Market and auctions

RM Munich. Crazy offers

Cliff Goodall’s view

Photo credit: RM Sotheby’s

The second RM Auction in Germany held in Munich on 26th November, can be divided into two parts: 36 cars (of which 5 without reserve) of various brands and origins, estimated at a total of €17,330,000 ($17,980,000) and the second part, 30 cars, 27 BMWs, 2 Minis and a Rolls-Royce, all from the same collection – I wouldn’t stake my reputation on it but it looked very much like the BMW Museum – and all without reserve. 

Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation

If the result of the first part was an excellent 80.55% of lots sold and over 90% in value (€15,604,825), the second part can only be defined as truly unbelievable. Conservatively estimated at €4,185,000 ($4,342,450), the cars went for a total of €7,604,425 ($7,890,500), equivalent to 181.70%! We haven’t seen a frenzy of offers like this since the Duemila Ruote sale in Milan, in 2016.

Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation

Despite the small number of cars, the case studies were remarkable, starting with the first batch offered: a Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC AMG 6.0 from 1990. Owned by the same collector for over twenty years, it was the perfect example of a Youngtimer, with its brazen lines and pumped-up engine. Until recently, these cars set records from week to week, then there was a break, so the estimate of €60,000-€90,000 was correct. But the room thought differently and the prices resumed their charge: sold for €117,600 ($122,055) almost double the minimum estimate.

1990 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC AMG 6.0 sold for €117,300 ($122,055)

What has never stopped advancing is the price of the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-15 Evo 2. The dream of every fan of the golden age of DTM racing, RM offered a 1990 example with 36,300 km on the clock and the typical (and “menacing”) black livery. Some context: in March, an example sold for €190,000 setting a new record but the one for sale at RM went much further. Estimated at €225,000-€275,000. Does that sound like a lot? NO! €365,000 ($379,800), an absolute record.

1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II sold for €365,000 ($379,800)

After the blaze of Pebble Beach, prices of the Ferrari F40 appear to have stabilized somewhat but the 1991 example for sale at Munich came with an estimate of €2.3m-€2.6m, more than justified by having travelled just 9,400 km and having over €100,000 of work carried out on it over the last two years. The final price of €2,311,250 ($2,404,950) made it the Top Lot of the day.

1991 Ferrari F40 sold for €2,311,250 ($2,404,950)

If the F40 kept the flag flying for at the very highest levels, a 328 GTS from 1989 sold in Germany in the same year with just 3,322 km on the clock, requiring a complete overhaul and estimated at €90,000-€140,000, changed hands for €184,000 (€191,450). A record for a physical auction.

1989 Ferrari 328 GTS sold for €184,000 (€191,450)

Not everything shone at the event: a very beautiful Porsche Carrera GT from 2005 with 35,000 km on the clock, came with an estimate of €1.1m -€1.5m but got no further than €1,062,500 ($1,105,575) – far from the prices of the beginning of the year. Worth following.

2005 Porsche Carrera GT sold for €1,062,500 ($1,105,575)

Before switching to BMWs, a couple of cars that struck me.

The first was the 1969 Dino 206 GT in need of a complete restoration, which once belonged to the famous driver and journalist, Alain de Cadenet: estimated at €150,000-€200,000, its new owner took it home for €303,125 ($315,415). If we consider the same amount for the restoration, we exceed the current quotations that are close to half a million. But then, in perfect condition, how far could this one go?

1969 Ferrari Dino 206 GT sold for €303,125 ($315,415)

The other car that caught my attention was a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster in the style of Sindelfingen that was originally built as a 540K Cabriolet B and later (between 2004 and 2006) converted as we see it today. In 2015, this same car was auctioned by Artcurial with an estimate of €2m-€3m but it returned to its owner. After seven years, estimated at €1.2m-€1.6m, it managed to reach €2,007,500 ($2,088,885). Here it’s almost as if nothing had changed.

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster sold for €2,007,500 ($2,088,885)

Let’s turn our attention to the BMWs. There were two characteristics that united this sale with the Duemila Ruote collection a few years ago: the low estimates of many lots and the scarcity of information on the vehicles.

A typical example was the 1999 BMW Z8. Now the strange thing here was the year of production. We know that this model was officially presented in January 2000, yet a quick read of the description indicated that it had been built on 17th June 1999 (over six months before!). What’s more, the chassis number placed it among the first twenty produced and there was a vague reference to it “possibly participating in some motor shows” with just 111 km to its credit… The estimate of €150,000-€200,000 reflected this missing information. When the market placed an offer for €410,000 or $426,620 (unsurprisingly setting a new record) it appeared that someone in the room had sensed something more.

1999 BMW Z8 sold for €410,000 ($426,620)

The final BMW 3.0 CSL produced in 1975 in the iconic Chamonix White livery with less than 37,000 km on the clock and all documentation came with a very low estimate of €180,000-€220,000, but the final price of €578,750 ($602,210) compared to €262,000 ($271,855) of the previous record, was difficult to comprehend.

1975 BMW 3.0 CSL sold for €578,750 ($602,210)

A world record was also set for a BMW Z1 with just 61 km on the clock from new. The estimate was incomprehensible: €30,000-€50,000 when last year a similar example went for more than €100,000. The market paid €155,250 ($161,545) for it.

1989 BMW Z1 sold for €155,250 ($161,545)

The M3 also destroyed its estimates (once again too low). The M3 E30 with 7,133 km on the clock came with an estimate of €45,000-€65,000 – when a normal specimen is now quoted at over €80,000. Sold for €207,000 ($215,390). 

1989 BMW M3 sold for €207,000 ($215,390)

For someone in the room, the M3 E46 CSL with 4,698 km on the clock, estimated at €30,000-€50,000 was worth €325,625. Even the M3 E36 Sport Evolution with 2,752 km to its credit could not be worth the €20,000-€40,000 the experts placed it at – also in this case very low. Sold for €286,250 ($338,825).

2003 BMW M3 CSL sold for €325,625 ($338,825)

At this point, the question was: even if the estimates were very low, did the euphoria in the room take the prices too high? Maybe it did but finding other examples in the same condition is not easy.

The craziest price paid for a BMW? The 1985 745i Saloon was one of the few cars whose estimate of €30,000-€40,000 was optimistic even imagining that it was hiding something. So you can understand my amazement when the price arrived at €201,250 ($209,400)! Were there gold bars hidden in the false floor, perhaps?

1985 BMW 745i sold for €201,250 ($209,400)