Choosing a new car is difficult, as a car enthusiast. You want something with a little power, something that drives a little special and preferably something with a story. The solution is easy: buy a Ferrari F40, a Porsche 959 or a McLaren F1. Is your budget about 1 percent of that? No problem: we looked for some cars that you don’t see often, that don’t cost a lot. By the way, we are not claiming that all of these will be sensible or reliable purchases. You want something unique for little, you get something unique for little.
The Lancia Thema is not fooling anyone: it is a Chrysler 300C with an Italian logo. It was one of Lancia’s last convulsions in Europe, which didn’t really pay off, but did have things like heated and cooled cup holders on board. They are now for sale for around 10,000 euros. Mainly diesels, but even a few petrol versions. All with a V6. Then you drive something tough.
Mitsubishi Eclipse (third generation)
The same applies here: we said special. Not pretty. You know the third generation Mitsubishi Eclipse as that awful purple thing from 2 Fast 2 Furious. Without weird body kits or gigantic rims you are left with a witty offer. From 3,000 euros you step into the rare coupé with a V6 and automatic transmission. Well, it’s not really fast, but you know for sure that your neighbor doesn’t have the same car.
Cadillac Seville (fifth generation)
Big V8 in the nose, drive on the rear wheels and somewhere in between an automatic. That’s the anatomy of an American car, right? Not quite. The Cadillac Seville was the most powerful front-wheel drive on the market for a while. Under the hood is a transversely mounted 4.6-liter V8 with 300 hp. Get this car for amounts from 3,000 euros to brag about that fact.
Ford Mustang (fourth generation)
Calling one of the best-selling sports cars ever rare is not something we can get away with. In the Netherlands you see them in any case relatively little driving. The Mustang from the nineties is probably the least popular generation and for less than 3,000 euros you can get a V6 model. Succeeding for a V8 for under 10,000 euros should also work. And then you drive a nice Mustang.
Do you know the Subaru SVX? No? We thought so. The not very successful car was the successor of the also not so successful XT6. Subaru gave the SVX a set of silly side windows, an automatic transmission and a six-cylinder. There are a handful for sale in the Netherlands for around 10,000 euros. Does it fit into the list of special cars that don’t cost much? Meh, it is indeed a lot of money for an old Japanese. Expect to drive it for a while though, because we bet you won’t lose it again anytime soon.
Opel Zafira OPC
Around the turn of the century, Opel had a nice optimistic attitude. Why not make a faster OPC version of all models? Even the Meriva – which was actually an extension of a walker – got an OPC version. The Opel Zafira OPC is really one of ours guilty pleasures. The seven-seater with almost 200 hp costs no more nowadays: for less than 2,000 euros you can get one. Spend a little more and you’ll have a nice blue one that looks pretty nice.
So, talk about forgotten models. Somewhere around 2009 Seat took the (then) previous generation Audi A4 to give it a twist. They put a new nose on it and mounted the dashboard of the Audi A4 Cabriolet. It didn’t look all that bad, but it wasn’t really a success. You now have them for prices from 5,000 to 15,000 euros and they all have a dull color. If you look closely, you will find one with the 2.0 TSI from the Golf GTI. Then you still have quite a nice family car.