If you’re like any other semi-narcissistic person out there, you probably enjoy owning something desirable and expensive, if only for the virtue of its exclusivity. And if you’re a cheap-ass like me, you’ll enjoy that feeling even more if you don’t go broke chasing it. Thankfully, here are five automotive examples of six figure masterpieces made affordable through the wonders of capitalism. Get your countin’ hand ready.
2003 Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG
This Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG was the buff S-class range’s fast one. It had a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 that pumped out nearly 500 horsepower with every amenity you, or any human in the next several stages of evolution, would ever realistically need.
It was damn near $150,000 brand new, but due to the fact that these models got a bad rep for being unreliable mainly because of a few simple-to-fix factors, prices dropped like a summer mixtape. High-mileage ones are in the price range that rivals a used Toyota Yaris, but make no mistake—it’s a ton of car for the money, even with costly repairs accounted for. I drive the non-supercharged version daily and it’s hard to beat the car for sheer luxury value per dollar.
1992 BMW 850i
This BMW 850i is the German automaker’s first V12, six-speed coupe experiment that was a commercial flop. For some reason, people weren’t buying huge-engined coupes at the time, and the world passed by its arguably dated looks, so prices for used examples took a turn for the cheap.
When new, the car commanded a price that translated into more than $150k in today’s bucks. It’s also one of the most understated and purposeful-looking BMWs in my opinion because it’s a freaking time capsule with an engine that they daren’t make again. Buy one for nothing and watch it appreciate like clockwork.
1997 Aston Martin DB7
This Aston Martin DB7 is an exotic line in the sand. When Aston Martin is regarded by car enthusiasts, there are eras in which it’s understood that Aston Martin made some spectacular and timeless cars, and eras where they made some seriously weird metal.
The modern era in which every Aston platform you’ve ever had a crisis over started with this model. Its lines were dictated by artistic principles that have produced some of the most desirable art works on the planet, and the supercharged inline six cylinder engine was the opposite of bad.
When new, it was close to $200,000 for a fully loaded and optioned out Volante, but nowadays you can find ‘em for the price of a used Jeep Wrangler. Pick one up as a weekend cruiser. I’ll personally guarantee that your jerk neighbor won’t have one.
1980 Porsche 928
This Porsche 928 was Stuttgart’s solution to the problem that was the 911. At that point, they had been making the same car for what seemed like forever. They needed to break out of the mold with a front-engined, V8 manual highway cruiser that was every bit top speed missile as it was exotic plaything. The 928 never ousted the 911, but Lordy, was it ever good.
At more $109,000 in today’s money when new, the car can now be had for around ten percent of its original valuation, with prices on the rise. Get one while you can and parts still physically exist. I can imagine that the reserves on mechanical components for a 30 year old niche Porsche wouldn’t exactly be the easiest thing to find, but you didn’t get into this hobby for things to be easy, did you?
1999 Jaguar XK8
This Jaguar XK8 was supposed to be Jag’s return into the mainstream luxury coupe market. Before this model, the only sporty Jag coupe available was the XJS, and I’m pretty sure the simple act of sitting in that car automatically waived any existing life insurance policies you may have had.
The XK8 however, was a ground-up cruiser that was, with no snark in my tone, absolutely stunning. It does have a certain ‘90s quirk to it, but I think the car dressed up in some nice wheels and a decent polish job would look at home in any billionaire’s super secret lair.
While the car was just over $100k in today’s money when new, you can now fetch one of these lovelies for the price of a year’s worth of phone service if you shop right and don’t mind doing some of the greasy stuff yourself. I can’t imagine the process would be easy to restore one of these aging forgotten British masterpieces, but the model is one of the sexiest Craigslist-esque beaters you’ll ever buy.