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10 Rare Cars You Can Actually Buy

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
July 6, 2015
5 min. Reading Time

Not all rare cars end up crossing the auction block at Barrett-Jackson. While it might seem as though any automobile built in small numbers inevitably ends up with a high price tag, there are actually a handful of uncommon modern vehicles out there that are available to non-millionaires seeking to drive something out of the ordinary. These rare cars (and trucks) are appealing based on their scarcity, their performance, or in some cases, the unusual circumstances surrounding their production. Regardless, each of the vehicles on this list virtually guarantee that you'll never park beside yourself at the local mall (or even cruise spot). 

Let's take a look at the stories behind 10 rare cars that you can actually buy.

1. Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6

The 'merger' between Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz bore some unusual fruit, not the least of which was the Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6. Built between 2005 and 2006 and available as both a coupe and roadster, the Chrysler Crossfire rode on a platform borrowed from the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class, and it also stole an AMG-tuned 3.2-liter V-6 engine that was supercharged to produce 330 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque (matched with a five-speed automatic transmission). Polarizing styling and the fact that consumer confidence in Chrysler at the time had ebbed to a serious low meant very few of these vehicles ever made it into private hands. If you're looking for a used one today, there are definite bargains to be had.


2. Toyota RAV4 EV

The first-generation Toyota RAV4 EV didn’t get nearly the same amount of press that the Japanese brand's other electric champion - the Prius - did when it was released during roughly the same period. Part of this had to do with the Toyota Rav4 EV only being available in California as part of that state's zero-emissions regulatory structure. Over the years, however, the RAV4 EV spread out across the country, since Toyota had no way of controlling secondhand sales. Estimates today are that a little more than a third of the all-electric SUVS that were produced (500 in total) live on, offering eco fans 95 miles of driving on a single charge at speeds of up to 78 miles per hour.


3. BMW 1 Series M Coupe

The BMW 1M is one of the pricier entries on this list, as it's perhaps the only one of these rare cars that actually trades above its (adjusted) initial window sticker. Only built for a single model year - 2011 - the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, or 1M as it is sometimes known, combined a 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six engine (335 horsepower, 332 lb-ft of torque), a six-speed manual transmission, and a relatively lightweight platform outfitted with big brakes and a track-ready suspension system. Although not a 'true' M car, the BMW 1M's low numbers - less than a thousand made it to North America - means you'll have to look long and hard for an owner who's willing to give theirs up.


4. Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon

The Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon is a gratifying juxtaposition of two automotive tropes - muscular performance and familiar-friendly practicality - that are seldom seen together. The least likely member of the second-generation Cadillac CTS-V family that also saw coupe and sedan editions, the CTS-V Sport Wagon presented buyers with 556 horsepower and 551 horsepower from a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8. The option of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission also added to the Sport Wagon's appeal, but unlike the two and four-door models it became 'special order only,' which means the later you delve into its production run (which ended in 2014), the harder it is to find.


5. Saab 9-2x Aero

The Saab 9-2X Aero isn't only rare, it's also a car that very few people were even aware existed during its brief 2005-2006 moment in Saab showrooms. Thanks to a bizarre corporate synergy that saw parent corporation General Motors farm out entry-level hatchback production for Saab to Subaru, the 9-2x is little more than a rebadged (and re-snouted) WRX. This gives it a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that's good for up to 230 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque, matched with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox. Like its Subaru twin, the 9-2x Aero also features a standard all-wheel drive system and respectable handling for its price.


6. Alfa Romeo 4C

The all-new 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C isn't cheap, but it's nowhere near as expensive as its gorgeous Italian looks suggest. Built around a carbon fiber tub and boasting a mid-engine setup that squeezes 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque out of 1.75 liters of displacement, the Alfa Romeo 4C provides a lightweight and simple approach to sports car fun. It's also the first Alfa Romeo to be sold in the United States in a number of years, and very few examples will be made available to the public. It's not an investment-grade collectible, but it's definitely an uncommon car that will only cost you the MSRP of a loaded mid-size BMW sedan.


7. Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca

The Ford Mustang Boss 302 was a limited-production road racing version of the popular pony car that was produced for the 2012 and 2013 model years. An even smaller subset of these track-oriented coupes - the Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca - adds more bite to what was already an impressive package. In addition to a 444 horsepower version of the Mustang's 5.0-liter V-8 engine, the Laguna Seca includes a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, unique suspension tuning, Recaro sport seats up front and no seats in the back at all (due to the inclusion of a roll bar/X-brace to further stiffen the chassis). Only 1,500 of these Mustangs were sold, making them seldom seen either on the street or your local road course.


8. Acura NSX

A lot of ink, both digital and otherwise, has been spent in an effort to communicate how transfixing the performance of the Acura NSX sports car was when it was initially released back in 1991. Although not a barn-burner by modern standards, what with 270 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque available from a 3.0-liter V-6 (later upgraded to 290 horses from a slightly larger six-cylinder motor), the Acura NSX's reliability, supernatural handling capabilities, and exotic looks kept it in production until 2005. The NSX has held its value well, but it's not like you're looking at Ferrari money to own a car like this one that, in many important ways, matched its Italian cohort of the day.


9. Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe

Did you know that Pontiac made a targa-roof coupe cousin to the Solstice GXP roadster? If so, you're in the minority, as GM's looming bankruptcy eclipsed almost all of Pontiac's advertising when the Pontiac Solstice GXP coupe was begat unto the world in 2009. With more arresting looks as compared to the less-sleek convertible, the Solstice GXP coupe also delivers solid performance thanks to its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque (combined with the car's optional six-speed manual gearbox) made the Pontiac a fitting Viking funeral for the brand.

 Photo by Pontiac

Photo by Pontiac

10. BMW M Coupe

The second BMW on our list of rare cars you can actually buy has a very similar name to the first. The BMW M Coupe pre-dated the 1 Series M Coupe by over a decade, making use of the Z3 roadster/coupe's platform to create one of the wildest models built by the automaker to that point. Initially, the BMW M Coupe was motivated by a 2.5-liter, 240 horsepower straight six, but for 2001 and 2002 it received an upgrade in the form of a 321 horsepower, 3.2-liter six-cylinder that would later find life in the next-generation BMW M3. Raw to drive and tough to tame on a track, the M Coupe's striking design and relative scarcity have granted it immortality amongst fans of the brand.



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