28 Apr What are the Most Affordable Used Exotic Cars?
Many people see Ferrari’s and Aston Martin’s and wonder how someone could afford a car that cost more than their house. Even though many exotics do cost more than the median house price in the United States ($212,000 in March 2015), you may be surprised at how cheap some used exotic cars are. You can get some Ferrari’s, Aston Martin’s, Porsche’s and more for much less than $100,000 and some for less than $50,000.
I bought my 1999 Lamborghini Diablo for $126,000 in 2014, which was less than half of what it cost new. The really cool part about rare and exotic cars is that some of them will even go up in value. My Diablo has gone up at least 10 percent in value over the last year if not more. I have compiled a list of some of the most affordable and cool exotic cars you can buy today and many of them may even increase in value.
Ferrari 360 Modena
The Ferrari 360 Modena is a rear engine, V-8 with 400 horsepower and a 6 speed manual or 6 speed automatic transmission. The 360 Modena was produced from 1999 to 2004 and was preceded by the Ferrari 355 and followed by the Ferrari 430. The V-8 Ferrari’s have great performance, great styling and are relatively affordable thanks to their high production numbers. The 360 Modena comes in convertible form and was $140,000 to $180,000 new in 2004. The cars can be bought now for as little as $50,000 with some very nice models still commanding $100,000.
The 430’s are a little more expensive than the 360 and the 355’s a little cheaper. The initial purchase price is not all you have to worry about when buying an exotic car. There will be much higher maintenance costs and repair costs than a normal car. The Ferrari’s will need new clutch’s quite often and those can run $5,000 or more depending on who does the work. The cars need a major service every 15,000 miles which is also more than $5,000. If you are buying one of these cars that seems abnormally cheap, check the maintenance records, because it may be due for $10,000 or more in work.
The V-8 Ferrari’s are pretty common as far as exotic cars, but could still appreciate. They made 16,000 360 Modena’s from 1999 to 2004. The 1980’s V-8 Ferrari’s (308 and 328) have started to increase in value. They could be bought for $30,000 to $40,000 a few years ago and now it is tough to find them for under $60,000.
Porsche 911 Turbo
The Porsche 911 Turbo has been around for a long time. The car first came out in the late 1970’s and many people labeled it the widow maker. It had a lot of turbo lag (lack of power in the lower RPMs) and when the turbo kicked in, it would send a rush of power to the rear wheels. If you happened to be turning at the time, it could send you into a spin and worst case scenario into a semi or off a cliff.
Over the years the 911 turbo became a much safer car. Another turbo was added to the flat six cylinder engine with less turbo lag and all wheel drive was added in the later years. The early 911 turbos have jumped up in value the last couple of years. Decent examples of 1980 turbo cars were selling for under $50,000 and now I see prices closer to $100,000 or more! However, the later cars, which were safer, more reliable and much faster are cheaper. You can get a 10-year-old 911 turbo for $50,000 to $80,000. If you buy a little older 911 turbo you can get them for under $50,000. Not bad for one of the fastest cars in the world.
The 911 turbo is a beast of a car with 520 horsepower and a 0-60 time of just over 3 seconds. The maintenance is also much less than the Ferrari and the 911 is more reliable than the Ferrari as well. You could also buy a non turbo 911 for much less money, but I don’t think the non-turbo cars are “exotic”.
Aston Martin Vanquish V-12
Aston Martin has had some tough years, but recently has done very well in the exotic car market. I have always loved the 1970’s and 1980’s V-8 Vantage, but they are extremely rare and pricey for a nice example. The Aston Martin V-8 was featured in the James Bond movie Die Another Day with Timothy Dalton. The cars were so rare that Aston Martin would not let the movie use any new cars and they had to find used cars for shooting! That is why you see a convertible in one part of the movie and a coupe in another part that had been “winterized”.
Aston Martin was able to recover in the 1990’s and 2000’s after being bought by Ford. The 2002 Aston Martin Vanquish V-12 was a beautiful car with a 460 horsepower power plant. If you have never heard an Aston Martin V-12 start up, it is a wonderful sound. The cars are priced under $70,000 and are in my opinion a great buy.
The cars will need a lot of maintenance and are very expensive to fix like most exotics. It is a beautiful car, but not as exotic looking as a Lamborghini. You probably won’t get as many looks as the Ferrari or even the Porsche. If you want a really cheap Aston Martin, many 1990 models are selling for under $40,000. Aston Martin’s tend to depreciate a ton, but if you buy the best and rarest models you should be just fine. They made about 1,500 V-12 Vanquish’s from 2001 to 2007.
I had to include a Lamborghini somewhere on this list. I own a Diablo and they were incredible values last few years, but the prices on Diablo’s has been going up fast. It is hard to find a 1998 or newer Diablo for less than $170,000 and those are the best models. Lamborghini only made 200 to 300 Dibalo’s a year so they are super rare when compared that to over 2,500 Lamborghini’s made in 2014.
One reason older Lamborghini’s are so rare is Lamborghini was in constant financial trouble much like Aston Martin in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The Lamborghini Countach is one of my all-time favorite cars and the Lamborghini Muira is my favorite all-time car. They made very few of either model and prices have skyrocketed on the Countach and Muira as well as lesser know Lamborghini’s like the Espada, the Jalpa and even the LM002, an SUV built in the 1980’s.
About five years ago you could buy a Countach for less than $100,000 and now they are over $400,000 for the cheapest versions. The Muira could be bought for $300,000 five years ago and now they are over one million. They are not making any more of these Lamborghini’s and people are starting to realize the V-12 exotic is a collectible.
In 2002 Lamborghini made 400 Murcielago’s, which was the first model year. The Murcielago is a V-12 with over 570 horsepower and has a very exotic look.
The Murcielago is a very fast car and you could still get a manual transmission on the early models. Lamborghini’s are now only available with E-Gear (like an automatic) transmissions. The cars are rare and at under $140,000 (some even less) I think they are a great buy. The Gallardo is another option, which had a V-10 and was introduced in 2003. They made a lot more Gallardo’s and the car shared a lot of parts with the Audi R8 (Audi bought Lamborghini in 1998). You can buy a Gallardo for less than $100,000, but to me they made too many of them (over 14,000) and they aren’t quite exotic enough for my tastes, but still an awesome way to own a Lambo.
The Murcielago is the most expensive car on this list, but given Lamborghini’s track record of increasing values I think it is a good buy. They made 3.983 Murcielago’s from 2002 to 2010.
The Dodge Viper is arguably the first American made exotic car. When you see a Viper you know it is something special by how low and wide it is. The Viper debuted in 1992 with a 400 horsepower V-10 that propelled the car to 60 in 4.5 seconds. 23 years later that does not seem that fast, but the Viper was the first American car to hit 400 horsepower since emission controls were put in place in the 1970’s. You can buy a Viper for under $40,000, which is an awesome bargain if you ask me.
The Viper continues to be produced today, but has lost its aggressive look. I think the original body style is the best looking, although they are not nearly as fast as the later cars. Vipers are also very simple with a huge 8.0 liter engine and are one of the most reliable exotic cars. One nice thing about many American cars is they do not use the most expensive parts they can find, that are only made for one particular model.
Ferrari 550 Marenello
The Ferrari 550 Marenello replaced the Ferrari 512, or as it is better known the Ferrari Testarossa. The Testarossa was dirt cheap a few years ago and has increased in value like the Lamborghini’s. I saw cars for sale for $50,000 a few years ago, but now Testarossa’s are selling for $100,000 or more. The Testarossa was built from 1984 to 1996 and over 9,400 hundred cars were built during that time. The car had a 390 horse power V-12 and was featured in Miami Vice.
The Marenello is a front engine V-12 with 478 horse power and 6 speed manual transmission. They were built from 1996 to 2001 and only 3,000 cars made. More than Lamborghini made from 1991 to 2001, but still low production numbers. The Marenello can be bought for under $100,000 and with its rarity I think it will slowly increase in value as well.
The Nissan GTR is one of the fastest cars every made. It features a twin turbo six cylinder engine with 485 horsepower from 2008 to 2012 and over 500 horsepower in newer models. The car has similar power to other exotics, but also has all wheel drive and short gears making it faster to accelerate reaching 60 MPH in just over 3 seconds.
The GTR is over $100,000 new, but used models are for sale for under $60,000. This is very fast car that is relatively affordable. They have made over 9,000 GTR’s since 2008, which makes them somewhat common. I don’t know if the GTR will appreciate in value much in the coming years, but it is very affordable. I also think it is a little weird-looking, but that is only my opinion.
Lotus Esprit V-8
The Lotus Esprit was built from 1976 to 2004. From 1996 to 2004 the Esprit came with a twin turbo V-8 and was a very light car. The Lotus looks like an exotic in person and is very fast as well. The earlier Esprit’s has four-cylinder engines and were not nearly as fast. They made about 1,200 Esprit V-8’s and you can pick one up for under $40,000 if you can find one. These cars are very rare and I think they will eventually go up in value as well.
Lotus does not have the best maintenance record and the cars are not very big. You can buy an older Esprit for much less money but they are not nearly as desirable.
Honorable mentions for affordable exotic cars
There are many cars I left out of this list and I will mention a few more here. Below are some more cars to consider that either have the exotic look or are rare.
- Acura NSX: The NSX is a cool looking car, but Acura made a lot of them and they weren’t super fast. They had less than 300 horsepower. You can buy an NSX for under $50,000.
- Maserati GranTurismo: Maserati is a famous name, but they have made some bad cars. The 1980’s was full of ugly and unreliable cars. Maserati is getting better, but the GranTurismo is not super fast and a little weird-looking in person. They are affordable at under $50,000 for a 7-year-old model.
- Mercedes and BMW: Mercedes and BMW have made some fast cars that are very expensive. You can buy ten-year old Mercedes V-12’s for a fraction of what they were new, but they look pretty normal compared to most exotics. BMW M cars are very fast, but are mostly sedans and not exotic in my opinion either.
Why are some exotic cars so cheap?
If you look at this list you will notice something in common with most of these cars. They are about 10 to 25 years old. When you buy a new car whether it is exotic or not, you are almost guaranteed it will go down in value as soon as you buy. Most cars will continue to lose value until they are basically worthless, but many rare and exotic cars will start to go back up in value at some point.
If you can buy rare cars that are at the bottom of their depreciation curve you might not only get an awesome car, but an investment as well. My Diablo has gone up in value, but I did not buy it as an investment. I have to spend money on it every year for maintenance and repairs and although it is worth more than I bought it for I don’t plan to sell. I also drive my car and the more miles I put on it, the less it will be worth. It is nice to know that my $100,000 plus investment will not be worth $50,000 or less in a few years, which happens on many new cars.
I hope you enjoyed the cars and the article. If you have any suggestions let me know and I will probably add some more cars to the list myself. If you love exotic as much as I do, check out this guide on how to start your own exotic car dealership. Be sure to sign up for more articles on cars and the people who own them.