Last week saw the European auction season start with the hotly anticipated Rétromobile in Paris. There are always some stunning cars passing through and with no Monaco Historique this year, this is the important European auction ahead of Goodwood Festival of Speed. It is also notable by the fact that RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Artcurial all attend. So, let’s start with RM Sotheby’s.
RM Sotheby’s Sets Own Rétromobile Record
RM Sotheby’s enjoyed a strong night in Paris with a gross sale total of €27,576,400 – their best ever result at Rétromobile week sale.
The star lot was a 1934 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3, a highly important pre-war Grand Prix car. Campaigned by Scuderia Ferrari selling for €3,920,000. The second biggest seller on the night was the 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider, a rare car offered with only 20,314 miles on the clock. It fetched €2,156,000.
Strong Demand for Modern-Era Porsches
RM Sotheby’s also demonstrated the continued demand for modern-era Porsches. A headline attraction of the sale was a group of 13 Porsches offered from a private Swiss Collection and presented entirely ‘without reserve’. The highlight was an original, one-of-29 1988 Porsche 959 Sport. With just three owners and 11,281 miles from new, the 959 Sport achieved a world-record auction price of €1,960,000.
Another remarkable Porsche result from within the collection was for the rare 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo S 3.6, which achieved a very significant result of €901,600. In total, 23 examples of the marque were sold in Paris, and among the numerous notable results outside the collection, the 1995 Porsche 911Turbo Cabriolet was a particular highlight, bringing a remarkable final figure of €1,344,000.
Optimism for European Car Market
“The Paris sale has been important on a number of levels”, says Peter Wallman, Managing Director, RM Sotheby’s Europe. “More than anything, the results demonstrate that the European market remains incredibly strong, with the prices achieved providing a robust continuation of what we achieved in London last September and Milan in November. Collectors are looking for quality, and rarity remains the key driver to some of the most significant values. Clearly, Porsche is still the star marque in the ascendance, although the Alfa Romeo P3 reminds us that the true greats of the pre-war era still command much attention from serious collectors where pure beauty, heritage and provenance are the corner stones of desirability.”
Aston Martin Still Delivers
Demonstrating that Aston Martin is still a marque very much in demand, and illustrating that strong prices for modern classics run beyond the Stuttgart marque, the sale featured two rare, Zagato-bodied cars which attracted significant interest. A 2012 Aston Martin V12 Zagato “No. Zero”, a one-of-a-kind car within just 65 cars constructed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary DB4GT Zagato, exceeded estimate and sold for €750,400. The 2003 DB7 Zagato, which represents the first collaboration between the Italian and English firms since the V8 Vantage Zagato of 1986, is the first of just 99 produced and made a very strong €392,000.
Bonhams once again took over the magnificent Grand Palais to showcase a selection of the finest motorcars, motorcycles and automobilia at their Grandes Marques du Monde sale on 9th February.
The star of the show was the 1935 Aston Martin Ulster ‘CML 719’, which drew countless admirers during both the preview and the sale. With an outstanding provenance and racing history including a 5th place in its class at the 1935 Le Mans 24H, it is of little surprise that it well exceeded its estimate to achieve the astonishing sum of €2,012,500 after an intense exchange between four bidders in the sale room which lasted several minutes. A round of applause broke out in the audience when the hammer finally came down.
British Cars Perform Well
British cars performed consistently well across the sale, with the second most valuable lot realizing €1,070,100. The 1957 Bentley S1 Continental, one of a mere 31 built and previously owned by the shipping magnate George Embiricos, caught the eye of several bidders both online and in the Grand Palais. Bidding started quickly but settled in to a lengthy and determined exchange between two bidders, eventually realizing over a million euros.
German Offerings Achieve Top Positions
A 1966 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ Coupé demonstrated that its iconic looks and unmatched German engineering have stood the test of time when it became one of three cars selling over the million-euro mark on the day eventually culminating in a price of €1,017,266.
Another German offering to achieve a Top 10 position was the 1929 Maybach SW-36 Spezial Cabriolet which achieved a respectable €673,350. Following closely behind was the beautifully original and charming ‘getaway car’ in the shape of a 1923 Bugatti Type 27 Brescia Torpedo which realized €506,600.
Ferraris and Rally Cars Make Their Mark
The perpetually popular Italian marque, Ferrari, did not fail to perform. The 1959 Ferrari 250 GT ‘Series 1’ coupé sold to a buyer for €437,600 whilst the 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 ‘Series 2’ sold online for €276,600.
Rally cars were well represented in the sale. ‘The world’s best and most beautiful rally car’ the 1977 Lancia Stratos Coupé achieved €374,350 and the highly original 1983 Renault 5 Turbo Tour de Corse Group B Rally Works Car was sold in the room for €195,500, whilst the ex-Ecurie Kremer 1970 Porsche 914/6 achieved €184,600.
Artcurial Sets the Mark
Artcurial enjoyed the strongest auction of all with a total of €31,944,484. The start lots was a hotly anticipated 1966 Ferrari Dino 206 P Berlinetta Speciale by Pinin Farina, a prototype that has resided in the Le Mans museum for many years. With no engine or gearbox, it was always going to be an interesting lot eventually selling for €4,390,400 making it the most expensive auction sale at Rétromobile this year. Close behind was a Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa Scaglietti from 1948 selling for €2,960,400.
About the Author: Tim Hutton has been involved in the automotive industry for 17 years, creating ideas and content for premium brands. When not writing about cars, you will find him driving them all around the world. Having learned to drive at seven in a racing car, petrol is very much in his veins.