10 cool rear-wheel drive cars you can buy for under $10,000 | Taza Khabre

Some of the coolest and most desirable cars are rear-wheel drive, and it’s no surprise since rear-wheel drive cars tend to have more playful handling characteristics. Brothers sports cars, example; these driver-oriented roadsters and coupes almost always send power to the rear. That’s because gearheads usually prefer how fun this setup makes the car handle, easier to drift, and perfect for burnouts. These are just some of the advantages of rear-wheel drive cars.



Unfortunately, for those on a budget, rear-wheel drive sports and performance cars will usually fetch a lot of money, even used cars on the second-hand market. However, considering other rear-wheel-drive models that don’t necessarily sport a sporty design, some cool options come within the budget. Here, we’ve compiled a list of some seriously underrated rear-wheel drive cars, all of which can be purchased under a modest $10,000 budget.

How we chose the models
: HotCars scoured websites like Hagerty and Classic to find 10 tantalizingly cheap rear-wheel drive cars that could be had for under $10,000. Age and body style didn’t factor into our selection, so the list below is an eclectic mix of sporty and classic models, ordered from most expensive to least expensive. Key performance characteristics were also included but not factored into model selection or ranking.

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10 1989 Nissan 300ZX: $10,000

Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo
Mecum Auctions

Performance characteristics

Moving

3.0 liter

Configuration

V6

power

170 horsepower

A turning point

174 lb-ft

The Nissan 300ZX is an underrated Japanese sports car

Who would have thought that a classic Japanese V6 engine from the iconic Fairlady range could be had for such a tempting price? That’s exactly what the 300ZX offers, as according to Hagerty, good examples of this luxury sports coupe can still be had within the $10,000 budget – if only just.


Under the hood sits a naturally aspirated V6 that produces a healthy 170 horsepower. Nissan also equipped this model with a twin-turbocharged V6 engine, but on a tight budget, such a performance model is out of the question.

9 2001 Chevrolet Camaro: $9,900

A red 2000 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 is parked
Chevrolet

Performance characteristics

Moving

3.4 liter

Configuration

V6

power

200 horsepower

A turning point

225 lb-ft

The base model Camaro is equipped with a V6 engine

The second option for rear-wheel drive lovers on a budget is another iconic nameplate, but this time the model comes from America. The Camaro is a muscle car that needs no introduction, and while this model is usually spotted with a V8 engine, this budget-friendly example is powered by an equally enticing 3.4-liter V6.


Power is still plentiful, with 200 unstoppable horses sent to the rear wheels, and Hagerty confirms that a nice example can indeed be picked up for a fraction of the budget.

8 1994 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GT: $9,700

1994 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GT
Bing trailer

Performance characteristics

Moving

5.7 liter

Configuration

V8

power

275 horsepower

A turning point

325 lb-ft

The 1994 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GT has 275 hp

For those still craving the temptation of a “proper” muscle car on a budget, this Pontiac could be the answer to your prayers. Few models can boast the distinguished heritage of the Pontiac Firebird, especially at such affordable prices, and this Trans Am GT model is one of the most outstanding options available.


Under the hood, buyers will no doubt be pleased to see a 5.7-liter V8 that produces a hefty 275 horsepower in addition to 325 lb-ft of torque. It’s the most powerful offering on our list of cheap, cool rear-wheel drive cars and comes in just under the budget at $9,700.

7 1996 BMW Z3 1.9: $9,500

BMW-Z3-1996
BMW

Performance characteristics

Moving

Inline-4

Configuration

1.9 liter

power

138 horsepower

A turning point

132 lb-ft

The BMW Z3 weighs just 2,590 pounds

This entry focuses more on raw driving pleasure than raw power. With just 138 horsepower, the BMW Z3 can’t compete in terms of pure performance when it comes to the more powerful entries in this article; however, it boasts other strengths. For example, this modest roadster weighs just 2,590 pounds and boasts a surprisingly short wheelbase. In terms of driving pleasure, this should make for a fun and somewhat rewarding rear-wheel drive roadster.


Again, Hagerty sets a good example for just $10,000 for the 1.9-liter four-cylinder model, with the 6-cylinder models costing several thousand dollars more. That’s not a lot to pay for this classic with a guaranteed future.

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6 1990 Ford Thunderbird: $9,481

A red 1991 Ford Thunderbird SC is parked
Via: Mecum Auctions

Performance characteristics

Moving

3.8 liter

Configuration

V6

power

210 horsepower

A turning point

315 lb-ft

The 1990 Ford Thunderbird is equipped with a powerful V6 engine

Not everyone who craves the fun of rear-wheel drive will be looking for a small open-top sports car, so the Ford Thunderbird also deserves its moment in the spotlight. This large 2-door coupe offers much more interior space than most typical sports cars, combined with luxurious soft seats that can be ideal for long journeys.


Powered by a 210-horsepower 3.8-liter V6, the Thunderbird won’t be too shabby, and previous sold examples listed on Classic.com suggest that a good example can be had for just under $9,500.

5 1991 Chevrolet Corvette: $8,500

1991 Chevrolet C4 Corvette ZR-1 sports car
Bring a trailer

Performance characteristics

Moving

5.7 liter

Configuration

V8

power

245 horsepower

A turning point

340 lb-ft

The 1991 Chevrolet Corvette is a bargain at 245 horsepower

That’s a lot of flash for a little money, and luckily there’s another opportunity to go with an American V8 for under $10,000. The C4 Corvette is a true American icon, and while the supercar-slaying ZR1 will require a bigger investment, Hagerty tells us that base models of this rear-wheel-drive car can be had in good condition for as little as $8,500.


While the European sports cars on this list have enough power to maintain highway speeds, the Corvette’s 5.7-liter V8 boasts 245 horsepower and 340 lb-ft, which is more than enough for spirited driving and certainly time the power decreases over time. It’s reasonable to think that this could be the best rear-wheel drive car for this budget.

4 1981 Porsche 924: $8,500

A red Porsche 924 is parked
Bring a trailer

Performance characteristics

Moving

Inline-4

Configuration

2.0 liter

power

110 horsepower

A turning point

122 lb-ft

This rear-wheel-drive Porsche can be had for just $8,500

It’s not the most powerful and it’s not the cheapest, but it’s a Porsche – and therein lies the appeal. While prices for the more modern Boxster are enjoying somewhat of a resurgence, the 924 is still the cheapest entry into Porsche ownership. The Hagerty rates the same as the base model Corvette, and while it may offer less than half the engine, power, and torque, it delivers effortlessly cool ’80s Porsche style, and that includes an epic pop-up. headlights

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3 1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK230: $7,900

Yellow sports car Mercedes-Benz SLK230
Bring a trailer

Performance characteristics

Configuration

Supercharging in-line-4

Moving

2.3 liter

power

194 horsepower

A turning point

206 lb-ft

Mercedes-Benz SLK230 develops 194 horsepower

Listed at just under $8,000 by Classic.com, this open-top Mercedes-Benz offers incredible value for money. It seems unlikely that a 2-door Mercedes sports car that boasts a luxurious leather interior and a supercharged engine costs just under $8,000 on average.


In a nutshell, it’s the SLK230, and with nearly 200 horsepower sent to the rear wheels, it’s sure to put a lot of smiles a mile. Most examples were sold with an automatic transmission, but factory manuals do exist, although it will certainly take patience to find and secure them.

2 1975 MG B Roadster: $7,500

1980 MG B roadster
Bring a trailer

Performance characteristics

Configuration

Inline-4

Moving

1.8 liter

power

85 horsepower

A turning point

100 lb-ft

The MB B is the quintessential British sports car offering cheap thrills

For old-school fans, look no further than the beloved MG B roadster. This time-honored favorite has been in production for almost two decades, and thanks to successful sales in America, they are still readily available today. Hagerty suggests that a budget of just $7,500 is enough to call yourself an owner in 2024.


Driving this British icon won’t break any lap records, but it offers an extremely simple and accessible entry point into the world of classic rear-wheel drive sports car ownership. Models with chrome bumpers from the 1960s and early 70s cost more money than later models with rubber bumpers, but the grilles are interchangeable if owners want to “age” their classic MG.

1 1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500: $7,400

1978 Triumph Spitfire
Bring a trailer

Performance characteristics

Configuration

Inline-4

Moving

1.5 liter

power

71 horsepower

A turning point

82 lb-ft

The Triumph Spitfire weighs just 1,750 pounds

Like the MG, the Triumph Spitfire represents unbeatable value for money and classic British styling. Under the hood hides a fairly strong in-line four-cylinder engine with a volume of only 1.5 liters. The result is a rather lackluster 71 horsepower, but it’s worth remembering that the entire car weighs just 1,750 pounds.


Even gears on a tight budget will find spare funds, as Hagerty says a smart and presentable Triumph Spitfire 1500 is easy to pick up for just $7,400. For those who want the fun of a simple rear wheel drive, the Triumph Spitfire is ideal.


Sources: classic, Hagerty

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