Set inside the stunning expanse of Motorworld München, a freshly remodeled facility that was used to repair railcars a century ago, RM Sotheby’s first-ever Munich auction was electrifying even before the opening lot sold. Only the second event that our auction house has held in Germany, the city of Munich, made up of a blend of Baroque-era buildings living amidst modern architecture, played an excellent host. A connection with the automotive world is more than implied, with the spaceship-style structure of the BMW Welt and iconic cylinder-shaped “Hochhaus” headquarters not far from the auction site.
As one would expect given this connection, significant examples from the BMW brand made up the bulk of the sale. The aptly named Bavarian Legends Collection comprised 32 cars in total, telling the story of the brand’s evolution from the pre-war era to the end of the 20th century, with many hard-to-source variants accounted for. Many records were set for the values of these individual models, with 19 of 32 selling for double their low estimates, pointing to the enthusiastic hometown crowd as well as the desirability for drivable sports cars.
A 1980 BMW M1 delivered new to the head of the BMW M1 project, Jochen Neerpasch, and uniquely finished in Grey over Brown, sold for €792,500. A 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ was one of the best results of the night, selling for €578,750 against a pre-sale high estimate of €220,000. Modern “Youngtimer” examples also performed well, with an E36-generation 1997 BMW M3 Evolution—powered by a 3.2-litre six-cylinder, finished in Dakar Yellow over a Black interior, and showing a mere 2,752 kilometres—taking home the prize for exceeding expectations. The M3 sold for an astonishing €286,250, more than seven times its pre-sale high estimate. The top-selling lot for the collection was one of the headlining examples of the auction itself, a 1958 BMW 507 Roadster Series II, one of only 252 made and certified by BMW to have matching-numbers engine and chassis, which achieved an excellent €1,917,500.
For fans of the other great marques of Germany, Mercedes-Benz was also well-represented, with another “Youngtimer” icon, the 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II, selling for a strong €365,000. Recently released sporting examples were not the only stars of the show: one of the brand’s foundational examples, a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster in the style of Sindelfingen, earned an impressive €2,007,500, showing that the best pre-war models still perform well in today’s marketplace. Finally, a sincere moment of awe and generosity was experienced by all in the crowd as the audience was joined by tennis maverick Roger Federer, who offered up a one-of-a-kind 2022 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE, painted a neon-yellow shade of Electric Beam in reference to a tennis ball. With proceeds going to establish a charitable public tennis project in London, the lot sold for €212,750, all going to a good cause.
As of late, the market has shown its desire for late-model supercars, and Munich’s top-selling lots reflected this. A 2017 Ferrari F12tdf commanded a total of €1,208,750, beaten out by its even-more-scarce rival, the 2008 Lamborghini Reventón, one of a mere twenty ever made, which achieved €1,748,750. Both atop this list of supercars and the top-selling lot of the auction is perhaps the ultimate poster car, the 1991 Ferrari F40, which earned €2,311,250 for its matching-numbers body, chassis, engine, and gearbox.
After all the lots were offered, the results spoke for themselves: A total figure of €23,500,610 was sufficient to make RM Sotheby’s inaugural Munich sale the highest-grossing classic car auction in German history. With 44 countries represented in terms of bidders, it is safe to say the appeal was worldwide. Marcus Görig, RM Sotheby’s Lead Car Specialist for the German Market, summarized the outstanding showing:
“RM Sotheby’s has enjoyed an exceptional year on both sides of the Atlantic, and for us to come to Germany for only the second time and to achieve this record result is simply outstanding. There was so much excitement around this sale and the atmosphere in the room was electric. With so many bidders attending in person and joining from around the world via phones and the internet, we have delivered a result which has exceeded all our expectations.”