High-profile car auctions such as Mecum and Barrett-Jackson are known for putting together collections of some of the most exciting, rare and expensive vehicles. At the recent Mecum Auctions event in Indianapolis, for example, there were two Shelby Cobras and a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Spyder that each commanded $1 million, and there were plenty of other cars priced well into the six figures, but if you’re looking to get your collection jump-started or if you’re just an automotive enthusiast on a budget, these auctions still have a lot to offer.

The top-dollar cars always hit the block on the closing days of the auction, with the heavy-hitters rolling out on the final day, but if you can get to the auction in its early days, that’s when you’ll find reasonably priced automotive treasures whether you’re looking for new or old, foreign or domestic, bone stock or heavily customized. To prove this point, I put together a small sample of 10 affordable cars and trucks that recently sold at the Mecum auction for under $10,000 (not including cars that are still being bid on).

Continue reading to see what $10k can get you at a Mecum auction.

1990 Chevrolet 454 SS

You Don't Have to Be a Millionaire to Score Big at a Car Auction Exterior
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Of all the vehicles I could have seen myself bidding on in Indy, this 1990 Chevrolet 454 SS was my favorite, and with a winning bid of $9,500, I could have actually afforded it. This first-year 454 SS is fresh off a restoration, and judging by the pictures, it has a clean engine compartment, spotless interior and “show-quality” paint (according to the auction description. I remember having a poster of the 454 SS on my wall as a kid and loving the decals and mag wheels, but what’s most amazing about this truck is that its 454 cubic-inch V-8 (just one liter shy of the Dodge Viper V-10) produces just 230 horsepower.

1912 Metz Model 22 Roadster

You Don't Have to Be a Millionaire to Score Big at a Car Auction Exterior
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For the same price as the 1990 Chevrolet 454 SS listed above, this 1912 Metz Model 22 Roadster also found a new home. It’s hard to believe that a pre-war car worthy of being auctioned off could sell for such a low price, and even more surprising based on the Mecum auction description that states this car might be one of just 40 Metz automobiles still in existence. The overall condition of this particular car isn’t known, but it doesn’t appear to be in as good of shape as a Metz that sold in 2010 for almost triple the price.

1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

You Don't Have to Be a Millionaire to Score Big at a Car Auction Exterior
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This auction was also proof that if you want class on a budget, you don’t have to choose an obscure pre-war car. Don’t expect this 1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow to show up at any Concours d’Elegance, but it will probably be a pretty cool daily driver. Just imagine the looks this car would get pulling into a grocery store parking lot, and with its $4,000 sales price, the owner will surely be able to stock up on plenty of Grey Poupon.

1994 Pontiac Firebird Firehawk

You Don't Have to Be a Millionaire to Score Big at a Car Auction Exterior
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As a precursor to the horsepower wars going on today, the 1994 Pontiac Firebird Firehawk was an exciting version of the Firebird tuned by SLP. By today’s standards, the Firehawk’s 315 horsepower is paltry, but this was definitely an exciting car in its day. This particular Firehawk was the 309th to be built in 1994 and one of 173 to come in black. Despite these relatively low build numbers and with just 36,000 miles on the odometer, this flawless example sold for just $7,500.

1988 Dodge Daytona Shelby Z

You Don't Have to Be a Millionaire to Score Big at a Car Auction Exterior
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Cars from all eras were at Mecum’s Indianapolis auction, including this 1988 Dodge Daytona Shelby Z. With only about 80,000 miles on it, this Daytona Shelby Z is in really good shape – especially considering it’s a Salt State car – which means it has likely been garage-kept and well-maintained its whole life. As such, the $4,250 hammer price of this car seems pretty good, even though its 174-horsepower, turbocharged engine hardly qualified it as a performance car.

1965 Ford Mustang

You Don't Have to Be a Millionaire to Score Big at a Car Auction Exterior
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Classic cars were well-represented in the sub-$10,000 price range as well. As hot as early Ford Mustangs have gotten these days, this 1965 Ford Mustang coupe is in amazing shape and sold for just $8,500. Looking at the pictures, the Mustang is amazing both inside and out, with all the chrome, badging, seats and classic tires in great shape.

1972 Chevrolet Corvette

You Don't Have to Be a Millionaire to Score Big at a Car Auction Exterior
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A large number of Chevrolet Corvette models were auctioned off, and this 1972 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray showed that not all ‘Vettes are expensive. This recently restored Corvette has a new paint job, new seats and new tires, and seems well worth the $7,750 price.

1978 Mercedes 350 SL

You Don't Have to Be a Millionaire to Score Big at a Car Auction Exterior
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If American classics aren’t quite your thing, then check out this gorgeous 1978 Mercedes 350 SL with a matching removable hard top. Along with the E30 BMW 3 Series, the Mercedes SL may have been the prototypical yuppie car in the 1980s, but with such a low hammer price of just $3,000, someone picked this 350 SL up for quite a bargain. There’s no telling how many miles are on this car, but it seems to be in excellent condition and well worth the price.

1979 MG B

You Don't Have to Be a Millionaire to Score Big at a Car Auction Exterior
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Before the Mazda Miata was even conceived, the MGB was perhaps the quintessential two-seat roadster for driving enthusiasts. This white 1979 MGB Roadster seems to be in impeccable shape, but the best part is that has fewer than 3,700 miles on the odometer. Combine that with a $5,250 sale price, and this might be one of the best deals at this auction.

1999 Chevrolet Tahoe

You Don't Have to Be a Millionaire to Score Big at a Car Auction Exterior
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For some reason, this 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe stood out to me as deserving of this list. Maybe it’s because the two-door Tahoes are a rarity these days, especially in such clean and unmolested shape, but it was also the price. As many overpriced SUVs that I see on Craigslist and eBay all the time, $4,000 is a no-brainer for this Tahoe.

All images courtesy of Mecum.

Source: Mecum Auctions

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