Forget those ridiculous car flippers and go get yourself one of these cars.
The Porsche 911 R was paradoxically one of the best cars in the world, as well as an utter disappointment. We would have loved to get our hands on one of the 991 units for around $200,000, but greedy car flippers decided to buy them all and drive the price up to over $1 million. Thankfully, Porsche punished the flippers by releasing manual versions of the new GT3. Prices are now down to around $350,000 to $500,000, which is still a ton of money. That is why we have found five enthusiast-focused, limited edition cars that are all less than half as expensive.
The Porsche 911 R was special because it came with the 500 hp 4.0-liter flat-six engine out of the GT3 RS, but without the extreme aero bits and the PDK transmission. The car that we’d recommend for anyone who can’t afford the roughly $400,000 that it takes to get a 911 R is the 997 generation GT2. The 997 GT2 was introduced in 2007, and only 194 units were sold in the US (making it rarer than the R). The GT2 is also more powerful than the R thanks to a 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine making 523 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. It’s possible to find a GT2 for less than $200,000, which is less than half as much as the 911 R.
The 911 R might be out of most people’s budgets, but for around one tenth of the price, it is possible to get a differed R-badged Porsche. The Cayman R was introduced in 2011 as the most hardcore Cayman variant. Up until the introduction of the GT4, this was the fastest Cayman around. The Cayman R used a 3.4-liter flat-six engine with 330 hp that could be mated to a six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK. Zero-60 mph took 4.7 seconds, or 4.4 seconds with the PDK and Sport Chrono Package. Only around 3,500 were ever produced, and they can be picked up for around $70,000. It may not be as fast as the 911 R, but it is far less expensive.
When the 911 R was first revealed, it was instantly compared to the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S. Both were limited edition versions of their platform with manual transmissions. We had a feeling that the Aston Martin was a bit more unique with a special, seven-speed dog-leg manual transmission and howling 6.0-liter V12 engine. Not only does the V12 in the Aston produce more power than the Porsche, the V12 Vantage S was also more limited than the 911 R. Aston only built 100 units for the US, making it more rare than the 911 R. Amazingly, the Aston never appreciated like the Porsche did, and they can still be found near their original MSPR price.
The BMW 1 Series M Coupe may be one of the most sought after M cars in recent history. Even though the 1M was created using a bunch of parts from the BMW parts bin, the sum of these parts amounted to something very special. BMW only built 6,309 examples, and their values actually went up from when they were new. On the high end, a 1 Series M Coupe should cost around $65,000, but it is possible to find one for less than $50,000. Even though the 1 Series M Coupe does not have a completely unique engine, it was still an incredibly fun car to drive that is also very rare. The 1 Series M Coupe was only sold with a manual transmission, which adds to its enthusiast appeal.
The final car on our list is another limited edition that was built strictly for enthusiasts. The Camaro Z/28 came with a 505 hp 7.0-liter V8 from the C6 Corvette Z06. Unlike many other American sports cars, the Z/28 was built to go around the track more than it was built to blast down a drag strip. It may not be nearly as refined as the 911 R, but it is amazing to think that you can get a car with as much power for around one tenth of the price.