The used car market can be brutal for any car buyer, especially if they’re working with a tight budget. If you’re not careful, you can easily end up buying a horrible used car that gives you nothing but problems and eventually becomes a worthless piece of junk.
However, with proper research, you can find cheap used cars that, when taken good care of, will keep rising in value due to their known quality, design, performance, rarity, or other qualities that make gearheads love them. American automakers have built many such cars over the years, and here are the best ten most gearheads can still afford.
10 GMC Syclone – $25,000
Let’s kick off with one of the coolest pickup trucks ever made – the GMC Syclone. The GMC Syclone debuted in the ’90s and was developed to compete in the emerging performance truck market.
The Syclone was based on the Sonoma but had an updated design featuring a blacked-out look that made it look a lot cooler. The Syclone also received some upgrades under the hood, as it was powered by a 4.3-liter turbocharged LB4 V6 engine belting out 280 hp.
9 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat – $38,000
Dodge has always been one of the top dogs in the muscle car space. In 2015, Dodge decided to remind gearheads of this fact when it unveiled arguably the best muscle car it had ever built at the time – the Challenger SRT Hellcat.
The SRT Hellcat looked a lot like the standard Challenger, but it was an entirely different beast under the hood. Powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 dishing out 707 ponies, the SRT Hellcat immediately became the most powerful production muscle car ever built at the time.
8 2004 Pontiac GTO – $18,000
Dodge, Chevrolet, and Ford have completely dominated the muscle car market since its inception, but they all have Pontiac to thank for that. Pontiac is largely considered to be the automaker that built the first-ever muscle car when it introduced the GTO in the early ’60s.
Unfortunately, the GTO’s story didn’t end well. The fifth and final GTO generation – which debuted in the early 2000s after a long hiatus – was immediately hated since it was a rebadged Australian coupe. However, without considering the ‘GTO’ in its name, we still think it was an awesome car that makes a good investment today.
7 Cadillac CTS-V – $20,000
Cadillac currently builds one of the best sports sedans in the world – the CT5-V Blackwing. However, the Blackwing wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the CTS-V.
Cadillac introduced the CTS-V in the mid-2000s after many gearheads complained of the normal CTS’ lack of power. The first CTS-V was equipped with the same engine and other performance components as the C5 Corvette Z06, giving it superb performance.
6 Chevrolet Cobalt SS – $15,000
The Chevy Cobalt is not a car that can make any gearhead excited when they see it. However, when it has the coveted ‘SS’ badge, the Cobalt is an underrated sleeper that many would easily ignore on the highway.
The Cobalt SS debuted in the late 2000s, and while it looked largely identical to the normal Cobalt, it was a different beast under the hood. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot pumping out up to 260 hp, the Cobalt SS was quick.
5 Pontiac Solstice GXP – $18,000
After the aforementioned fifth-generation GTO failed spectacularly, Pontiac needed to think of a new way to make money fast. Pontiac decided to build a cheap two-door roadster known as the Solstice.
Although the Solstice didn’t save Pontiac, we think it was a pretty good sports car for the price, particularly the high-performance GXP model. Since Pontiac is dead and gone, we expect most of its models to keep gaining value.
4 1990 Corvette ZR-1 – $20,000
The fourth-generation Corvette debuted in 1984, putting an end to a mostly horrible third-generation version. The base C4 was a significant improvement over its predecessor, but many still wanted more power – the kind that could rival the Europeans.
So in 1989, Chevy developed a high-performance version of the C4 known as the ZR-1 – a homage to the original ZR1 of the early ’70s. Chevy equipped the C4 ZR-1 with a Lotus-tuned V8 making 375 hp, making it one of the fastest American cars of the day.
3 Dodge Viper – $35,000
For most of the 20th century, Dodge was known as a manufacturer of muscle cars and work trucks. That all changed in the early ’90s when Dodge introduced the venerable Viper.
The Viper immediately impressed gearheads with its stylish design and monstrous V10 power. The Viper went on to enjoy a successful production run till its discontinuation a few years ago. You can expect a steady rise in Viper prices, regardless of the Model year.
2 Chevrolet Camaro 6th Generation – $40,000
The Camaro is one of the first things that come to mind when any gearhead is asked to name a muscle car. It’s one of the few muscle cars rolling out of production facilities today and is still as popular as ever.
Unfortunately, the beloved muscle car is on its deathbed thanks to the rise of EVs, and if rumors are to be believed, Chevy will likely pull the plug on the Camaro as early as 2024. This is sad news for every muscle car fan out there, but if you get yourself a Camaro now while they’re still cheap, you’ll definitely be smiling in a few years.
1 Hummer H2 – $24,000
If there’s one thing Americans are known for, it’s their love for large vehicles. ‘Bigger is always better’ seems to be a commonly used mantra amongst American automakers, as they’re responsible for building some of the largest passenger vehicles ever made.
One car that earned Americans this reputation is the Hummer H2. This behemoth of an SUV was all the rage in the 2000s as it was the luxury vehicle of choice for the rich and famous who didn’t care about its dismal gas mileage. Any old Hummer you buy is a collector’s item now, but we think the H2 offers great value for money. Just don’t drive it!