Select Page

Searching for Fun Cars Under $12,000

Searching for Fun Cars Under $12,000

Today’s new car market is in a strange place right now.  Disruptions to the supply chain of new vehicle components has caused a shortage of new vehicle inventories.  Most of that disruption came from the semiconductor shortage, which I shared HERE.  

picture of vehicle window sticker with market adjustment

Dealers are charging premiums (“market adjustments”) for new cars, typically thousands of dollars above the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) due to the scarcity of inventory.  Used cars are not exempt from price hikes (especially those under six years old), as dealers are having to pay above market value to buy used cars in order to have any inventory to sell.  Opinions vary on how long this may last, but many suggest the market will be tight through 2022.

You may not be thinking of replacing your current car, but does that mean you can’t find a cheap, fun one?  For the past year, I have been highlighting vehicles on the new auction site Cars&Bids (see the article HERE).  This site featured those fun, quirky cars from 1980 and newer that were affordable.  As more people flocked to that site, higher end cars from BMW, Mercedes and Porsche have been driving the sales.  As a result, vehicles sold are now well above my “cheaper purchase” goals.

I’m changing my strategy and going old school using local online classifieds from Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to find those gems that might be worth pursuing.  After all, that’s where I found my past “toys” that I shared in the article My Cheap and Fun Vehicles.

New Strategy

As prices on dealer lots and enthusiast auction sites climb at alarming rates, I am still finding some interesting cars under $12,000 in the metro Detroit area.  These are not project cars, but still need some scrutiny before buying.

I am going to find and share one fun car each Thursday as a way to demonstrate that you can still drive a different car on a budget.

These cars must meet the following criteria:

  • Running and driving (must have functioning engine and drivetrain)
  • No rust buckets (this will be hard here in Michigan, but doable)
  • Not a mainstream car…must be unique in some way
  • Listed for under $12,000 on either Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or other local listing.  No auctions.

4 people with binoculars

Audience Participation:  I’m looking for scouts in other markets

This is where it gets fun.  I want your participation in this journey.  My focus will be in a 75 mile radius from Detroit.  I would love to have eyes and ears in places like Georgia, Texas, Tennessee and others.  

If you want to be a Vehicle Nanny Scout, let me know!  You can message me through the Vehicle Nanny Facebook PageVehicle Nanny Instagram or email me at  

Send me a link to a fun car for sale with a reason why you picked that car.  I will then include it in the weekly article published on Thursdays.

I already have some cars in mind to share, so this will not be too hard.  Let’s do this together and have some fun!

About The Author

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *