Nothing beats a simple, solid, rear-wheel drive, 4-cylinder, manual transmission sedan. There is plenty of room to wrench under the hood, with no fussy transaxle to get in your way. Something like the Volvo 240 series can be economical as a daily driver yet entertaining in the occasional autocross, parking lot slalom, or rainy-day dorifto on public streets during your morning commute (don't try this at home kids). Find this 1989 Volvo 240 Sedan with 98k miles on the odometer offered here on craigslist for $5,000, located in Boston, MA. Tip from Carter.
This 4-door Volvo won't get you into the front parking spot when you drop it off with the valet, but it will get a few smiles from vintage Volvo nuts. The sedan is probably the least collectible (version 2-door and wagon) but it does offer some of the best usability -- plenty of room for the kids and people can't see your junk in the back.
Cloth seats and a manual transmission is going to put a smile on the face of any 80s car lover and this one has less than 100k miles on the odometer. This is easily 1/3rd the average miles of most 240s on the road today and it should be good for many years to come.
Is this clean 4-door worth the premium price, or is it better to get a 300k mile example for $500? firstname.lastname@example.org