Top 10 Vintage Cars For First-Time Buyers

Top 10 Vintage Cars For First-Time Buyers

First-time buying a vintage car? See our recommended top 10 models that combine value and style. Find your first classic car with us!

Buying your first vintage car may seem daunting with an endless supply of options and ever-changing prices. If you are patient and do your homework, though, chances are you’ll be driving your dream car in no time at all. Contrary to popular belief, the best vintage cars for beginners don’t have to be rust buckets, and this vintage car starter guide will help you navigate the classic car market in just four easy steps:


To find the right classic car, first you need to come up with a reasonable budget while determining what type of classic car you want - keeping in mind that sometimes these two elements will disagree. Narrowing your search to include easy-to-maintain vintage cars (cars that still have great parts and info support) is especially helpful for first-time buyers. These days, there are plenty of places where you can buy classic cars including private sellers, dealers, and auctions. Doing some work on the car can make ownership more rewarding, but unless you’re getting a great deal on the car, try to avoid buying a project as your first classic.


Once you’ve found a list of cars you’re interested in buying, you can narrow down your search even more by negotiating and agreeing upon a price. Look online and check vehicle registries to come up with a reasonable offer, and try to avoid looking at popular auctions for price comparisons since they include commissions and fees. When negotiating, don’t get emotionally attached to the vehicle to help keep you from overspending.


Inspecting after making an offer means you and the seller will be on the same page as long as the car is in the proper condition. It’s better to spend a few hundred dollars up front to ensure the car is what the seller says it is, and if anything major pops up you can negotiate further or walk away. Some inspection companies are even able to decode information (such as the VIN, fender tag, engine codes, etc) to verify if the car has the right equipment and engine.


The hard work isn’t over even after you purchased your first classic car. Since these cars are insured differently than a modern vehicle, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right amount of coverage for the quality of your vintage ride. Companies that specialize in writing insurance policies for classic cars usually have an agreed-upon value, which is helpful if the vehicle is in good condition. Also, you’ll want to provide proper storage for the car, and if it’s not driven often, get a battery tender so that it’s ready to drive whenever you are.

Best Vintage Cars For Beginners

Popular makes and models tend to be the best affordable classic cars for beginners since they were built and sold in higher volume, so not only are there more of these vehicles to choose from but also there are usually plenty of spare parts still available to keep the car running. With that in mind, this vintage car buying guide for beginners provides some ideas of makes and models to consider purchasing based on the overall cool factor as well as ease of maintenance and relative affordability.

Our top beginner vintage cars are:

1970 Chevrolet ChevelleThe Chevrolet Chevelle is an excellent choice for first-time vintage car buyers | Credit: Meritt Thomas, Unsplash

GM A-body cars

GM’s A-body platform produced some of the most iconic cars of the muscle car era such as the Chevrolet Chevelle and El Camino, Oldsmobile Cutlass and 4-4-2, Pontiac LeMans and GTO, Buick Skylark. Not only are these cars readily available for purchase, there are plenty of parts for restoration and customization. A-body cars are also very popular restomod builds, and this versatility is why they are top beginner vintage cars.

Jeep CJ/Wrangler

The Jeep CJ is one of the best vintage cars for beginners not only because they are easy to find and fun to work on, but also because owning a Jeep is a lifestyle in itself. The CJ-5 and CJ-7 ideal classics, and the first-gen Wrangler (1987-1995 YJ) are growing in popularity as well.

Ford Mustang

Velocity Ford MustangYou can’t go wrong with the vintage style of a first-gen Mustang, as shown by this Velocity Ford Mustang Fastback in Acapulco Blue

The Ford Mustang is another example of a classic car that is easy to find at a reasonable price. First-gen Mustangs were built in such large numbers that there are still plenty of them around today. The 1967-68 Mustang is one of the best-looking of the early Mustang models (especially in fastback form), but you can’t go wrong with any of the 1965-1970 bodies. Check out the Mustang II and Fox Body Mustangs as more affordable options.

Nissan/Datsun Z

If you’re looking for a classic that’s a little different, the Nissan/Datsun Z cars are a great choice. Not only are these cars beautiful classics that are incredibly fun to drive, they are easy-to-maintain vintage cars. The Z has been sold with various designations starting with the 1970 240Z. The Datsun name was dropped in 1987 when all Z cars became Nissan branded.

VW Beetle

The Volkswagen Beetle is a true international classic as it was sold in large numbers around the world, and that production volume makes it one of the more affordable classic cars for beginners. VW stopped selling the Beetle in the U.S. in 1977, but this classic car continued production until 2003, which means parts are generally easy to source.

Chevrolet C/K Pickup

Trucks have always been a great way to get your feet wet in the world of classic cars, and while there are numerous options, the Chevrolet C/K trucks are probably the most sought-after. Second-gen C10s (1967-1972) are iconic classic trucks, while the Square Body trucks - built from 1973 until 1987 - continue to grow in popularity.

International Scout

Velocity International ScoutThis Velocity International Scout shows that vintage SUVs can (and should be) enjoyed off-road

Like trucks, classic SUVs are another type of vehicle that are ideal for first-time classic car buyers. If you’re looking for an alternative to the multitude of Blazers, Ramchargers, and full-size Broncos, check out the International Scout II. The Scout II didn’t have the production numbers of its rivals, but they are relatively affordable and very easy to work on and modify.

Porsche 924

The Porsche 911 is among the most recognizable vehicles ever produced, but the classics hold their value very well. If you’re looking for a classic Porsche without spending 911-style money, the Porsche 924 (and later the 944) are still fun cars. The 924 was Porsche’s first production car to use an engine that was 1) water-cooled and 2) front-mounted.

Chevrolet Camaro/Pontiac Firebird

While the Ford Mustang put the “pony car” on the map, GM’s Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird are the most desirable and attainable today. The first generations of the Camaro and Firebird added performance and style to this segment, but the second generation maintained the spirit of the pony car as other cars died off and the Mustang grew to odd proportions before being replaced by the ugly duckling Mustang II.

Mazda Miata

Ok, here us out on this one. First of all, the original Mazda Miata is, in fact, a classic since it was introduced more than 30 years ago (way back in 1990). More importantly, the Miata has the spirit of a vintage British roadster without actually having to deal with the headaches of owning a vintage British car. Later model classics are easier to repair as you can generally get parts anywhere (including OEM parts from the dealership), and Mazda offers a vast amount of factory-supported restoration parts for the Miata.

Buy Easy And Confidently With Velocity

Whether you’re a budding enthusiast or an avid collector, Velocity makes classic vehicle ownership easy with six models to choose from and numerous customization options. Buy a modernized Velocity classic today or have one built in just 14 weeks, so contact a sales representative about our purchase process, which can accommodate trade-ins and help you with financing through Woodside.

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