Every auction season, car lovers on a budget salivate at the prizes sold in Scottsdale and other high-profile sales. Maybe a Shelby Cobra or impeccably restored Camaro COPO stings the most, but whatever happens there seems to reinforce the idea that the collector car market is reserved for near-unobtainable six- and seven-figure classics.
But you you can ignore those televised auctions, because you don’t have to be a millionaire to be a collector. If you’re a tinkerer, you can buy any number of classic muscle cars available at low prices and get to work. For the rest of us, buying the right car and treating it to some upgrades could be enough to make it collectible in the future. To see how far someone might go on a budget, we looked up cars with collector potential selling for less than $20,000 in 2017. Here are 10 that can provide years of fun, and might even make you some money in the future.
10. 1995 Mazda Miata M Edition
The Mazda Miata marked its 25th anniversary in 2014, and we have now seen four generations of the classic roadster since its debut in 1989. But after all these years, the original may still be the best; it’s certainly the most collectible. For a model with potential, look at a Miata M Edition from the mid-1990s in merlot mica. These limited-run (3,500) models appeared just before the second-gen Miata’s debut. We spotted a low-mileage example on Cars.com for $16,000 in spring 2017.