As you're no doubt aware, BMW celebrated its 100th birthday on March 7th. While the marque has built quite a few cars worthy of any collector's investment, the true beauty of an older Bimmer lies in the ease with which you can keep an inexpensive model running seemingly forever. Case in point: these five BMWs are all for sale right now, all for $10,000 or less, and all have that little special something about them that makes the difference between an old car and a classic. Get your checkbook out -- or hide it! -- some of these are no-brainers.
The 2002 is more than merely the ultimate expression of BMW's "New Class" car that saved the company in the 1960s. Sitting at the very forefront of the sport sedan movement, in many respects it's ground zero for so many of the cars on the road today. This one's not perfect but it's pretty damn close, which is actually a good thing because driving it won't trash its value.
BMW's iconic "shark nose" grand tourer has aged about as gracefully as any car from the '80s, possibly excepting a couple of supercars. The big two-door is the ultimate highway cruiser, and this particular model has less than 110,000 miles on the clock. Outside of some worn leather, it's about as clean a 32-year-old car as you'll find.
Go ahead, I'll wait while you try to find a nicer third-generation 5 Series BMW. It's from one of BMW's golden eras, and it's remarkably gorgeous inside and out. It's a good bet for a solid daily driver for years to come.
Here's a car for the purists among you. It has a four cylinder instead of the straight six that came in the 325, so it's actually the most balanced E30 you can buy shy of an M3, which would run you about four times as much. More importantly, check out the condition it's in. The word survivor comes to mind -- that's the factory paint, and the interior is just as clean.
Even among BMW's most hardcore enthusiasts, a healthy debate rages as to which was the better car: the E30 M3 or its E36 successor. Debate notwithstanding, you're looking at an original and well-kept example for less than $10,000 -- there's almost no chance that value drops, so at worst you drive the car rent-free for a few years.
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