What used car can you buy for around $10,000?
For the sensible buyer, $10,000 buys you a 5 or more year old Toyota Corolla or Holden Commodore, price when new somewhere between $25,000 to $30,000.
But thanks to the depreciation of top-end European luxury cars there are some really interesting alternatives for this sort of money.
Fancy a Mercedes-Benz? Why not reach for the stars and go straight to the S class. The bottom of the S class range, the S280, could be bought in 1997 for around $160,000. Today a good example can be had for less than $10,000, and I am not talking cars with high mileage here -- one example S280 I found for $9,000 had around 170,000km and most of these models are serviced and looked after very well.
Maybe you prefer the more performance orientated BMW? How about the 7 series, in long wheelbase, with the 4.4-litre V8? Back in 1997, a 740iL would have cost just over $200,000 plus options. There are now plenty of examples around this age for around $10,000. 730 and short wheelbase models can be found for even less. Most models have all the luxuries including a dashboard-mounted TV with satellite navigation.
What is most surprising is how much better the lesser models hold their value. For example, for the same price of that 13-year-old 740iL you could buy a 13-year-old six-cylinder 3 series which cost around a third of the price of the 7 series when new.
I tried to find an Audi A8 for this sort of money but maybe there weren't too many sold here, but ten-year-old A6's are plentiful at this price level.