The rapidly decreasing availability of cheap V8 cars in this world is starting to depress me. No, they aren’t becoming scarce or anything, but the writing is on the wall. The days of daily driving a powerful (and fun!) V8 are coming to an end.
Luckily for you, I am an auto enthusiast who spends a lot of time pouring over the classifieds looking for my next fun V-8 to tinker with.
There’s a lot of availability out there still, but the market is certainly evolving towards smaller-displacement V6 and 4-cylinder cars. You are going to have to hurry (like a mofo) if do you want a car with a V-8 that is cheap, fun, and reliable.
5 cheap V8 cars that I think are seriously worth considering
Two weeks ago, I never would’ve considered the hours I was spending over on CarsAndBids to be productive time. It felt like a guilty pleasure to be drooling over all the cars I’d love to own – especially when I had a lot of work that I needed to focus on instead.
But then, in a moment of clarity, I figured out that I was actually doing something constructive. I realized that there are a lot of great used V8 cars on the market right now that are an incredible value, and not sharing my observations with you fine folks would be totally selfish of me:
1. Any 15-year-old Mustang GT
Anybody who has been following this blog or my YouTube channel over the past five years knows that I’m a self-admitted Mustang fan boy. Did you really think that I would kick off an article about the cheapest V8 cars without mentioning the Mustang?
The reason why the Ford Mustang is so popular because it’s so good. No, it’s nowhere near being qualified as the best car in the world, but it is cheap. And lots of fun.
Parts for these things are stupid cheap, and if you’re the least bit handy, you can probably do a lot of repair work on these cars yourself.
I’ve had three V8 mustangs in my life so far:
- The first was a 1997 Mustang GT with faded red paint. I loved it.
- The second was a 1996 Mustang GT with faded red paint and a broken odometer.
- Learning from past mistakes, my third Mustang was (and still is) a 2012 Mustang GT. In white this time, because I was sick and tired of faded red paint.
A decent 15-year-old mustang GT can be had for as little as $5000 (and up). Trust me when I tell you this: it’s an incredibly good value. Especially due to the fact that they are dead nuts reliable and very easy (and cheap) to repair.
2. Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG Coupe
I’m actually wincing as I’m typing this, because I realize that adding any Mercedes-Benz to this list is playing with fire. Yes, used Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMGs can be found for very cheap. It’s not difficult to find a good one for $5000. For what it is, that’s an incredible price – especially considering that these cars sold for over $85,000 brand new. The CLK55 AMG is good looking, fast, and easily the most luxurious car on this list.
As cheap as it may be, you also have to keep in mind that it’s also a Mercedes Benz. If you know anything about cars, you’ll know that Mercedes is notorious for being a brand that is extremely expensive to maintain and repair. The quality of these cars isn’t all that great, and prices for parts and labor aren’t cheap.
The best way for me to drive this point home is to tell you this: go check out the Hoovies Garage YouTube channel. You’ll find a lot of videos about the frustrations of buying and fixing 20-year-old Mercedes Benz cars (such as this one about the CL65).
Spoiler alert: you will hear a lot of complaining about how expensive it is to own, maintain, and repair a Mercedes. I’m starting to think that Tyler Hoover‘s net worth would be incredibly higher if he didn’t have such a love affair for German cars.
That being said, the CLK55 AMG is a fantastic car when it’s running properly. Not only that, it’s V8 sounds incredible with just a few minor modifications such as a cold air intake and exhaust. It’s not difficult to make these cars sound like an American muscle car – which is pretty neat IMHO.
3. Ford Crown Victoria
It a cheap land yacht with a powerful V8 is your thing, look no further than one of the last model years of the Ford Crown Vic. This is a quintessential American car, complete with a 114.4″ wheelbase and a 4.6 L 239 hp dual overhead cam V-8.
An extremely clean and low mileage Crown Victoria can be had for less than $5000 pretty much anywhere in the US. However, prices on these things have started to go up in recent years. They simply don’t make cars like this anymore, and there are a lot of people out there who still want to drive around in something like this.
It’s big, comfortable, and a really great cruiser for long road trips. And just like the Mustang, they are extremely durable and dependable.
Want proof? Check out the following video from Cleetus McFarland, where he and his buddies beat the snot out of his entire fleet of 25 Crown Vics. These cars can take a beating, which is one of the reasons why they are so sought after:
A fair word of warning though: The Ford Crown Victoria may not last long on this list of cheap V8 cars. Cleetus has been buying these things in bulk, and based on the rate in which he destroys them, it’s entirely possible that this car will be on the endangered species list soon.
4. Porsche Cayenne
I’m not much of an SUV guy, but I am absolutely shocked at how cheaply you can pick up a nice used 15-year old Porsche Cayenne with a V8 these days. These are extremely nice vehicles, and I will admit that I’ve been tempted to pick up one of my own.
The problem is that I’m scared of the potential repair bills that I might be facing during the ownership experience. Porsche has the exact same problem that Mercedes does: their cars can be bought secondhand very cheaply, but parts for repairs are insanely expensive.
The Cayenne is an incredibly fun, stylish, and comfortable and cheap V8 SUV. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone looking for a fun (and fast) toy, but it may be perfect for those of you who like repairing and maintaining your own cars.i9
5. The C5 Corvette
Easily the most expensive car on this list, I consider the C-5 Corvette (produced from 1997 to 2004) to be one of the cheapest V8 cars out there – at least in terms of overall value for the money.
The nice thing about used Corvettes is that a majority of them spend their entire lives tucked away in their owners garage. The C5 Corvette was a popular car for the older generation who wanted a fun vehicle to take to car shows and cruise on the weekends.
Many of these cars never got driven, and to this day, it’s extremely easy to find low-mileage / squeaky-clean C5 Corvettes for well under $10,000. Considering that it’s one of the best-handling and fastest cars in the world, I consider $10,000 to be an absolute steal.
On top of that, Corvette mods are plentiful and cheap. Just as it is with the Mustang, there is a nearly unlimited supply of options for aftermarket parts to make it even better.
The best part? The value of the C5 Corvette has pretty much bottomed out in my opinion. Personally, I don’t think these cars are ever going to get any cheaper, and it greatly behooves you to scoop a clean low-mileage example as soon as you can. It may end up being a quality investment as well as a fun toy.
Will used cars with V8s get any cheaper?
Even though it’s not all that difficult to find a nice used car with a big / fast / lumbering eight-cylinder engine these days, it’s going to get more difficult as the years go on.
My theory is that cars with V8s will eventually bottom out in price, stay there for a while, and then eventually start going up in value. Think of it how the classic muscle car market has been in the US over the past 30 years or so.
Up until the 1990s, muscle cars from the 60s and 70s weren’t all that expensive. However, the people who grew up lusting after those cars matured in the early 2000s. Those who matured intelligently had enough extra cash to spend on toys. Toys such as the cars they grew up with.
This caused the muscle car market to explode (figuratively – not literally), and the valuations of many cars from that era increased in value. Massively.
I expect the same thing to happen with the V8. No, not all the 8-cylynder cars will increase in value. However, with all new vehicles going electric, the V8 will certainly become a novelty. A novelty that many older people with money will be willing to pay a lot of money for. That’s my theory anyway.
Wrapping it all up
To be honest, I didn’t realize how old I was until I started writing this post. All of the cars that I’ve listed in this article still seem brand new to me. I clearly remember the times before they even existed. I’m starting to think that I am as much of a dinosaur as the V8 is.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Even though auto manufacturers have largely abandoned V8 engines for more efficient options, there are a good number of very fun and interesting cheap V8 cars on the market. It’ll be like that for a while. But it certainly won’t last forever.
If you see a good deal on a car that you like, snag it up quick. Better yet, hold onto it. Who knows? Maybe cars with V8s will eventually start increasing in value?