skin off of cooked pudding, and ugly styling to boot. Horrible car. The Plymouth Horizon was a better car in every way at about half the price.

BMW styling has always been bland and boring. The dated, stodgy, two port grill needs to go, even on the current models. There are other more deserving out there that could take this cars place on the list.

The Magnum’s spot on the list is questionable too.

Where is the Fiero? The Buick Reatta convertible?

Also some of your listed stats for each car are incorrect. The Mustang’s top speed is higher. I’ll leave it up to you to find the other errors.

Nick A

You question the allmighty E30 M3 but wonder where garbage like the Fiero and Buick Reatta are? You’re clearly insane.


How can people say the GTI isn’t a collectors car? The GTI is what started the hot hatch craze. Hell you could almost credit it for making way for all of the sport compacts we see today. The engine may have less than 100 hp, but that car is super light, it doesn’t need a whole lot of power. A friend of mine picked one up for $400, yeah it had some rust, but the motor was strong and it was a shit ton of fun. Hell, I’d say I had more fun driving that thing than the STI’s or Evo’s that other buddies have. It’s not very often that you can get oversteer from a front wheel drive vehicle, and get the inside rear tire to lift off the ground when taking a turn.

The E30 M3 is another good choice, really any M3 is, but the E30 especially. And someday I’d love to get an IROC as a second car. Although I’m not a fan of Mustangs, pretty much all of them are or will be a collector car at some point in time.

The only one I really disagree with is the Magnum, don’t care what motor you put in it, it will still be a massive overweight pile o’ shit.

I think some of your pricing might be a bit questionable, Z06 for example, for $17k I don’t think you’re going to find the best example of that car, and owners already know that people are lusting over their E30 M3′s so the price on those is already climbing. At least from what I remember seeing when I checked prices on those a while back, but things could have changed.

Cameron Mataka

Glad to see the IROC make this list.

In respounce to all the people who oppose this, back in the 80′s , the IROC’s were “the car” similar to a M3 in that all the d____bags with fauxhawks and striped shirts would drive to pose around in.


WHEREs the chevy CORVAIR after all ya got the VW rabbit at 90 hp at less the corvair was 110 hp


Are you serious? A Corvair? These were the WORST handling cars ever… hell, a fully restored one is only worth about $8.00.


oh mark IV supra how I love you so, let me count the ways.

clean examples don’t exist anymore though.


The E30 M3 is a real sleeper most people would look at it and dismiss it, but it was the first production M3, and it is an amazing car to drive, the problem is finding one with less than 160k+ miles. The cars were loved by virtually everyone that owned one so they drove the hell out of them. My friend has one with a rebuilt engine, and over 250k miles, and it still is extremely fun to drive.


Why no mention of the Honda/Acura NSX ? This car set the standard for all future wannabe supercars in balance, handling and acceleration. More collectible than half the cars mentioned and it quarter miled at the same time as a ‘vette of the same years that was pushing 400hp against the NSX’s 270 – 290hp in later years. Check and see how many manufacturers now have their own VVT systems running their engines and thank Honda for the NSX. I’ve seen a 2L VTEC Turbo engine pushing out over 550hp to the wheels.


Mid 90′s GM F bodies should definitely make the list, expecially in good condition. “Cash for clunkers” brought many to an untimely end. A whole range of trim levels along with the availability of the ‘vette LT and LS powerplants and Tremec 6 speed plus SLP enhanced Camaro SS, Trans Am WS6 and Firehawk models make for collectivity plus relatively low production numbers make for guaranteed classics. Those were the last of the great V8 pony cars that could be had for roughly 20K. One could get styling from mild (Camaro) to wild (Trans Am). I must admit, I am biased as my mint ’97 Trans Am is sitting in the garage right now. It came with all power options besides AC, base stereo and T-Tops deleted to save weight. In 15 years, it will be a guaranteed classic.




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