Top 10 Cheap Classic Cars to Invest in for Big Gains With Your Delayed Tax Refund Check

The classic car market has cooled down a bit, freeing up some potentially lucrative longer term investment opportunities. 

The Hagerty Market Rating saw its first increase of 2017 in March with a small jump of 0.36 to 67.03. This industry benchmark measures the current status of the collector car market in terms of activity or "heat"; directional momentum; and the underlying strength of the market. 

Hagerty points out that auction activity saw another increase in March, with the gain representing the largest month-over-month increase in the last four years. It was largely fueled by a steady increase in the number of cars offered over the last six months and a 6% increase in the number of cars sold over the last 12 months. On the downside, the number of owners expressing the belief that values of their vehicles are rising continued to drop in the month. Weakness was seen among owners of mainstream and high-end classic vehicles. 

With the help of data from ClassicCars.com, TheStreet takes a look at the top classics currently priced under $10,000 that you should be investing in right now. Time to put that tax refund check to better use than simply buying a new TV from Best Buy (BBY) . 

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Editors' pick: Originally published April 28.

1969-1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE
1969-1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE

Mercedes of this period are legendary for their top-flight build quality and are renowned for being great driving cars, says ClassicCars.com.

Read more: Mercedes Badly Wants to You to Own One of These AMG Super High Performance Luxury Cars

Chevrolet Corvair
Chevrolet Corvair

Ralph Nader's book "Unsafe at Any Speed" doomed what was one of the most innovative and interesting automobiles to ever come out of Detroit in the Corvair. These cars are very simple mechanically and the aftermarket for parts is decent, says ClassicCars.com, who adds that the autos are "incredibly affordable."

1990-1994 Lexus LS400
1990-1994 Lexus LS400

"The LS400 is a future classic and something that still looks great and can be driven for a long time," says ClassicCars.com. These were the cars that put Toyota's (TM) Lexus brand on the map.

Read more: This $81,000 Mean-Looking Lexus Sports Car Will Gladly Pin You Back in Your Seat

1979-1992 Jaguar XJ6
1979-1992 Jaguar XJ6

This car, says ClassicCars.com, can be a faithful companion for a modest outlay of cash if regularly maintained and watched after closely.

Watch more: Jaguar Land Rover Is Hot but Its CEO Predicts U.S. Auto Market Will Soon Slow

Alfa Romeo 164
Alfa Romeo 164

The last Alfa to grace America's shores until the advent of the 4C, notes ClassicCars.com. Parts availability is decent and running costs are low to average.

Volvo 240
Volvo 240

"In stock form, these cars will run absolutely forever and with some simple suspension modifications, they can really handle," says ClassicCars.com. Service is very simple, making it an ideal starter classic.

BMW E36 M3
BMW E36 M3

Says ClassicCars.com, "People are beginning to see what a capable and fun performance car the US-market E36 M3 is." Hot tip: the four door version is cheaper and handles better than the two door version.

1987-1993 Ford Mustang
1987-1993 Ford Mustang

Known as the "Fox-body Mustang", these Ford (F)  muscle cars are having a renaissance. These cars, which were once so hated, are now cool and their prices are rising steadily, according to ClassicCars.com.

1948-1950 Packard
1948-1950 Packard

Dubbed the "Bathtub Packards", these rides are growing in popularity. "When you add the delightful Packard Straight-8 engine and a supremely comfortable interior and a shockingly low price of entry, these are pretty attractive starter classics," says ClassicCars.com.

Watch More: Here's When BMW Thinks You Will Be Able to Drive a Car With NO Hands

1960s and 1970s Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac Wagons
1960s and 1970s Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac Wagons

Writes ClassicCars.com, "The wagons from General Motors' (GM) other brands represent a pretty decent value proposition when compared to their bowtie-sporting siblings." And hey, driving around in an old school wagon is pretty cool.

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