A personal luxury car is a luxury car centered around the driver and most commonly featuring just two doors. Despite that, they are some of the most luxurious and comfortable land yachts of their time, trumping even European competition (if we can call it that) such as Jaguar or Mercedes-Benz. These cars are more comfortable and well made than anything else and offer a premium driving experience even decades after they came out. Thinking about the status that comes with personal luxury cars, the Americans managed to make some of the best.
Brands like Cadillac and Lincoln made some great classic cars in the luxury car market and they are a great part of US car history. Nowadays, cars like this are available on the used market (sometimes at high prices), and many truly enjoy seeing the comfort and luxury associated with them. This list ranks the greatest classic American personal luxury cars on the used market, showing that prospective buyers can still get their hands on these fantastic cars.
10 Chrysler Cordoba ($6,000)
The Cordoba is one of the more unusual looking personal luxury cars. Blending clear American styling with more elegant European details, it looks unique to say the least. The vast size and large V8 engine are undeniably American whilst the headlights and Rolls Royce inspired grill are definitely European touches.
This ugly mish-mash of a vehicle could only have been born in the 1970s and is one of the cheapest ways to buy a proper land yacht-sized personal luxury car. Being the cheapest car on the list, the Cordoba is fairly good to buy on a budget, and is great for those who want European touch to their car.
9 Mercury Cougar XR-7 (Third generation) ($18,000)
Both the first and second generations of the Mercury Cougar XR-7 were muscle cars, but then became a personal luxury car with the third generation. There was quite a sporty element to the car, even if it is just the car’s name. This was quite unusual for a personal luxury car.
The Cougar XR-7 is a fairly standard personal luxury car of the 1970s, through offering a big engine, extravagant styling and a plush interior. This car is available for about $18,000, which isn’t the most expensive on this list, but the car is an interesting vehicle and is a great classic.
8 Cadillac Eldorado 1953 ($80,000)
Some consider the 1953 Cadillac Eldorado to be the first personal luxury car and the definitive example of one too. The iconic styling alongside featuring roles in many Hollywood films really made the 1953 Eldorado a symbol of 1950s motoring.
Some would even say that the car has become as much a symbol of the 1950s as the fin-tail Cadillac Eldorado of 1959. The excess of chrome on the body work makes the 1953 Eldorado very elegant, and the vehicle is very big – representative of US engineering at the time. Those who wish to buy will definitely be paying big bucks, with average prices running at around $80,000.
7 Mercury Marauder (Second generation) ($20,000)
The second generation of the Mercury Marauder was launched at the very end of the 1960s in 1969. It was released at the peak of personal luxury cars in America. The car was powerful when required, and was equipped with a V8 engine that reflected the large size of this car.
The styling of the Marauder was more unusual than its rivals at the time, with the car having a more muscular stance as well as being more squared off. Prospective buyers can get one of these massive, yet powerful cars for about $20,000.
6 1955 Ford Thunderbird ($40,000)
The 1955 Ford Thunderbird was the personal luxury car that proved to Americans that luxury didn’t aways equate with size. The vehicle was focused upon style, and really reflected that where other cars would add more space to make the car more luxurious, sometimes style was key to luxury in a car.
The vehicle was very refined and was equipped with a V8 engine. Many enjoyed the car too, and it sold greatly in the 1950s. Nowadays, owners can buy one that is in good condition for about $40,000 and can feel incredibly stylish when driving their car.
5 Oldsmobile Tornado (first generation) ($20,000)
Made by GM in 1966, the first generation of the Oldsmobile Tornado was a very unusual car. The vehicle broke the mould with an unusual FWD set up during a time when US personal luxury cars were only ever RWD.
The vehicle was more affordable than a Ford Thunderbird too, making it quite lucrative for those looking for something a bit cheaper but also brilliant. The car can be bought nowadays for around $20,000.
4 Lincoln Continental Mk V ($15,000)
The Lincoln Continental Mk V was launched in 1977. This vehicle was considered the flagship of the Continental fleet, and combined some of the greatest elements of previous generations of the car. The vehicle was extremely luxurious, with a Cartier Chronometer being equipped in even the standard edition of the Continental.
Lincoln made the Mk V have an impressive presence on the roads, alongside the fact that Lincoln teamed up with multiple designers to release special editions of the Mk V. The designer versions of the car go for higher prices, but prospective buyers can purchase an excellent Mk V within the $15,000 price range.
3 Cadillac Eldorado Eighth Generation ($30,000)
Cadillac launched the eighth generation of the Eldorado in 1967, and was definitely a vehicle that suited style over the muscle image that was big in the US at the time. Cadillac managed to distinguish the car from its competitors at the time, namely the Oldsmobile Tornado, with the Cadillac generally being longer and the sharp fins at the back of the car making it stand out.
The interior was very luxurious and there was plenty of room. Also, speed and handling were great, especially as the car could reach 120mph. Despite being so expensive to purchase, the car sold brilliantly and was very popular among consumers. The price of an eighth-generation Eldorado is still quite high today depending on budget, with plenty of them reaching $30,000 asking prices.
2 Studebaker Avanti ($15,000)
The Studebaker Avanti was released in 1963. The car was famously safe, yet fast. The vehicle could reach 178mph, and broke multiple world records. Studebaker made the Avanti a very advanced personal luxury car and offered very unusual styling.
The vehicle was rather compact in size, but offered 4 seats for luxury. Studebaker sadly went defunct not too long after the release of the car, but the car has enjoyed a second life when owners arranged for it to still be produced until 2006. The Avanti has a loyal following, and people can join this group by purchasing an Avanti for a great price of $15,000 considering the success and following the car has.
1 Buick Riviera (First generation) ($16,000)
Launched in 1963, the Buick Riviera in its first generation was a very attractive personal luxury car. The car took styling from many of the European grand tourers of the era. The attractive grill design and concealed headlamps were great additions and the car was not designed to look overly big.
The American muscular physique still remained, however. But Buick also implemented European elements into the car’s design. The Riviera was comfortable, yet powerful and featured increased performance due to the lighter weight of the car. The Buick Riviera is truly one of the greatest, and prospective buyers can get one for $16,000, which is definitely worth it considering the great package Buick put into the car.
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