Preview on some outstanding lots of the Artcurial Retromobile auction 2018

The motoring department of French auction house Artcurial is about to open its 2018 campaign with three sales organized to coincide with the Retromobile Paris classic car show. The first and main one, which is also the show’s “Official Sale”, will take place on Friday, February 9th (starting at 2 p.m.). This will be will followed, on Saturday, February 10th, by two smaller sales, devoted respectively to the Guélon Collection (75 lots) and the Broual Collection (46 lots). These events will start at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. respectively. All the auctions will take place at the Retromobile show venue, specifically in Hall 2.2 at the Paris Expo exhibition center at Porte de Versailles. This preview covers only the main auction on the Friday. Viewing for this sale will be possible from Wednesday, February 8th (from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.), and will continue on Thursday 9th (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and on the morning of the auction itself (from 10 a.m. to 12 noon). The buyer’s premium, which is really quite high, will be 16% + TVA (French VAT) on transactions of up to Euro 900,000 and 12% + TVA on any amount paid in excess of this threshold. There are 131 lots in the catalog, most (128) of which are cars. Forty-eight of these 128 cars will be offered without reserve.

An overview on the lots of the Artcurial Retromobile auction

The oldest car in the sale is a 1912 Panhard Levassor X14 20 CV Torpédo Vanvooren (chassis # X14 27065), Carrosserie Vanvooren body n° 675, which comes from the Volante Collection in the Netherlands. This car, never restored and in wonderful preserved condition, is one of the oldest Vanvooren bodied cars known still to be in existence. The youngest car up for sale is a French registered 2007 Ferrari Enzo (chassis # ZFFCZ56B000136736) with two owners and 19,000 kilometers from new. The car with the lowest estimated value (EUR 10–15 K), being offered without reserve, is a 1960 Citroën ID 19 (chassis # 3119721), never restored and with only two owners and 38,000 kilometers covered from new. It has not been driven in the last decade and is in need of a good mechanical “refresh”.

The car assigned the highest pre-sale estimate (EUR 7–9 million) is a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Pinin Farina Serie 1, however the auction’s highest price will easily be fetched by the only car in the sale being offered with an undisclosed estimate (providing it sells of course). We refer to a 1963 Ferrari 250/275 SP, ex-Scuderia Ferrari. The sale will include three Lamborghini Espadas, one representing each of the three series of the model, and it will be the first time this has happened at a single auction. Numerous cars are expected to fetch prices in excess of EUR 1 million. After the Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Pinin Farina with its lower estimate of EUR 7 million, there is a car expected to sell for at least EUR 3 million, and another two for at least EUR 2 million. A further four cars each have a lower estimate of EUR 1 million.

Artcurial has put together a very interesting catalog for this sale, covering a wide range of cars. Interestingly, contrary to what has, unfortunately, become an only too common trend among the most important auction houses in recent times, there will be no “almost unused” modern supercars. As always with sales held in France, it is worth remembering that, under French law, French vehicles more than 75 years old and costing over EUR 50 K must have an export passport in order to be taken out of France and an export license in order to leave EU territory.

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Pinin Farina Series 1

The 250, with its 3-liter V12 engine, is the most iconic Ferrari model of all time. Designed to suit different purposes, it has, in the course of its long lifetime, which started in 1954, sported many different lines, from racy to more refined, and different bodies, ranging from the berlinetta type to the charming open body. Unsurprisingly, some of the best looking versions were designed at Pinin Farina, the most celebrated Italian coachbuilder that created the style of the car being offered on this occasion. This 1958 250 GT is the 23rd of the 40-car first series of the 250 Cabriolet, derived from the Superamerica berlinetta. It is also one of the only 11 matching numbers specimens still in existence. Chassis # 0849GT left the Maranello factory on January 14th, 1958, and was sent to Pinin Farina to be bodied. Painted white on turquoise Connolly leather, the car (with body number PF19469) was completed on May 5th, 1958, ready to be delivered, four days later, to its first owner, a Mr Enzo Paolo Tacchini of Milan (it was licensed MI 384430).

The second owner, also from Milan, took possession of the car in 1960. Several years later, on July 17th, 1964, it was exported to France, where it was registered in Paris to a Mr Claude Gailleux. He later sold it to Philippe Luyt of Fontainebleau, who (just as Ferrari works driver Peter Collins had done, in 1957, on the 250 GT Pinin Farina Cabriolet protoype that he owned) replaced the drum brakes with discs (still fitted today). Luyt covered about 100,000 km in the car, until, in 1971, on his way back from the Côte d’Azur, its engine failed. The car was entrusted to the Berson garage near Paris where the engine was replaced with engine number 0973, which came from a 250 GT Tour de France. Luyt, thrilled to be driving with a competition engine, continued to enjoy his car until 1975, when he sold it to Roland Ennequin of Yvelines, near Paris. Ennequin kept the car until 1990, repainted it red, and changed the interior to black. Between 1990 and 2008, the car was owned by three American collectors and displayed at Pebble Beach. In 2013, it returned to France where, following difficult and time-consuming research, the original engine was tracked down and completely rebuilt. The car was then restored and repainted black and re-trimmed with leather in the original turquoise color. Offered with an American logbook, but with EU customs clearance, it is considered to be worth in the region of EUR 7–9 million.

1963 Ferrari 250/275P

For the past two decades, racing Ferraris have been considered classic cars par excellence. They are extremely valuable because they come from a historical period that saw the brand producing its very best cars. Indeed, they are beautiful to look at and wonderful to drive. The main “problem”, though, is that they are very, very rare. Ferrari, up to the mid-1980s, manufactured a very limited number of cars. A good year’s sales back then amounted to the value of a standard week’s production today. Only some of the few surviving cars from this period raced at important events, and even fewer notched up victories while competing for the firm. Clearly, then, when a winning ex-works car comes on the market, it will obviously attract many potential customers, and the price will rocket. The ex-works competition Ferrari 250/275P being offered in Paris (chassis # 0816 Type 564) is one such very rare specimen. It is the works car that, driven by Jean Guichet and Nino Vaccarella, won the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans, giving Ferrari its last success in this classic French marathon race with a factory entered car: it covered the 4695 kilometers at an average speed of 195.638 km/h.

This 1963 car is one of the only four model 250 P cars, all characterized by a rear positioned V12 engine. Originally this was a three-liter, 300 HP unit, but it was upgraded to the Type 210 specification (3.3-liter, 320 HP) in 1964, hence the 275 in the name. This engine, marked number 816/3, is still in the car today, which is amazing for a racing car with a history like this one has. After making its debut at the Sebring 12 Hours in March 1964, and its success at the Le Mans race the following June, the 275P competed one more time in Ferrari’s official colors, in the 1965 12 Hours of Debring, before it was sold to privateer William Cooper, who raced it in the American Sport Championship from 1965 to 1968, its best result in that period being a 9th place in the 1966 Road America 500 race at Elkhart Lake. In 1968 the car was sold to Luigi Chinetti, the American importer of Ferrari cars and founder of N.A.R.T., who replaced the 275P’s wire wheels with magnesium ones, and entered it in the 1969 12 Hours of Sebring, where it was driven by Pedro Rodriguez and Chuck Person (DNF). This was the last outing for this well-used, but never abused, 275P, which, in 1970, was sold to the late Pierre Bardinon, one of the legendary early Ferrari collectors from France.

The car was given a good service, after which it was used only very occasionally, mainly at Bardinon’s private race track, and exhibited every now and then in some high-profile Ferrari show. A highlight in its story came in 2000, when, during the Goodwood Festival of Speed, it was reunited with Guichet. Amazingly original, with a known history from new, this car is offered for sale with an undisclosed estimate. If it sells, it will easily become the auction’s most expensive car, and a serious contender as one of the top lots of the season.

1964 Porsche 904 GTS

The 904 was the car that Porsche developed with the precise aim of making an impact on its return to the Sport racing category. The first Porsche to feature a ladder chassis and a fiberglass body, it was equipped with a four-overhead-cam, two-liter, flat-four (four-cylinder, hence the 4 in the name) Type 587/3 engine. In total, 106 of these units were built during the two years (1964-1965) they were in production, slightly more than the number required to get the model homologated for racing. In 1965, 20 Type 904s were built with a six-cylinder engine derived from the 911, a development that anticipated the arrival, in 1966, of the next model, the 906. The car offered (chassis # 904-104) is one of the 50 built in 1964. Originally fitted with a four-cylinder unit, it was delivered, on May 14th, 1964, to D’Ieteren, the Porsche importer in Belgium, to be sold to Belgian racing driver Eddy Meert, who entered it in ten races in the 1964 and 1965 seasons, including the 500 Kilometers of Spa and the 1000 Kilometers of Nürburgring.

At the end of 1966, during which the car competed in just one race, he sold it to French driver, Robert Dutoit, who entered it in a further nine races before selling it, at the end of 1969, to Bernard Consten, another racer who never used it competitively. Consten repainted it in silver, but subsequently returned it to its original Rubin Rot (ruby red) color before selling it, equipped with a six-cylinder unit, to Jean-Claude Miloé in 1994. Miloé, a Porsche fanatic and friend of the Consten family, kept it for over 23 years. The car was classified 16 times in the course of its racing career. These achievements include five race victories, two first-in-class placings, and a sixth place overall in the 1964 Tour de France Automobile. The original carnet de bord from this latter race is still in the file accompanying the car. The only mishap involving the 904 came at Spa, in 1964, when its rear trunk lid came off.

After buying the car, Jean-Claude Miloé entered it in the regularity section of the Tour Auto Historique for many consecutive years (from 1996 to 2009), taking second place overall in 2008, when it won all the special stages. He also used it in various club and private track events until 2015. Today the car is still equipped with the six-cylinder engine (number 6290446). In 2009 this was upgraded to 2.7 liters to make the car eligible for Group G historic racing, but there will also be a four-cylinder Type 587/3 engine (number P99057) sold with the car. Last serviced in November 2017, it is offered ready to be driven and raced. This 904, which is replicated as a 1:18 scale model created by the company Minichamps, has a completely known history, which includes just two owners since 1970. Accompanied by French documents, it is offered for sale, without reserve, and is expected to fetch EUR 1.4–1.8 million.

1942-1946 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Cabriolet Speciale Pinin Farina

In 1946, with the Second World War just over, Italy was still considered, in many countries, a sort of enemy to be punished. For this reason, Italian manufacturers and coachbuilders were not allowed to take part in the first post-war Paris Car Show, held in the October that year. This decision by the French was a huge problem for Battista “Pinin” Farina, who had been back in business since 1942, when Alfa Romeo had given him fourteen 6Cs rolling chassis to dress.

One of these (chassis # 915169) had been sold, in early 1946, to Giuliana Tortolli-Cuccioli, a wealthy lady from Milan (see header visual of this posting). The design of this wonderful open car with carefully researched details and striking lines was modern for the time, and certainly impressive. Indeed, the owner, who registered the car with a Milan license plate (MI 91036), was asked by the Turin manufacturer to loan it to them for shows. Its first appearance as a “show car” was at the Geneva Motor Show in September 1946, after which, in early October, it was displayed on the Esplanade de Montebenon, in Lausanne. After the welcome received from neutral Switzerland, the French decision not to accept the car for display seemed quite unacceptable to Pinin Farina who, after countless unsuccesful attempts to get the Paris organizers to change their mind, finally decided to take matters into his own hands.

Battista Farina and his son Sergio drove the Alfa Romeo and a Lancia Aprilla to Paris and, after giving them a good wash at a nearby garage, they simply parked both cars right outside the Grand Palais. They stole the show! Less than a week later, the Alfa Romeo was on show at the Concours d’Élégance in Turin, where it won the trophy for the most beautiful open-top car, and in 1947 it was awarded the Grand Prix d’Honneur at the 29th Concours d’Élégance in Monte Carlo. In Spring 1947, Pinin Farina bought the car back from Guiliana Tortolli to use it as his personal car. The following year, it was sold to Leonard Lord, the chairman of Austin, and became an inspiration for the Austin A90 Atlantic, before being used by the company’s managing director, George Harriman. In early 1950, legendary car designer Raymond Loewy signed a contract with British Leyland to design the new Austin Seven and sent his young designer, Holden Koto, to work at Austin for four months. Koto immediately fell in love with the Alfa, and George Harriman ended up selling it to him, well below its value, as a bonus. Koto used the car in Europe for about a year before taking it back to America with him. While the car was being unloaded, the front bodywork and the bumpers were damaged. They were repaired at Raymond Loewy’s workshop, and during this work it was decided to change the car’s metallic champagne colored livery to a light metallic green. Sold in 1952, the car was “Americanized” shortly afterwards: this involved fitting it with whitewall tires and removing part of the rear wings and the hubcaps. After this, the car, passing through the hands of a series of different owners, began a long period of decline, ending up in a restoration shop, where it was taken to bits and abandoned.

Its current owner, from Viriginia, found the car and entrusted it to the Guild of Automotive Restorers, in Bradford (Ontario, Canada), to undergo a restoration that began in 2008. The chassis was restored first of all, before the work was suspended for a while. In 2013, it was picked up again. The restorers tried to save as much as possible of the original panels, while most of the missing parts were discovered in Japan and bought back. The Mario Revelli de Beaumont special steering wheel was re-made, on the basis of period pictures, as were the missing hubcaps and the chrome strip along the dashboard. The interior was relatively well preserved, and despite being in poor condition, the leather seats were complete, providing a template for the new upholstery. Two and a half years later, the car, repainted in its original metallic champagne color, was finally ready and made its debut at Pebble Beach. It is now offered for sale, with American registration, and has an estimated value of Euro 1.0–1.3 million.

1960 Volvo PV 544

The Volvo PV 544 may look bulky, but it has taught a whole generation of Scandinavians the art of driving on snow. Indeed, when you read about Scandinavians and their ability to race really fast on snow, and thus win countless of rallies, it is worth remembering that the first generation of them undoubtedly received their training in the PV 544. The one (chassis # 316051) now being offered for sale, with a Swedish logbook, is an ex-works car, having belonged to the Competition Service Department. It was used by Miss Ewy Rosqvist (a member of the Volvo works team from 1960 to 1962) to compete in the 1962 Monte Carlo Rally, from which she took home the Ladies’ Trophy. It is offered in the same configuration it had on that occasion, and indeed still has its start number (340), as well as the original seats and original timing instruments, and the extra lights. After a major service, it will be ready to be driven. It is being offered, without reserve, and has been valued at EUR 35–50 K.

1970 BMW Alpina B6 2.8 CSI

Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen KG, today one of the world’s most renowned BMW ateliers, was founded on January 1st, 1965, staffed by just eight employees. Thanks to its amazingly high-level preparation of racing BMWs, Alpina soon become the people to go to in order to make BMWs better and faster. Between 1968 and 1973, racing drivers such as Derek Bell, Harald Ertl, James Hunt, Jacky Ickx, Niki Lauda, Brian Muir and Hans Stuck all took the wheel of Alpina cars, and in 1970 the firm won the European Touring Car Championship.

Ever since its early years, Alpina has developed road versions of standard BMWs, and the early ones are today coveted rare classics. The one now up for sale (chassis # 2205017) is a B6 based on the E9, the wonderful coupe of the 1970s, and it is one of the first road models produced by Alpina. It was built for a close friend of Mr Bovensiepen (the Alpina founder) by the latter’s original team, and this first owner kept it for the rest of his life. The car received its first service at the Alpina factory, and throughout the 73,000 km it has covered in its 48 years of life it has always been maintained by Alpina.

All Alpina invoices, manuals and original BMW order forms accompany the car and will be handed over to the buyer. The car still wears its original paint, original Sparco seats and original interiors, and it is equipped with a Zenith fuel injection system, a very rare if not unique solution for this type of engine. Complete in every detail and in immaculate mechanical conditions, it is offered for sale, from a single ownership, with an estimate of Euro 100–150 K.

For more information, please visit the website of the Artcurial Retromobile auctions.

All photos courtesy of Artcurial. Historic photo of the Ferrari 275 P Le Mans copyright The Cahier Archive.

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