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From Family cars, 4×4’s, to Supercars Buy Them Now, Thank Yourself (& BespokeCarBroker) Later 

Maybe you are buying your first car, tired of the one you are currently driving or looking to build your own car collection (look here for inspiration). Either way, buying a car is a daunting task, and it gets even worse when you learn that the minute you drive your new car off the lot you just lost 30-40% of your money.

So, do you buy a car second hand that has already depreciated from a unvetted, hungry, beady-eyed used car salesmen? Take that hand-me-down beater from your aunt’s equally unvetted boyfriend? No, turn to Bespoke Car Broker for our first ever TOP 10 BEST CARS TO BUY NOW list. Not every older car will appreciate over your ownership, but the ones on this list are the culmination of over 10 years of market research learned first hand so you don’t have to worry about losing money on your car but instead will come out a little greener than when you came in.

Let’s drive right in with the first car on our TOP 10 BEST CARS TO BUY NOW list:

BMW E46 M3

BMW E46 M3 Best car to buy 2020
2003.5 BMW E46 M3, Best car to buy 2020

Known to many as the best M3 ever made, and has resulted in an increased value of 46% over the past 3 years. That’s why it earned the first spot on our TOP 10 BEST CARS TO BUY NOW list. All due respect to the first golden era M3, the E30 M3. That was the patriarch, the trailblazer, the one who’s hard work culminated in the E46 M3; the last golden era M3 to be made. The M3’s to follow the E46 were bigger and heavier and also were prone to land you in the clink if you got into 4th gear.

The E46 was balanced perfectly in terms of performance and aesthetics. I would avoid the SMG gearbox in lieu of the bolt-action 6 speed dogleg. The SMG had issues, primarily for being the limp-wristed driver’s choice. If you want an M-car, do it right and get a manual. If you want to get on a real hunt, look for originally painted Laguna Seca blue, Phoenix yellow, or Oxford green cars. A low mile, Laguna Seca blue, example sold on Bring a Trailer last year for $90,000[4] if you don’t believe me

Porsche 996 911 (GT2*)

Porsche 996 911 Best car to buy 2020
2002 Porsche 996 911, Best car to buy 2020

The 996 911 was the first model to be water-cooled over the original air-cooled Porsche 911’s of old. This was a turning point for the marque, one that a lot of enthusiasts were disapproving of. They did not like the “fried egg” headlights, the size over the previous 993 911 and expressed an overall dismay at the interior. Despite this the 996 has begun to get the praise and appreciation it deserves because of something I call Car-inflation. That is when one model or generation gets so sought after that people will go to the next best thing because it’s what they can obtain. The other 911’s have exploded and now the 996 is coming out swinging.

The GT2 was a sub 4 second to 60mph car, and would top out at 198mph.[8] The GT2 is still quite pricey but the Carrera models are very affordable, right around 10k if you look hard enough. It has also gained 15% in the last 2 years. If the headlights really are an issue look for a 996.2 911, it had sharper lines around the eyes. Always a safe investment bet is Turbo 911, which the 996 Turbo increased another 15% over the Carrera during the same period of time. You can grab a Turbo for under $50k; a GT3 for $70k. Every other Porsche bearing those same monikers would set you back an additional 50k. Two 996’s or one 993??

Porsche 914 (914/6*)

Porsche 914 Best car to buy 2020
1975 Porsche 914, Best car to buy 2020

The Porsche 914 was originally produced jointly by VW and Porsche, and that made a lot of people scough at the rear engined targa. The 914/6 was not much less than the 911 at the time so they only sold 3332[13] examples. Now, however, the same VW DNA is what people love about the 914, because VW parts carry VW prices. Not to say this is a rebadged VW Karmen Ghia. VW motor aside, the 914 is more 911 than anything else. So drivers began to be drawn to the cars, because you could own it and make a profit or at least break even with your cost of maintenance.

The main reason this car is on our TOP 10 BEST CARS TO BUY NOW, is because in the last 3 years, the unmolested concours cars have broken well into the 6 figures, a spike of 40%11 to 100%.[14] My advice would be to try to get a 914/6 first and get it restored slowly, or find a respectable 914 and do what Ferdinand Porsche intended and drive the hell out of it and still turn a respectable profit. The 914 pictured above sold for $93 grand[15]

Toyota MR2 MKI[16] (Supercharged*)

Toyota MR2 Best car to buy 2020
1987 Toyota MR2, Best car to buy 2020

The MR2 was a fan favorite when it debuted in 1984. It was affordable, lively, and reliable. As the years went on Toyota added a supercharger to the factory named W10 and the performance figures went up 44% and the “Mister two” as Car and Driver referred to it became “Superman two.” Now the MKI lightweight is punching well above its weight-class. It has increased 42%[20] in value in just over 2 years. This is due largely to unabashed 80’s styling and the home the MR2 has found with millennials, they make up over 50%[21] of the insurance quotes on the budding classic. Expect this W10 or namesake the W20 on our TOP 10 BEST CARS TO BUY NOW list next year

Toyota 4Runner N60 (Turbo*)

Toyota 4Runner Best car to buy 2020
1986 Toyota 4Runner, Best car to buy 2020

The first generation of the 4Runner was introduced in 1984 and will always hold a sacred place in the hearts of enthusiasts, not just lovers of classic Toyota’s. With it’s graphics, trapezoid windows, and muscular hunches, what wasn’t there to like. The second year offered direct injection and increased power of 16%. You could remove the fiberglass top for sunny days, work your way through the manual transmission as you climb literal mountains or prowl urban streets.

It was quite lethargic, not anymore than it’s competition, but no concrete performance figures could be obtained. However, I think that speaks to the point of this truck. It was not a performance built car but a car built to perform. As tempting as it may be, avoid the more powerful, less reliable, V6 and hunt for a turbo or turbo diesel. The N60 4Runner has increased over 30% the last year, and the turbo command an additional 15%. This gives it the second place appreciating SUV’s and a firm spot on our TOP 10 BEST CARS TO BUY NOW

Toyota FJ60/62 Land Cruiser

Toyota Land Cruiser Best car to buy 2020
1989 Toyota Land Cruiser, Best car to buy 2020

Now, if you’re paying attention, you can see an increase in interest for OG Toyota’s, and the Land Cruiser is as original as it gets. There really isn’t a bad year for the Land Cruiser. I firmly believe every generation will have it’s time to shine and the R.O.I. to show for it. The first generation has become an icon and if interested see the one we have for sale here.

The second gen FJ60/62 is getting a lot of love among the masses due to Car-inflation. A bit thirsty on civilized roads, the FJ60 truly shines on the roads less traveled. Millennials and GenX’s makeup almost all the insurance quotes according to Hagerty, with over 90% of the market. Because of that this classic brute will be on the TOP 10 BEST CARS TO BUY NOW for the foreseeable future as their interest will spread like wildfire.

BMW M-Roadster

BMW M Roadster Best car to buy 2020
2002 BMW M Roadster, Best car to buy 2020
  • 1998-2002
  • 3.2 liter inline straight 6
  • 240[30] – 315 hp / 236 – 269 ft-lb of torque
  • 0-60 in 4.7 – 5.2 seconds
  • Then $45,000
  • Now $15,000-$50,000[31]

The BMW M roadster, or E36/7 as BMW coded it, has always flown under the radar for decades and I’m not sure why. It may be in part to the base Z3 being produced to get a slice of the Mazda Miata’s pie or that the base model and it share 99% of their styling DNA. But it’s the things you can’t see that make this top down tourer so special. Like the slew of BMW M3 parts and the glorious S52 motor it has shoehorned into it’s Bavarian body.

With the hardtop version, M coupe, being called the most beautiful coupe of the 90’s and it’s meteoric rise in value, the M Roadster is finally stepping out of the shadows and on to the TOP 10 BEST CARS TO BUY NOW list. I would recommend getting a 2001 or 2002 year car. It had the S54, 75 hp+ swan song over the freshman and sophomore years and is worth about 10k more on average. By and large, every condition of the M Roadster has increased 30%-50%[32] in the last 2 years. It is not as valuable with an automatic transmission like the other M-car on the list; or like every other car in general… just learn to drive stick, damn it!

International Harvester Scout

International Scout Best car to buy 2020
1980 International Scout, Best car to buy 2020

As you can tell, classic 4×4’s are all the rage. They have been for years and I don’t believe they will ever go out anywhere but up. Models like the Toyota Land Cruiser mentioned above and the Ford Bronco mentioned below (SPOILER ALERT!!!), along with Land Rover Defenders hold the top spot but a few models haven’t popped yet. This is one that can still be found relatively cheap in good, unrusted condition.

They came with a host of options and accessories when new in an attempt to stay relevant against the competition so every Scout rolled off the line different than the last. Unlike the Suzuki Samurai or Nissan Patrol, which are dirt cheap and deserve just as much credit, an American made 4×4 will always have an appreciative, coercible market as was the case for the Chevy Blazer. The Blazer came into fashion the last couple of years and I bet the International Scout will be the next on the rise.

Ferrari 456/456M

Ferrari 456 Best car to buy 2020
1999 Ferrari 456, Best car to buy 2020

The last pop-up headlight Ferrari ever made, the 456 was also the first modern Ferrari to revert to the front-engine, rear wheel drive setup. This was a 2+2 Ferrari that had quite a large amount of resistance against. It was dubbed “Dad’s Ferrari” when new but now the 456 is being called the “Forgotten Ferrari.” As is the case with most classics, the things that made them different is what makes them valuable down the road. The Sultan of Brunei got his hands on the most unique 456’s, which included coach built 4 door sedan and wagon versions from the factory in Maranello (check our write up on the Sultan’s collection here).

Ben Clymer, the founder of Hodinkee (about the best Watch editorial on the planet) owns one and praises it by saying in an interview “It is very, very understated and it is largely forgotten, which is what I love about it.” All the other siblings of the 456/456M are worth about twice as much, making it akin to the Porsche 996 911 we discussed earlier. With less than 3300 of these Ferrari’s made, the smart money is on one with a gated shifter; only 10% or so were adorned with a 6-speed manual gearbox. As all other Ferrari’s make their way well into six-figures the 456 will probably be the only prancing horse on our TOP 10 BEST CARS TO BUY NOW

Ford Bronco Second Generation

Ford Bronco Best car to buy 2020
1979 Ford Bronco, Best car to buy 2020

The shortest run of any Bronco generation, the second gen Bronco only offered V8’s and 3 door, removable-top, body style unlike the years before and after. That makes it ideal for an investment and why it is the most appreciated SUV on the TOP 10 BEST CARS TO BUY NOW. This big boy shared a frame and DNA with contemporary F-Series pickups so it was not held in high regard for many years but has seen a 40% increase in the last 18 months alone.

Parts are everywhere and any mechanic can work on a Ford. With Ford bringing back the Bronco for 2021, all generations (Maybe not the bland 4th generation) will see a surge in price so there will likely be another Bronco on our TOP 10 BEST CARS TO BUY NOW list in years to come. Hagerty agrees as they mention getting a third generation[43] before it does what the second generation is currently doing. I say strike while the iron is hot



Follow William Mayer:

Writer/Founder of Bespoke Car Broker

I have been traveling the world, finding, importing and restoring classic cars for over a decade. I've gone from New York to Namibia, eager to explore different cultures and hunt for rare classic cars. I believe the best way to get to know a place is to drive it. I graduated from The New School, Eugene Lang with a degree in Literature and History. What you just read is an outlet, and rationalization, for my obsession. -W.M.