We saw many car brands get killed off in the past decade due to the economy and their bad practices but what they left us with are many high powered and fun models for a low price. As these brands were killed off, the prices of their models plummeted due to buyer insecurity in parts and support from the manufacturers but in the list below I cover some of the best of these models and show you that the parts are out there and the cars are ready to be driven.
7. Saab 9-2XAero
The 9-2x Aero was a Subaru Impreza WRX in Saab clothing. The model started out with the 2.0L turbocharged engine found in the WRX and produced 227 hp and 217 ft-lbs to start and later switched to the 2.5L turbocharged engine and and made 230 hp and 235 ft-lbs in the final few models. It featured its own front and rear design separate from the WRX as well as better interior insulation and seating. The steering rack was also upgraded to the WRX STi unit and HID headlamps were added. The 9-2x can take most upgrades that are available for the WRX and WRX STi and most parts are available as they are interchangeable. The 9-2x will provide you with same power and handling as the bugeye WRX while having a quieter ride and not standing out. Nice examples with around 100k miles can be found for $6000 to $7000.
6. Saab 9-7X Aero
The Saab 9-7x is twins with the well known Chevy Trailblazer SS so right away we know that most of the parts underneath the skin will be available for a long time. Released in 2008, the Aero featured a 6.0L LS2 engine found in such things as the Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac CTS-V and its brother, the Trailblazer SS. The LS2 V8 produced 390 horsepower and 395 ft-lbs of torque and sent it to all 4 wheels via the Torsen center differential. Even for its large size, it was very quick and had a better fit and finish than its sibling. The Aero’s can found ranging in prices from $11000 up to $15000 with as little as 40k miles. Maintenance and upgrade parts for the engine are plentiful and there are a few running around with 700 horsepower
5. Pontiac Solstice GXP/Saturn Sky Redline
The Solstice and Sky twins were developed by GM along with the Opel GT and featured a 2.0L turbocharged engine in their highest trims. The turbo motor produced 260hp and 260ft-lbs in stock form and can be upgraded to 290hp and 340ft-lbs with the $500 GM Turbo Upgrade Kit. They sent this power to the rear wheels via a Getrag limited slip differential and could get to 60 mph in just over 5 seconds stock. Parts for these cars are not an issue as they shared many components with other GM models. The factory upgrade kit gives the car a nice bump but there are also many aftermarket parts and even V8 swap kits available. Examples in good condition can be found for $10000 to $12000 with 40k to 70k miles.
4. Mercury Marauder
The Marauder was rebooted in 2003 as a performance companion to its stablemates and borrowed bits from the Grand Marquis, Crown Victoria, and the Mustang. It borrowed the 4.6L V8 DOHC Mod motor from the Mustang Mach 1 and put down 302 horsepower and 318 ft-lbs of torque to the rear wheels through a limited slip rear differential. It also featured a better suspension, bucket seats, a floor shifter, and many custom trim pieces. Nice examples can be found for around $10000 to $12000 with as low as 44k miles.
3. Pontiac GTO
The GTO was resurrected in 2004 and created from the Holden Monaro. It started out with the 5.7L LS1, making 350 horsepower and in 2005 switched over to the 6.0L LS2 and produced 400 horsepower. It featured a Getrag limited slip rear differential and was available with the T56 6-Speed manual or a 4-Speed automatic box. Due to its lukewarm reception, prices are low and it can be snapped up easily. It shares many parts with its other LS stablemates and upgrade and maintenance parts are plentiful. Early examples can be found for as little as $8000 with around 100k miles and the 6.0L models can be found for about $10000 to $15000 with as little as 50k miles.
2. Pontiac G8 GT/GXP
Like the GTO, the G8 was another import from the Australian Holden division and was based on the Holden Commodore. The GT model featured the L76 6.0L engine and produced 361 horsepower. It was backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission sending power to the rear wheels. The GXP model featured the 415 horsepower LS3 and was available with 6-speed TR6060 manual transmission along with upgraded Brembo brakes and an upgraded suspension. It also had unique exterior bumpers and trim. Both of the models can be easily maintained as they share engine and transmission components with many other LS motor equipped vehicles. LS motor upgrades are plentiful and there are modified examples making as much as 800hp. The GT model can be found for as low as $13000 with around 100k miles. The GXP model is becoming a modern classic and prices are holding steady around $28000 to $35000 with an occasional one popping up for a slightly lower price.
1. Saab 9-3 Aero/Turbo X/XWD
Preceding the death of Saab, GM released quite a few interesting models and special editions. In the 9-3 series the model that stands out the most is the Turbo X. It featured a V6 Turbo engine pushing 276 hp to all 4 wheels via the Haldex XWD system and electronic limited slip differential. I currently see various Turbo X Sedans available ranging from $13000 to $16000 with mileages from 49k to 111k. The 9-3 Turbo X Sportcombi features all of the same options but comes in better wagon form and can be had for about $15500 with 85k miles. The Aero XWD featured the same engine and features as well as 6 speed manual transmission and I currently see a couple listed for just under $15000 ranging from 31k to 66k miles. There are some odd pieces that may be hard to find but maintaining the car should not be hard as the 2.8L V6 shares many components with 3.6L V6 used in plenty of recent GM vehicles and the XWD system continued on in the Opel Insignia and now in the Buick Regal.
Image Credits: vtunersaabs.com, gtoforum.com, ls1tech.com, mercurymarauder.net, g8board.com