Classic Car Law

The purchase of historic racing cars, classic sports cars and limousines is tangential to special laws and rulings known as classic car law. For many years, we have been advising and representing collectors, dealers and workshops nationwide on classic car law, from acquisition, for example in a classic car auction, through restoration and use in vintage races, to successful sale.

Transaction of valuable vehicles

Depending on the value of a vehicle, certain precautions should be taken when buying or selling it. We draft, review and negotiate classic car sales contracts as well as appraisal contracts and, if necessary, support a secure transaction.

Warranty for defects

The central value-forming factor of a classic car is the degree of its originality and authenticity. As a rule, an original engine, for example, accounts for about a quarter of the value of a classic car.

The granting of a historic license plate (H license plate) or participation in historic vintage car races or classic rallies (Le Mans Classic, Mille Miglia, Goodwood, etc.) also depends decisively on the originality of the vintage car or historic racing vehicle. On the other hand, certain wear parts usually have to be replaced on a regular basis in order to maintain the vehicle’s roadworthiness or suitability for racing.

In legal practice, therefore, the question often arises as to whether the purchased vehicle is actually a “classic car” or whether a purchase defect exists and warranty rights (supplementary performance, rescission, reduction and damages) can be asserted.

In individual cases, a falsified service booklet or checkbook, a false speedometer reading (turned back speedometer) or a fictitious previous owner or racing history may also constitute a purchase defect or entitle the buyer to contest the purchase on the grounds of fraudulent misrepresentation.

If defects are discovered or asserted after the purchase of the classic car, we provide support both in and out of court. In doing so, we can draw on our many years of litigation experience and are familiar with the relevant jurisdiction.

Auction law

Classic vehicles are often offered at auctions. The seller usually hopes to reach a large number of interested parties through the auction house, not to sell below market price and appreciates the service. The interested parties appreciate the large number of offers and hope for a favorable opportunity.

According to our years of experience, the usual warranty and liability exclusions in the auction conditions are often disregarded or an on-site inspection of the vehicle is waived. A test drive is regularly not provided for at auctions anyway.

If the purchased classic car shows defects or is even a fake, we check claims for warranty of defects and liability of auction house and consignor and enforce them out of court and in court if necessary.

If a bid is accepted with reservations, if bids are made by mistake or if a secret limit is not reached, the question of the legal consequences arises. We are familiar with the auction practice and its legal evaluation and, if necessary, check whether claims can be made.

Your Contact

If you have any questions about classic car law, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please call or write us.

Dr. Louis Rönsberg

„My strength: leading negotiations - strategically and efficiently.“

Dr. Louis Rönsberg
Rechtsanwalt (Lawyer), Partner
Certified Specialist Lawyer for Banking and Capital Market Law
(Fachanwalt für Bank- und Kapitalmarktrecht)
Certified Specialist Lawyer for Corporate and Commercial Law
(Fachanwalt für Handels- und Gesellschaftsrecht)

„My consulting: International, empathic, pragmatic and at the same time very deep in the subject.“

Sandra Bendler-Pepy
Rechtsanwältin (Lawyer), Partner
Avvocato (Italy)
Sandra Bendler-Pepy
Julia Obletter

„My recipe for success: legal expertise, accuracy and solution-oriented, pragmatic thinking.“

Julia Obletter
Rechtsanwältin (Lawyer), Associate

„Rethinking law: Your dynamic partner in civil law - clever, modern, solution-oriented.“

Marie-Sophie Dötsch
Rechtsanwältin (Lawyer), Associate
Marie-Sophie Dötsch
Chiara Gerber

„Legal solutions for complex challenges - I provide you with competent and reliable support.“

Chiara Gerber
Rechtsanwältin (Lawyer)


Historic racing car 1955

2022 Advising an automobile group on the auction of a historic racing car from 1955

Racing car Daytona 1968 - reversal

2020 Judicial enforcement of the reversal after the purchase of a counterfeit "Daytona 1968" racing car (damage approx. € 1.8 million)

Learn more in our blog

3. November 2023
Classic car law: What should be legally observed at a classic car auction in Germany
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