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BangShift Reader Brawl: Tell Us What The Fastest, Cheapest Factory Car Ever Is!

BangShift Reader Brawl: Tell Us What The Fastest, Cheapest Factory Car Ever Is!

Recently in the NHRA tower, a debate erupted between a couple of us when the question was posted, “What’s the fastest, cheapest car ever?” Of course it will cause a veritable rock fight below, hence the “reader brawl” title but we’re interested in your opinion because the question is pretty danged good. From the Omni GLHS to the SRT4 Neon to the various “hot hatch” offerings throughout the years, there have been some real low buck screamers out there and we’re going to force you to pick the best one. Now, you don’t have to look at the stuff of the last 25-30 years. You can go as far back as you want but remember to account for inflation. A $3,500 1964 Pontiac GTO (which was probably more than $4,000 in most cases) costs $26,000 in today’s money. The cheap needs to be kept in mind with inflation, kids!

Look, we live in times now that are so far beyond what any generation of automotive enthusiast has ever experienced on all fronts with respect to OEM performance, it is pretty weird, actually. What was “fast” to people 25 years ago is sluggish and sad compared to what even base model cars are running now. Having spent a little time in the seat of an SRT4 Neon, that is a hellacious little car and one that needs to be considered. These are not going to be the premium named automobiles here as we’re looking for the CHEAP stuff. Basically, we’re seeing if you can decide on the fastest factory tin can ever built.

Should be easy…right?

Put on your helmet, wade into the field of battle below and submit your choice for the fastest, cheapest factory car ever!




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15 thoughts on “BangShift Reader Brawl: Tell Us What The Fastest, Cheapest Factory Car Ever Is!

  1. Weasel1

    The SRT4 is a wicked machine, but for all around fun I think a Subaru WRX is the ticket. Road, Rally or Drag race, this little monster will not disappoint. About mid range in price I think

  2. john

    Owned a GLH Omni….for $8900 new…what a hoot. Still own an ’04 SRT-4 since new, for $19500…how can you touch it?

  3. Brett

    It may not be the answer you’re looking for, but a savvy 90’s consumer could have had a pretty quick 4.3l, regular cab, short bed, 2wd, manual S10 for not a lot of scratch, had they left the right boxes unchecked.

  4. Gary

    Ill never forget teh Car & Driver article on the Buick Turbo Grand National.
    They went on and on about how fast it was, what a great car, blah, blah, blah, and then finished with, “Who cares that the Omni GLH is right alongside your front fender?” Still makes me smile…Uncle Lee did pretty good by us, on balance.

  5. Skeptical

    The turbo Cobalt SS and the SRT-4 are probably pretty high up there for cheap speed. I worked at a Pontiac dealer in the 90’s. The stories I heard from both fellow techs and the sales people were that the 89 Turbo trans am was a hard sell. The buyers that came in for a Trans Am wanted a V8. Supposedly the dealer I worked at still had one for almost a year after the model year change and took a hit on selling it. So 89 Turbo Trans Am might qualify for the cheap speed list in its day. I’d also say the 70ish Nova SS has a chance here too.

  6. Mopar or No Car

    Go big or stay home. The Hemi Dart’s MSRP was around $4200. That’s just over $30K today, which is clearly budget by modern standards. In the same model year a 383 2bbl Sport Fury listed for almost $5000.

    Cheap? Within reason compared to other cars and considering inflation.
    Any questions about fast?

    1. Sean

      Foxbody mustangs were pretty quik even in stock trim. But out of the box I would go with the late 80’s ford probe turbocharged manual. The srt4 was also known to be the fastest car for under 20k. They were no joke but I rarely ever see one anymore, had a blast racing them back in the early 2k’s.

  7. Geordie Hatin' Mad Chevy

    Long as you’re bolted into the driver’s seat geeyordee. Now go back to Spongebob and let the big kids read.

  8. Jim Rennich

    A 1966 Chevy II 100 Series 2 door sedan with a 350hp 327 carried a sticker price of about $2500.

  9. Scott

    What about the SVT Contour. No one likes them, but objectively speaking, that one punched well above it’s weight class, too.

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