Ten Of The Most Surprising Cars To Take On A First Date For Less Than $15,000

Dating used to be simple. You’d ask someone out, pick them up, then have an anxiety attack when you got to Makeout Point. Now there’s something involving swiping right, or something. That’s why I posed this question last week: Why not let the car do the talking instead? Well, here are 10 pretty great answers.

10. 2003 Jaguar XJR Vanden Plas


This Jaguar XJR Vanden Plas is what happens when you take an English furniture designer from the 19th century and tell him to make a car. It’s so Ye Olde English that it should come with a tweed smoking jacket. It’ll be sure to surprise your date almost immediately, right up until the point when you say that you left your wallet at home.

(Suggested by For Canada - Save the automatics!)

9. 1959 Nash Metropolitan

If you pick up your date and the first thing they say is “Where’s the rest of it?” with a grin, then you probably have this Nash Metropolitan to thank. Not only is it the quirkiest car you can buy for this price, but it’s actually due to appreciate if you don’t smash it into a Nissan Leaf at your next Pumpkin Spice Anonymous meeting.

(Suggested by TractorPillow)

8. 1988 BMW 635CSI


This BMW 635CSI can be the subject of nearly countless ice-breakers. Why does it smell like crayons? Was it named after the show, or vice versa? Why does the exhaust exit almost in the center of the rear bumper? Don’t they know that it would drive someone with OCD insane? Why did BMW wait nearly two decades to remake the 6 series? Who wore it better: Bangle or Kardashian? When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, what is it?

(Suggested by Arch Duke Maxyenko, ಠ_ಠ)

7. 1996 Mercedes SL600


When you show up in a Mercedes SL that was designed in the early ‘90s and has a big dog V12, there’s a certain stigma that presents itself. First, that you’re someone that has exquisite taste, and second, you’re a person that can probably afford some Grade A blow.

Whether or not that’s true is up to you, but the car is an awesome starting point for what will hopefully be a fruitful and long lasting relationship. It’s the car that asks everyone, while looking over its shoulder, “D’you guys party?”


(Suggested by LarsVargas needs moar powah!)

6. 1972 Volvo P1800ES


When you show up in a P1800ES, it’s like classic car cheating because it looks every bit as desirable as an E-type or a Gullwing with none of the wallet-destroying qualities that either of those two cars possess. I’ll let The Crazie Kanuck explain:

1972 Volvo P1800ES. It shows you have an interest in unique cars. It is pleasing to the eye with teal paint/tan interior, it is comfortable. Its not stupid fast, but not 80’s diesel Mercedes Benz slow. It is $6900, you have $8100 to buy hard to find parts when it breaks down. It is a US car from Colorado, so no taxes to pay at the border with it.


(Suggested by The Crazie Kanuck)

5. 1970 Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG S404


When you roll up to a first date with your hands in a cold sweat, it’ll be good to know that no matter what, you won’t have to worry about douchebags on the way to the restaurant because it’s a natural human instinct not to go around poking grizzly bears. This Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG S404 is the only vehicle that could wear the “my other car is a Panzer” bumper sticker and have people take you seriously.

(Suggested by Tom)

4. 1990 Seat Ibiza


When you roll up in this Seat Ibiza, anything can happen. I’ll let Urambo Tauro explain:

This car is in great shape, and supposedly has nothing at all wrong with it (except that it lacks A/C, and currently resides in Florida). It has a 4-cylinder engine of unspecified displacement and a 5-speed manual, developed with help from Porsche. The seller claims that the car has a clean title and is fully legal in the eyes of DOT, EPA, and DMV.

What makes this car surprising? NOBODY EXPECTS A SPANISH ACQUISITION!

I’ll see myself out...

(Suggested by Urambo Tauro)

3. 1975 Lancia Fulvia


This Lancia Fulvia may be the best Italian classic car value today, if only for its high-strung, low-cylinder count engine that give more smiles per gallon than miles per gallon.

Not only that, but your date will have just as much fun on the side of the road because your carburetor floats flooded again because GODDAMMIT CAR WHY DO I LOVE YOU SO MUCH?!


(Suggested by glemon)

2. 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC


This exquisite Lincoln Mark VII LSC is what taught a whole new generation about roman numerals, until the Lancer Evolution took over the educational mantle. The car is a jack of all trades as well, I’ll let Land_Yacht_225 explain:

Yes, it’s a 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC! BIN: $7,995, and that leaves plenty of money for a professional detail because it is filthy in there.

Indeed, indeed! It won’t bore you and your date is gonna love it! Look at it! Sleek and low slung, they won’t know if it’s a sports car or a luxury car, but it will impress on both fronts! The point is to avoid buying something with a badge that a snob is going to be able to recognize, because that’s too easy. You want to get the point across that you have class? BOOM! There you go. You want enough power and size to assert your dominance on the road? I’ve got you covered! You want to make sure the person you’re out with can’t touch the radio or climate controls? They’re tilted quite noticeably in the driver’s direction! It can’t miss!


(Suggested by Land_Yacht_225)

1. 2000 BMW M Roadster


The BMW M Roadster is a car made specifically for first dates. First, it’s a cramped two seater that makes no apologies for its size, with enough power to make any hairdressing couple in the Miata in the next lane blush. It’s contemporary enough to pique the interest of even the most shrewd iPhone junkie and rare enough that it’ll always be the memorable special occasion car that you’ll take on epic nights out.

It’s the perfect car if you enjoy the thrill of the chase, even if this one is slightly over budget. Accept no substitutions.


(Suggested by g101010101)

Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes and makes videos 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.


You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He won’t mind.

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