1. BMW E36 M3: current values from £5000
We don’t need to brief you about BMW’s M division; you know what it’s all about already. M3s are widely regarded as one of the best performance ‘all rounders’ ever produced. The E36 model of the M3 family first went on sale in 1995 and it had some mighty big boots to fill. Many regarded the E36 as a bit of a flop from its predecessor (the E30) due to BMW’s PR department having such an active role in its development diluting the M division’s motorsport trickery. As a result - and despite selling well - the car wasn’t ever tipped for big things. Fast forward 20+ years and you can get your hands on an E36 M3 for as little as £4000. And we believe they simply cannot get any cheaper.
Buy one now, and you can expect to see a return of as much as £1000 per year, possibly more.
2. Mazda MX5/Miata (MK1): current values from £900
Probably one of the most stigmatised cars on the internet. Yes, they’re widely regarded as the hairdresser’s car of choice, but they’re also known for being one of the best handling budget sports cars that money can buy. Popular all over the globe with country road Sunday drive enthusiasts, track day drivers and collectors alike, the MK1 is about as affordable as it gets. Now admittedly rather a lot were produced, but the good(ish) news is that many of them are no longer with us, either due to terminal diseases such as rust, or encounters with tyre walls on track days. With a drop in numbers though, comes rarity, and with rarity comes an increase in value, so now is the time to buy.
Buy a good, straight and clean MK1 MX5 today and you can expect to see a gradual raise in value of a few hundred pounds year on year. If you do decide to keep hold of it like Alex, however, you’ll have a blast!
3. Porsche 911 (996): current values from £8500
Imagine getting your hands on one of the most recognised sports cars for less than £10,000. Well, with the 996 this is actually possible. Porsche made absolutely bucket loads of the 996 911s and in multiple variants too. The rarer performance models such as the Turbo, and GT2/3 models are already sky rocketing in value. The base model Carrera 2s are still within reach, but we can’t imagine they will be for much longer. Many have been put off by the ‘fried egg’ headlights and the plummeting values of its successor - the 997 - which is already obtainable for as little as £20,000. Nevertheless, we think the 996 is an opportunity too good to miss.
Buy almost any 911 at the moment and you’re pretty much guaranteed to make some money back. The ‘Porsche value appreciation’ bubble is real, so take advantage of it while you can; it won’t last forever.
4. BMW M5 (E39): current values from £6000
Back to the M division for this next investor’s dream. The E39 M5 with its brutal 5.0-litre V8 is a super saloon that’s tipped for big things. Many have been put off in recent years by the car’s desire to consume fuel in a frankly terrifying way. Sub-15mpg is pretty standard for the M5 so it’s not exactly ideal for the frugal city commuter. With the surge of fuel costs in recent years, the desire of owning an M5 dropped significantly, but it is still a true performance car that is already becoming sought after by collectors and driving enthusiasts.
Search hard and you’ll be able to buy an E39 M5 today for as little as £6000. If you find a good one, you should just about outweigh your spend at the fuel pump if you were to sell it again in 4-5 years.
5. Classic Mini: current values from £1500
Mini by name and Mini by nature, these tiny cars - by modern BMW Mini standards - have been extremely popular since the 1960s. Known for their character and charm around the globe, the classic Mini is instantly recognisable to car and non-car folk alike. Of course, with any car that’s been produced over a duration of 40+ years there are slightly more than a handful available to buy. But these Minis are old, British and fragile, which means that their numbers are dropping while values rise.
Buy a Cooper from any era and you simply can’t go wrong. But we recommend doing your research first. There are countless variations and values with a fair few ‘classic car niggles’ you’d be wise to look out for.
6. Mazda RX7 (FD): current values from £5500
The idea of owning an RX7 can either be exciting or terrifying. The supposedly fragile engines, alarming consumption of liquid gold (that’s engine oil to you and I) along with very little support in the way of driving aids on what is essentially a pretty quick and ‘crashable’ car seem to have put a few people off over recent years. But just look at it: it’s beautiful. At the time of its launch in the early 1990s, the RX7 FD was so far ahead of its time in styling that for many it seems to have skipped their radar entirely.
FDs are now the cheapest they’ve ever been and we predict that before long they’ll be highly sought after and collectable. Oh, and we don’t see blown engines as needing to be too much of a terrifying prospect, either. There are plenty of rotary specialists out there that will rebuild one of Mazda’s most advanced engines with warranty.
Before you take the hammer to your piggy bank:
Just remember that buying cars for investment, much like any investment, is risky business. It’s all dependent on markets, and values can go down as well as up. With any performance car it is essential that you seek good independent advice before parting with your cash.