Unlikely Classics: More Than $20,000 for That Thing?

$21,000 of fun?

$21,000 of fun?

Nirvana has become classic rock.

While scanning through my programmed radio stations this week, I came across “Come As You Are” and turned up the volume. I was surprised when the song ended and the station identifier came on and said, “Your classic rock station.”

How could this be? The classic rock station plays CCR and Led Zeppelin, not Nirvana. Then it occurred to me that Nirvana debuted a good quarter-century ago, which I suppose would indeed qualify its music as “classic rock.”

That hurt a little.

It reminded me of the changing face of classic cars as we cruise toward the year 2020. Classics aren’t the typical old ’66 Mustangs and ’67 Chevelles anymore—they include some vehicles I never thought I’d see on a classic car list.

Last week I casually mentioned a couple of old, utilitarian vehicles. The Ford F-100 and Volkswagen Thing were among them, and are not what most people would call “in-demand” vehicles.

One might assume that any used listings for those vehicles would include rock bottom pricing on beat-up clunkers that people want out of their driveways. I don’t think anyone would expect to find restored versions of these obsolete cars priced in the mid-$20,000 range.

So imagine me picking my jaw up off the floor when that’s what I saw.

A 1977 Ford F-100, a truck commonly found parked in wheat fields or rusting on the streets of mid-America, should, according to value calculator in my head, sell for maybe a thousand bucks. Instead there’s a restored version in the listings for $24,950.

There’s a 1965 version for $32,000. A second 1965 truck is listed for almost $13K.

Of course, there are also trucks for sale in the $3,000-range, which makes more sense to me. But are restored F-100 trucks really selling for so much money? If so, maybe this is a great time to pick up a cheap one, restore it, install a modern engine, and make some extra cash.

The Volkswagen Thing is another example.

Used Things are listed on CarGurus at prices ranging between $10,000 and $24,000. That’s a lot of money for a car that can barely out-accelerate a dumpster. The Thing “accelerates” from 0-60 in just shy of 24 seconds, thanks to its 46-hp 4-cylinder engine.

Only 25,000 Things were exported to the U.S. for the 1973 and 1974 model years, so relative rarity is part of the reason for the high cost. And the Thing’s many quirks, including a folding windshield and an optional heater that hooks up directly to the fuel tank, contribute to its exclusivity.

Buyers looking for an unconventional entry into the classic car market should consider the Thing. As for me? I’ll just stick with Nirvana for my classics.

Do the prices of some used vehicles that are now considered “classics” ever surprise you?


Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.

Used Ford Mustang
Used Chevrolet Chevelle
Used Ford F-100
Used Volkswagen Thing


  1. You think it’s bad now that it’s considered “classic”, just wait until they’re calling it “the oldies”! I can only pray that day never actually comes…

Leave a Reply

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


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.