Classic American Cars – Over the many decades that the American car industry has thrived, the United States has created some brilliant classics that are incredibly highly sought after today. From fire-breathing muscle cars to 50s cruisers, the classic cars of the US hold some brilliant machines that fetch pretty hefty prices.
There seems to be a bit of a common misconception however that if a classic car is expensive, that must mean that it would make a worthy investment. But in reality, quite a few American cars are actually are not worth the prices that they currently sit at, either because there are much better alternatives, or because it’s unlikely to rise any higher than it already sits.
This article outlines some classic American cars to avoid if looking for a new motor-based investment. The cars on this list are either way too expensive for what they’re really worth or are just downright bad.
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1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – $646,000
Although Classic American Cars an absolute legend of the muscle car world, the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is currently really not worth the six-figure investment it currently costs to own. A fantastic piece of engineering yes and a superb muscle car of the time, but with so many other options available for fractions of the price, the ZL1 sits on the “avoid” list.
The ZL1 was powered by an all-aluminum 427 cubic inch V8 engine that was rated at 430 hp, with all the engines being built by hand in a process that took 16 hours each. The setup was designed specifically for drag racing, and with only 69 ever built the ZL1 was an incredibly rare and quick car. The problem with buying a ZL1 is the price. Hagerty estimates that for one in good condition, you’re looking at spending about $646,000. It makes sense for such a rare car, but with the cost of upkeep only getting more expensive, and most of its competition costing less than a sixth of the price, the ZL1 is probably not worth its eye-watering price.
1980 Ford Pinto – $8,298
Next, on the complete opposite end of Classic American Cars the scale, a vehicle that has no muscle, and is pretty cheeky calling itself a car, we have the infamous 1980 Ford Pinto. The Pinto was not Ford’s finest hour and is probably one of the worst things you can do with $8,000, except maybe set it on fire, but even then it’s close.
The 1980 model was powered by a 2.3-liter inline-four engine that produced 88 hp and was paired with a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission. The main issue with the Pinto, besides the subpar engine performance, was the car’s involvement in several high-profile lawsuits related to fuel tank explosions in rear-end collisions. The fuel tank design was criticized for its placement behind the rear axle, which made it more vulnerable to rupturing in a collision. Today, a Pinto will still set you back around $8,000, making it an obvious “classic” to avoid.
1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible – $3,100,000
Flipping to the other end of the spectrum once again, the 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible is one of the rarest and most desirable muscle cars of the 70s, maybe even ever. The Cuda convertible has reached such a high status that not only is it completely unattainable for most people, but even if you did have the money, it might not be one to sink $3 million into.
The Hemi Cuda was powered by Classic American Cars a 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine that produced 425 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque, making it one of the most powerful muscle cars of the era. With only 11 known examples ever produced, the Cuda Convertible was always going to skyrocket in price as time went on, but by just how much is the truly insane part. According to estimates, it will now cost you around $3.1 million to buy a ’71 Hemi Cuda Convertible, making it not a great investment for a big and obvious reason.