Automotive Ramblings

The e36 M3 Will Have the Same Fate as the Porsche 944: Amazingly Poor Resale, But an Instant Classic

A thread on Bimmerforums recently sparked my attention when the poster asked if the M3 will ever become a classic and appreciate in value. My two cents:

The e36 M3 will suffer the same fate as the Porsche 944 NA. Yep, flip open your Autotraders and take a look. That’s what’s going to happen to the value of our cars. Sure, total creampuffs will command a premium, but as Excellence usually reports, only 10-15% more.

Check out the similarities between the two cars:

  • widely regarded as one of the best handling cars at any price for the period
  • nicely appointed 2+2
  • unforgettable looks that still inspire today
  • similar enthusiast following

And they have even more value robbing ties:

  • no shortage of examples, plenty were imported for many years
  • today’s cars look faster on paper
  • many of these cars were daily drivers and have the mileage to prove it
  • many of the secondary systems and materials start to deteriorate making decent examples look worse than they are
  • mechanically complicated enough to require a solid maintenance schedule
  • when major mechanicals fail, you could easily be staring at a bill that represents half to two thirds of your cars total value

And that last one is a killer!

But don’t get me wrong, I sold my 337 and bought a nearly ten year old car because I wanted a more pure experience. And someday, I’ll probably sell this car to buy a car 10 years older than it for the same reason. Could be a 944.

If you bought an e36 m3 hoping it would appreciate while you owned it, you’ll have to hold on to it for a very long time! But it’s a classic already, just like the 944.


One reply on “The e36 M3 Will Have the Same Fate as the Porsche 944: Amazingly Poor Resale, But an Instant Classic”

Very nice examples of the E36 M3 (stock, more unusual colors, etc.) are still commanding 50% of their original value 7 or more years later. I just bought a TechnoViolet 99 M3 that is just about perfect. I expect to get a fair chunk of this purchase price if I decide to sell in a few years. Appreciate? No. But the main reason I don’t want to flog or mod this car is 1) been there, done that, don’t need to do it some more; 2) completely stock cars in great condition will get the best price. Good post, thanks.

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