There are some makes of car that enthusiasts covet from a young age, but never believe they can actually own.
But, with a little savvy hunting, it’s possible to get yourself in a classic with a prestige badge on the front for less cash than you might think.
Here, we look at five models that might make you think that it is possible after all.
Perhaps not the prettiest car that Porsche ever produced, although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, the 944 was built between 1982 and 1991. It was a departure from the classic 911 looks that continue to this day and it does have a certain 1980s feel to it.
It was available as a drop-top and a coupe and there were both naturally aspirated and turbo versions made, with engines at 2.5, 2.7 and 3.0 capacities.
It might not be remembered as a gem by some, particularly the Porsche purists, but a total of 163,192 were built during its nine-year life, which made it the German firm’s most successful car up to that point. Nowadays, you can get your hands on one for less than £3,000. That’ll get you a smaller-engined 1989 model with maybe 100,000-150,000 miles on the clock, which is well below average miles for the age.
ALFA ROMEO GT
A more modern suggestion here, as the oldest Alfa Romeo GTs were built in 2003, but the GT is a cheap way in to owning an Alfa – the one true claim of the petrol head, after all. Power ranged from 1.8 to 3.2 V6 petrols and there was also a 1.9 diesel, so there’s plenty of choice about.
The Bertone-designed GT was a tasty looking thing, oozing Italian elegance and sporty aggressiveness. Just over £80,000 were made in total and these days they’re a bit of a bargain. A high-ish miler can be had for less than £2,000, which is a bit of a bargain for what is an attractive, purposeful sports car with a badge that has plenty of heritage.
ASTON MARTIN DB7
Moving up the scale a bit, the Aston Martin DB7 represents some serious value if you’re looking for a properly prestigious marque and something of a Grand Tourer up there with the best of them. It’s also rarer than you might think, with only 7,000 produced between 1994 and 2004.
Designed by the legendary Ian Callum, who has penned some of the most beautiful cars ever made, not least the Jaguar F-Type, the DB7 came in both convertible and coupe versions. It was the entry level to the Aston range even when new, but was still quite a machine, with 3.2 and 5.9-litre engines available. Callum’s influence was clear, as the DB7 heralded the modern era for Aston Martin, which evolved with the DB7’s successor, the DB9 – it’s a shape that Aston still uses today. Despite all of this pedigree and relative rarity, less than £20,000 could see you getting into your very own Aston.
The Jaguar XK8 shared a platform with the aforementioned Aston Martin DB7 and the similarities are clear to see. However, if your budget doesn’t run to five figures, fear not, as you could be stepping into a 20-year-old XK8 for as little as £6,000.
The XK8 was available in coupe and soft-top form and power came solely from meaty V8s of either 4.0-litre or 4.2-litre capacity, meaning it was no slouch, with a limited top speed of 155mph. A total of 90,000 – including several limited editions – were built during its 10-year production life and today they represent a classic bargain.
Rapidly becoming a modern classic, the Z3 was first produced 20 years ago, if you can quite believe that, and was made for seven years.
Available as a roadster and as a coupe, there were a multitude of versions, with no less than eight different engine sizes, ranging from 1.8 litres to 3.2 litres. Of course it was an excellent driver’s car, being a BMW, and rear-drive gave it a fun sports car feel.
And nowadays it’s a bit of a bargain on the used market, despite there not being huge numbers for sale.You’ll get change out of £2,500 for an early model with below average miles for the year. That’s plenty of bang for your buck for a car that carries a badge with serious pedigree.