Going Going Gone

5 Great Cars Under $3k You Can Buy Right Now

Three thousand dollars. That's barely enough to fly round trip in first class from LA to NY without having to stop at some godforsaken terminal in the middle of nowhere. It's about three weeks' rent in Manhattan. But it's more than enough money to buy some pretty badass cars.

The five you see below are all for sale -- right now. They're all $3,000 or less, and they're all going to be more of a joy to drive than the average car on the road. It goes without saying that for that price, they're hardly perfect, but sometimes, that's all part of the charm.

2004 BMW 330Ci

Price: $2,995
OK, so here's the deal: $2,995 is pretty damn cheap for a good-condition 12-year-old BMW. Is there a catch? Of course there's a catch. It's in Hawaii. That's not so bad, though, since the car is cheap enough that you can buy it on your way in for a vacation, then consign it at a dealership on your way to the airport as you head home. You could also put it on a boat for a few hundred, but that starts eating into the great-deal factor.

2008 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

Price: $3,000
Has it got a cop motor? Sorta -- it does have a beefed-up cooling system. Has it got cop tires? No, because that's not really a thing. Has it got cop suspension? Yes! Has it got cop shocks? Yes, see the previous question! All Blues Brothers kidding aside, this is a proper police interceptor with only 169,000 on the odometer. You might want to clean it a bit, just in case. Go on, buy it. You know you want to.

1997 Volvo 850 R

Price: $2,800
The Volvo 850 R is one of the great sleeper performance cars of the 1990s. The fact that this one's cheap as hell is down to, well, a little needed TLC, but also to the underappreciated nature of Volvo's turbocharged sport sedan.

1995 Toyota Land Cruiser

Price: $2,000
Older Land Cruisers are enjoying their limelight in the world of ever-appreciating values, but mid-'90s examples aren't following along... yet. Is this one mint? Of course not, and that's why it's so perfect as a winter beater. For $2,000 you have minimal investment in it, so you can either fix it up or drive it around as is and use it as the car gods intended: off road. If you happen to get tired of it, either the price will have gone up or you'll have lost nothing. That's not a bad deal.

2001 Audi A6 Avant Quattro

Price: $1,700
At just over 108,000 miles, there's plenty of life left here. And that's a very good thing, since a fun all-wheel-drive wagon that's cheap enough not to worry about sounds juuust about perfect for springtime shenanigans.

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Aaron Miller is the Cars editor for Thrillist, and can be found on Twitter. He already imagined himself having fun in each and every one of these.