Bernhard, thanks so much for talking with us today. Firstly, could you please tell us how Movendi started?
Movendi was founded in Cologne in 1999. In 2006, the opportunity arose for me to acquire the well-established company, allowing my dream of self-employment to become a reality. At the time, I had more than 10 years of experience in the luxury segment, including at the renowned Auto Becker in Düsseldorf. The location in the former Meilenwerk - today Classic Remise - in Düsseldorf was the perfect starting point for us to permanently offer a portfolio of more than 50 vehicles.
Which type of cars do you specialise in?
First and foremost, we concentrate on historic vehicles, regardless of the era, which have a traceable provenance and are as unrestored as possible. The authenticity and originality of these unique classics is the top priority for both our customers and for me. Our portfolio always features great rarities from European manufacturers that are rarely ever offered on the market, such as the Maserati A6G recently featured on Classic Driver. We’re just as fascinated by a London to Brighton vehicle as a Le Mans race car or the other icons of automotive history.
You have an amazing facility, could you tell us more about Movendi’s headquarters?
The heritage-listed, lovingly restored roundhouse for locomotives from 1932 offers a spectacular combination of historic foundations and modern architecture. It’s the perfect setting for our cars, and thanks to our unique ceiling construction, the natural beauty of these vehicles can be fully appreciated under daylight. Further suppliers around the theme of automobiles as well as gastronomy and events complete the spectrum of services we offer here. We are also very pleased that the Classic Remise has become one of the most important sights in Düsseldorf and thus also attracts many international visitors.
What are the most impressive cars you’ve sold since you started in 1999?
Many unique and special vehicles have passed through our hands since Movendi was founded. Since every car has its individual charm and the value of a vehicle does not necessarily express its exclusivity or specificity, I can’t pick a single one. Certainly, for example, the world´s oldest Iso, as well as a Mercedes 770K and a one-off Porsche Glöckler are worth mentioning. Some of the more valuable cars include an Aston Martin DB4 GT or Ferrari's "Big Five", but individual cars have their own special charm, the emotions they offer the collector are more important than their values.
Which are your three favourite cars in stock at the moment and why?
One of the cars in our portfolio that currently inspires me most is a Porsche 962, a three-time Le Mans car that even became second overall winner in 1987, which is fortunately still an authentic and unrestored original vehicle. Furthermore, we currently have two BMW 507 Roadsters of the first and second series, as well as their direct competitor, a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster. Another highlight is an original Ferrari 250 GT California Spider.
What has changed most in the collector car space in the last two decades?
About 10 to 20 years ago, we sold many classics to real enthusiasts who might have fulfilled their childhood dream or wanted to complete their collection. They were petrol heads who were looking for a car for special occasions. These include events such as Mille Miglia, Le Mans Classic, Goodwood or the Classic Days, which take place virtually on our doorstep.
A purchase decision was made at that time, for example, to make a tour through the Alps. Back then, the demand for pre-war classics and vehicles from the 50s and 60s was very high.
In the last 10 years, more and more speculators joined and influenced the market. Prices rose rapidly. As a result, the brand, the rarity of the model, the last auction result or the presence of a Classiche certificate became decisive factors contributing to the purchase decision.
As of 2017, the market has somewhat calmed down, which has brought back the enthusiasts as buyers. For these, in addition to the condition of the exterior, a big factor is whether the technology functions or not. They want to buy a vehicle and use it, rather than treat it like an exhibition item to only look at. The latest generation of buyers are bringing new changes to the market. We have noticed that the interest in more modern vehicles is steadily increasing. Vehicles that were new at the time of Movendi's foundation have now become sought after modern classics.
Which classic cars do you expect to get even more desirable in the next years?
Here is a guideline that already applies to today's collector vehicles: it should be a vehicle from a "living", i.e. still producing manufacturer, preferably a sports car or a convertible, built in small numbers, and perhaps with a unique colour combination and definitely an incomparable design. Here I am thinking, for example, of a manually shifted Aston Martin Vantage V12, or as a cheaper alternative, a Porsche Boxster of the first generation, preferably not in common colors such as silver or black. Personally, I would also always prefer a manual gearbox.
Do you think any cars on the market today have the potential to become classics at some point?
Two-seater sports cars with a powerful engine and an exceptional design will always be a potential classic. For example, the curves of a Porsche 911 GT3 Touring paired with the exciting combination of a naturally aspirated engine and a manual gearbox I see as a potential classic as this exciting species becomes rarer every day. However, I would like them not only to be seen as sculptures, but to be allowed to indulge in their true purpose – driving on the road.
Is there one car you wish you hadn’t sold and instead kept for yourself?
I am not one of the typical hunter-gatherers. Over the years, I've traded a lot of cars which I found a tough decision to sell. But I knew these precious items would be in good hands and appreciated by their new owners. The realisation and the confidence that many more wonderful and unique vehicles will find their way to me appeals to me more than permanent ownership.
Which events will we see you at in 2023?
The first classic car fair this year will be our eighth participation in the Retromobile in Paris. We will exhibit some truly extraordinary models there. This is followed by the Techno Classica in Essen, also a proven event that’s almost right on our doorstep. Our highlight this year will definitely be the 100th anniversary of Le Mans. Like last year, we will present a thematically suitable offer there. We are also currently planning to attend Mille Miglia as a participant and Pebble Beach as a visitor.
Finally, what does 2023 have in store for Movendi?
I would like to expand our team to have more time for our customers. Many customers’ collections I only know from photos and I would love to finally accept the many invitations to visit them. Some of our clients want to thin out their collections or become more targeted or high-quality. The thought of tackling that challenge really excites me.
Photos by Remi Dargegen