At first glance the car hobby is an expensive one. Parts that cost thousands of dollars, cars that cost millions of dollars, and those high gas prices that consume your hard earned money. There is hope however. Below is a list of a car from every category you can buy for less than $5000 dollars.

Classic Car

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Packard. A company synonymous with wealth, luxury, and opulence. The company went out of business in the mid 1950’s. Yet Packard is still known for being one of the greatest American luxury car companies of all time. For sale is a 1951 Packard 200 Business Coupe. This coupe model features a 288 cubic inch straight 8 engine. Just enough power to push this American goliath gracefully along on a sunny Saturday morning. It might not be the car that first comes to mind when thinking of classic cars but nevertheless it is a rare and unique choice that will certainly stand out at the local car shows.

Grand Tourer

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When you think of a grand tourer usually it is not an American car that pops into mind. It is something European with fine craftsmanship and stunning looks. That is the 1987 Mercedes 560 SEC Coupe. Designed to take its occupants across county in style the 560 SEC produced 275hp from a 5.5 liter V8 engine. Thrusting the occupants forward in both ease and, when desired, speed. Once a 70,000 dollar car the SEC is starting to slowly appreciate. It might be difficult to maintain but at under 5,000 this car is a steal.

Luxury Car

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Stately, gigantic, luxurious, and beautiful. Those are the adjectives that come to mind when one thinks of a 1991 Mercedes 300SE. This was the car for executives and the rich. This was the car that pulled up to you while you were driving a Ford Fiesta and reminded you that you should have tried a little harder in school. This is the car you can own for less than the price of a brand new flat screen TV. Why aren’t you calling the buyer right now?

Off Roader

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A Jeep Wrangler might be an obvious choice but it is for good reason. The Jeep Wrangler is one of the greatest off road vehicles of all time. The Wrangler cemented it’s legacy in the USA after WWII. Eisenhower once said “The Jeep, the Dakota airplane, and the landing craft were the three tools that won the war.” This 2000 model is a real gem. Tasteful modifications, 5 speed, and a reliable 4.0 straight 6. Who wouldn’t want to wake up every morning remove the top, take the doors off, and fold down the front windshield? A Wrangler is one of the most capable vehicles on the planet and at a price almost everyone can afford.

Roadster

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What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this car on this website? For many it is a perfect example of a small, fun, tossable, and exciting roadster. The Miata is one of those cars that will always be adored by it’s fans and will continue to put smiles on owners faces for years to come.

Even if the Miata isn’t your cup of tea there are other roadsters available at this price range. See this 1980’s Mercedes SL for another option.

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Classic Muscle

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When we auto enthusiast look fondly back at the age of muscle cars more often then not the Mercury Cougar gets forgotten about. Why? The Ford Mustang had a bigger and louder personality. But the Cougar, like many bigs cats, was an intimidating and beautiful beast that was always ready to pounce on any unsuspecting Impala. This one was fitted with a 351 Cleveland and enough power to melt the rear tires. It might need a little TLC but the smell of fluorocarbons will make the hard work and sweet more than worth it in the end.

Sports Car

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$5000 dollars can buy many different sports cars. Anything from a Porsche to a Nissan. Today though we will be looking at a Mazda RX-8. One of the more interesting options from Mazda in the last decade. The RX-8 is perhaps the last Wankel engine to come out of Mazda. This particular RX-8 came with a 6 speed manual. The engine produced 247hp and revved to 9000 glorious RPM. That means the car had more than enough enthusiasm to get you in trouble with Johnny Law. The Mazda was light as well. The heaviest weighed only 3000 pounds. This quirky car would be a wonderful choice to enjoy on the back country roads.

Modern Muscle

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The Ford Mustang is an American icon. The Fox Body Mustang is one of the the most loved eras of the Mustang legacy. These can be found across the country every day for under $5,000 dollars. The beauty of the Fox Body is if the owner isn’t happy they can always make it faster. Modification and Mustang go hand in hand. Although even stock with 225hp and 300ft/lbs of torque the 5.0 V8 will give you a good kick in the back. A car that transcends class almost everyone in the USA has a Mustang story. It is time for you to make yours.

Wagon Enthusiast

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You want to be a wagon lover? You want to be unlike everyone else? The AMC Eagle wagon is the car for you. It doesn’t get much quirkier than an AMC Eagle. This car has a uniqueness to it that can’t be matched. Plus you can go off road with three or four of your friends while you haul furniture. Hell I don’t even have that many friends! This car seats a lot of people! There isn’t a more appropriate way to enjoy a quirky wagon. The AMC wagon is an odd ball everyone can love.

Truck Enthusiast

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It is a freaking fire truck people do I really need to explain myself? You could use it in every parade, use the siren to blow through stop lights on the way to work, and be the star of every car show to a little kid. Not only is it utilitarian but it is a whole lot of unique fun at a very reasonable price. This hero deserves to be loved by a great owner and maybe that could be you.

Miscellaneous

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A French wagon from the 1980’s is about as out there as it gets for a car collector. Why do you want one? Well for one it is unique. Two it is a turbo. Three it is a beautiful shade of red. And last but not least it is French. The number of people who own French cars in the US might fit in a large gym. So go out and buy what is very likely going to be the rarest car in your neighborhood and town.

Sports Sedan

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Not everyone can enjoy the life of a two door sports car. If that is you Germans have an answer. The sports sedan. The car that still defines the segment to this day is the BMW 3 Series. Luckily you don’t have to be a doctor or a lawyer to buy one. This 2002 330i is a wonderful example of a BMW 3 Series that gives you the opportunity to row your own gears. There are also BMW M3s in this price range but they are all automatic. So why not enjoy your luxury and sport together on the morning commute. And get the four door so your kids can enjoy the fun too.

TL/DR

Being a car enthusiast with no money isn’t that bad. You can buy anything from a Mercedes grand tourer to a fun loving Miata. Just be open minded and be prepared to look around. Add to the list if I missed anything.