How Much Horsepower Can You Get In America For $6000?

Having a low budget doesn’t automatically mean living with low horsepower.
How Much Horsepower Can You Get In America For $6000?

There are many aspects to performance. What I’ve always found interesting is how the performance genre evolved differently around the world. The narrow, twisting roads of Europe and Asia gave birth to smaller cars that emphasised nimble handling over brute power. Meanwhile, in the wide open spaces of Australia and North America it was all about horsepower.

That still very much holds true, which is at least partly why you can find some surprisingly powerful rides in the States for surprisingly little coin. If you have the guts and a penchant for hopeless endeavours, there are all kinds of “nearly finished” project cars packed with properly expensive go-fast bits that sell for pennies on the dollar. But since it takes a certain level of insanity to embark on such adventures, this episode of found in the classifieds will focus on factory stock horsepower. And these days in America, it’s not that tough to find 300bhp for $6000. At that price point you can even choose your favourite flavour of propulsion - FWD, RWD, and yes, AWD.

How Much Horsepower Can You Get In America For $6000?

We start with a rear-wheel drive 300bhp saviour that’s a personal favourite of mine. This 1997 SVT Mustang Cobra convertible is selling in central California with a buy-it-now price of just $5500. That will get you an American icon with a 305bhp DOHC 32-valve V8 engine, five-speed manual transmission, and wind-in-your-hair thrills with a properly American exhaust note out the back. Whereas the regular Mustang GTs of this era were rather weak (I should know, because I’m currently driving one), the Cobras could pull off high 13-second quarter-mile passes and even had decent suspension tuning for track days.

How Much Horsepower Can You Get In America For $6000?

This Cobra shows a full 138,000 miles but it looks beautiful and well cared for. The seller says it has upgraded springs, ignition and a cold air kit as well as recent brakes and a clutch, the latter of which is probably $1000 in maintenance by itself. The 4.6 engine can be a touch finicky with some miles on it, but they’re inexpensive to maintain and there are aftermarket options like you wouldn’t even believe for these cars. It would be nice to know a bit more of the car’s history, but you will struggle to find something as muscular and timeless as this Cobra convertible for $5500.

How Much Horsepower Can You Get In America For $6000?

If you want a Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4, I suspect now is the time to buy one. Prices are all over the place - low-mile pristine cars are breaking $20,000, but throw a few miles on them and the prices drop big time. This 1992 VR-4 selling in Utah is currently at a reserve-not-met price of $5100 with four days left in the auction. It’s done 94,000 miles, and it’s presumably in excellent condition. You can tell because of the excessive use of exclamation points throughout the brief description, including three to emphasise that the car runs great. Curiously, the mention of three (yes three) new tyres didn’t warrant any exclamation marks at all. Perhaps you need to replace all four tyres before such things matter.

How Much Horsepower Can You Get In America For $6000?

Nitpicking aside, the car actually looks quite good save for the tacky red interior detailing. I’ve always preferred the early-run 3000GTs over the later cars and if this one stands up to the scrutiny of a thorough 3000GT VR-4 inspection, it could be a keeper. Yeah they were heavy mofos, but with 320bhp and all-wheel drive, I can live with a little weight. And though the reserve on this car isn’t yet met, I’d be surprised if it goes far beyond $6000, if it even makes it that far.

How Much Horsepower Can You Get In America For $6000?

And now for something a bit different, and if I’m honest, a touch ugly and positively boring. I present the 2007 Chevrolet Impala SS, selling in Rochester New York for $5895 because that sounds way cheaper than $5900. Most people know of the old school Impala SS from the 1960s, and the sinister Caprice-based Impala SS from the mid-1990s; this Impala SS clearly has none of their curb appeal. What it does have is a freaking LS4 5.3-litre V8 sending 303bhp to the front wheels.

How Much Horsepower Can You Get In America For $6000?

The relatively short description from the seller basically says the car is in great shape save for a paint bubble on the quarter panel. There’s no mention of maintenance, but with 130,000 miles on the odometer presumably something has been done to keep it running and driving well. It’s about as attractive to behold as a telephone pole, but the LS4 V8 is as cheap to maintain as it is fun to wring out. It only comes with an automatic in the Impala SS, but this bloated, bland American sedan can still hit 60mph in 5.5 seconds and turn a quarter-mile in 14 seconds flat. Can you say sleeper?


Andrew Murphy

this should have more upvotes

04/10/2016 - 14:53 |
5 | 0

Meanwhile,in my country you can get 600hp Audi RS6 for 7.500€

04/10/2016 - 14:55 |
91 | 2

Meanwhile in Estonia you can get a Lada for 100$.

04/10/2016 - 15:01 |
95 | 1

Wow! Where are you bro?

04/10/2016 - 15:06 |
1 | 0

Wow, it must be old ASF and maybe still make 200 hp due to bad maintenance

04/10/2016 - 15:18 |
0 | 1
Delightful Citizen (Classic Truck Squad)

In reply to by YellowBird

Packing my crap and moving now. Where am I going?

04/10/2016 - 16:15 |
0 | 0

Meanwhile I got a 105hp MK2 Jetta for $200.

04/10/2016 - 17:18 |
0 | 0
Freddie Skeates

Can you get ‘04 CL500s for $6k?

04/10/2016 - 14:58 |
0 | 0

Maybe, but 6k is the price of one of the many sensors and computers that WILL break on that big thing aha. I love this car tho

04/10/2016 - 15:05 |
1 | 0
Arny Cunningham

I got my Barracuda for 2,000 and it has a 273.

04/10/2016 - 14:58 |
1 | 0

I can’t believe that there’s a FWD V8. That’s a news to me..

04/10/2016 - 14:59 |
2 | 2

There’s not many FWD V8 cars in the U.S. There are only 2 that I know of, the Impala SS mentioned above and the Oldsmobile Aurora.

04/10/2016 - 15:04 |
0 | 0

Oh come on,surely you expected something like this,they’ll put a V8 in just about anything in America.Here is the Olds Toronado,also a V8 powered FF

04/10/2016 - 15:05 |
6 | 0
Ellis Donaldson

I will personally never look at the impala ss as anything overly special in the exact same way that the grand prix gxp is nothing special either, to me, they’re the same as the base models except for fancy badging and the same 5.3 that’s found in silverados… now if they were rwd, it would be a different ball game, but to me, they aren’t that special

04/10/2016 - 15:03 |
14 | 1

I just can’t comprehend a V8 and FWD

04/10/2016 - 16:27 |
19 | 0

The GXP had a few changes up front to make room for the V8, they actually look different than the other Grand Prix’s unlike the Impala which looks the same with some cheap SS badges thrown on it.

04/10/2016 - 18:36 |
2 | 0

The GXP has upgraded suspension and wider front tires compared to the GT or GTP

04/10/2016 - 18:52 |
0 | 0

The 5.3 that is in it really only shares the fact that its a 5.3 with the silverado. Almost two completely different motors.

04/10/2016 - 20:40 |
0 | 0

Why not put that ls4, along with the tranny, on the back of an S10 and make it a rwd, mid engine track/drag truck? I’d do it, but im broke af…. currently in college

04/10/2016 - 21:47 |
2 | 0

I found a 2005 Jaguar S Type R on craigslist, $5995 for 420bhp, I win.

04/10/2016 - 15:09 |
1 | 0
4x4 FTW

Here in Brazil if you take $6000 you can buy a turbo VW with at least 500 bhp

04/10/2016 - 15:20 |
4 | 1

APzão treiquilimei!!!! XD

04/10/2016 - 16:43 |
1 | 0
Morten Tryggestad

Meanwhile in Norway all these cars cost twice as much.. or even more.. D:

04/10/2016 - 15:28 |
0 | 0

In indonesia, a 3000GT must cost more than 30k USD. It doesn’t have a price range since it’s vary rare, and people often sell it more expensive than new cars. Some cars like the MR2 now cost about 35k usd

04/10/2016 - 15:46 |
0 | 0

This is CarThrottle, not BoatThrottle.

04/10/2016 - 15:36 |
6 | 2

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