If you buy one of these used, be prepared for large maintenance bills.
Part of the fun of being a car enthusiast is constantly searching used car listings for interesting cars that we could never have afforded when they were new. In the past, we tried to see how amazing our garage would look if we had $40,000 to spend on these kind of cars. We ended up with four cars that would have been worth over $200,000 when they were new. Unfortunately, if anything went wrong with one of these cars, we'd probably go broke. This time, we wanted to pick five highly depreciated cars that may look like great value, but that people still should not consider buying.
We decided to lump the Bentley Continental and Volkswagen Phaeton together because they are both based on the same platform. It's amazing to think that former six-figure cars like the Continental and Continental GT can now be had for around $40,000. The Phaeton, which can even be had with a 6.0-liter W12 engine, can now be found for less than $20,000. Both of these cars seem like absolute bargains, but if you think that either will only require basic maintenance then you are sadly mistaken. These cars are known to be high maintenance money pits, so make sure to buy with caution.
With this pick we didn't want to choose one specific car, but rather the idea of buying a "cheap" Mercedes. Car enthusiasts often think, "Why buy a new Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla or something boring when I could afford a XX year old Mercedes S-Class?" Pick any reasonable budget under $40,000 and there will almost certainly be an S-Class or CL-Class that is out of warranty. In our $40,000 challenge we even found a 2003 CL600 coupe for just $10,000. That is a V12 Mercedes that would cost the equivalent of around $170,000 today. There is a reason why these cars are so cheap. No one can afford to maintain them and the people who foolishly buy them quickly learn that the hard way.
Maserati is an exotic car brand with a heralded past, but that doesn't mean the company has only built good cars. The previous Quattroporte came out in the US back in 2004, and used prices have plummeted tremendously. This car has a horrible six-speed automated manual transmission that feels like a 16 year old learning to drive a manual for the first time. The interior is also very dated and can be difficult to use compared to a modern car. This is a hand-built Italian car and reliability will certainly be questionable. That is why it is not uncommon to find these cars for less than $20,000.
When people see a Rolls-Royce, they assume that the owner is some rich billionaire or an actor. However, there are plenty of older Rolls-Royce models on the market that are relatively affordable. Take the Silver Shadow for example. Over 30,000 units of the Silver Shadow was built from 1965 to 1980. They aren't very rare, nor are they very collectible. We've actually seen Silver Shadows for less than $10,000, which is mind boggling. Unfortunately, these cars were hand-built in England and have parts that are very difficult to source. They may look great and be extremely comfortable, but we wouldn't want to own one.
The final cars on our list come from Aston Martin. These cars were also hand-built, but many of the affordable models come from a period when Ford owned the company. This means that some of the parts in the DB7, DB9 and Vantage were shared with Volvo, which Ford also owned at the time. The DB7 is the cheapest Aston Martin, and comes with a 420-hp V12 for around $30,000 today. That price is for a manual model, which is much better than the cheaper automatic models. A DB9 can be found for around $40,000 to $50,000 as can the V8 Vantage. They may be expensive to fix, but some parts are shared with common Ford cars and can be found with a little research.