If you’ve been following the used cars market to any degree, you’ll know how absurd things are right now. That’s doubly true for the enthusiast car market. Effectively, cars like the Porsche 911, Subaru WRX, and BMW M5 are an amplification of the market for more “pedestrian” models like the RAV4. Doug DeMuro, everyone’s favorite two-shirt-wearing YouTuber thinks so too.
It’s hard to not take Doug’s opinion as sage advice here. He called the rise in BMW E46 M3 cars a few years back, and the recent rise in overall values at the start of the chip shortage.
The Porsche 911 996 is an unloved Porsche bargain
It makes sense to start with what is easily the most under-appreciated car here: The 996 Porsche 911. Back when the new 911 debuted in 1997, enthusiasts cried “Sacrilege!” at the new headlights. Really, that’s just about the only issue people had with the new 911 back in the day. Ok, not the only one, but it’s what the 996 is remembered for.
This generation of Porsche 911 was also the first model to switch from air to water cooling. Better engine cooling clearly upset the purists, again causing a cry of “Sacrilege!” to be let out. However, a manual transmission base-level Carrera or Carrera 4 can be found with under 50,000 miles for right around $25,000-$35,000. Just make sure to do the IMS bearing.
The E39 BMW M5 is the perfect manual transmission daily
Speaking of finicky maintenance, that may be the one thing that’s kept the E39 BMW M5 relatively affordable. The whole “BMW unreliable” stereotype is nearly as prevalent as the “BMW driver bad” one. However, because these are luxury cars, they can often be found in the hands of owners who have put a good number of miles on them but kept their BMW M5 in good condition.
Happily, you can also have your choice of automatic or manual transmissions in the E39, just like in the Porsche 911. That only serves to widen the appeal, which, as Doug points out, means values could start to come up soon. Right now, your 400 hp M5 might only be worth $30,000 with less than 70,000 miles on it, but that’s already changing. If you want one, get your hands on it fast.
Buy a Subaru WRX while you still can
Finally, that leaves us with the Subaru WRX. Doug points out that a number of early-2000s JDM cars will start to rise in value soon, but the WRX represents the real value choice on this list. But this car, with its AWD and 230 hp motor (and optional manual transmission) is already becoming scarce. Clean ones are hard to find, and if you do find one, expect to pay around $20,000 for a very fun analog driving experience.
No matter what, cars of this era will continue to rise in value as the children of these generations get older. It’s a fact of life, and we’re already starting to see that happen. Look at Supra prices for a moment. Salesmen usually say “get it before it’s gone” and that’s especially true here.