• Aug 10, 2008
Of course your wallet hurts every time you have to fill the car up. Nevertheless, in these trying times we must always remember the words of Fernando Lamas: it is better to look good than to feel good. Cars That Matter has put together a list of classic automobiles that get anywhere from 21 to 48 mpg, which means you can look good while you save money.

The heaviest drinker is the Datsun 240Z, just cracking into the twenties. But plenty of cars hover around the 30 mpg mark, like the Lotus Europa, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, and Fiat X1/9. If you want to crack the big four-oh, you've still got choices: BMW Isetta and Honda S800. And the Crosley Hotshot will get you a miserly 48 mpg.

All right, so there are some niggling issues of practicality -- almost all the cars have only two chairs -- unsuitability for winter, plus many of them are mechanical horrors. As such, we must always remember the words of dear old dad: there are no free lunches. But there are choices, and that has to count for something...

[Source: Cars That Matter, Photo by Liftarn | Creative Commons 2.0]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 33 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      i believe that the Porsche 944 and 924s deserve spots in this list. Easily gets 30-32 mpg highway and one of the best/ most fun handling cars i've ever driven.
      • 6 Years Ago
      or a new cobalt ss
      arguably the best handling fwd
      • 6 Years Ago
      i was wondering why my neighbor just got one in red
      • 6 Years Ago
      My poor '80 MGB was strangled with a single Zenith carb that drank dampener oil.

      The good was that it got me over 34mpg on the highway, the bad was fuel was around $1/gal. I replaced it with a Weber carb.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why does Mini not get any MPG love?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Perhaps the old Mini's weren't the gas misers that they are now considered to be? Either that or they're not considered classic... :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd say a VW MkI GTI would probably deserve a place on this list. Anyone know what kind of fuel economy for a Porsche 356 or Speedster?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not as much as you'd think. Except for the steady 65 mph rides across Indiana, I'd guess 24-26 average. The Solexes dripped gas all the time and most 356s weren't really tuned right.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well they are missing a few cars.

      The Citroen 2CV for one. I would have expected seeing that on the list with the recent press. That car easily gets over 50mpg, has four seats, and can go 70mph. My dad's 2CV gets almost 60mpg with just him in it on the highway. That's with 1940's tech under the hood.

      I had a '74 Opel Cadet hatchback that got around 40mpg. The wonders of a small inline 4 in a car that weighed almost nothing.

      SO I guess if you want a classic car with great mileage you should go for a 2CV. It blows the doors off any car on that list including the Isetta. If you don't believe it just search google.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well they are missing a few cars.

      The Citroen 2CV for one. I would have expected seeing that on the list with the recent press. That car easily gets over 50mpg, has four seats, and can go 70mph. My dad's 2CV gets almost 60mpg with just him in it on the highway. That's with 1940's tech under the hood.

      I had a '74 Opel Cadet hatchback that got around 40mpg. The wonders of a small inline 4 in a car that weighed almost nothing.

      SO I guess if you want a classic car with great mileage you should go for a 2CV. It blows the doors off any car on that list including the Isetta. If you don't believe it just search google.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Deux Cheveaux kicks butt with mpg plus doesn't look like anything on the planet. Good choice! I think the total populations of Open Kadets in the US won't even reach the double digits!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Out of this list, I'd take my chances with the Cosworth Vega, the Datsun 510 and the Datsun 240Z. But not the Sprite. I don't want to be in this and ave an unfortunate meeting on the highway with an 18-wheeler.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That thing would kill you in a collision with a marshmallow.
        • 6 Years Ago
        if you're planning to go one-on-one with an 18 wheeler, you're likely to become pulpy red goo in any of the 3 you'd choose. Safety considerations would push you toward a modern car over most any classic.
        • 6 Years Ago
        imoore:

        I'll give you a nod for the 510, if you can find one with no rust below the door handles, or hasn't been raced since 1975. The 240Z is a Nissan also, which is a big plus, but it's not going to do you any favors at the pump. The Healey is no more dangerous than a cycle, gets great gas mileage, is one of the few cars that can shut you down when the power wire wiggles off the electric fuel pump. The Sprite has a huge advantage over the other two: it's one of the few cars that is absolutely a hoot to drive at 45 mph. at 50 it scares the living sh*t out of you. A great car and no tickets!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Damn! A Cosworth Vega. In black. With gold stripes down the side! Nice planter for the front yard.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Obviously, you've never been in the salt belt, which ate these in as little as two winters. You can afford plenty of fuel avoiding these old-timers, which rang up huge mechanical and electrical repair bills besides. And safety? Fugeddaboudit.
      • 6 Years Ago
      1998 Dodge Neon R/T. 150hp. 2600lbs. 15.7-15.9 in the 1/4 mile, and outhandled any FWD car from that era.

      Available for under 5 grand, and can get over 40mpg.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Nice call, when it came time to pick up a used car a few years ago I tried to convince myself I could use the Neon R/T. In the end I came to terms with the fact it was just not big enough for me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Triumph Spitfire — 30.3 mpg

      I wish my Spitifire got that mileage again. Ever switch converting to a Weber DGV carb, I get 140/tank, despite my tuning efforts.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've driven a Bugeye Sprite before....it's a chore. You have to completely stop before downshifting. Not exactly "fun".

      I'd rather get crappy gas-mileage!
    • Load More Comments