Rare and classic BMWs sell for ‘unexpectedly high’ prices in Munich

by Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
28 November 2022 6 min read
Rare and classic BMWs sell for ‘unexpectedly high’ prices in Munich
Photos: RM Sotheby's

As predicted, the BMW 507 was the headline act of the recent RM Sotheby’s sale in Munich, but some of the other BMWs sold for unexpectedly high prices. A BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ fetched the equivalent of £500,000, while an M1 made nearly £700,000. Even an E36 M3 Evolution fetched £250,000.

John Mayhead, editor of Hagerty Price Guide said: “This month, Hagerty has watched a few big auctions fail to achieve their expected sale rates, but the result in Munich showed that the German market, at the very least, remains robust. RM Sotheby’s put together an intelligent catalogue combining a good spread of iconic German cars, some with exceptionally low mileage. This made them doubly attractive to local purchasers who could be looking to put their money into cars as inflation rises, a trend Hagerty has seen at sales throughout the world this autumn.

How much is your car to insure? Find out in four easy steps.
Get a quote

“The most interesting lots were those that modern classics that smashed our Hagerty Price Guide top values: huge money being paid for a BMW Z1, Z8 and E36 M3 Evo. Even with ultra-low mileage, the prices were unexpectedly high and have set new benchmarks for these models.”

These are the cars we selected before the auction, with the text updated to include the final sale prices.

BMW 507 Roadster Series II

BMW 507

Sold for €1,917,500 (£1,657,000)

The BMW 507 was one of the most beautiful cars to prove a commercial flop, but this hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of the most valuable and sought-after cars of the 1950s. In 2018, a Series I Roadster with hardtop formerly owned by John Surtees sold for a record £3.8 million, while a Series II Roadster owned by the car’s designer, Count Albrecht Graf von Goertz, sold for £2.4 million in the same year.

Last month, a Series I Roadster sold for €2.1 million (£1.8 million) in Belgium, while a Series II Roadster, unused since 1979, fetched $2.3 million (£2 million) in the United States. Everything is pointing to this 1958 example fetching a tidy sum in Munich. Just 252 were built between 1956 and 1959, with Elvis Presley one of its most famous fans. We can’t help falling in love with this car, etc, etc.

BMW 700 Coupé

BMW 700 Coupe

Sold for €41,400 (£35,750)

It’s one of the most affordable cars in The Bavarian Legends Collection, but it’s also one of the most significant. Although it was based on the 600 microcar, the 700 had the benefit of timeless Michelotti styling, a monocoque body (BMW’s first), seating for four and a floor-mounted gear selector. There was a 697cc flat-twin motorcycle engine in the back, with space for luggage in the ‘frunk’.

Some 35,000 examples were built in 1960 (the year this Coupé left the factory), accounting for 58 per cent of BMW’s annual revenue. Without it, BMW may have been sold to Mercedes, changing the course of German automotive history. This example remained in the hands of its fourth owner for 37 years and, if the odometer is to be believed, it has 57km on the clock.

BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’

BMW Batmobile auction

Sold for €578,750 (£500,000)

We felt that the pre-auction estimate of £190k was a little low for an example of what’s arguably the greatest BMW of the decade. It was expected to fetch significantly more – the Hagerty Valuation Tool suggests it’s worth anything up to £410k – but it’s arguably more desirable than a seven-figure supercar.

This is the last of the 57 second series cars produced, and although by then the 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ was available in all of the BMW factory colours, Chamonix White is probably the most distinctive. Because the rear wing was illegal in Germany and some other countries, it was often shipped in the boot for the dealer to install. Imagine driving home from Munich in this. You’d go south via the Alps, wouldn’t you?



Sold for €792,500 (£686,000)

Regrets, we’ve had a few. Cars we should have kept, but are now beyond reach without access to a hedge fund. If that rings a bell, you’re in good company, because it’s something you share in common with Jochen Neerpasch, the driving force behind BMW Motorsport GmbH, more commonly known as the M Division. He was at the forefront of the M1 project (read all about it, and the Procar championship, here) which, despite being a commercial failure, was one of the most important BMWs in history.

This one-of-three Polaris Silver M1 was a gift to himself, which he used as his private car until moving to London to take up a position at International Management Group. Speaking at an RM Sotheby’s sale in October, Neerpasch said: “And this was one of my mistakes in life.” In 2015, a German dealer was asking the equivalent of £600,000 for one of the other Polaris Silver M1s…

BMW 323i

BMW 323i

Sold for €51,750 (£45,000)

In a 1978 review of the 323i, Autocar said: “BMW’s top small car is not without its faults, but it is a very enjoyable way of getting about. It will readily turn aggressive or docile according to the driver’s whim. It is more sporting than many cars with more sporting pretensions, yet it is more practical than they are into the bargain. Expensive? Yes – but [it] is bound to carve a niche for itself amongst the richish, youngish individualists”. Yuppies in the 1970s? Surely not!

Richish, youngish individualists should form an orderly queue for this 323i, which was launched, in part, in response to the arrival of the Volkswagen Golf GTI. A straight-six 2.3-litre with a manual gearbox – wunderbar.  



Sold for €207,000 (£179,000)

Both the BMW M635CSi and M6 use the same 3.5-litre straight-six engine derived from the M1 supercar. The Japanese market M6, as seen here, arrived in November 1986, and just 164 were built. It’s largely identical to the catalyst equipped European M635CSi, with just a few cosmetic changes. All were left-hand drive.

Amazingly, it has covered just 6356km, hence the punchy but realistic pre-auction estimate. The specification includes heated memory seats, electric sunroof, LM forged alloy wheels and a six-speed manual gearbox. We hope the Sony CD autochanger is filled with classics from the 1980s. Something by The Vapors, perhaps?



Sold for €92,000 (£79,500)

The Chinese collector who built up The Bavarian Legends Collection must be a fan of the BMW Z1, because he has two in his collection. We’ve chosen this one because it’s finished in Toprot. Everybody knows that Toprot BMWs are the fastest. Not that this 1989 example has been able to test that theory; at the time of cataloguing, the odometer reads just 350km.

It’s notable for its drop-down doors, but the Z1 also featured extensive use of composite materials and weight-saving bolt-on body panels. It’s a thinking person’s Pontiac Fiero, said nobody ever. At its launch in 1988, the Z1 cost the equivalent of £26,500, but punters were willing to pay significantly more to beat the waiting list. Just 8000 were built.

If you think £80,000 is a big price to pay for a BMW Z1, the other Z1 sold for €155,250 (£134,000)…


BMW M3 E30

Sold for €207,000 (£179,000)

BMW had planned to build 5000 E30 M3s for homologation purposes, but by the time production ended in 1992, some 17,970 had been sold. This was a proper BMW Motorsport car, with a four-cylinder engine chosen over a six-cylinder to save weight and improve handling. All were left-hand drive, but this didn’t prevent the M3 from becoming a legend in the UK.

This example was built in December 1988 and delivered new to Japan the following year. There are just 7133 kilometres on the odometer, which is criminally low for one of the great homologation specials of the 1980s. We’d exceed that figure by going the long way home from Munich.

BMW 850 CSi

BMW 850 CSi

Sold for €263,750 (£228,000)

Johnny Cecotto is one of a few drivers to compete at the highest level in motorcycle and car racing. The Venezuelan racing driver racked up many victories in DTM, with BMW honouring his achievements by launching the Johnny Cecotto Edition E30 M3. A total of 480 were built, with survivors commanding a six-figure fee.

You’ll need similarly deep pockets to secure this BMW 850 CSi. It’s not an 850 Johnny Cecotto Edition – because BMW didn’t build one – but it was owned by the man himself. It was designated as a development vehicle by BMW and was used by the manufacturer until 1993, when it was sold to Cecotto and exported to Venezuela. 

BMW 3 Series Touring Car

BMW 3 Series Touring Car

Sold for €143,750 (£124,000)

There is so much to love about this ex-Team Isert 3-series Touring Car. The period GoldenEye decals. The famous Fina livery. Steve Soper’s name on the doors and windows. And the ambers. We can’t forget the ambers.

The car was delivered to Team Isert in May 1993, but it didn’t compete that year. For the following season, the team took delivery of three new BMWs to campaign in the Super Tourenwagen Cup, so this car was exported to Japan. There’s no record of the car competing in a race, but it would be easy to change that.



Sold for €410,000 (£354,000)

From a 3-series with GoldenEye decals to a car that appeared in The World Is Not Enough. The Z8 was greeted with a mixed reception when it arrived in 2000, but almost everyone will agree that it has aged beautifully. A wonderful homage to the 507 and a welcome tonic to BMW’s current design language.

As James Mills discovered earlier this year, it’s far from perfect, but playing with the 5.0-litre V8 from the E39 M5 will never be a chore. RM Sotheby’s believes this example was used for motor shows and press demonstrations, although with just 111 kilometres on the clock, few journos got the opportunity to enjoy it.



Sold for €325,625 (£281,500)

The pre-auction estimate of £25,500 to £42,500 for this 2003 M3 CSL looked extremely pessimistic. Last year, a 2004 example with 2657 miles on the clock sold for a penny over £120,000, while even a 78,000-kilometre example fetched €71,300 (£62,000). This car has covered just 4698 kilometres, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see it sell for a six-figure sum.

To focus on the 360bhp 3.2-litre straight-six engine, zero to 60mph time of 4.2 seconds and 1475kg kerb weight would be to miss the point of the Coupé Sport Leichtbau. Few cars feel as engaging and tactile as an M3 CSL. In 2003, Richard Meaden said “nothing this side of a McLaren F1 possesses such an awe-inspiring induction noise”. Two decades on, little has changed.

Other BMWs from the Bavarian Legends Collection

  • 1938 BMW 328 Roadster: sold for €511,250 (£442,000)
  • 1997 BMW M3 Evolution: €286,250 (£247,000)
  • 1936 BMW 319/1 Roadster: €201,250 (£174,000)
  • 1985 BMW 745i: €201,250 (£174,000)
  • 1934 BMW 315/1 Roadster: €189,759 (£164,000)
  • 1989 BMW Z1: €155,250 (£134,000)
  • 1972 BMW 2002 Cabriolet: €138,000 (£119,000)
  • 1972 BMW 3.0 CSi: €132,250 (£114,000)
  • 1983 BMW 6 Series ‘Show Car’: €80,500 (£70,000)
  • 1959 BMW 502 3.2 Super: €62,250 (£54,000)
  • 1959 BMW Isetta 250: €59,800 (£52,000)
  • 1959 BMW 502 3.2 Super: €40,250 (£35,000)
  • 1976 BMW 528: €32,200 (£28,000)

Read more

What, exactly, is a BMW 3.0 CSL?
BMW M4 CSL: Heavyweight sports car brings back lightweight name
Our Classics: 2003 BMW M3 E46 | The search for tyres is successful!

You may also like

8 Things to Know Now the Audi R8 Era is Over
Restored vs. Preserved: Two Distinct Daytonas Yield a Similar Outcome
BMW’s Second Neue Klasse Concept Previews SUV Adaptation
BMW’s Second Neue Klasse Concept Previews SUV Adaptation
A story about

Your biweekly dose of car news from Hagerty in your inbox


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More on this topic
Hagerty Newsletter
Get your weekly dose of car news from Hagerty UK in your inbox

Thanks for signing up!

Your request will be handled as soon as possible