Category Archives: Shows and Museums

Retromobile 2019 Auctions

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.

General View

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.

Trip Report – 1/43 and Others in Italy, Part II

By Karl Schnelle

Continuing my car journey across northern Italy started in Part I

After being inundated with Ferraris in Modena and Maranello, we moved out into the Italian countryside. The Maserati museum collection was sold in the 1990s when they went through a restructuring, but a private collector saved it with the help of the local government.  It is open to the public at his dairy farm.  Cows and cars – what a combination!  A side benefit is that you can also taste and buy their cheese!   Inside the museum, I could not get close enough to his 1/43 display cabinet, but he had a few Masers in there!

The original highlight of this trip, the reason I signed up, was a visit to the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo.   Ever since I had my 1976 Alfetta, I have wanted to visit.  Then in 2011, it closed down and I was bummed out.  Re-opened in 2015, it was back on my bucket list!

A funny story – I walked over to the Carabinieri in the Subaru and asked if they had any Alfas in their fleet.  One of the four said they have one in Milano, but he never got to drive it!  I guess they were parked there in the back to be on call if needed.  It was a big day at the museum because the 400 classic cars of the Mille Miglia were passing by out front!

After the overload at the museum, we headed to Lake Como for a little non-car downtime. That meant time for me to search out any model shops.  Just 5 minutes from the hotel was this jam-packed store.   Previously, the one in Bologna was already closed, the one in Maranello was at 3-hour lunch, and the two in Milano were closed on Sunday like every store, so I was happy to get to at least one store during business hours.  Many 1/43 Alfas were examined, but none that I needed…  Prices were about the same as the internet in the US, but it’s always nice to see them in-person and up-close.


Up next was the second private collection:  really amazing ‘Pebble Beach’ quality Alfas and Lancias in a nondescript warehouse outside Milan.

For some reason, the owner had a case of 1/43 Gulp handbuilt Alfas there.  Perhaps, they are there because they made his rare Alfa Romeo 6C1750 Carrozzeria Aprile!

By happy coincidence, the private Vespa museum was nearby and the owner was around to open it up for us.  It pays to have a tour guide who speaks Italian. Of course, he had the requisite partworks in his display cabinets.  There must have been 100s of full scale mopeds on display above his Vespa parts business.

Next day, it was off to Turin to stay at the ex-Fiat factory at Lingotto.  Their 1923 test track is still on the roof!  Did you happen to see the original Italian Job?

A short walk from factory is perhaps the best automobile museum in Europe, the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile.  Redesigned in 2011, it is a fun place for any car guy or girl to visit.  But why do they have a boxed Dinky Toy BMW Isetta;  Dinky never made one!  I think they previously had ‘Dinky’ 24L Vespa 400 in there that must be out on a temporary exhibit somewhere!

The other 1/43 mystery was why they had a large Brooklin Model display.  After further investigation, the new silent partner (or owner) at Brooklin is Nicola Bulgari, and two of his newly-restored American cars are on display in this Turin museum now!

Another fun display is the new Fiat 500 covered with >500 500s!  I think they are 1/55 Majorettes…

And finally because our esteemed Editor has been writing a lot about Atlas and DeAgostini lately, we zipped by this place on the A4 Autostrada on the way back to Malpensa airport to end our long, glorious trip.

I hope that these two posts has not been too much for you.  However, if you would like more details or photos from anywhere we visited, please let me know via the contact info below. Arrivederci!

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Trip Report – 1/43 and Others in Italy, Part I

By Karl Schnelle

I have been home from Italy a couple weeks now and just got my 500 car photos organized.   It was a trip of a lifetime, I have said several times!  The Alfa Romeo Owners Club (USA) had organized a tour of Italy, and I happened to see their ad.  I immediately signed up and then asked my wife.  Not as bad a mistake as you may think, as she happily added on four extra days (with absolutely no car activities)!

The plan was to see the Alfa Romeo Museum (naturally), the Ferrari museum, the private Maserati museum, Lamborghini factory, Ducati factory, and 2 private collections.   In hindsight now, I don’t know which was more amazing.  Perhaps that we timed it just right to be at the start of the Mille Miglia was the highlight!  [Click to enlarge the photos,]

I did hunt out some model car stores and looked for any 1/43 Alfas to add to my collection, but that was really low priority compared to all the other sights to see!  What follows then is a photo travelogue of some of my model car sightings over the ten-day trip.

We started our tour with two factory tours near Bologna (‘no photos please’); both Ducati and Lamborghini had museums attached to their factories.  The Ducati gift shop had lots of nice motorcycle models for sale, but I am more of a car guy. Lambo strangely had no gift shop or models for sale.

Next stop was a private collection at a farm out in the countryside, truly amazing pre and post-war cars. mostly Italian.

We had time for an extra stop in Modena at the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari.  They had a nice 1/43 display of Enzo’s first workshop – when he worked for/on Alfa Romeos!  Is that a Brumm Bugatti out front???

In the display cases were two vintage, large scale models: a Ferrari liquor container and a Maserati wind tunnel model.

The next day we were off to Brescia for the start of the Mille Miglia.  While we were there, we also saw the Mille museum.  They had a few 1/43s for sale, but had 2 full cases of 1/43 Mille cars inside the museum: handbuilts on wooden bases as well as the Italian Hachette Mille partworks series!

Later we also went to the Ferrari museum in Maranello near the current factory.  A recreation of Enzo’s office had a few 1/43s on his cadenza.

My favorite full scale might have been this gorgeous 250 Europa.

In the F1 room, they had a whole wall of 1/43 Ferrraris.  Here is the middle section.

Their gift shop was stocked with high end, handbuilt 1/43s. At that price, they could be BBR, MR, or Looksmart, or even better!

Of course, just go across the street to an independent store if you want more reasonable prices for the same cars!

I’ll take a break now and post Part II later.  Hopefully this has not been too many photos all at once.   If you would like more details or photos from anywhere we visited, please let me know via the contact info below.  Ciao…

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Museo Botta is now free to visit!

By Maz Woolley


Regular readers may remember an article in MAR Online about the Museo Botta   This is an online Museum created for Giovanni Botta an Italian collector of model cars and advertising materials which originally charged a small sum to make an e-visit.

A press release from Giovanni brings the news that e-visits to the museum are now free. This is good news as the collection is well worth a visit – why not have a look there are some very interesting items on display.

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Retromobile 2017

By Fabrizio Panico


Fabrizio brings us a photo essay from Retromobile  2017. Retromobile is an annual show held at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre in Paris, France. It is considered by many to be one of the finest displays of historic vehicles held each year. It is said that the show this year had 90,000 visitors and 550 stands. 

For collectors of model vehicles Retromobile is a  chance to see the prototypes of models that they have in their collection. Many of the vehicles are privately owned and not on display often so it is a rare opportunity to see them. Although there are always crowd pleasers from Bugatti and Ferrari there are also a wide range of less well vehicles as well.

Traders at the show sell all sorts of automobile ephemera and several model traders attend the show. Fabrizio has also captured a few of the interesting items that they had on offer.


1900 Renault Y type C 

1906 Krieger electric 

1913 Clement-Bayard CB10 

1920 Ballot Indianapolis racer 

1920 Bignan type 132C torpedo 

1920s GN racers 

1921 Alfa Romeo G1 racer

1922 Citroen B2 autochenille Scarabe d’Or

1922 Renault 40CV torpedo 

1924 Bugatti type 23 Brescia

1924 LaFayette type 134

1934 Peugeot 301 CR cabrio

1934 Renault TN6C

1935 Mercedes Benz 130 H open-top saloon

1935 Renault Viva Grand Sport cabriolet

1935 Rover Twelve sports saloon

1936 Bugatti type 57 S Atlantic

1939 Bugatti type 57 C VanVooren (replica)

1939 Citroen Traction 11 Commerciale

1939 Renault Viva Grand Sport coupe

1941 Citroen TUC

1941 Dodge T110-L14

1947 Delahaye 135 M roadster Figoni

1949 Delahaye 135 M Victoria Chapron

1950 Ferrari 166-212 Export Uovo Fontana

1950 Renault Juvaquatre fourgonnette

1951 Panhard Dyna X cabriolet

1952 Mercedes Benz 300 SL W194

1956 Aston Martin DB2_4 mk2 Tickford

1957 DB HBR5 coach Cottard

1957 Renault 4 CV Police

1960 Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record

1960 Alfa Romeo 6C3000 CM Superflow IV Pininfarina

1960 Lancia Flaminia Loraymo

1961 Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan

1963 Ferrari 250 Le Mans

1965 MG EX234 prorotype Pininfarina

1968 Bouffort Minima

1968 Mehari SEAB Pompiers

1984 MG Metro SR4

1984 Porsche 928 station wagon

1985 Audi Quattro S1 (replica)

Panhard Dyna X Commerciale

Simca 8 Commerciale

Dinky Toys for sale

Dinky Aircraft set for sale

Hubley Set with interesting mix of scales

Assorted toys showing in cabinet

Tekno models for sale

Rare TriAng Minic set in fine condition

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Museo Botta

By Maz Woolley

All the images used in this article have been provided by the Museum and their copyright applies to all the items shown. 



A new venture has been launched on the web based upon the collection of its founder Giovanni Botta. Giovanni has been collecting model cars and advertising materials since 1972. Now he shares his collection with others with similar interests. With a web site he can make it available to the world in the way a physical museum with glass cases could not.

The museum consists of thousands of cards with pictures and detailed descriptions for each model car and advertising items. In order to fund the website, and to avoid the need to continually bombard users with advertising, Giovanni has to levy a small charge for entering the museum, at the time of writing this is 3 Euros for 3 hours visiting time. If you logout correctly you can return to use up any unused time left later. This is an interesting innovation and it will be interesting to see if it is a success as if it is we may see other collections tread a similar path.

On entering the museum you may choose between model cars or advertising objects and can view the collections by various themes or search them as you wish. The collections are quite clearly personal and rather than focus on collecting everything of a particular kind there are a few items across lots of different categories. As far as the cars are concerned the collection has many interesting items and often these are shown photographed from a number of angles. Although the collection is divided into many categories  it should be noted that some like presidential and royal cars have just one item in them. The collection includes model makers like ERIA that I had never seen before.

The screen shot below shows a typical card for model cars.

The photography is of high quality and a variety of shots and variation details is often included which is more instructive than viewing a model in a display case would be. One instinctively tries to double click on the larger image shown on the card to get a full screen image and examine the model more closely but unfortunately you are not allowed to do this which those looking to examine detail may find frustrating. This is made worse by the fact that the card is shown in a  band in the middle of the screen on wide screens and does not make full use of the screen width.  That said the image quality and presentation does give a good view and one can always use one’s browser zoom to enlarge the view.

The advertising section is arranged in a  similar way and contains lots of period items showing the various styles of design. Particularly interesting are the counter displays for a wide variety of products showing what advertisers thought would catch the eye in different decades.

I enjoyed my visit and found much to interest me there.

Like all Museums there is a shop which can be accessed without paying for a browsing section. The shop sells some high quality Italian resin models from small firms like IV Model and PIT Model as well as some models that have been made specially for the shop which are shown below:

S16/08 (Mu.Bo. 001) Fiat 500 A advertising “GELATERIA DE PELLEGRIN”


S16/05 (Mu.Bo. 002) BRUMM’S Fiat 500 “MUSEO BOTTA”


MUSEO BOTTA (Mu.Bo. 003) Porsche 356 1300 # 285 F. Van de Kaart – J. Swaters Rally Montecarlo 1952.

This car was characterized by “periscope” headlights and was produced in a very few pieces (for now only 6) with the collaboration of IV MODEL (Ilario Vecchiato).

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Toys in Nuremberg

By Fabrizio Panico


Photographs were taken by the Author and appear after the text below.


Nuremberg is an ideal place to establish a Toy Museum. From the doll makers of medieval times and the tin toy industries of the 19th and 20th centuries, to the present International Toy Fair, Nuremberg has always been the most famous “toy town” in the world.

The Nuremberg Toy Museum opened in 1971 in the very heart of the Old Town, near the famous Hauptmarkt. Based on the collection of Lydia and Paul Bayer, its collection comprises more than 70,000 items, about 5% currently displayed, the rest safely in their stores, but all are made accessible “virtually” by web displays of technical information and pictures.

From the wooden toys on the ground floor to the dolls (with their incredible houses and shops) and Lehmann toys on the first floor, the “Tin World” (vehicles, trains, boats etc) on the second floor and the more recent toys (post Second World War) on the third floor, you will be amazed by all the beautiful toys. A Museum Shop on the ground floor offers publications and selected toys.

I will limit my pictures of this wonderful museum to the displays of road vehicles. If you are interested in other toys then you may see the web site at

Almost all the toys displayed are of German origin, with a few foreign ones to provide a comparison, the most striking example being the Märklin Metallbaukasten and Meccano and their derivatives. However, you will find that there are many more foreign models in store and viewable via the web site.

Worth a visit indeed!


01 – a beautiful display of penny toys

02 – the VW set by DUX

03 – the VW set by DUX

04 – Gunthermann Studebaker and Tipp & Co limousine

05 – VW Transporters by Tipp & Co

06 – VW Transporters by Tipp & Co

07 – Distler Porsche and Tipp & Co Mercedes

08 – Schuco display

09 – Schuco Mirakocar

10 – Volkspolizei Wartburg 353 by Schockwellenreiter Modellauto (DDR)

11 – Lehmann GNOM tin fire engine

12 – Bing limousine

13 – Distler limousine

14 – Märklin Auto-baukasten truck

15 – Märklin Auto-baukasten set

16 – Märklin Aerodynamic and Mercedes

17 – Aero-Car by Blomer & Schuler

18 – Lehmann GNOM models

19 – Lehmann Deutsche Reichspost van

20 – Lehmann cars

21 – Lehmann in DDR : the Sportwagen no. 512 by VEB Mechanische Spielwaren

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