Top Seven Cars You Can Buy with the Average Tax Return

Top Seven Cars

Today is April 15th… Tax Day… A day so lamented many people would opt for choice “A” of Benjamin Franklin’s quote: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  However, there are those few, those lucky, lucky few who get some of their hard-earned dollars returned to them after filing their income taxes.  According to the IRS, the average tax return is somewhere around $3,000.


That’s not too shabby.  $3K is a decent amount of cash, especially since it was yours to begin with.  You could pay some bills with your average tax return, invest it in a depressingly low yield savings account, stuff it in your mattress, or… or you could have some fun and completely blow it.  Nowadays, there are many delicious and ridiculous ways to spend the whole $3,000 average tax return in one why-the-hell-did-you-buy-that sitting.


Lets see, Costo has an 80-inch Sharp Aquos smart LED TV for $2,799.99.  You could get a Longines Avigation Oversize Crown three-hand for $2,400.  The watch is nice.  Or, you could buy an absurdly cheap, surprisingly fun car to have as much fun with as humanly possible.  Yeah, let’s take a look at option 3.  I took a quick perusal through the listings on to see what I could find that comes in under the $3,000 average tax return.


Keeping fun as the operative word, I ran a search with the following qualifications:

  1. Fun means rowing your own gears, so I opted for cars with Manual Transmissions.
  2. Complete pieces of crap aren’t any fun at all.  Therefore, I kept the miles below 70,000.
  3. There is no “3”.  Everything else is fair game.

I originally wanted to say Top Ten, but it seems as though I was being overly ambitious.  I only found seven.  Keep in mind, these are completely un-vetted cars that I stumbled onto on  I have no idea what kind of condition they’re in or even if they run.  So, my choices are based on safe, running examples of these particular cars.  That being said, here are the


Top Ten Seven Cars You Can Buy with the Average Tax Return.


7. 1980 Volkswagen Vanagon, 55,920 mi: $2,995

1980 VW Vanagon

Powered by an air-cooled, lawnmower-esque, 2.0-liter, 70 bhp, flat four-cylinder engine with four-speed manual gearbox, the 1980 VW Vanagon wasn’t exactly what I would call sprightly with its 21.5 second 0 to 60 slog.  But, it’s the perfect car to load with a few friends, a few coolers of beer and a few steaks and set out for a weekend camping trip.  Pop an air mattress in the back and have a blast.  Just avoid the mountains.  I’m not sure the van would make it up any steep-ish hills.  When you’ve had enough fun using your 1980 VW Vanagon as a tent, you could probably unload it to some college student for pretty close to what you paid for it from your average tax return.

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6. 1971 Volkswagen Beetle, 47,302 mi: $2,995

1971 Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen made 1.3 million Beetles in 1971, so it’s no surprise that they’re pretty much everywhere for practically free.  The little bug sported a 60 horse, 1.6-liter four-cylinder with a four-speed stick shift.  Acceleration (if you could call it that) from 0 to 60 mph took around 23 seconds.  But, when it comes to happy cars that make you smile, you can’t do much better than a VW Beetle (except maybe an original Mini).  Turn it into a Baja Bug.  Paint giant daisies on it.  No matter what you do, a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle will make you smile, especially for the price of the average tax return.

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Author: Nick Glasnovich

Founder & Executive Editor of

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