2002 BMW M3: Buying a Used Classic
June 19, 2008
As I drove our long-term M3 last week with the windows down and sunroof back, I reveled in the luscious engine sounds amidst a beautiful Southern California day. As I pulled into the Edmunds garage and briefly considered going back out just for the hell of it, it dawned on me how much of a wise buying decision this M3 was. Here is a car that with the right care will be a classic someday, a car that is more fun at six years old than most cars are at mile 1 -- and we bought it for less than 30 large.
In between spouts of doing actual work (if you can really call what I do "work"), one of my favorite diversions is to trawl eBay motors for used cars that fit into the M3's bargain future classic category. I'll spend time looking at mid-80s Porsche 911s or first-gen Boxsters, or checking out BMW M Coupes or old Aston Martins (not so much bargains here). I'm not sure why I think it's fun, maybe it's my great desire to have a Leno-sized garage someday...
However, after buying what I think of as my own future classic, I've realized a good tip for buying one. Find one with an old year and low miles, one that could be described as a toy rather than day-to-day transportation. This not only increases the chances of you buying someone's well-treated baby, but the way auto pricing works, the older year ensures a lower price despite mileage. Our M3 doesn't quite match this, but I certainly hope we keep this in mind when we start to search for a pre-loved replacement for the Ferrari. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to wasting time on eBay motors.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor