I’m going to advance a theory that you probably haven’t considered: You should be investing in BMWs. What you should do, right now, is stop whatever you’re doing, go out, get a warehouse and fill it with BMWs. Not crappy ones, mind you, but good, high-quality, well-done BMWs. Go do it now. I’ll wait.
I began to develop this theory a few weeks ago when my friend Drew started searching for a 1990s "E36" BMW M3. He sold his E36 M3 a few months ago for something like $10,000, and he regrets it, and now he’s discovered that he simply can’t find a nice one for that kind of money anymore: They’re all $15,000 in decent shape, with decent equipment, with the desired manual transmission. This has happened in just a few months!
And this isn’t unique to the E36. If you go on Autotrader right now, you’ll find low-mileage E46 M3 models with asking prices that top $30,000 — and while it’s impossible to know whether people are actually getting anywhere near these prices, I suspect you wouldn’t see so many advertised in that range if these numbers were really that unrealistic. The same, of course, goes for the E39 BMW M5, which we’ve all seen shoot up in recent years. If you haven’t been following that market, a very clean E39 M5 can now sell for $40,000 or more.
This is happening all over the BMW world. The original Z3 M Coupe has recently become a highly desirable car, especially with the later "S54" engine — to the point where people are listing nice ones in the $50,000-$60,000 range, which is more than what they sold for new. Same with the Z3 M Roadster. And we already know all about the 1 Series M.
Now, you might think I’m weird for suggesting that fairly modern used BMW models are going to go up in value — but I’ve learned something about predicting vehicle values. What I’ve learned is that everyone always says you’re crazy when you predict a certain car will rise … right up until that car actually rises. When I was younger, and an E30 BMW M3 was easy to find for $15,000, I would’ve suggested the mere idea of a $50,000 E30 M3 was crazy. Obviously, in today’s world, it isn’t crazy anymore — and, in fact, clean E30 M3s sell for that number with some regularity. Same goes for the muscle-car world: Whoever could’ve predicted that old Chrysler muscle cars, some of which weren’t very desirable when they were new, would be selling for $200,000 in hotly contested auctions decades later? Nobody, of course.
Fortunately, this time, you have me to guide you into the future. Do you have your warehouse yet? Find a BMW for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.