The cheapest car on sale in the US today is the Nissan Versa at $12,780. That's a good deal, but the following ten were even cheaper when they hit the market. These are budget cars at their best.
All of the prices listed are adjusted for inflation and listed in 2013 dollars.
You could have it for: $12,500
The Morris was cheap, but not that cheap. What's remarkable about that price is that when the bean counters actually looked into the numbers after the merger into British Leyland was complete in 1968, they realized BMC lost 9 pounds ($168 today) on every car they sold.
That's sort of okay if the product in question is a halo car like the Lexus LFA or the Bugatti Veyron, but not quite right for a mass-produced economy car.
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You can have it for: $6,386
Indonesians need some cheap transportation. What's known elsewhere as the Toyota Agya is exactly that, powered by a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder with an automatic shifter as an option. No thrills in sight.
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You could have it for: $5,434
This was the car from, during and until a decade after WW2 for the Italian masses. They sold 520,000.
The following 500 was even more popular...
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You could have it for: $4,420
The greatest city car on the planet.
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You could have it for: $3,895
In 1923, you could have it in any color as long as it was black.
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You could have it for: $3,551
Or you could keep your money and enjoy a careful life a little longer.
You could have it for: $3,455
Hey, it seats two!
The 1953 Eshelman Model 2 "Adult Sport Car" (ASC) for one adult, which featured the three-horsepower Briggs & Stratton #8 engine, battery-operated head and tail lamps, seat-cushion upholstery, and trademark chrome "rocket" emblems on its flanks.
Top speed: 25 mph.
It didn't offer much legroom.
You could have it for: $3,152
The Ariel Atom of the time.
You can have it for: $2,598
The "world's cheapest car" is only a second on this list. That's how thorough we are.
You could have it for: free as long as you bought a model-year 2008 Kia.
Subaru used to do the same deal with the tiny Subaru 360 back in the day, but Kia trying it in the US only six years ago was quite remarkable.
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