The Top 10 Retro Cars You Can Buy Today

While today's newest vehicles turn heads, cars from the past (or those inspired by previous decades) attract even greater attention. With this in mind, we've compiled a list of the top retro automobiles you can buy and drive today.

You might find these at an ABB car auction, New York, a collector's sale, or even a dealer. Regardless of the source, these memorable vehicles embrace unique heritages that stand out in a sea of sameness.

Chevrolet Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette, America's original sports car, hit the streets 70 years ago and, over the decades, has offered striking looks with performance to match. Each of the Corvette's eight generations has offered progressively more sophisticated technology, including the C8, which embraces a rear-engine configuration to take on Europe's best.

For those looking for maximum bang for the buck, consider the sixth-generation model; the first Corvette to launch in the 21st century. During its debut year in 2005, the C6 Corvette's potent LS2 engine cranked out 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, topping the Ferrari 360 Modena from the same year.

Ford Bronco

The Ford Bronco started as a compact two-door SUV in 1966 and was designed to compete with the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout. By 1978, the Bronco grew in size and shared many components with the F-150 pickup, while maintaining a two-door body style. Ford also sold the smaller Bronco II during the 1980s. The Bronco was discontinued after 1991, as the more efficient Ford Explorer took over the brand's SUV duties.

However, knowing nostalgia sells, Ford resurrected the Bronco in 2021 to great fanfare. For the first time, the rugged vehicle is available as both a two-door and four-door. Bronco fans can go for an older model for a truly vintage experience or get behind the wheel of the modern edition inspired by the original.

Ford Mustang

There are few vehicles as legendary as the Ford Mustang, the Blue Oval's longest-running nameplate still in production. This car not only captured free-spirit vibes when it launched in 1964, but the Mustang also proved that fun and performance didn't have to break the bank.

With more than 10 million examples rolling off the assembly line, there are plenty of Mustangs to shop for. Choose a first-generation example to capture the car's original spirit or a newer model for exciting acceleration and modern touches. Or something in between for a wallet-friendly collector's car. The all-new seventh generation will hit the streets later in 2023.

Jaguar E-Type

Automotive legend Enzo Ferrari called the Jaguar E-Type the most beautiful car ever made, a significant statement for the maker and inspiration behind so many striking vehicles. The original E-Type was penned by Malcolm Sayer, a one-time aircraft designer, and in 1961 was the first Jaguar produced at the company's Coventry factory, a facility still in use today.

The E-Type was produced in roadster and coupe body styles through 1974, with the Series 1 (1961-1968) being the most desirable.

Jeep Wrangler

Except for the VW Beetle, no other vehicle on our list goes as far back as the Jeep Wrangler. This plucky SUV's origins can be traced directly back to the original Jeep that served American and Allied troops in World War II. The Jeep later transitioned into multiple CJ series, gaining a loyal following among farmers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The launch of the larger CJ-7 in 1976 helped make this Jeep more useful and popular. In 1987, Jeep transitioned to the Wrangler name while introducing an all-new and more refined chassis. Now in its fourth generation, the Wrangler continues with greater capabilities but never gets too far from its roots.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

The tiny but mighty Mazda Miata is a modern classic that combines British roadster styling with Japanese engineering. First appearing in 1990, the Miata is an affordable blast to drive that doesn't overdo it in the horsepower department.

This Mazda scores extra points for reliability, cheap and plentiful parts, and easy-to-fix systems, making it ideal for the DIYer. For an authentic retro touch, look for a first-generation Miata (built through 1997) with pop-up headlights.

Plymouth Barracuda

While short-lived (1964 to 1974) in the world of motoring, the Plymouth Barracuda was a trendsetter. It gained status as the first pony car (a vehicle with sporty capabilities and compact size), beating the Ford Mustang to market by two weeks.

The second and third generations really put the Barracuda on the map with aggressive styling and potent power, transitioning the nameplate to muscle car status. The top-tier Plymouth 'Cuda is among the most coveted classic cars and a Mopar lover's dream.

Pontiac Firebird

General Motors used a two-pronged approach to take on the Ford Mustang: the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. And while both cars are ideal for nostalgia lovers, the Firebird offers a double dose of retro as it also represents a once-great automotive brand (Pontiac) that got the axe in 2010.

Choosing any of the four generations of Firebirds, including the Trans Am edition, brings back memories of America from the late 1960s to the early days of the 21st century.

Porsche 911

While Porsche now sells more SUVs than sports cars, the 911 represents the spiritual heart of the iconic automaker. Today's 911 models are sophisticated, six-figure machines engineered for world-class performance on the street or track.

Sixty years of production (across eight generations) means plenty of examples that often don't require such a significant investment.

Volkswagen Beetle

Can any vehicle be more retro than the Volkswagen Beetle? It's the car that defined the counterculture movement of the 1960s. But beyond making a statement, the Beetle offered reliable and affordable transportation before the onslaught of Japanese imports.

The original rear-wheel model with an air-cooled engine was sold in the U.S. until 1977. And the return of the New Beetle (based on the VW Golf) in 1997 led to a retro-themed design revolution in the auto industry. A third-generation Beetle was produced from 2011-2019.

Wrap-Up: The Top 10 Retro Cars You Can Buy Today

Whether you choose an original classic like the Plymouth Barracuda or Jaguar E-Type or something with nostalgic inspiration, such as Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler, there's a retro car waiting for you. Explore ABB car auction to see what's available.

Images courtesy Depositphotos

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