No one ever talks about the benefits of living in a struggling economy. But maybe they should.
I have some friends buying their first house - one that they couldn't afford just a year ago. One of my favorite clothing shops has been running a storewide 50 percent-off sale for months now. And best of all, for those of you in the market for a car, now is an excellent time to grab one at a rock-bottom price.
Sure, there are excellent deals on the usual suspects, both new and used. You could go out and get a great price on a Toyota Camry and know that you're going to be set with a reliable car for years to come. But then you might also risk being the 80th person on your block with a family sedan parked out front. Why not get that beautiful exotic you've always dreamed of -- for the same price as that Camry?
If you're willing to buy used (and perhaps put a little more money and care into maintenance), you can get the keys to one of these stunning machines at a ridiculously low price. Below are some of our favorite deals on ultra-luxury and exotic cars. Remember that these steals may not be around long -- by the time you click on the link, that particular car may have already been sold. However, these will give you an idea of what's out there, as eBay Motors and AutoTrader Classics regularly feature some remarkable deals.
2005 Maserati Coupe
Original Price: $82,000
Current Example Price: $23,100
Maserati is a luxury Italian brand that mixes style and performance for a very striking effect. Commenting on the similar 2006 model, Edmunds says, "Because of its approximate $80,000 starting price (and Ferrari's increasingly stratospheric asking prices), the Maserati Coupe strikes us as a surprising bargain." It kind of makes you wonder what they would have said if you told them that one could be had for below $30,000.
1999 Acura NSX
Original Price: $88,000
Current Example Price: $21,000
Performance enthusiasts still hold the Acura NSX in high regard, despite it being out of production since 2005. In 2000, Edmunds raved: "The Acura NSX is the best car I have ever driven.... Well-balanced, perfectly poised, easy to drive, powerful, graceful -- the NSX is a precision instrument that is forgiving enough to make drivers of diverse skills feel like pros." Many have eagerly awaited the return of the NSX, but with no release date in sight, why not get the original at a fraction of the original price?
2002 Aston Martin DB7
Original Price: $140,000
Example Price: $27,900
James Bond would have a seizure if he knew you could have his mystique-filled ride for the price of a bare-bones Ford Explorer. The Orlando Sentinel says, "The DB7 Vantage is pretty much a vice-less supercar, capable of extended, and very comfortable, highway touring; spirited and rewarding performance on winding roads; and complaint-free shuttling around town."
2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Original Price: $74,250
Example Price: $20,500
The S-Class has long been a benchmark in luxury autos. Edmunds called the 2004 model "once again a top choice when it comes to a no-compromise luxury sedan." Five years and 54,000 miles later, you can have this elegant machine for less than a third of its original price.
1990 Ferrari 348
Original Price: Use your imagination
Example Price: $39,500
Sure, it may look a little dated now, but why not go with a semi-retro exotic? No one needs to know you spent less than 40K on your beautiful Ferrari. A perfect fit for those who want to take their mid-life crisis to the next level, this beast is guaranteed to net you some traffic tickets. In a review of its 1993 convertible cousin, the Los Angeles Times describes it: "Purest of sports car classics. Stable, civilized at any speed. Magnificent looks. Maestro performance."
2004 BMW 7-Series
Original Price: $69,300 - $117,200
Current Example Price: $26,999
The 7-Series is a world-class luxury sedan. It was redesigned in 2009, but the previous generation remains a marvel of engineering. New Car Test Drive says; "Dynamically, this may be the best car in [its] class. And that's no small feat, given that the competition includes some of the best cars in the world."
2004 Porsche Boxster
Original Price: $42,600 - $59,900
Example Price: $20,995
Our current leader in the Luxury Sports Car class, the Porsche Boxster has received accolades for its balance of comfort and sporty performance since its debut in 1996. About.com writes, "Pure joy wouldn't be an exaggeration when describing the pleasures of driving the 2004 Porsche Boxster."
2000 Bentley Arnage
Original Price: $209,000
Example Price: $49,999
It doesn't get much more excessive than owning a Bentley. Perhaps I should retract that -- after all, we do live in a world in which people eat gold and spend $100 million on diamond skulls. In comparison, getting a $150,000 discount on a Bentley is downright frugal. The Sacramento Bee says, "With apologies to BMW, this is the ultimate driving machine."
1981 DeLorean DMC-12
Original Price: $25,000 ($57,500 in 2008 dollars)
Example Price: $18,450
For those of you who have a strange sense of humor or a serious obsession with the Back to the Future trilogy, this is the car for you. Even though it was originally marketed as an exotic sports car, you won't find quality or performance here. The DMC-12 suffers from weak acceleration and a lousy interior, and Time Magazine has honored it as one of their 50 Worst Cars of All Time. However, you can't discount its style and status as a pop culture icon. Not to mention you will have found a goldmine of irony and more attention than you probably want.