By Fabrizio Panico
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
If the magnificent Retromobile show is not enough to satisfy your desire to admire beautiful and/or rare cars, you also have an opportunity to examine what is being offered by the main auction houses: RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Artcurial usually gather some of the best vehicles available to buy.
This year, as usual, RM Sotheby’s was the first in line: 85 cars and a motorboat. This in addition to the usual choice of “automobilia” in the ample spaces set up at Place Vauban for the previous weeks Expo Concept Cars. The sales results will have pleased RM Sothebys as the attracted 32.4 million euros and sold over 75% of the vehicles.
The sale mainly consisted of sports cars and Grand Tourers. The lots included the first part of the ‘Youngtimer Collection’ (140 cars of the years ’80s, ’90s and ’00s) to be sold over the next few of their auctions. Few cars were offered without reserve, and there were very few pre-war cars. Many pre-auction estimates exceeded 500,000 euros, with 17 sold out of 25. Among the stars a magnificent Ferrari F40 Le Mans (4.8 million Euros), a Porsche 550 RS (3 million Euros) and a Bugatti EB110SS (2 million Euros). Also of note is the sales price of the Brutsch Mopetta (69,000 euros), while a beautiful Fiat 520 (coming from the reserves of the Turin Museum) did not reach the 24,000 euros. The beautiful and rare Fiat 2800 Touring Berlinetta also remained unsold, perhaps “lost” among many more recent competitors.
Porsche 550 RS Wendler 1956
Lagonda Rapide 1962
Fiat 2800 Berlinetta Touring 1940
Fiat 520 Torpedo 1927
Ferrari F40 LeMans 1987
Connaught A-type 1952
Brutsch Mopetta 1957
BMW 507 roadster 1959
The next day was the turn of Bonhams, under the magnificent vaults of the Grand Palais, a spectacular auction in a spectacular venue. A wide and varied selection, with more than a third made up of valuable pre-war cars, as well as the usual sport and Grand Touring cars, but very few dated from after 1980, thus distinguishing itself sharply from RM Sotheby’s. 72.3% of the lots sold (aided by a large lot of cars with no reserve price), but only three cars exceeded the million Euros mark – two Mercedes-Benz and one Bentley. However, many of the “stars” offerings remained unsold, like the Alfa Romeo 6c1750 ex-Scarfiotti, the Ferrari 250 GT Boano, the Abarth SE010, the RUF Porsche CTR2 or the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster. This clearly affected the final results. A Hanomag Kommisbrot sold for more than 58,000 Euros, a VW camper for almost 45,000 euros and a Ford Zodiac convertible for 19,000 euros. Almost all pre-war American cars were unsold, while the Europeans were often sold below the minimum estimate.
Renault type AX 1911
Renault 40CV type NM 1927
Hotchkiss type AD limousine 1914
Hanomag 2_10 PS Komisbrot 1928
Ford Zodiac Mark II Hi-line Cabriolet 1962
Ford Galaxie 500 convertible 1964
Delahaye 135 MS coupé 1949
Alfa Romeo 6c1750 Spider GS 1930
Artcurial concluded with four auctions, all inside the Retromobile halls, and divided over three days. The first, called “Racing, Flying and Yachting” offered a wide range of “automobilia” in addition to a motorboat and the 1:1 scale reproduction of the 2017 Renault Formula 1 car made in Lego bricks which sold for 84,500 Euros. The second was the “vente officielle” with almost 150 cars, of which about 70% were sold, for a total of 39.3 million Euros. The “Top Car” was undoubtedly the Alfa Romeo 8c2900 B Berlinetta Touring, rightfully bid to over 16.7 million Euros. Among other “stars” the Serenissima Spyder 1966 (4.2 million Euros) and the Mercedes-Benz SLR Stirling Moss (2.6 million Euros). There was a wide range of cars, from pre-war (about 20%), to classics, to moderns (Youngtimers) and even some contemporary vehicles.
The Fiat 2800 Limousine Pininfarina (formerly Amédée Gordini and ex Schlumpf) sold for only 36,000 Euros (but it needs to be completely restored), about the same price as each Messerschmitt, while the BMW Isetta slightly exceeded 40,000 Euros. The third auction, “MV Agusta“, offered a vast Italian collection of motorcycles from the house of Cascina Costa, more than 90 specimens, many very rare, including unique pieces, prototypes and race vehicles. The fourth, “Vibration“, included over 360 helmets and tracksuits of famous racing drivers (from Alesi to Zonta), their steering-wheels and various motoring pieces, up to a mid-scale model for wind tunnel tests of the Tyrrell Formula 1 of 1995.
Voisin C 11 cabriolet Simon Pralavorio 1928
Hispano Suiza H6B double phaeton Million Guiet 1926
Alfa Romeo 8c 2900 B Berlinetta Touring 1939
A real treat for motoring fans, and a pleasure which will last thanks to the beautiful, content rich catalogues available on the Internet.