Treasure hunting is something that we all value, almost instinctively. It's always rewarding to unearth some forgotten relic of the past, that just happens to be supremely valuable. Today, on Barn Find Friday, we take a look at five super-rare finds for the aspiring collector, under a 50 grand budget.
The Jaguar E-Type was considered by Enzo Ferrari to be the most beautiful car ever made, and I can't disagree with him. This great example of a Fixed Head Coupe (FHC) is a rare and original survivor car with 39k miles on the clock and currently hovering around $34,000 with a few days left in the auction, with the reserve still on. I'd wager that it goes for just under $50k, with the market exploding in short order in the next few years, making this a six figure car all day, every day. Don't even wipe the dust off and collect a check. That's how grandpa would've done it.
An original 389 Tri-Power Pontiac GTO, restored and in good shape can fetch big money, especially with a four-on-the-floor manual like this one has. Obviously this one needs a little bit of reconditioning, but even so, apart from some surface rust, the frame and floor pans look solid and ready for media blasting. At the time of writing, the car's still below a five figure price tag, so it should be an affordable way of getting a rare classic cheaply. Take it apart, shine it up, and put it back together.
Before the E-Type came the magnificent XK line of cars, which were actually the world-beating Bugatti Veyrons of their day. Before the United Kingdom had speed limits on their roads, Jaguar would test out their car's top speeds in the middle of the night, on the highway. That's how crazy car manufacturers were in the '50s. Needless to say, this kind of insanity and innovative, carefree and careless attitude made the XK one of the best looking and most desirable classics to date. This one, needing minor reconditioning, should go well under the $50k budget, even though there's still a fair amount of time left before the auction closes. Sorted versions of this iconic and popular car can fetch more than $120,000, so keep your eyes peeled for this, as it may be one hell of a bargain.
Make Jerry Seinfeld jealous with this hand-made Porsche 356 barn find. It'll need work from the improperly sanded and patched front body panels, and at almost $30k with some time left in the auction, it's not cheap, but prices for cars in worse condition are already reaching astronomical heights, due to their popularity with enthusiasts, collectors, and anyone who wants to drive a refined vintage daily driver. I can't say that it'll be a cheap or quick fix to get it to showroom condition, but it's very likely any restoration money will be recouped at sale time, that is, if you can manage to let go of such a rare gem.
This Pontiac Trans Am is an actual time capsule. It's nearly brand new, stored away for 30 years. With less than 6,000 miles on the clock and full documentation including original dealer invoices, I'm not sure it gets more barn-findy than this. It's a modern classic for sure, and with the addition of the L69 HO V8 and manual gearbox and 3.73:1 gears, it makes it a rarity in the Firebird range, with a little more than 600 ever made, according to the seller. At the time of writing, the bidding is less than $10,000, but the reserve is still on. I'm curious to see where it'll end, as the market for these cars has steadily risen over the last few years. This is as good as it's going to get, so get it while the gettin's good.
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world's cheapest Mercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he's the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn't feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.