However, after the arrival of all-wheel-drive systems thanks to Audi, we have a lot more options in front of us. And RWD cars became a thing of opinion or personal preference rather than a necessity like FWD or AWD cars. But thankfully, we still get a few proper RWD sports cars on the market every year. Here are some of the coolest and most thrilling RWD sports cars from the second half of the 20th century you can still buy for surprisingly cheap.
10 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass (~$8,000)
Most gearheads know about the Oldsmobile Cutlass 4-4-2. But it’s too expensive to call it dirt cheap. The base model, however, can be yours for a lot less, about $8,600 for one in fair condition. And the base model is not that bad too, we’re talking about a 180 hp 5.7-liter V8 here.
For less than $5,000 you can find one in bad shape and work on it as a project car and make it your own. The engine has a lot of potential, so you can turn a base Cutlass into something very fun.
9 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo(~10,000)
You’ll probably see a Porsche 944 in lots of cheap sports cars lists like this one. It’s one of the best affordable classic cars on the market right now. For about $10,000 you get a 2-door Coupe with a 2.4-Liter 4-cylinder engine sending 220 hp to the rear wheels.
And for a classic car, it’s got some neat tech like the Bosch Fuel Injection system. If you want a beaten-up example for project work, it can be yours for as low as $3,000! On top of that, the Porsche badge is just the icing on the cake.
8 1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 (~$5,000)
The SLK 230 may not be the most powerful of the bunch, but it’s one of the most affordable German sports cars in the used market. Kinda like the Porsche you saw above, the SLK 230 is a great sports car that comes with extra points in the form of that Silver Arrow badge.
The SLK 230 has an inline-4 that makes 185 hp and 200 lb-ft. The best part is you can get a hardtop or even a convertible in running condition for around $5,000.
7 1991 Nissan 300ZX Turbo(~$13,000)
People born before the ’90s know about the Nissan 240SX as one of the best choices for a fast and reliable sports car on a budget. But its popularity rose and so did the demand, and now it’s no longer affordable or value for money. But the NIssan 300XZ has taken its place now.
The 300ZX Turbo is a lightweight sports car with a 3-Liter V6 that makes 300 hp and 283 lb-ft of torque. Looks are subjective, but everyone will agree that the 300XZ looks like a proper sports car and that T-shaped roof is *chef’s kiss.
6 1985 – 1991 Mazda RX-7 (~$10,000 to $16,000)
If you want the RX-7 from one of the Fast and Furious movies, you’ll need more money, but the FC RX-7 is a great sports car for folks on a budget. A turbocharged model will cost you somewhere between $10,000 to $16,000, but it gives you some cool numbers to boast.
The rotary engine makes almost 200 hp, it takes only 6.5 seconds in a 0-60 sprint and has a top speed of 143 mph. These things are very tuner-friendly, so you can always get some more juice out of it if you’re careful enough.
5 1996 BMW Z3 Roadster (~$6,000)
Not everyone thinks that Miata Is Always The Answer. Some are not satisfied with the little roadster, but they might be impressed with the BMW Z3. It’s like an MX-5 but with more premium features and a great powertrain. Also, owning a BMW might sound better than owning a Mazda to some.
This 1997 BMW Z3 2.8 can be yours for a little over $6,000 if you live in Illinois. Its 2.8-liter inline-6 engine sends 190 hp to the 16” rear wheels. That’s plenty of fun for such a cheap price. And it’s a roadster, so it gets style points too.
4 1995 Toyota MR2 Mk II Turbo (~16,000)
When the MR2 arrived in 1984, it gained popularity as the sports car to watch out for. It’s still the most powerful Toyota after the Supra models and a couple of Celica and a Chaser. If you have a budget of around $20,000 then you can get something a lot worse than a mid to late ’90s MR2 Mk II Turbo.
The Mk II Turbo model has an excellent hp/ton ratio thanks to its lightweight chassis and a powerful 2-liter inline-4 that makes 242 hp of peak power. If you still don’t think that every gearhead should own a Toyota MR2, here are 10 reasons that say otherwise.
3 1992 Toyota Supra Mk III Turbo (~$12,000)
No, it’s not the Mk IV Supra that Brian O’Conner drives, that’s too expensive to call it affordable, let alone dirt cheap. But the Mk III Supra is a lot more affordable, and highly overshadowed by its younger sibling in terms of power. A 1992 Supra Turbo will cost you about $12,000 if it’s in fair condition.
Non-turbo models are even cheaper, but they aren’t as powerful, obviously. The 3-liter turbocharged inline-6 makes around 236 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. And just like the MR2, you will not have to convince anyone that it’s a proper sports car thanks to its shape and 2-door front-engine RWD configuration.
2 1965 Lotus Seven ($25,000)
Cars (or rather street-legal go-karts) like BAC Mono and Ariel Atom are very tempting deals if you already own a daily driver. But they are out of many people’s budget, but not the Lotus Seven. Think of this as a wild card entry on the list that very specific people will enjoy, but they’ll enjoy it to the full.
The Lotus Seven is not powerful by any means, but it weighs only 1,000 lbs. That’s why we see its comparisons with the BAC or Ariel. These types of cars are super fun to drive, and they almost never disappoint. Bring A Trailer just sold one for $25,000.
1 BMW E36 M3 (~$10,500)
The E36 M3 is no short of a legend in the sports car segment. There’s plenty of power, it’s very desirable, and it even makes for a great project car. The bimmer’s 3-Liter Inline-6 makes 240 hp and around 230 lb-ft of torque. Power and fun-to-drive aspects are simply great with this one.
With the E36, BMW added more luxury and comfort, so you can also take it on long road trips. These things are also known to be very reliable. In other words, it’s one of the best sports cars in the used market period. And the low starting price of $10,000-$11,000 is just the icing on the cake.
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