As much as we discuss 80s M car values getting pulled up by the E30 M3, they aren’t insane yet. There are still some great drivers out there for the same price as a brand-new economy car, which will always be a great argument for getting adventurous and buying a fun classic. This 140k-mile example isn’t the cream puff some middle-mileage examples have been, but it’s pretty well sorted with enough minor blemishes to keep the price in check. Buying an E28 M5 for reasonable money has been one of the most educational and fun experiences in my car-loving life, and this one is a good opportunity to get a decent driver without breaking the bank.
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However subtle the exterior modifications may be, the E39 M5’s enlarged front aperture and unique wheels still grab my attention from blocks away. As nice examples become the exception, these super sedans are hovering around the bottom of their depreciation curve, no longer going down but not shooting up as quickly as they soon will. With examples between 50-100k miles hovering around $25-30k, this looks like an enthusiast-owned driver that’s very nice but not perfect and being sold at a very reasonable price.
Click for details: 2000 BMW M5 on eBay
After watching a 2007 Ferrari 599GTB with a 6-speed manual gearbox hammer for almost $700,000 at this year’s Amelia Island RM Sotheby’s auction, I had mixed feelings. Surely that was a princely sum for a relatively new Ferrari, but with only 20 produced with the manual gearbox for the US market, one has to think cars like these with three pedals will continue to increase in value in an era when the shift it your own option seems to be fading away. This 2011 BMW 550i with a 6-speed manual is part of that dying breed for sure, as you can no longer buy a new 550i in the US market with a manual gearbox. Sure, you can opt for the 6-speed manual in some lesser engined variants, but the combination of the lusty turbocharged V8 and joy of rowing your own through what is undoubtedly one of the smoothest gearchanges around certainly has its perks.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 550i on eBay
There’s so much to like about this E28 5 Series that it’s hard to know where to start. The car itself is an absolute gem, the manner in which the seller has photographed boarders on editorial quality and the bidding sits at at very reasonable $5,200 (though we don’t know the reserve is) with 4 days left to go. However, as with so many things in life, there’s a catch. This bronze Bavarian beauty only has two pedals, which for many people is a deal breaker but not for me. Would I rather have a 5 spd manual in this car? Absolutely but given the pristine condition this vehicle appears to be in, I don’t think I could pass up a chance to be its caretaker for a little while, even though it suffers from PRND syndrome.
The E28 is considered by many to be the original Q-Ship and for those of you out there that would harp on the automatic transmission found on this example, let me remind you what a Q-Ship is all about, stealth. Now I know it would be more fun to row your own in this car but what better way to fly under the radar when having fun than to have an automatic transmission keeping you in check. I honestly believe that just taking away the option to quickly downshift and take off around a corner completely changes the personality of the 535. Where most folks would envision themselves tearing up windy roads in this car I see myself cruising around town with friends or road tripping around the Pacific Northwest. That may seem oddly specific but I’ll attribute it to the Bronze Metallic over Nutria leather color-way and the car being from Vancouver.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 BMW 535i on eBay
E28 M5 values are continuing to climb, and examples that are good but flawed are now going for amounts that, until recently, were reserved for nearly perfect, low-mileage beauties. Many enthusiasts and publications have seen this coming for a while, but this past year has seen the largest jump yet. Today, we have two M5s that have covered a little over 150k miles – certainly not spring chickens. We’ve seen well-traveled M5s go for over $30k, but exceptional care and appearance seemed to rationalize such a high price. Both of today’s cars have their flaws, signifying that the 80s ///M appreciation is spreading far and wide.