I'll be the first to admit that driving my BMW makes me quite smug. Not for the fact that it is a BMW (which, ironically, stands for Better Man Wins) and I am thus better than the average person. No, that's not considered smug because it is a statistically proven fact.

My BMW makes me smug because it was a very smart buy. I picked up my excellent 2001 E39 M5, for just $9,000 with 129k mile. I'm wagering that the E39 M5 is currently in the depreciation trough.

The depreciation trough is a period of 2-3 years when a vehicle bottoms out in prices before creeping back up. Often associated with modern classics, the trough is the only time "investing in a vehicle" is uttered by people who don't sell those pyramid scheme energy drinks.

The depreciation trough is a phenomenon that only happens to a lucky few cars. Unfortunately, your 2001 Explorer which you picked up for $2,200 last year is not in the trough. Next year it'll be worth a new Blackberry or a six-pack of tallboys. If you're lucky, they'll be Blue Moon tallboys which isn't even a craft beer so stop acting like you have good taste.

To have what it takes to experience this phenomenon, a car must be:

  1. Somewhat Rare. The '01 Mustang GT is a damn good car, but every hairdresser is Winter Park, Florida has one. It doesn't need to be a unicorn, but if there's two or more in your apartment complex, you're on the wrong track.
  2. Desireable. The Suzuki Verona satisfies requirement 1, but don't re-mortgage your home to invest in Veronas anytime soon.
  3. Enthusiast Following: The Acura SLX technically satisfies both of those requirements, but there's no SLX owner's club clamoring for clean, used boxes and paying too much for said boxes.

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That's not to say other cars won't bottom out in prices. It just may take them 30 years to do so. What other cars are currently in the trough?

(Yes, I understand Tavarish got his garbage troll M5 for less than half that price, but mine did not require Joan Rivers levels of cosmetic procedures to look presentable.)