Five 1950s project cars for $5,000 or less

By Cody Clark

Every day, classic cars become more expensive. But for $5,000, can you still drive around in a relic from America’s golden era of motoring? While these project cars for sale on Craigslist may not be the best examples of the height of American manufacturing, they prove that on a budget there are still cars out there that require just a few very long weekends to roar back to life. Great investments start when the car can’t lose any more value, right?

1955 Chrysler for sale

1955 chrysler project car for sale

This 1955 Chrysler Windsor is available in Long Beach, CA for $3,600. It looks like it still has a few years before it rusts fully into the ground, and the seller states the engine turns. The dash mounted shifter, ‘Power steering’ label on the steering wheel and extremely wide white walls make this car really shine. It’s an engine swap away from low riding cruises. In 1955 the Windsor was on the cutting edge of frequent redesigns under the supervision of Virgil Exner and featured the first tail fins ever fitted to Chrysler. This example is no exception.

1950 Oldsmobile project car for sale

rocket 88 for sale

On the flip side, this 1950 Rocket 88 in Central Los Angeles for $2,000 looks like it has a few days before it rusts away. The seller seems confident that it will start with a new carburetor, but that’s the easy part. The cool green paint and white steel wheels will try their best to keep the new owner excited to take on this project. 

1957 Ford F100 for sale

f100 for sale

If you’re willing to travel deeper into the desert, this 1957 Ford F100 has a T-Bird V8 already “installed” and is listed in Gilbert, AZ for $3,500. The engine turns over, but the lack of steering wheel guarantees that you won’t be getting far without a trailer. If you have a couple cans of clear coat and some patience, this truck still looks like it could stay together for a few more years. Learn more about the history of Ford F-Series trucks here.

1954 Chevrolet truck for sale

cheap project truck

This truck only makes the list for the astounding fact that it has a title. For an astronomical $5,000, this 1954 Chevy Pickup would be peeled out of this property in Blue Ridge, GA and placed on your trailer. Perhaps under all those pine needles is a wicked rat rod like the seller claims. But I haven’t found it yet.

1951 Plymouth for sale

1951 plymouth project car

This 1951 Plymouth Coupe in Boston, MA for around $3,900 is a real treat. The seller may not know exactly what the car is, but their father has started it and kept it moving for four decades. This example isn’t quite ready to drive away, but is really close to a driver-quality classic as long as the DMV doesn’t ask too many questions about the title. Of all the options in this list, this car seems most likely to survive for another owner to drive and enjoy.

Cheap classic cars and other inexpensive project cars for sale aren’t too hard to come by, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to be a ton of work. If you could have your pick of the litter, which of these old cars for sale would take home? Hey, it’s just a little TLC, right? RIGHT?

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