You may be partially correct re: E36 M3 values, but I still ascribe to the “wave theory” I posted previously. I think there is a great deal of emotion involved when someone posts a bid during the closing minutes of any auction, as much as we’d like to believe our decisions are based totally on cold, hard market facts and calculations. This is especially true if the car in question seems of higher overall quality and caliber, regardless of make and model. If two motivated bidders are “in the room” at the end, the ceiling on logic can be breached….easily. It’s entirely possible to pay “too much” for a car, and this is proven every day on BaT. This is especially true if the final bidders have spent the previous seven days listening to predominantly positive, and often glowing, praise for the car itself. Such is the inherent nature of the auctions business. It’s a very different dynamic when a single buyer is standing on a used car lot, listening to the pitch from a skilled salesman. That latter buyer has also had the incredibly important advantage of having actually seen, and driven, the car in question. That is almost never the case during a BaT auction. Final decisions are based on a bunch of pics, maybe a shaky, hand-held video, a brief narrative (apparently composed by BaT, not the Seller), and a LOT of commentary from the oft-described “Peanut Gallery”, most of whom have no intention of ever placing a bid.
I said earlier that it might be time to let the E36 M3 market settle for awhile. Those who were seriously in the market for a really nice one have already shown their cards, and were willing to pay a premium price to buy that ride (myself among them). There will always be plenty of folks who say they really want a nice E36, but will never be willing to pay the extra $$ that such a car might well deserve. They will forever be looking to “steal” the car of their dreams, and will likely be forever frustrated. This does NOT mean that all E36’s are now somehow overpriced, or that the “market is non-existent”. It simply means that the market for such cars is relatively narrow, and discriminating. Sellers of such cars may have to be more patient to achieve the sale they want, and that is why a healthy Reserve may make a lot of sense in such cases. Right now, given the recent history of E36 RNM’s here on BaT, I wouldn’t even consider putting my M3 up for sale at “No Reserve”. The market for these M3’s on this particular venue has apparently dried up, at least for the moment.
If you look at all 2019 auctions to date for E36 M3’s, you will see five straight sales in January, ranging from $14,250 to $19,250 (excluding BaT buyer’s fees), followed by three consecutive RNM’s ranging from $5,700 to $10,250. Things got very hot in February, with four straight strong sales, from $15,250 to $31,000, for an average sale price of $22,563! But lately, we’ve had four straight RNM’s ranging from $8,100 to $12,500, for an average of just $9,525. So, tell me. Just what is an E36 M3 worth? Seems to me it depends on a lot of factors, first of all being the perceived overall quality of the car, its group of features and options, and its ownership history.
To me, if a Seller has a nice car, and he/she takes the time to present it well, responds quickly to serious questions by bidders, and is patient (i.e. is willing to accept a RNM for a car with a properly-set Reserve), a high-quality E36 M3 will be worth the premiums that a few of us have been willing to pay. They aren’t all worth just $14,000, or less. As ever, a car’s value is set by the number a Buyer is willing to pay, plain and simple.