I would avoid older vehicles in your area unless you or a friend are very competent at identifying rust damage during a vehicle inspection. Something to keep in mind is most euro vehicles are more expensive to maintain or require specialized tools if you want to do it yourself.
See if there is a driving school in your area that you and your wife can attend, most offer a variety of cars to drive and it could help narrow down which cars you like.
I think the best bang for the buck is probably a corvette as others have mentioned. When it comes down to it, spend a little more if the right car comes along.