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 real 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 wheel base, 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 wheel base 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.