Our Favorite BMWs Headed to Auction in Monterey

The best Bimmers hitting the auction block during Car Week 2016

Like cars from Porsche and Mercedes, vintage BMWs are in the midst of a value upheaval, as Bimmers from the 1970s and 1980s begin to worm their way into significant automotive collections around the world. This year's bout of Car Week auctions are no different, and feature a veritable treasure trove of BMWs to pick from. Here are a few of our favorites crossing the auction block in Monterey.

1939 BMW 328

Don't think the 1939 328 is the long-removed predecessor to your 3-Series. The 328 from the pre-war era was a shapely roadster that was highly successful in motorsport competition, setting the precedent for BMW's future in performance and sports cars.

Underneath the sculpted bodywork beats BMW's 2.0-liter inline-six engine, churning out 80 hp. This was enough gumption to help the 328 claim 1-2-3 finishes at the 1938 Mille Miglia, GP des Frontieres, and a first-place finish at the Eifelrennen Nurburgring.

This particular 328 doesn't carry much detail ownership history before the late 1980s, when it began to pop up at historical race events around the nation. Now, the car has competition docket a mile-wide, with participation history stretching over 25 years.

This 1939 BMW 328 is expected to sell at RM Sotheby's Pebble Beach sale for $700,000 - $900,000.

1981 BMW M1

Born from a failed partnership between the German automaker and Lamborghini, the BMW M1 was a bumpy point in BMW's history. While the car is now considered close to a masterpiece, the M1 was contemporarily regarded as a stillborn homologation project that never reached its full potential.

After financial issues with the Lambo/BMW partnership reached a zenith, BMW took its designs and finished work on the M1 supercar. Initially, the M1 was developed as a homologation model to create a competitive race car, culminating in the M1 Procar one-make series, where Group 4-spec M1s competed. Eventually, the M1 bled out into the surround world of motorsports for brief competition on the Nurburgring.

While racers were busy with the M1 Procars, the lucky 399 who took delivery of the street-spec M1 were enjoying the car on public roads. A mid-mounted 3.5-liter inline-six engine was good for 277 hp, propelling the Giugiaro-penned wedge bodywork to a top speed of 162 mph.

This '81 example has lived a privileged and cushy life thus far. After remaining at the Italian BMW dealer that commissioned it from the automaker, the car traveled to Japan, where it remained for 30 years. Now, just 12,838 miles reside on the odometer, making this a very well-preserved and clean example.

RM Sotheby's predicts a buyer will pony-up $450,000 - $600,000.

1957 BMW 507 Roadster Series I

Retaining its status as one of the most gorgeous and timeless designs to come from the Bavarian automaker, the 507 was a financial disaster for the company when it finally hit public markets in 1956.

Initially devised as a more affordable alternative to Mercedes' 300SL roadster, the 507 was designed to be priced between the Mercedes and roadsters like the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider and Triumph TR3. Before the 507 was released to the public, the car was to wear a $5,000 price tag. Production and development problems arose, and the price doubled, eventually reaching up t $10,500 in the U.S. Sales were dismal, with just 252 cars sold after three years of production closed in 1959.

Failures aside, this is a seriously handsome car. The sumptuous profile attracted a few stars into the drivers seat, including Elvis himself. Each 507 is powered by a 3.2-liter V-8 engine pulled from the larger 503 sedan, producing 145 hp, allowing a top speed of 123 - 135 mph, depending on gearing ratio.

This sea-green 507 has remained under the care of one owner for 51 years, and this will be the first time this car will see public sale. The current owner, who acquired the roadster in 2014, added the wonderfully original Rudge knock-off wheels, contrasting well with the black hardtop. While this car was no garage queen, it was driven quite sparingly, seeing just 45,360 miles over 60 years.

Pick up this 1957 BMW 507 Roadster from RM Sotheby's for an estimated $2,400,000 - $2,700,000.

1988 BMW M5

Before the advent of the modern super sports sedan, there was the original BMW E28 M5. The formula was simple; take a big, powerful engine, shoehorn it under the front hood of a basic executive's sedan, and cram a host of go-fast hardware onto the car's chassis.

Powertrain-wise, the E28 M5 has a diamond in the engine bay. To create its first four-door worldbeater, BMW used a lightly detuned variant of the 3.5-liter inline-six used in the M1 supercar. 256 hp was sent to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission, allowing a 0-60 time of right around six seconds and a top speed of 155 mph, an impressive figure during an era of family saloons that struggled to crack 60 mph in under ten seconds.

Big disc brakes and a fully independent suspension populated all-four corners, while a host of subtle visual accents were scattered around the exterior.

Nothing is particularly noteworthy about this M5's life, save for a recent mechanical refresh that totaled $13,000. Bonhams is hoping for a sale price of $50,000 - $75,000.

1990 BMW Z1

Here's a BMW we unfortunately never got Stateside. We were privy to the later Z3 and Z4 roadsters, but the Z1 was a car we could only tearfully watch from afar. If you were like us, and wanted one of these wacky drop-tops for yourself, Bonhams offers a mint-condition Z1 at its upcoming Quail auction.

Built on the reliable and well-sorted bones of the BMW E30 3-Series, the Z1 was an instant hit before it even hit dealer lots in 1988. A 2.5-liter inline-six engine provided the motivation, with 168 hp and 164 lb-ft of torque routed to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. This was plenty of power for a relatively light car, tipping the scales at just 2,760 pounds.

It's not the drivetrain or the driving dynamics that set the Z1 apart, however. The roadster was designed with a very strange construction format, involving removable plastic body panels mounted over the central "skeleton." The doors were famously unconventional, sliding down and disappearing into the bodywork when activated.

This Z1 was ordered new by a dealer in 1990, and remained on the showfloor for 20 years, accruing just 22 miles over the past 26 years. If you want a factory-fresh Z1, Bonhams predicts a sale price of $50,000 - $100,000.

1974 BMW 2002 Turbo

If you want to trace the roots of BMW's M-division all the way back to the source, start with the BMW 2002 Turbo.  While the regular 2002 Tii was renowned for its sporting character and immense tossability, the 2002 Turbo took outright performance seriously, and served as one of the first turbocharged performance cars to be offered to the buying public.

Wearing the correct shade of white, this 2002 Turbo is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, producing a very impressive 170 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. Performance was strong, with 0-60 times arriving around 7.5 seconds, and a top speed around 130 mph.

Make sure to stop by Russo and Steele's Monterey sale if you want to nab this 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo.

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