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Every Gearhead Should Buy These 10 Affordable Classic European Performance Cars – HotCars

by Nov 7, 2022Blog0 comments

For their bargain price, these classic European performance cars should top any gearhead’s wish list.
In no special order European, performance, and Classic Cars, have to be on top of any gearheads wish list. Make them affordable also, and you can't go wrong.
The good news is, there are hundreds to choose from. With fast sedans, coupes, and plenty of Sports Cars, the choice is vast and growing year by year. We're not just talking main-stream stuff either. The obvious choice would be a Lotus Elise S1. But, with a little extra effort, you can find more rewarding Lotus cars worthy of your time and money.
Likewise, why settle for a BMW M-sport car when you could have an Alpina? The now in-house tuner has dozens of classics in a back catalog that are faster and rarer.
It is a case of having your cake and eating it. Whatever badge takes your fancy, there is a classic car out there under budget. And it's guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
RELATED: The Quirky Ferrari 400 Is Surprisingly Good and Surprisingly Cheap
Every dog has its day, so the unloved Ferrari 400i is gaining in popularity. Even so, it's not going to win any beauty prizes, but there is still a lot to like. The all-important ingredients are present. A front-mounted V12 engine Pininfarina styling, and of course the prancing horse badge.
Yet, it took a long time for gearheads to see the merits of the Ferrari 400's sporting credentials. Boasting a front-rear drive chassis with 306 hp on tap, this Ferrari is fast when called upon, topping out at 149 mph. Bag one while you can, prices are on the up.
Take one capable BMW 7-Series, tweak the engine, and stick on custom wheels and badging. In effect that's all Alpina ever did, but the results tell a different story. Better than the sum of its parts, the B11 3.5's trump card is its rarity with a seven-year production run totaling 332 cars.
Still powered by BMW's M30B35 straight six, tweaked to deliver 250 hp, up from the stock 7-series 217 hp. The gains lift top speed to 152 mph while shaving a few tenths off the 0-60 mph time. But, exclusivity comes cheaper than its rarity suggests, expect to pay $14,000 for a late '80s car.
Taking quirkiness to another level, Alpines A310 is a classic that flies under the radar. Quirky for having a rear-mounted engine slug out like a Porsche 911, only much less popular. Produced from 1971-1984 the A310 could be had with a choice of four and six-cylinder engines.
By a long way, the V6 is the better performer cranking out 190 hp resulting in a top speed of 142 mph. Beneath the skin, the Alpine is similar in design to the DeLorean DMC-12. Only Better made, cheaper and faster.
In terms of metal for your money, the Bentley Turbo R represents unbeatable value for money at $20,000. Ownership does come with some caveats. Not least is the turbocharged engine's thirst for gas, which can dip into single digits.
A turbocharged Bentley? In 1985 Bentley aided by Garret-AiResearch augmented the 6.75-liter V8 engine with a T-04 turbo. As a result, power output climbed to 384 hp; almost double. Despite the big power gains, the Bentley is a beast of a car weighing 5400 lbs, one that gets to 60 mph in 6-seconds.
Craving a Lotus wedge but don't fancy the confines of the Esprit's cockpit? The Excel offers much of the same Chapman-era brilliance, with a few twists. Differing by having a 2+2 cockpit makes the Excel more practical, although rear seat space is at a premium.
The biggest change is under the hood, the front one. Swapping to a front-rear drive chassis might have sports car fans running for the hills. But Excel is every bit as capable and known for its 50/50 weight distribution and crisp handling. True to Lotus form, Excel went through several changes over its life. The later SE spec cars used a higher compression Type 912 engine.
RELATED: 8 Coolest Sports Cars Lotus Ever Produced
The Swedes are die-hard car junkies with a twisted sense of humor. Any gearhead turning on the TV to catch some touring car action in the early 90s would be in for a shock. Volvo, the Swedish carmaker famed for tank-like builds and safety went racing.
Think family wagon-based race car running a turbocharged engine, and you won't be far short. A large part of the credit belongs to TWR. Under the hood of this boxy wagon is a 2.4-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine cranking out 247 hp. Despite their rarity, prices start at around $20,000.
TVR doesn't do things by half measures. Big engines and lightweight builds have been standard since 1946. The Tuscan's first outing in 1967 used Ford Windsor V8s varying between 4.7 and 4.9-liter rated at 275 hp upwards.
If it's drama and performance you crave, the Tuscan delivers and then some. Weighing 1900 lbs the Tuscan is a lightweight rocket scorching to 60 mph in 5.1-second. Fast, light, and dependable, prices start at $40,000.
Tasked with naming a Renault Sports Car is not a trick question. For a time during the '90s Renault faced off against the Elise with the Sport Spider. Lotus won that one on driver dynamics. Both used a similar layout, an aluminum chassis, and a mid-mounted engine.
Renault's ticket to the affordable sports car market flopped. More expensive to build, gearheads soon realized the Spiders' performance to price deficit. Yet, Renault had a trick up its sleeves with a track-based version boasting a 2.0-liter engine cranking out 210 hp. Sadly, it wasn't enough to save the car. Rarity hasn't inflated prices yet, expect to pay $28,000.
Dream ride or reality? Pick the right E-Type and you save yourself a bucket load of cash. Jaguar in need of a platform to launch their V12 engine sullied the E-Type's reputation with the S3. A little more power and tons more weight didn't go down well with buyers.
Classic collectors would be wise to seek out an XKE S3, cheaper to buy and still gorgeous to look at. Yet, the bargains keep coming. Swapping the Roadsters cleaner lines for the practicality of a 2+2 Coupe can save you even more cash. In a like-for-like comparison could be a difference between $30,000 and $46,000.
RELATED: 10 Things Everyone Forgot About The Jaguar E-Type
Porsche's purists buy 911s for their edgy handling. But if you want most of the performance in a comfortable cruiser, the 928 GTS wins hands down. Almost all the performance translates to a top speed of 171 mph with sixty taking 5.1-seconds. The 928 is the overlooked relative that everyone forgets.
The autobahn-busting speed comes from a front-mounted 5.4-liter V8 chucking out 350 hp. It's the Porsche that almost spelled the end for the 911, and the car all gearheads should take note of. Depending on the year, prices start at $35,000.
Raised in a car-obsessed environment from an early age ensured a keen interest in anything car-related. first and foremost an F1 fan, but also an avid follower of other motorsports. Professional background working closely with a well established UK based Supercar manufacturer in recent years.