Artcurial Motorcars, Salon Retromobile, Paris, February 8, 2019

Artcurial put on a 3-day auction at Salon Retromobile but the cars were all on Friday the eighth, and there all eyes were enthusiastically focused on a single lot.
It was number 20 (unusually early in the order for a headliner, but there were many high profile cars to follow), the 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta by Touring. It set off alarms everywhere when it sold for Euros 14.9 million, US$19,036,823 when the commission was added and the exchange rate applied.

That’s enough to make anyone’s heart go pitty-pat, especially when it’s for an Alfa Two-Nine.

I had to cancel my trip to Paris for the Retromobile auctions but Chris Sharpe, who was planning on spending a couple days there helping out, decided to make the trip himself and it is due to his diligence and effort that we have this report from Artcurial and a following one from Bonhams.

Here are the Artcurial numbers (in a table that for some reason didn’t import well into WordPress):
Year Cars Sold/ Offered Sale % Sold < Low Est Sold > High Est Average Sale Median Sale Total $ Exchange Rate
2019 100/145 69% 46% 9% $444,311 $85,470 [19.2%] $44,431,137 $1.133549
2018 142/175 81.1% 45.1% 23.2% $246,477 $95,020 [38.6%] $34,999,679 $1.2226
2017 117/154 76% 47.4% 18.4% $296,910 $111,186 [37.5%] $34,738,526 $1.0650

Obviously, having a $20 million car in the Sold column does wonders for the average transaction and the sale total but it had little discernable effect on the Median sale, which was the lowest in the past three years. Sell-through, too, was less than the prior two years and within that 31% not-sold contingent there were total high bids of $26,969,400. Included in the no-sales were a number of highly attractive cars, several of them described by Chris and me in the transaction reports that follow.

Pay particular attention to the Serenissima Spider, Lot #85. Offered along with two other Serenissima prototypes directly from Count Volpi’s long term ownership, it emphatically broke the bank, bringing more than double its pre-sale high estimate.

This report owes a debt to Harley Cluxton IV and Hardy Drackett at Hammerprice for filling in many of the transaction data gaps. Hammerprice is the indispensable collector car auction app for your Apple or Android smartphone.

The on-site observations are by Chris Sharpe (and I’ve left in some of his British-ism terminology) but as always the final product is solely my responsibility.


Lot # 20 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta, Body by Touring; S/N 412024; Engine # 422027; Red/Black leather, Red piping; Estimate $18,136,785 – $24,938,080; Cosmetically restored, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $16,889,881 plus commission of 12.71%; Final Price $19,036,823. – Driving lights, 2,904cc/180hp, twin cam, twin supercharged induction, polished wire wheels with 2 prong knock-ons. Walnut woodrim 3-spoke banjo steering wheel, louvered rear wheel spats, exquisitely curved 4-speed gear stick, teardrop front fenders, sliding side windows, full selection of spare parts. – What can you say? The late 1930s was an era that had style, panache, charm and elegance. Combine that with fine craftsmanship and inspirational engineering and you have the best cocktail. Elegant Art Deco inspired carriages were the order of the day. Creating this Masterpiece, Alfa Romeo and Touring hit their zenith. In the cold light of 2019, to describe this example in anything less than glowing terms would feel dishonourable. A gentle appraisal is required. The paintwork is appropriately near perfection. The grille greets you with a luscious recline but is unrestored and slightly corroded. The waistline trim has not been restored. The exposed gear selector alloy is original and unpolished, as are other interior metals but that’s it. You simply cannot criticize your favourite lover. I am truly beguiled by the purest mechanical “Objet d’art” the 20th century produced. Sublime lines, style, heritage, performance, the list goes on and ends in wonder. You covet this Venus the instant she captures you. This thoroughbred is THAT good. Cosmetically restored in 2006, objectively speaking, when the mists of love settle you know that she would be a challenge to drive at a good speed on those skinny cycle tyres. Perfection is an unobtainable jewel so we should never, ever, settle for less, this wonderful carriage is as near as we will ever get. – The second example of only 5 built. 43 years in the same ownership, only 65,000 km from new. Matching numbers. Fully documented by Simon Moore. A competition icon with a Touring dress. The ultimate opportunity to own one of the most exclusive and beautiful Rolling Masterpieces. [In the same family ownership since 1976. And one of the most sublime, correct, original, preserved examples of its type. The headline car at the Retromobile auctions, but it would be the headline car anywhere. The result here is reasonable.]

Lot # 22 1947 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport Berlinetta, Body by Touring; S/N 915462; Engine # 926291; Brown/Grey velour; Estimate $311,726 – $368,403; Competition restoration, 3 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $266,384. – RHD. Split windscreen, independent windshield wipers, twin front bumpers, fog lights, black centre lock wire wheels. – Good paint with only minor imperfections. Some reused exterior trim. Wheels and tyres look fresh. Interior looks original in a garish velour but probably has been retrimmed at some point. Interesting and rare largely original condition. Original engine and gearbox. Eligible for the Mille Miglia. – This is a handsome automobile, rapid and Mille Miglia eligible that could have been sold with little regret at the reported bid here. Its originality is rather charming, but not particularly pleasing and it’s probably going to head straight to a competent restorer as soon as it’s sold.

Lot # 25 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet B; S/N 130901; Black/Red, worn original; Estimate $680,129 – $906,839; Visually maintained, largely original, 2 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $612,117. – RHD. Chromed wire wheels plus hubcaps, dual sidemounts, cowl mounted trafficators, full size headlights plus single centre driving light. – Repainted in the 60’s and it shows badly even though it claims to have had a full mechanical rebuild completed last year. Ripped hood. Dull brightwork. The wheels look good but need a cleaning. Aged, wrinkled, stiff upholstery Definitely needs restoration, you wouldn’t use this Mercedes as is, it’s just too decrepit. This fine old German gent needs a 21st century makeover. – Although it is in exceptionally well-preserved condition and is as-built with its original 540K engine, this Mercedes is beyond practical use in its present cosmetic condition and it is not difficult to understand how the Retromobile bidders didn’t warm to it.

Lot # 26 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Double Phaeton, Body by Million-Guiet; S/N 11647; Red, Purple fenders/Mid Brown leather; Estimate $408,078 – $623,452; Recent restoration, 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $374,071. – RHD. Opening windshield, windshield mounted Grebel spotlight, Grebel headlights, radiator stoneguard, hood cover, red wire wheels. Rear passenger windshield, tinted glass windshield visor, single rear-mounted spare. – Great paintwork. Exterior metalwork has been correctly polished and looks just right. All the glass is new and looks great. New leather is just right and the dash controls and dials are original. Another winner, a truly handsome carriage. – Exemplary refurbishment, “the best car of its time” and elegant bodywork combine to make this a highly desirable acquisition. The bidders disdain for it is difficult to understand and it is seriously worth more than the reported high bid.

Lot # 27 1929 Bugatti Type 44 Roadster, Body by Frugier; S/N 441125; Engine # 878/441125; Black/Red leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $362,736 – $476,091; Older restoration, 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $378,333 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $438,867. – RHD. Opening windshield, silver painted wire wheels, small driver’s spotlight, large twin headlights, dual rear-mounted spares, single passenger rumble seat. – Paint is showing some signs of age. Horseshoe radiator is dull and not polished. The door brass top cappings and all the interior metalwork is original and unpolished. The engine compartment is orderly but aged. An older statesman needing a new tailor. – Matching numbers, original engine and bodywork. Unique, attractive bodywork. Well-preserved and maintained but aging. It has led an intriguing life and is a sound value in the transaction concluded after it left the block.

Lot # 28 1932 Bugatti Type 49 Cabriolet; S/N 49469; Engine # 397; Blue, Black fenders/Blue leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $453,420 – $680,129; Older restoration, 3- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $317,394. – RHD. Louvered centre lock disc alloy wheels, black hood boot, opening hinged windshield and wipers, wind up door windows, dual rear-mounted spares. – The paintwork shows brush marks. The wheels are dirty with surface corrosion but solid. The tyres look old. The interior follows the pattern, a little tired but useable. A delightfully used car, that again could go either way to preservation or restoration. Engine replaced in the 50’s with a correct Type 49 from chassis 49505. The cataloger cautions that it needs a “complete mechanical overhaul”. – Well-preserved, elegant original body, succession of well-known, enthusiastic owners. It was offered by RM at Meadow Brook in 2002 where it failed to sell at a reported $110,000 high bid and was observed to be in rather parlous condition, “needs everything.” Its condition issues make it a hard sell, particularly the caution about mechanical overhaul, and the Retromobile bidders hedged their bets with this realistic but modest offer.

Lot # 30 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet, Body by Graber; S/N 57500; Engine # 373; Blue, Black fenders/Tan leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $453,420 – $680,129; Unrestored original, 4+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $476,091 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $552,265. – RHD. Twin horns, twin headlights. Rear wheel spats, silver painted wire wheels, external trunk mounted spare with cover. – This car has some dints and repairs in lower fenders. An oily engine with the odd cable unattached. A lot of recommissioning will be required. An honest car, totally original in every way with its original engine, gearbox and rear axle, owned by sculptor August Thomassen since 1960. Ripe for restoration or keep the patina? – One of Graber’s most beautiful creations, transparent history with just three owners, original engine, gearbox, axle and coachwork, this is a fantastic project but is probably too neglected to be kept as is and will go straight to a restorer for comprehensive attention. It is a sound value in this transaction.

Lot # 31 1932 Bugatti Type 49 Berline, Body by Vanvooren; S/N 49487; Engine # 348; Black, Yellow sides/Mid Brown leather; Estimate $170,032 – $226,710; Unrestored original, 4+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $187,036 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $216,961. – RHD. Centre locked louvered alloy disc wheels, single sidemounted spare, connected windshield wipers, no headlights. – Used by Bugatti as a demonstrator at the 1932 Paris Motor Show and through 1934. This treasure of a Bugatti has fared well for its lack of use. Minor corrosion all over. The interior fared less well with rot and damp taking its toll. A beautifully charismatic unrestored gem owned by sculptor August Thomassen since 1957, never used or restored and now in fairly derelict barn find condition. – Impressive state of preservation and originality, but tired and neglected. A large helping of TLC, as well as heaps of money, will go into making this the pride and joy it can be, both being realistic at the price for which it changed hands here.

Lot # 34 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Stelvio Cabriolet, Body by Gangloff; S/N 57596; Engine # 19C; Black/Warm Mid brown; Black cloth top; Estimate $906,839 – $1,360,259; Older restoration, 3 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $793,484. – RHD. Large diameter front drum brakes, chromed front bumper, chrome wire wheels, raked windshield with linked wipers, door mounted side mirrors, for lights, enclosed rear-mounted spare, Derham shocks, skirted front fenders, hydraulic brakes all from new. – There are some viewable paint issues in general and particularly on the rear scuttle. The windshield glass is scratched and distracting. The interior is superb but the engine compartment is oxidized and aging. Known history from new and represented as the original engine. – Elegant and quick but showing the age of its restoration despite evident good and consistent care and limited use, the reported high bid here is a realistic compromise.

Lot # 35 1939 Bentley Royale Sixteen Sedanca deVille, Body by Kent Fuller; S/N B160EX1; Red, Black fenders/Beige leather; Estimate $340,065 – $566,775; Customized restoration, 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $283,387. – RHD. Two B80 Rolls-Royce/Bentley engines joined together, Lalique LeCoq mascot, louvered chassis sill covers, front horns and single driving light, dual rear mounted spare wheels, power steering – This car’s paint finish is good with only minor swirls. The fender edge trim is showing some fine scratches. All the other exterior metal has been rechromed to a good standard. It possess a super interior, just right. Created by Gary Wales. – Sold by Barrett-Jackson at Palm Beach in 2006 for $399,600, at WestWorld in 2013 for $374,000 and at Palm Beach in 2016 for $357,500, Gary Wales’ magisterial confection failed to catch on here at Retromobile.

Lot # 36 1947 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Cabriolet, Body by Pinin Farina; S/N 915536; Engine # 926207; Grey/Red leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $566,775 – $793,484; Recent restoration, 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $453,420. – RHD. Chrome wire wheels, red top boot cover, split windshield, wind up windows, trafficators, aluminum body, one of perhaps four built. – This beauty has a great paint finish. Smart red leather interior is in great order. The screen trim and exterior brightwork look good. A great car a little overshadowed in this company. One of four built in aluminium. In very good condition. Exceptionally pure and elegant styling. Replacement engine. Once owned by Alec Ulmann, later by Mal Harris and Charles Morse. – Cataloged as restored in Europe, but it was in the same livery and freshly restored when offered at the World Classic auction in Danville, California in 1993. It is a smart, sharp car made even more desirable by the alloy coachwork, an important feature that the Retromobile bidders didn’t sufficiently value; it could have brought much closer to its low estimate without being expensive.

Lot # 37 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Roadster, Body by Corsica; S/N 8513049; Engine # 8513049; Red/Red leather; Estimate $1,020,194 – $1,586,969; Unrestored original, 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $929,510 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $1,078,232. – RHD. Wire mesh radiator shield, red wire wheels, single rear mounted spare wheel, race fuel filler cap. – Poor paint with lots of brush marks and touch ups let this car down. It has aged cracked leather seats that could do with new foams at least. Clean, orderly engine compartment and chassis. It would need a lot of work for the lawn at Pebble Beach but I’d enjoy it as is. A great thoroughbred owned since 1953 by Norman Farquhar, an engineer with Saab, who thoroughly documented the Alfa during his custodianship. Sold from his estate and represented as originally built except for the 1935 Corsica body with front fenders modified by Farquhar. – While this isn’t an “original” Alfa it is much more original than most 6C 1750s, blessed with a long, informed, caring single ownership. At the cataloger notes, “you can always carry out a restoration, but a history cannot be reproduced”, and this Alfa has a notably benign history. An over-the-top Pebble Beach restoration would do its history no service at all, and would in fact obscure it with shiny paint and bright chrome. It deserves to be preserved and driven as the Farquhar family has for the past 2/3 century, exulting in its style and performance. And in its history.

Lot # 38 1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix; S/N 51128; Dark Ocean Blue/Black leather; Estimate $4,534,196 – $5,100,971; Competition car, original as-raced, 2 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $3,740,712. – RHD. 2.3/180hp twin cam, supercharged, twin fuel filler, alloy wheels, cable brakes. Wire mesh radiator shield. Front starter handle, single driver’s aeroscreen. Comes with a wealth of related parts including the 1.5 litre cylinder block and supercharger, Cotal gearbox, headlights. – First delivered to Marcel Lehoux and raced during 1931, winning at Geneva and the Grand Prix de la Marne. Sold to Louis Trintignant in early 1933. Trintignant died in a testing accident later driving a T35 with this T51 engine, and the original chassis and engine were reunited before being sold to Jules Rolland in August 1933. Sold to Louis Trintignant’s baby brother Maurice in 1938 who entered and won two Grands Prix with it and kept it until 1974. A truly long and involved, typically Bugatti, history including at one point having a 1,493cc Type 51A engine installed. Bought by Jean-Claude Miloe in 1992, and sold from his estate. I can see lots of road dust on the wheels and chassis. The engine bay shows a wonderful patina of age and great use. Oil stains have become baked in. Twin exhausts are heat damaged in a good way. The seats are worn but not worn through. The brass instruments rims are not buffed to a false shine but simply genuine. You cannot fail to feel the history emanating from such a wonderfully charismatic machine. All that said, they’re tough to drive, whine mercilessly and will empty your bank account without remorse. – Remarkable and poignant original condition, continuous, known history, the car in which Maurice Trintignant won his first Grand Prix. One of the most desirable Grand Prix Bugattis. Entered in over forty Grand Prix races in its heyday and remarkably preserved. It’s hard to understand why the Retromobile bidders were not more enthusiastic about this Type 51, but the low estimate is a stretch, too.

Lot # 39 1936 Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic Replica, Body by Koux; S/N 57654; French Racing Blue/Black; Estimate $906,839 – $1,360,259; Rebodied or re-created, 2+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $966,845 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $1,121,540. – RHD. Suicide doors, silver wire wheels, large drum brakes, faired in chromed headlights and twin driving lights. Door mounted side mirrors, split side windows. – This wonderful carriage has exemplary paint preparation. Copper grease on the hubs is a good sign of a knowledgeable maintenance. 4 tiny tailpipes, a little strange but interesting. Every finish looks new and factory fresh but you know it’s been created as a tribute, a very good one at that. – Done to high standards using many original Bugatti parts and impressively maintained, this post-block result at an effective hammer bid above the low estimate is something of a surprise, but less than a tenth of the value of one of the real Atlantics.

Lot # 49 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Plate Speciale Roadster; S/N P002; Engine # 700714; Red/Cream; Estimate $453,420 – $566,775; Competition restoration, 2 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $340,065. – RHD. Polished wire wheels, twin head and driving lights, two chromed front grilles, woodrim steering wheel. – A special built in the 30’s by Luigi Plate based on an Alfa 6C 2300 with Plate’s own design hydraulic drum brakes and dry sump engine. Restored in the 80’s with a new body. A superb paint finish. The chassis looks fresh and painted. Only the seats are dirty. A very thorough detailed restoration. The engine is very smart and well done. Apart from the seats its compliments all round, a job well done, but the car’s history is in doubt. – Sold by Bonhams at Quail Lodge in 2016 for $291,500, why it should be worth more than that today is unreasonable. This is a car that should have been sold well before reaching the reported high bid.

Lot # 64 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster; S/N 1980428500282; Engine # 1989808500285; Silver, Silver hardtop/Red; Black cloth top; Estimate $1,246,904 – $1,473,614; Recent restoration, 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $1,076,872. – Euro headlights, factory hardtop, red sun visors, steel wheels and hub caps, travel luggage, manuals and trophies, 5-speed (original 4-speed included), trophies – Used in competition by its first owner, Daniel Poche, mostly in hillclimbs and rallies, with two owners since it was sold by his widow in 1990. Restored in 2016. A1 paint on this wonderful Silver Arrow. Some of the exterior trims have not been refurbished but you have to really look. The hood frame is original and aged. – It would not have been unreasonable for this 300SL Roadster to have found a new owner at the reported high bid. A quality car with an interesting (but insignificant) history, the bid is the real money even for the quality restoration and the seller’s expectations are generous.

Lot # 65 1957 Porsche 550A Spyder; S/N 550A0126; Engine # 90120; Silver/Cream cloth; Estimate $4,307,487 – $5,441,036; Recent restoration, 2 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $3,740,712. – Sealed beam head lights, steel wheels, low aero windshield, drivers head fairing, bucket seats, 3-spoke wood rimmed steering wheel. – Delivered new to Hubert Wiesse in Guatemala, raced there and in the Buenos Aires 1,000km. Later sold to Robert Buchet and Raymond Tourol in France. Restored in 2010. Replacement engine and body. Superb paintwork befitting of a great car, only minor tiny blemishes. Brand new interior looks very smart. Utterly desirable. – The consignor may have wanted $4.3 million for this 550A, but the reported high bid of $3.7 million is nothing if not appropriate to the car’s history and condition.

Lot # 85 1966 Serenissima Spyder, Body by Fantuzzi; S/N 005; Aluminium, Dark Red stripe/Dark Grey; Estimate $1,473,614 – $2,040,388; Unrestored original, 4 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $4,137,454 plus commission of 13.36%; Final Price $4,690,343. – 3.5 litre dohc V8, aluminium body, gold painted centerlock alloy wheels, centre aerofoil, covered headlights, quick release race fuel filler. Gated stick shift. – The sole surviving spyder of two built. Aluminium body by Fantuzzi. In 1966 the only Serenissima to have participated in the Le Mans 24 Hours, a dnf after 5 hours with gearbox failure. Exceptional, untouched, original condition. Sold by Count Volpi. Clearly visible dents and corrosion to the nose area. Full length crack in the windshield. Aged exactly as you imagine and simply glorious. Has been stored well and will make someone very happy when the work required is complete. – Scuderia Serenissima is a legend and so is this car. To say it broke the bank at Porte de Versailles is an understatement but it offers its new owner a nearly unrivalled opportunity to make a statement both on the historic racing circuit and on concours lawns. It needs everything, but the Retromobile bidders must have figured that into their bidding strategy and it would be wrong to infer that this is anything but a market price for a singular automobile.

Lot # 86 1968 Serenissima GT Coupe, Body by Ghia; S/N GT001; Red/Black leather; Estimate $453,420 – $680,129; Unrestored original, 4 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $430,749 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $499,668. – 3,470/320hp V8, 5-speed, pop up headlights, alloy wheels, four tailpipes, gated stick shift. – Car designed by the late Tom Tjaarda. Ex-1968 Turin, Geneva and New York motor shows. Sold here by Count Volpi. The paintwork finish is very average but genuine, the odd chip here and there but has polished up better than you would imagine. The wheels are aged and have surface dulling. This car has been fairly well stored and looks exactly as it should after such a long rest but will need comprehensive attention. – Although it is tired and neglected it is better than a barnfind and has potential, first as a Preservation class contender and later after restoration as a concours star. It is a sound value at this price.
Lot # 87 1967 Serenissima Agena Coupe; S/N EX001; White/Black leather; Estimate $453,420 – $680,129; Unrestored original, 4 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $419,413 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $486,519. – Covered headlights, 3 prong centre lock alloy wheels, gated stick shift, extensive dials, Becker Grand Prix radio, 8-track player. – The brighter white paint carries this unique beauty looks well. The paint and panel fit are not to modern standards but still a sublime shape to peruse. The wheels have aged better and the 3 prong knock-ons could easily be refurbished. Similar to the Serenissima GT and obviously being a sibling. Long stored and in need of comprehensive attention. Sold by Count Volpi. – Like its GT counterpart, this Serenissima has a unique and magical history. It also is an attractive design and it brought a reasonable price even taking into account its many (and expensive) needs.

Lot # 87 1967 Serenissima Agena Coupe; S/N EX001; White/Black leather; Estimate $453,420 – $680,129; Unrestored original, 4 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $419,413 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $486,519. – Covered headlights, 3 prong centre lock alloy wheels, gated stick shift, extensive dials, Becker Grand Prix radio, 8-track player. – The brighter white paint carries this unique beauty looks well. The paint and panel fit are not to modern standards but still a sublime shape to peruse. The wheels have aged better and the 3 prong knock-ons could easily be refurbished. Similar to the Serenissima GT and obviously being a sibling. Long stored and in need of comprehensive attention. Sold by Count Volpi. – Like its GT counterpart, this Serenissima has a unique and magical history. It also is an attractive design and it brought a reasonable price even taking into account its many (and expensive) needs.

Lot # 90 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC Coupe, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 9839; Engine # 9839; Azzuro Blue Metallic/Black leather; Estimate $544,104 – $634,787; Older restoration, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $510,097 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $591,713. – Centerlock alloy wheels, woodrim steering wheel, multi-band radio. – With exemplary paint and wheels this car make an outstanding first impression. Very well prepared and clean engine but not over restored. Older Azzuro Blue repaint with original engine and gearbox. A fine car that you take anywhere and be proud. Ferrari Classiche certified. – This is a modest result for a quality 330 GTC in encouraging driver-quality condition. It was sold by Poulain in December 2002 for $72,832 (Euros 65,000 at the time, this is Euros 522,000.)

Lot # 91 1953 Maserati A6GCS Roadster, Body by Fiandri; S/N 2053; Engine # 2067; Red/Red; Estimate $4,250,809 – $5,100,971; Competition restoration, 2 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $3,740,712. – Silver painted wire wheels, two prong knock-ons, full width Perspex windshield, side-mounted twin exhaust. – Perfection. Faultless. The best race car preparation I’ve ever seen. Engine installed is correct to period but not the original, as with many race cars. A magnificent beast with a correct but not original A6GCS engine and eligible for just about anything a new owner could wish to attend. – Offered by RM at Monterey in 2013 where it was bid to a reported $2.2 million but didn’t sell. It is, if anything, in better condition today, but the reported bid here is, if anything, generous and appropriate to its history and wonderful condition.

Lot # 97 1960 Maserati 3500GT Spider, Body by Vignale; S/N AM1011033; Engine # AM1011033; Red, Black hardtop/Black leather, red piping; Estimate $680,129 – $793,484; Older restoration, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $623,452. – Factory hard top, 16 inch Borrani chrome spoke wire wheels, chrome sill trims, circular period door mirrors, ZF 5 speed gearbox, front disc brakes, Rally odometers, power windows, ebony rim steering wheel. – Faultless coachwork. The hardtop has been freshly painted. The exterior trim is older and shows minor scratches. Wheels and tyres are superb. Seats are slightly creased but look just right. A great car with a fresh 2018 mechanical rebuild. – The Maserati 3500GT Vignale Spider is surely one of the most attractive open automobiles of the Sixties, luxuriously appointed, as fast as its Italian and German counterparts and built to extremely high standards. This one is impressively equipped and equally impressively restored and maintained but the Retromobile bidders missed the chance. It should have brought more, and would have in that case only been a realistic purchase.

Lot # 98 1962 Aston Martin DB4 SV SS Coupe; S/N DB41212L; Engine # 3701173SS; Silver Smoke Grey/Green leather; Estimate $850,162 – $1,020,194; Older restoration, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $793,484. – Left-hand drive, covered headlights, chrome wire wheels, engine rebuilt and re-bored to 4.2-litre by Richard Williams. 260 bhp, triple SU Carburetors, intermediate exhaust mufflers. – Great to see this car’s Immaculate paintwork, which is unblemished, true perfection. The wire wheels a little dirty. The engine compartment is clean, orderly and barely used. Some exterior trim has been reused without refurbishment. Retrimmed in 2004. Mr. David Brown would be proud of this example. – One of 17 left-hand drive examples. Very rare, with covered headlights and delivered new in Paris. Engine rebuilt and re-bored to 4.2-litre by Richard Williams. Matching numbers and original colours. The 4.2 upgrade these days is almost more common than the original 3,670cc displacement but the reported high bid here was reasonable and the expectation of getting the low estimate is unduly optimistic.

Lot # 99 1966 Ferrari 275 GTC Berlinetta, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 8465; Grey metallic/Biscuit Leather; Estimate $2,607,163 – $2,947,228; Older restoration, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $2,153,743. – FIA Compliant roll cage, bucket seats and harnesses, upgraded from 3 to 6 Weber 40 carburetors with cold air tray, oversize brakes, stabilizer bars, adjustable shocks, alloy wheels with 3 prong knock-ons, woodrim steering wheel. Plexiglas rear window fitted for ventilation, original glass included in sale. – First glance shows that the windshield seal has been reused and slightly cracked. The paintwork (by LeCoq) is good but the nose area shows marks. The interior coverings are perfect. Some metal interior item looks original and untouched. The engine compartment is nearly like new. Only two owners in the last 42 years. Ferrari Classiche certified, matching numbers. Ready to race with FIA papers and recent PTH. – Distinguished not only by its good condition and meticulous preparation but also because it is one of only three examples designated by Ferrari as “275 GTC” instead of “275 GTB/C”. The modifications, even if some of them are reversible, are a mixed blessing making it at once more driver-friendly but less original. That quandary seems to be reflected in the bidders’ reticence and it is difficult to contend with their considered judgment.

Lot # 100 1964 Ferrari 250 GT/L Lusso Coupe, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 5525; Grey metallic/Biscuit Leather; Estimate $1,020,194 – $1,473,614; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $929,510 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $1,078,232. – Marchal fog lights, woodrim steering wheel, Borrani wire wheels with polished rims. – A good look sees near perfect paint, with only tiny marks. The wheels are smart but dirty inside the wire spokes. The exterior trim is reworked but with slight signs of age. The interior leather and carpets are perfection, a beautiful job. The steering wheel metal needs a polish to match the rest of a great car. Checkered history in the U.S. including being stolen and recovered only 14 years later stripped of its body. Restored in Italy with a new engine block and repro body by Giordanengo, then restored again with another new block last year, managed by LeCoq at a cost of EUR 300,000 including work to “rectify certain defects in the styling of the bodywork.” – Exactly what “defects in the styling” the owner saw in one of Pininfarina’s finest designs is unclear although the rear fenders and deck appear to be more subtly shaped and longer. The convoluted history means it’s never going to get Ferrari Classiche’s imprimatur, a conclusion inherent in the reasonable price it brought, but a solid value for a new owner more interested in driving and owning a legendary Ferrari than in impressing Maranello or FCA judges at 2/3 the value of a Lusso without all the parenthetical expressions and asterisks in its history.

Lot # 120 1974 Lamborghini Countach LP400 Periscopio Coupe, Body by Bertone; S/N 1120030; Grey/Red leather; Estimate $1,020,194 – $1,246,904; Visually maintained, largely original, 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $906,839. – Longitudinale Posteriore “LP”, V12 designed by Giotto Bizzarrini in a 3.9-litre version, vented alloy wheels, air conditioning. – There is visible paint hazing on front fender top. The wheels are freshly well painted. Some overspray around the door edges and windshield, such a shame, poor masking on this level of car. Every 1970’s boys bedroom wall poster car deserves better than this for sure. Original engine and colour scheme. One of the first Periscopes built. A masterpiece of Italian design. The only example in this colour combination. – This is a reasonable and respectable offer for this Countach. It sold for $71,162 at Bonhams Monaco auction in 2002.
Lot # 124 1971 Porsche 916 Prototype “Brutus” Targa; S/N 9141430195; Black/Black; Estimate $906,839 – $1,360,259; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $906,839 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $1,051,934. – Fitted with a 2.9L RSR engine, welded in place Targa roof, Acid green accented polished spoke Fuchs wheels under flared fenders, spare in front compartment, Brutus embroidered floor mats, Brutus and Corina gold badges. – Factory-designed unique prototype, the only Porsche 916 of 11 built to be fitted with a 2.9L RSR engine from new. Owned by Porsche for Corina Piech’s use. Exceptional restoration. First glance shows up some minor scratches on the front scuttle top but they’ll polish out. Faultless on the rest, as new in truth. Brake calipers are new showing good mechanical preparation too. A fine car all round, compliments to the owner. – It’s quite a story and will have Porsche fans in awe at any event. Being unique it’s difficult to assess its value so the determination of the bidders here at Artcurial Retromobile, who were in general not being generous, should be taken as definitive.

Lot # 129 2006 Porsche Carrera GT Convertible; S/N WP0ZZZ98Z6L000221; Yellow Vitesse/Black; Estimate $850,162 – $963,517; Unrestored original, 2 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $759,478. – 40-valve V10 mid-positioned engine, with 5.7-litre producing 612 bhp at 8,000 rpm, air conditioning, Becker stereo and GPS, power windows, power steering. – This car is genuinely immaculate throughout, as new, with 1,900 miles and two owners. There is a tiny amount of road dirt, but otherwise perfect and in showroom condition. – With 1,900 km this Carrera GT is somewhere stretching the envelope of others that form the value starting point with delivery miles. The offer for it here should have been more than sufficient to see it on its way to a new home.

Lot # 130 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster; S/N 1980427500328; Engine # 1989807500345; Black/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $1,133,549 – $1,360,259; Unrestored original, 3 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $997,523. – Steel wheels with black painted hubcaps, contrasting white steering wheel and gear knob, Becker Mexico radio, fog lights, Talbot outside mirror. – The paintwork is striking in black but with forgivable minor blemishes. The wheels are in good order. A large amount of delaminating white areas of the windshield corners about the size of your hand. which distracts from an otherwise fine car. Good original interior, orderly engine compartment. Full certification by Mercedes-Benz Classic Center – Stuttgart and represented as matching numbers. – Sold by Bonhams at the Goodwood Revival in 2014 for $1,057,582, then at Padua in 2017 for $1,038,726 and most recently again at the Revival four months ago for $975,482. Those results were respectively, Euros 816,400, 897,000 and 843,000. The reported hammer bid here is Euros 880,000 and is a reasonable offer for a car bought a few months ago. With Artcurial’s 16% buyer’s premium the reported bid would have been Euros 1,020,800, $1,157,127, either of which is not reasonable in the present market.

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