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Projects For Sale

Photo of a 1968 Plymouth Road Runner for sale

1968 Plymouth Road Runner

Photo of a 1956 Mercury Custom 2 Door Hardtop for sale

1956 Mercury Custom 2 Door Hardtop

Photo of a 1964 Chevrolet Impala Convertible - Sold! for sale

1964 Chevrolet Impala Convertible - Sold!

Photo of a 1932-1934 5 Window & 3 Window Rollers for sale

1932-1934 5 Window & 3 Window Rollers

Photo of a 1976 Dodge 4X4 for sale

1976 Dodge 4X4

Photo of a Parting: Truck Beds for sale

Parting: Truck Beds

Photo of a 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 for sale

1967 Chevrolet Impala SS 427

Photo of a 1976 GMC City BUS for sale

1976 GMC City BUS

Photo of a 1968 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport SS for sale

1968 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport SS

Photo of a 1967 Chevrolet SS Chevelle Super Sport for sale

1967 Chevrolet SS Chevelle Super Sport

Photo of a 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback Rust Free for sale

1965 Ford Mustang Fastback Rust Free

Photo of a 1956 Dodge D100 Pickup Fire Truck for sale

1956 Dodge D100 Pickup Fire Truck

Photo of a 1938 Chevrolet 2 Door Sedan Street Rod Project for sale

1938 Chevrolet 2 Door Sedan Street Rod Project

Photo of a 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle 4 Door for sale

1965 Chevrolet Chevelle 4 Door

Photo of a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 4 Dr. Sedan for sale

1965 Ford Galaxie 500 4 Dr. Sedan

Photo of a 1965 Chevrolet Nova Wagon for sale

1965 Chevrolet Nova Wagon

Photo of a 1960 Corvette Chassis Restored for sale

1960 Corvette Chassis Restored

Photo of a 1951 Chevrolet 3100 Half Ton Short BOX Pickup for sale

1951 Chevrolet 3100 Half Ton Short BOX Pickup

Photo of a 1960 DKW Munga for sale

1960 DKW Munga

Photo of a 1977 Chevrolet Short Step BOX Pickup 2 Wheel Drive for sale

1977 Chevrolet Short Step BOX Pickup 2 Wheel Drive

Photo of a 1954 Dodge 241 Hemi Engine for sale

1954 Dodge 241 Hemi Engine

Photo of a 1937 Chrysler Royal Project for sale

1937 Chrysler Royal Project

Photo of a 1953 Ford Courier for sale

1953 Ford Courier

Photo of a 1961 Mercury S-22 Comet 2 Door Sedan for sale

1961 Mercury S-22 Comet 2 Door Sedan

Photo of a 1964 Chevrolet Bel Air 2 DR. Coupe for sale

1964 Chevrolet Bel Air 2 DR. Coupe

cheap car projects for sale

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  • [ February 23, 2024 ] Reviving a 1959 Dodge D-300 Family Farm Truck Builds and Examples
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  • [ February 16, 2024 ] Bolt-In 9-Inch Rear End Swap for 1988-98 Chevy Trucks Builds and Examples
  • [ February 15, 2024 ] Making A Checkered Flag Shift Knob Builds and Examples
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  • [ February 7, 2024 ] Inside the Model A Ford Assembly Line: 1928-1931 Hot Rod Lifestyle
  • [ February 6, 2024 ] Restoring a Cracked Dash for Under $30 How To & DIY
  • [ February 5, 2024 ] The Everlasting Journey of Bill, a 1946 Dodge Half-Ton Truck Hot Rod Lifestyle
  • [ February 3, 2024 ] How Buff’s 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix Shift Knob Was Made Builds and Examples
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  • [ January 31, 2024 ] Pole Barn Garage Builds the Ultimate 4X4 Big Block Shaggin’ Wagon Builds and Examples
  • [ January 31, 2024 ] Electric Cooling Fans 101: What the Pros Know that YOU Don’t Technical Info
  • [ January 31, 2024 ] Is Bigger Always Better? Talking Big Brake Upgrades With Wilwood Brakes Technical Info
  • [ January 30, 2024 ] Tips and Techniques For Metal Fabrication You Can Be Proud Of! How To & DIY
  • [ January 30, 2024 ] Crafting A Chevy Trucks Cowboy Boot Shift Knob Builds and Examples
  • [ January 29, 2024 ] High Performance 1962 Pontiac Catalina 4 Speed Revival Builds and Examples
  • [ January 29, 2024 ] Ford 351 Cleveland Time-Lapse Rebuild and Step-by-Step Assembly Builds and Examples
  • [ January 28, 2024 ] Will An 8 KW Diesel Heater Heat An 800 Square Foot Garage? Hot Rod Lifestyle
  • [ January 28, 2024 ] Lions Automobilia Foundation and Museum Tour Hot Rod Lifestyle
  • [ January 27, 2024 ] Unveiling the Weirdest Special Edition Cars Rides & Roadkillers
  • [ January 26, 2024 ] ‘Uncertain-T’ Discovered After 50 Years: A Hotrod Holy Grail Rides & Roadkillers
  • [ January 26, 2024 ] Soaking A Rusty Chassis in Nearly 2,000 Liters of Evaporust Builds and Examples
  • [ January 25, 2024 ] Reviving Lil’ Joe, A 1976 Chevy C10 With The 350 That Shouldn’t Be Builds and Examples
  • [ January 23, 2024 ] How To Wire Headlights, Turn Signals, Brake Lights, Parking Lights, Hazards, Horn How To & DIY
  • [ January 23, 2024 ] Barn Tour: A Pontiac from EVERY Decade & RARE International Trucks Hot Rod Lifestyle
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  • [ January 17, 2024 ] Chip Foose Sketches a 1935 Chrysler Airflow Concept Cars & Design
  • [ January 15, 2024 ] DIY Hot Tank: Cleaning Engine Parts with a Homemade Barbecue How To & DIY
  • [ January 12, 2024 ] A Decade of Transformation: The Epic Journey of a 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Rides & Roadkillers

Roadkill Customs

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Project Cars, Trucks and Salvage Vehicles For Sale

Roadkill Motors

Find your next project or part car with Roadkill Motors.  Search our online inventory of salvage cars, abandoned projects, and other donors…

You may already have restored a classic or vintage automobile and are looking for a new project car or perhaps you might be searching for that just right car for your first attempt at a restoration project. Think first about the type of car that you’d like to rebuild.

Finding the Right Project Car or Truck

Project cars and trucks are not hard to find — if you know where to look. Finding the right car — at the right price — might be more difficult.

There are many popular models and the most popular can be difficult to find at an affordable price — and the price is important. Often, you don’t want to spend a ton of money on the project or donor vehicle itself. You want to allow for as much money as possible for the actual build, customization, or project.

Find Project Vehicles by Make:

AMC   ~ Buick   ~ Cadillac   ~ Chevrolet   ~ Chrysler   ~ DeSoto   ~ Dodge ~ Eagle   ~ Edsel   ~ Ford   ~ GMC   ~ International Harvester   ~ Jeep   ~ Lincoln   ~ Mercury   Nash   ~ Oldsmobile   ~ Packard   ~ Plymouth   ~ Pontiac   ~ Studebaker   ~ Volkswagen   ~ Willys   ~ Hot Rods   ~ Rat Rods ~ Motorcycles ~ Mini Bikes ~ Go-Karts

Finding a Project Car Online

The Internet. What’s easier than to browse project cars from the comfort of your own home. Most of these cars are ready to be restored or are ready parts donors. There are sites dedicated to this purpose. Selling project cars is an industry itself. The only negative to buying a project car on the internet, but certainly not a show stopper, is that you likely won’t be able to inspect the car yourself. As far as the choice of project cars to consider, the Internet is hard to beat…

You will need to rely on photographs and any available vehicle inspection reports for information on the actual condition of the vehicle.

A solid solution is to arrange for a local mechanic to inspect the vehicle prior to offering a bid. Sure, it may cost a few dollars to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle, but this relatively low expense can give you the peace of mind you wouldn’t get by bidding on the vehicle based on photos alone.

Finding a Project Car in Newspaper Ads

Anyone who reads a newspaper knows that there are old cars offered in the classified section. This is usually thought of as being the traditional way to search for a car or truck. One advantage of finding a vehicle in your local newspaper is that you likely won’t be in a bidding war that you could be on eBay motors or elsewhere.

Another obvious advantage is that you will be in a position to inspect the vehicle personally before making an offer to buy. Your local newspaper may not have a large offering of cars but there are advantages to buying locally. The same is true for the local auto trading weekly or monthly publications.

Finding Project Cars For Sale via Local Car Clubs

Local car club members might know of project cars and trucks as well as parts, for sale — or they may have something you need for sale themselves. Many car clubs support this type of project and there’s likely to be one or more in your town.

Other Sources for Locating a Project Car

Local police department / city, county, state government websites.

Check your local police department or local or regional government website. You’ll often find confiscated and abandoned vehicle auction information. Police auctions can be a good place to find your project car at a surprisingly reasonable price. These auction sites also offer vehicles that the city and/or police department simply want to replace. Because the government auction is likely held locally, you’ll have the advantage of inspecting vehicles prior to purchase.

Word-of-Mouth, Talk on the Streets

Another very obvious source for locating a project car is simply word of mouth. Friends and co-workers may know of a car or truck from a neighbor or relative that could fit the bill.

The story we hear the most is people finding the right project when they least expected it. Be ready. Have your duck in a row. When you do find that perfect project car at a reasonable price, and it will happen, just be sure to perform the due diligence necessary to make certain of exactly what you’re buying.

  • Make a list beforehand of what you’re looking for and what you’re not looking for .
  • Related: Buying Classic Cars ~ How To Do A Field Assessment

Success in your automotive build or restoration project has a lot to do with what you do before you actually start the project. Here are several resources that many have found useful when planning a build:

  • How To Build A Hot Rod
  • How To Chassis Swap a Classic Car or Truck
  • Engine, Transmission, Chassis Swap Donor Vehicle Look-Up

Project Vehicles from Private Sellers:

Classic Truck Beds For Sale in Harvard, Nebraska

Classic Truck Beds For Sale in Harvard, Nebraska

Classic Studebaker Cars, Trucks and Parts For Sale in Harvard, Nebraska

Classic Studebaker Cars, Trucks and Parts For Sale in Harvard, Nebraska

Classic BIG Trucks For Sale in Harvard Nebraska

Classic BIG Trucks For Sale in Harvard, Nebraska

cheap car projects for sale

Classic Cars and Trucks For Sale: Nobody Else’s Auto Recycling ~ Great Bend, Kansas

Also of interest:.

  • 12 Tips and Things To Check Before Buying A Used Car
  • Buyer Beware ~ Bad Chad on What He Looks at When Buying an Old Car
  • Buying Classic Cars ~ How To Do A Field Assessment
  • How To Assess an Unfinished Project
  • How To Test and Assess the Health of an Older Engine
  • Picking The Right Project Car For You with Dan from DD Speed Shop

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cheap car projects for sale

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The 20 Best Budget Project Cars For Auto Enthusiasts

Best Budget Project Cars 0 Hero

By: Gray Van Dyke Published: Nov 10, 2023

By: Gray Van Dyke and Tim Huber Published: Nov 10, 2023

Contributors

cheap car projects for sale

For gearheads, ownership is only a small step on the path towards the acquisition of a dream car. Far more of the process comes down to knowing a vehicle inside and out, replacing parts as needed, and making upgrades as they arise. Sure, buying a car off the lot makes for immediate gratification, but the reality is that it’s a fleeting enjoyment at best.

However, not everyone is born with a mechanic’s intuition, and intentionally buying a project car can be an intimidating prospect for the uninitiated. In concept, it sounds like a fun, educational experience; in practice, it can make for an overwhelming commitment. For no matter how confident anyone is of their ability, all it takes is one pop of the hood to test their chops.

The good news is that project cars don’t have to break the bank. With so many options available on the classifieds, it’s not hard to find a buy befitting your budget. But having so much choice can make it difficult to tell an ambitious project from all-out money pit. Moreover, not all cars are intuitive to work on, and you can quickly find yourself in over your head. Rather than whiling away the day, wondering when you’ll get around to tackling a build, have a read and see what we’ve picked for the best budget project cars.

Article Overview

What Makes A Good Budget Project Car?

Equipping yourself for success, 1997 acura integra gs-r, 1977 datsun 280z, 1993 honda civic si, 1990 mazda miata mx-5, 1990 nissan 240sx, 1985 chevrolet camaro, 1977 chevrolet el camino, 1966 dodge dart 170, 1995 ford mustang gt, 1979 pontiac firebird trans am, 1970 chevrolet c10, 1960 ford f-100, 1979 gmc jimmy, 2001 jeep cherokee xj, suzuki samurai, 1987 bmw e30 325i, 1969 mg mgb gt, 1989 porsche 944, 1985 volkswagen golf mk2 gti, 1976 volvo 244, the best classic cars to invest in right now.

Key Characteristics To Consider

Parts: First and foremost, you should consider the availability of aftermarket and replacement parts for your project. There’s no feeling worse than successfully diagnosing a fix only to discover that the part is out of your price range or no longer produced. Because the longer a problem persists, the more likely it is to go unfixed. Before you know it, you’ll be looking to offload your build in order to hop to another project. Even if you can’t buy new OEM parts, a transplant from a donor car could be just what you need to get your ride back on the road.

Forum Support: Although insider knowledge was once something exclusive to owner’s clubs, the internet has allowed for a thriving online enthusiast community. If you find yourself stumped on how to go about repairing your project, have a look at the forums — chances are good that someone has asked the same questions you’re thinking. And should your particular car present a problem unique unto itself, you’ll at least have the backing of fellow wrenchers to advise a plan of attack.

Availability: Everyone envisions rolling up to a car meet with a unicorn in tow. While it can be tempting to seek out rare and unloved models in order to distinguish yourself, it doesn’t make for the best budget build. Cars that are more readily available are cheaper up front. What’s more, donor cars make for inexpensive fixes — assuming they’re in serviceable condition. And in the event you need to do a significant body repair, you’ll be far better off dropping in a new panel than you would trying to fab it on your own.

Where There's A Will, There's A Way

Tools: Get yourself a solid set of tools. Sure, budget sets will save you money in the short term, but with the potential for improper clearances and poor build quality, they could result in a much bigger problem down the road. Consider your car’s need for any specialty tools. Are they easily available? If not, do you have the mechanical ability to make your own?

Knowhow: There’s no prerequisite to buying a project car, but it helps to have a solid base to get you going. Whether that’s understanding how to turn a wrench or familiarizing yourself with the principles of a powertrain, knowledge is power in any project.

Support: Bad days are inevitable throughout the ownership of a project car, so it helps to have the support of those around you to keep you going. If you’re fighting to justify your build while you’re also fighting to fix it, you’ll soon find yourself forced to make a decision — with potentially unwanted consequences.

Will: Drive is one thing you can’t buy or learn. If all else fails, perseverance will serve you well in your efforts to get your project running again. Remember why you bought such a car in the first place — to work on it.

Editor’s Note: All average used pricing based on Hagerty’s Valuation Tool in “Good” condition. 

From The Far East

Japanese imports are ideal project cars because of their unrivaled build quality, intuitive engineering, and abundance of aftermarket parts. Whether you’re a die-hard drift fan or a would-be street racer, you can’t go wrong with any of these options.

cheap car projects for sale

Why It Made The Cut

  • An affordable Japanese sports car with an amazing foundation for tuning. 

Although a lot of once cheap project cars have seen a considerable rise in their asking prices, the Acura Integra is still very much affordable. The price of millennium-era Integras has recently being rising, especially with the GS-R and R Type variants, though this also makes these gray investment cars — even more so if you plan on fixing one up. Couple that with lots of aftermarket parts support and plenty of owner’s forums, and you have a bonafide budget project great for beginners and experienced enthusiasts alike.

Engine: 1.8L Inline-Four Power: 170HP Average Used Pricing: $21,400

Datsun 280Z

  • An affordable high-performance 2-door that’s often referred to as a poor man’s 911. 

While its predecessors — the 240z and 260z — can fetch a pretty penny at auction, the Datsun 280Z is comparatively reasonable. In recent years, the market has caught onto their appeal, but with some diligent searching you can easily find one ready to be your next project. If considering a classic Z car, do yourself a favor and check the body panels for rust — anything that’s likely to affect the structural integrity should signal a red flag.

Engine: 2.8L Straight-Six Power: 149HP Average Used Pricing: $18,300

cheap car projects for sale

  • A legendary tuner-car platform with an absolutely massive selection of available aftermarket upgrades. 

First entering production in 1972, the venerable Honda Civic has seen all sorts of variants, from spritely hot hatches to stately shuttle wagons. With so many options out there, you can have your pick of the lot when it comes to body style, engine capacity, and interior furnishings. Like any Honda, it’s resilient, easy to work on, and can be tuned to your heart’s content. Throw on some suspension upgrades and a set of decent tires, and you have yourself a capable performer.

Engine: 1.6L Inline-Four Power: 108HP Average Used Pricing: $9,500

Mazda Miata MX5

  • A minimalistic, lightweight, pure driver’s car with stellar handling, performance, value, & aftermarket part availability. 

Granted, Miatas have experienced a bit of appreciation in the last decade, but most model years still make for very affordable project cars. Not only are they incredibly reliable and approachable learner-maintenance cars, but they’re also enjoyable to drive and ideal for upgrading. So while you may initially buy it as a budget fix, you’ll soon come to find that you won’t be able to part ways with this little roadster.

Engine: 1.6L Inline-Four Power: 116HP Average Used Pricing: $8,700

cheap car projects for sale

  • An iconic Japanese tuner car that’s highly conducive to tuning & upgrading. 

These days, unmolested 240SX’s are a bit of a tough find; most of them are half-baked drift car projects that have seen better days. That being said, when stock-spec 240SX’s crop up now and again, they can be had for as little as $3-4k. While you can spring for one that’s been modded to the moon, you’ll save yourself time and money if you don’t have to undo all that hard (but questionably executed) work.

Engine: 2.4L Inline-Four Power: 140HP Average Used Pricing: $15,600

American Heritage

Muscle & Pony Cars

There’s no denying the appeal of domestic classics — they’re as American as apple pie and baseball. Simple in build yet powerful in performance, all of these are good budget buys.

Chevrolet Camaro

  • A bonafide American classic that’s highly sought-after across several generations.

Later Camaro coupes are a dime-a-dozen, so they make excellent beginner  muscle car  projects. But if that’s not your jam, you can even find some earlier examples on the low, provided you’re willing to put in the work to get it up to shape. With ample aftermarket parts support and a crop of readily available crate engines, there’s no shortage of ways in which you can turn a Camaro into the car of your dreams.

Engine: 5.0L V8 Power: 155HP Average Used Pricing: $7,800

cheap car projects for sale

  • A divisive pickup bed-equipped car that’s become increasingly sought-after in recent years. 

Part of the A-body line, the El Camino features parts compatibility with several other popular models including the Chevrolet Chevelle, Buick Special, Oldsmobile Cutlass, and Pontiac Tempest. As such, it’s quite easy to get your hands on replacements for any problem areas that need addressing. What’s more, they’re incredibly simple cars, making them approachable options for beginners looking to get their feet wet.

Engine: 5.0L V8 Power: 145HP Average Used Pricing: $8,600

cheap car projects for sale

  • A boxy mid-century Dodge with great value and a steadily-increasing price. 

As the oft-quoted aphorism goes — rising tides raise all ships. In practice, this means that many look-a-likes from the golden age of American muscle have also increased in value, such as the Chevy Vega. However, there are some standouts that can be had for an acceptable sum. The Dodge Dart is a case in point, for though it’s not quite as common as some of the other options featured here, it seems to have staved off its appreciation for just a bit longer. Whether you’re going for a full-size first-gen or a mid-size fourth-gen, each makes for a good budget buy.

Engine: 4.5L V8 Power: 180HP Average Used Pricing: $9,200

cheap car projects for sale

  • A legendary American pony car offered across half-a-dozen different generations. 

When properly restored, first- and second-generation Mustangs command a pretty hefty sum. And while you can find them pretty reasonably depending on the condition, their iconic status makes them a hard sell as a budget project. Instead, go for a Fox-body or an SN95. Seen as a flop upon their debut,  they haven’t held their value over the years nearly as well. What this means for you is that they’re both cheap and readily had — you should have no trouble sourcing a car suitable to your tastes.

Engine: 5.0L V8 Power: 215HP Average Used Pricing: $9,600

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

  • An unapologetically ‘70s/80s era muscle car with a quintessential American design.  

As with most popular muscle cars, later-gen Firebirds are considerably cheaper than their iconic fore-bearers. Sure, they don’t offer the same high-octane nostalgia, but they’re a great budget gateway to muscle car performance. If possible, shoot for a third or fourth generation model year — the low overhead cost will give you room in your budget for future upgrades and unanticipated repairs.

Engine: 4.9L V8 Power: 150HP Average Used Pricing: $22,200

Ready To Off-Road

Trucks & SUVs

If your travels take you off the beaten path, it’s in your best interest to get a vehicle that’s up to the task. Each of these off-road icons makes for an approachable option with upgrade potential aplenty.

cheap car projects for sale

  • A well-built American classic offering fantastic bang for your buck. 

Cheap and robust, Chevy C10 trucks make for great project cars. They’re simple to work on and also popular amongst enthusiasts, so there’s a lot of parts and support available in the event you run into trouble. It’s worth noting that the older you go, the harder parts will be to find. If possible, stick to second-gen model years — you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches in the long run, and it’ll be much easier to work on.

Engine: 4.0L Six-Cylinder Power: 155HP Average Used Pricing: $14,300

cheap car projects for sale

  • An early F Series pickup absolutely brimming with character and old-school flavor. 

F-100’s are extremely popular buys for classic project trucks. And it’s for good reason. There’s an abundance of project-ready examples, they’re easy to source parts for, and they’re relatively inexpensive to come by. What’s more, there are plenty of directions you can go with your build. So whether you prefer to perfectly restore your pickup or want to resto-mod it with modern tech, there’s ample opportunity to make it your own. We also recommend looking out for Flareside models, as they tend to come a bit cheaper than their Styleside counterparts. 

Engine: 3.6L Six-Cylinder Power: 126HP Average Used Pricing: $15,900

GMC Jimmy

  • A big and boxy GMC truck that stands as a poor-man’s alternative to a vintage Ford Bronco or International Harvester Scout. 

While Chevy Blazers have long left the realm of the budget project car, their GMC-badged brethren are still easily had for a cool $10,000 and under — even cheaper if you’re willing to start with a basket case of a donor. They’re not the most powerful SUVs or especially fuel-efficient, but they’ll promise you years of dependable performance if properly taken care of. Just be wary of driving them on the highway; it’s a surefire way to discover any problems that might be lurking. There are also Jimmy models that come with larger V8 powertrains. 

Engine: 4.0L Six-Cylinder Power: 130HP Average Used Pricing: $9,300

cheap car projects for sale

  • An American-made, turn-of-the-millennium-era SUV with exceptional durability and dependability. 

Popular amongst beginners and seasoned trail experts alike, XJ Cherokees are nearly-indestructible when properly maintained. Sure, they have their characteristically American quirks, but they’ll go a long way toward teaching you how to perform upkeep on your own car. And while they’re quite the rock-bottom affordable offering that they once were, the immense online support and parts availability remain.

Engine: 4.0L Straight-Six Power: 190HP Average Used Pricing: $10,100

cheap car projects for sale

  • A compact yet capable 4×4 offering a markedly more affordable alternative to Toyota’s FJ40. 

With collectors having sufficiently inflated the value of other boxy off-road classics — such as the Toyota FJ40, International Harvester Scout, and Ford Bronco — the Suzuki Samurai stands out as one of the last of such cars yet to be snatched up. It’s worth noting that these pocket-sized SUVs aren’t known for their power (quite the opposite in fact). With a top speed of just 65mph, it’s advisable to spring for an engine swap. Count on these becoming harder and harder to find.

Engine: 1.3L Inline-Four Power: 60HP Average Used Pricing: $9,300

Across The pond

By their very nature, European imports require an owner that’ll keep up with maintenance. While this can lead to some sad and neglected examples, others can prove quite a find when it comes to budget project potential.

BMW E30

  • A sporty Bavarian-built model that served as the basis for the legendary E30 M3. 

These days, E30 M3’s fetch astronomical prices at auction. But with a bit of patient searching (and some luck), you can easily snag a 325i. With a bulletproof straight-six under the hood, it’s a great car for beginners just getting into things or experienced wrenchers looking for a ready-to-tune ride. While 316’s and 318i’s are all over the classifieds, you should consider the direction of your build before buying one; if you’re looking for performance, you’ll quickly outgrow their meager four-cylinders.

Engine: 2.5L Straight-Six Power: 168HP Average Used Pricing: $19,600

MG MGB GT

  • A British-built true drivers car with an obtainable price & devoted cult following. 

If you’re a fan of small British sports cars, it doesn’t get much better than the MGB. Available as a roadster and as a GT (pictured here) these cars are extremely popular amongst automotive enthusiasts. As such, there’s a wellspring of available knowledge for you to tap into come time to fix up your own. When considering a potential MGB project, be sure to check for rust — British cars are notorious for the stuff.

Engine: 1.8L Inline-Four Power: 92HP Average Used Pricing: $9,300

Porsche 944

  • An affordable — and unconventional — front-engined Porsche that’s quickly rising in value. 

For all of its flaws, the 928 has managed to leave the world of budget project cars behind. However, the 944 is still regularly affordable with reasonably low miles. Obviously, Porsche parts come at a premium, so it’s up to the buyer to determine the budget status of this pick. If you have your eye on a 944, get your hands on as complete a record of maintenance as you can. They run like a top when they’re properly kept up with, but neglected examples can become a true can of worms. And, while the S and Turbo models are obviously more sought after, the final-year (1989) 944 is almost certainly the one you want, as it gained a bit of extra displacement and power. 

Engine: 2.7L Inline Four Power: 160HP Average Used Pricing: $12,000

Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTi

  • A vintage European hot hatch with loads of potential for upgrading & tuning. 

Second to the Beetle, the Volkswagen Golf is one of the most prevalent models the German marque produces. So no matter what body style you’re considering, they’re incredibly affordable project platforms. In GTI form, they make for lightweight little hatchbacks that offer tons of driving fun. Bag it, boost it, or bring it back to factory condition — the world is your oyster when it comes to the end result. Even a cursory search will show you just how thriving the VW wrencher community is.

Engine: 1.7L Inline-Four Power: 112HP Average Used Pricing: $15,300

cheap car projects for sale

  • A boxy & beloved classic Volvo kicked along by a bulletproof-reliable four-banger.

Older Volvos have tons of qualities that make them ideal platforms for getting your hands dirty. For instance, their spacious engine bays allow for easy access to components come time for maintenance. And when it comes to the ride, they’re built like tanks and are generally pretty reliable. Buyer beware — depending on the fix, some parts can be hard to find (as is the case with most Swedish imports).

Engine: 2.1L Inline-Four Power: 98HP Average Used Price: $5,100

cheap car projects for sale

Interested in investing your hard-earned money into classic cars rather than the stock market or CD? Then be sure to head over to our guide to the best investment cars for a curated list of retro rides with steadily-rising valuations that show no signs of slowing.

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Carport Find: 1967 Ford Mustang 289 V8

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Ford’s hot Mustang “pony car” got its first restyle in 1967. The big news was an enlargement of the engine compartment to accept big-block V8 engines. Competition finally arrived that year, so the Mustang saw its first decline in… more»

36k Original Miles: 1966 Mercury Park Lane

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Classics with a known history always attract attention, but their impact is heightened if they present well and fall into the affordable category. Those words perfectly describe this 1966 Mercury Park Lane. It is a two-owner survivor that is… more»

Original California Cadillac: 1964 Cadillac Coupe de Ville

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Based on the comments in my earlier story about a 1948 Cadillac Series 61 coupe, many Barn Finds readers are fans of Cadillacs from the division’s glory days.  So, to keep our luxury car-loving fan base happy, here is… more»

49k Original Miles: 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

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There is something undeniably attractive about buying the last of the breed in the classic world. Logic dictates that the manufacturer should have identified and eliminated any design shortcomings and that those cars should be the best of their… more»

No Reserve: 1964 Volkswagen Beetle “Show Car”

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Describing any classic as perfect is risky because an in-person inspection almost invariably reveals minor flaws or defects. However, the seller states that the supplied photos fail to do this 1964 Volkswagen Beetle justice. The owner left no stone… more»

Fresh Paint: 1969 Mercury Cougar

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Flexibility can sometimes be the difference between success and failure when selling a classic car. The owner of this 1969 Mercury Cougar demonstrates this trait. It is currently up for auction, but the seller indicates they may entertain reasonable… more»

One-Year Wonder: 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air

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When Chevrolet designers were hard at work developing their all-new cars for 1958, they didn’t know the impact Chrysler’s “Forward Look” models of 1957 would have on styling. The Dodges, Plymouths, and Chryslers looked futuristic and sleek, while the… more»

$6,500 In Recent Work: 1976 Mercury Cougar XR-7

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The third-generation Cougars were only made for three years and I think they’re the last of the really beautiful Cougars, coming in only a two-door body style and with nicely proportioned flowing lines. Ok, the bumpers don’t help, but… more»

440 V8 Project: 1973 Dodge Charger SE

cheap car projects for sale

The Dodge Charger had a record sales year in 1973 – up by more than 56%. The car received a refresh in styling after a total redesign in 1971. Gone were the hidden headlights and the SE models (half… more»

BF Auction: 1946 Ford American LaFrance 4×4 Firetruck

cheap car projects for sale

UPDATE — The seller has added a photo of an identification number on the cab, suggesting this is an ALF Crash Truck made for the War Department in 1941. The photo can be viewed below. The stories a find… more»

Rebuilt Tin Woodie! 1952 Chevrolet Deluxe

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In the 1940s, the wood-bodied station wagon (aka woodie or woody) was popular. And increasingly expensive to build and maintain. So, after World War II, the genre began disappearing in favor of a full metal body. The last one… more»

BF Auction: 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata

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With summer on our doorstep, now is the ideal time to park a classic Convertible in your driveway. Few motoring pleasures are better than hitting the road with the sun on your back and the wind in your hair…. more»

Parked 49 Years: 1966 Chevrolet Impala SS

cheap car projects for sale

The best-selling car of 1965 wasn’t the new Ford Mustang as you might think. It was the Chevrolet Impala (at more than one million copies). But that demand wasn’t sustainable, and sales dropped by more than 20% the following… more»

BF Auction: 1973 Yamaha GT80 Enduro

cheap car projects for sale

Classic motorcycles are an ideal alternative for enthusiasts with limited garage or workshop space. They don’t take up much room when stored, which is the same true if the machine in question is a restoration project. This 1973 Yamaha… more»

34k-Mile Survivor: 1977 Ford Granada Ghia

cheap car projects for sale

When the first-generation Ford Granada was introduced as a compact back in 1975, it was a pretty solid offering and probably would have found plenty of buyers even without a celebrity endorsement.  However, it never hurts to get somebody… more»

No Expense Spared: 1986 Ford Mustang SVO

cheap car projects for sale

The Ford Mustang SVO remains a bit of an outlier in the performance and sports car world, but that doesn’t mean you should sleep on them. Despite not having the brawn of a 5.0L V8 under the hood, the… more»

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cheap car projects for sale

10 Awesome Project Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $5,000

Getting your hands on a cool project car doesn't have to cost a fortune, but it might require more work than you thought.

There is always a time in a gearhead's life when it becomes mandatory to own a project car. Face it. There must have been a time in your life when that beat-up and rusty Camaro sitting in your neighbor's backyard gave you ideas. Given the amount of restored or modified classics found online today, it is quite normal that the mere sight of an old car may trigger the need to purchase a powerplant that would fit in the engine bay.

RELATED: These Affordable Used Sports Cars Should Be In Every Collector's Garage

Tuners such as Hennessey Performance Engineering and Brabus tend to modify cars worth as much as a nice-sized apartment in some mid-western state. It is fair to say that the vast majority of tuners nowadays build classic car projects that only the very rich can afford. Maintaining these modified beasts will cost a small fortune as well. However, even if we can afford to maintain some of these performance cars , we may have to get a second mortgage to build something out of this world. Luckily, it doesn't always have to be that way.

10 1985 BMW 323i

Most gearheads tend to think that the BMW E30 is the very first 3 Series ever made. Though it is true that the E30 served as a base for the first M3, it was not the first 3 Series. However, it is fair to say that the second-generation 3 Series is one of the most memorable and iconic mid-range BMWs of the 1980s. The best part about the E30 is its modularity.

RELATED: These Are The Best Ways To Upgrade Your BMW E30

The 323i may not be among the cars that prove that BMW makes the ultimate driving machines , but it's not as forgettable as the badge-engineered Dodge Challenger of the same era. Though not as powerful as top-line 3 Series models released in 1985, the 323i is still fitted with a 2.3-liter inline-six engine that produces 148 hp at 6,000 rpm and 151 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. These figures are for the 323i marketed in the European market. It is possible to find a 323i in good condition for about $4,500.

9 1986 Buick Grand National

Buick must be one of the most boring domestic car brands nowadays. From its soporific SUVs to the underpowered sedans, Buick has succeeded in setting up a lineup that even the most boring people would frown upon. It wasn't always like that. Even during the midst of the Malaise Era, Buick was able to produce vehicles that any respectable gearhead would want to take out for a spin.

Most gearheads would love to get their hands on a 1987 Buick GNX . While most GNXs with low miles on the odometer will most likely go for over $150,000, it is possible to replicate the GNX by settling for a regular Grand National. The 1986 Grand National comes with a turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 that makes 235 hp at 4,000 rpm and 330 lb-ft of torque at 2,400 rpm. Here is the catch: the Grand National has become a true classic. In order to find a Grand National for less than $5,000, one must be a seasoned mechanic ready to work countless hours to get the car back to its original condition.

8 1991 Mitsubishi 3000GT

Mitsubishi, the three diamond star brand, really started making a name for itself back in the 1980s thanks to the very first Lancer. However, most car aficionados do not know that Mitsubishi has been around for over 150 years. The huge Japanese conglomerate has been a major player in the banking and electric industries long before its first sports car rolled off assembly lines.

RELATED: 10 Mitsubishi Cars Everyone Forgot About

Most people are unaware that Mistubishi used to have several monsters in its lineup back in the day. Anything with the VR4 badge on it could be modified to produce at least 500 hp. However, not everybody has got the budget to buy a beast that could beat a mid-range American muscle. Also known as the GTO, the 3000GT is an awesome machine. The Japanese sports coupe comes with a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter V6 that develops 222 hp at 6,000 rpm and 203 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm.

7 1992 Toyota MR2

Japanese cars are great. There is no denying that. Though it is true that the vast majority of them earned a bad reputation after the JDM trend picked up steam back in the early 2000s, tastefully modified Japanese sports cars can trigger a real wow effect. Out of all these terrific Japanese cars, several of them simply fell under the radar. Some Toyota cars deserve all the attention.

When looking at the rise and fall of the MR2 , anyone can assume that Toyota purposefully killed the MR2. The second-generation MR2 is by far the sexiest and the most modular MR2 of all. Toyota offered a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four powerplant for the U.S. market. The 3S-GTE churns out 200 hp at 6,000 rpm and 200 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. Just by looking at those numbers, it is easy to understand why the MR2 is a legend in Japan.

6 1994 Honda Civic Del Sol

When it comes to JDM builds, the first brand that usually comes to mind is Honda. Despite having produced tremendous vehicles such as the NSX, S2000, Integra Type R, and the Prelude, most Honda cars are basically large lawnmowers. That being said, a true Honda fan with the right skills and budget can turn any Honda into a Mustang-killer.

The Honda Civic Del Sol has to be one of the most underrated Civics ever made. It was available with a 1.5-liter, a SOHC 1.6-liter, and a 160-hp DOHC 1.6-liter. Although those numbers are laughable, it is important to keep in mind that an engine swap is always an option. Moreover, given the price of a used Civic Del Sol in average condition, the tiny Honda is one of the best Honda project cars for somebody with a small budget.

5 1995 Lexus SC400

When it comes to sports cars, Lexus may not be the brand to go to. This is one of the biggest fallacies of the Japanese carmaker. The luxury division of Toyota produced mainly high-end sedans back in the 1990s. However, Lexus did produce some outstanding coupes that even muscle car fans would not mind driving around in. The SC series may have been discontinued due to low sales, but the earlier versions were worth their weight in gold.

RELATED: 10 Awesome Japanese Cars With V8 Engines

The SC400 is a classic Lexus that everybody forgets about. Most gearheads looking for a project car may not even consider the SC400, and that is a huge mistake. The 1995 Lexus SC400 does come with a respectable 4.0-liter V8 that produces 250 hp at 5,300 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. You may have to haggle in order to get an SC400 in decent condition for less than $5,000, but the car is worth the hassle.

4 1999 Subaru Forester

Subaru earned its stripes thanks to its numerous victories in the World Rally Championship. Driven by the late Colin McRae, the Subaru Impreza really showed that Japanese carmakers were capable of manufacturing cars that could zoom down any path with ease. Given the success of the Impreza, most Subarus were simply put on the back burner. They did not get the attention they should have received.

A Subaru Forester? The same car moms used to drive to their kids' soccer practice in? No way. Well, believe it or not, the Forester has a lot of potential. It may not be as exciting as an Impreza STi, but it has all the elements needed to become a monster. Underneath the hood sits a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter flat-four unit that makes 165 hp at 5,600 rpm and 166 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm.

3 2001 Ford Mustang GT

Ford has been leading the domestic automotive industry for over a century. The company has not only been a cutting-edge carmaker, it has also been a true patriotic company. Ford has, for the most part, been focusing on producing cars for the average Joe. Its most popular vehicle, the Mustang, is one of the best cars to create an insane build.

The 2001 Mustang GT may not be among the greatest Mustang models ever made , but it sure is a great car to modify. Most gearheads know that the 2001 Mustang GT comes with a naturally aspirated 4.6-liter V8 that produces only 260 hp at 5,250 rpm and 302 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Equipped with a Kenne Bell supercharger, these numbers will increase tremendously. The greatest part about the 2001 Mustang GT is the fact that it is now worth almost nothing.

2 2004 Volvo V70R

Only one Scandinavian country has been capable of producing vehicles that became popular worldwide: Sweden. Both Saab and Volvo originate from the land of ABBA and Swedish meatballs. Despite being terrific car brands, both Saab and Volvo tend to be perceived as affordable grocery getters that are a couple of notches above Honda cars.

RELATED: Auction Dilemma: Saab 9-5 2.3T Aero SportCombi Vs. Volvo V70R

Station wagons were all the rage back in the early 2000s. Most suburban moms could not wrap their minds around not owning one. While most carmakers came up with their own versions of the soccer mom car, Volvo took it to another level. The 2004 V70R is a beast. The car comes with a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five powerplant that cranks out 300 hp at 5,250 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 1,950 rpm. To put it into perspective, the Volvo V70R is just as powerful as a Mistubishi Lancer Evo 9 or a Subaru Impreza STi of the same year.

1 2005 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Germany has the most prolific economy in Western Europe. Though the country was reduced to a pile of rubble in 1945, it was able to get back on its feet and show the world how to become a winner. Germany's automotive industry is one of the most fascinating in the world. Cars coming out of Germany are usually considered to be the beacon of reliability, luxury, and sportiness. Consequently, it is normal that even the least attractive brands are still far better than some of the vehicles made in the States.

When looking at some of the sickest modded Jettas , it is fair to say that the car has tons of potential. The 2005 Jetta GLI comes with a potent turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 180 hp at 5,500 rpm and 173 lb-ft of torque at 1,950 rpm. It may not be the most powerful four-cylinder unit out there, but there are tons of aftermarket parts available to turn this cheap German sedan into a beast.

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  1. Project Cars For Sale

    Carport Find: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Project. One of the more popular cars we see here on Barn Finds is a "Tri-Five" Chevrolet. That may be because the original population was so large (nearly five million built). And, within that group, the 1957 Bel Air Sport… more». 12 hours ago • For Sale • 3 Comments.

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    T-top roof, pop up headlights, dual racing stripes, and a LS1 5.7L V8 engine taken from a Corvette. It's got all the potential to make for a fun sleeper. With just 82,300 miles on it and at a price of $19,999, you can't go wrong choosing this Firebird as your project car. View Listing on Carsforsale.com.

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    Classic Cars for Sale Under $5,000 Cheap old, vintage and project classic cars for sale by classic car dealers and private sellers near you. Filters Sort ... Use Classics on Autotrader' intuitive search tools to find the best classic car, muscle car, project car, classic truck, or hot rod. Top Classic Cars by Make. Acura2 classic Acuras; for sale

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    [ May 13, 2024 ] Unveiling the Truth: The Ultimate Test of Automotive Oil Additives Products & Reviews [ February 23, 2024 ] Reviving a 1959 Dodge D-300 Family Farm Truck Builds and Examples [ February 19, 2024 ] Elevate Your Wiring Projects with This Clever Hack! DIY Projects [ February 16, 2024 ] Bolt-In 9-Inch Rear End Swap for 1988-98 Chevy Trucks Builds and Examples

  7. Restoration Specials: Ten Classic Project Cars for Under $5k

    1965 Simca 1000 Bertone Coupe. Here's a classic car that isn't seen every day. The Simca Coupé 1000 is a rear-engine two-door coupe, styled by Bertone, that was produced between 1962 and 1971. Located in Beverly Hills, California, this 1965 Simca 1000 Bertone Coupe, listed for an asking price of $4,950 with several people watching the ...

  8. The 20 Best Budget Project Cars For Every Enthusiast

    Couple that with lots of aftermarket parts support and plenty of owner's forums, and you have a bonafide budget project great for beginners and experienced enthusiasts alike. Engine: 1.8L Inline-Four. Power: 170HP. Average Used Pricing: $21,400.

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    Join Copart (it's free) and search our inventory of over 50,000 potential project cars. Once you find several project cars you like, add them to your Watchlist and inspect the ones you're most serious about. Then bid on your favorites! 4. Create a plan for completing your project. For each of your project cars, set realistic deadlines for ...

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    Auctions Ending Soon. 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata Bid Now 22 hours$700. 1946 Ford American LaFrance Firetruck Bid Now 1 days$3,500. 1972 Jensen Interceptor Bid Now 2 days$2,750. 1969 Cadillac Fleetwood Wagon Bid Now 3 days$13,500.

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    1995 Ferrari F355. 8 Cylinder • Red. $ 158,000. or $1,843 /mo. Classic Car Marketing, Inc. Southern Californias premier marketing company is pleased to introduce this new listing offered for sale by one of our clients.This 1995 Ferrari F355 Spider in Ross…. Classic Car Marketing. Orange, CA 92867. ( 929 miles away)

  12. 10 Awesome Project Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $5,000

    Via mecum.com. The SC400 is a classic Lexus that everybody forgets about. Most gearheads looking for a project car may not even consider the SC400, and that is a huge mistake. The 1995 Lexus SC400 does come with a respectable 4.0-liter V8 that produces 250 hp at 5,300 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm.

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    155 hp 2.4L I4. $3,400. Est. $54/mo.*. Good Deal. (469) 457-4461. Request Info. Mckinney, TX. Page 1 of 81. Get the perfect car for your next restoration or tuning project on the cheap - only on CarGurus!

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    1968 Ford F100 Pickup Asking Price $2,900. See All 68 Photos. A hard life on the farm has left this 1968 Ford F100 short-bed pickup (Mesa,) with a lifetime of battle scars, but sometimes that's ...

  15. Projects

    This 1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SL is a non-driving project that was acquired by the seller in 2023, and it is finished in black over two-tone brown MB-Tex upholstery. Powered by a replacement 4.5-liter V8 paired with a three-speed automatic transmission, the car is equipped with a replacement black soft top, a body-color removable hardtop, 14 ...

  16. 20 Affordable Project Cars

    The car is ready to hit the car shows with minimal work. Fully restored SS427 Impalas sell for higher than this example, while non-running project cars started around $1,500. The sheer volume of ...

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    Looking to purchase a car for a restoration project? We have classic restoration project cars for sale across the US from both private sellers and dealers. Find restoration Fords, Chevys and more restoration cars for sale here at OldCarOnline.com. Search Results and Filters - Now Faster & More Powerful!

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    Hot Rod looks at project cars for sale on Craigslist in Texas under $5,000. ... We aimed to find the 10 best project car deals for $5,000 and under, with a loose year range between 1960 and 1985 ...

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