HomeThe MarketArtcurial's French-record sale boosts Retromobile auction total to $80.5 million

Artcurial’s French-record sale boosts Retromobile auction total to $80.5 million


1931 Bentley and other cars await their trip across the block | Photos courtesy Artcurial
1931 Bentley and other cars await their trip across the block | Photos courtesy Artcurial

Artcurial Paris 2014 at a glance

Total sales $33.78 million
Catalog 191 vehicles
Sell-through rate 85 percent
High sale $3.44 million
1953 Ferrari 166MM
Next 9 price range $1.01 million to $2.95 million
Next auction July 5, Le Mans, France

For the third year in succession, Artcurial Motorcars has established a record for the largest classic car auction held in France with its two-day sale during Retromobile, which posted $33.78 million in business.

“We are absolutely delighted with the results of this year’s Retromobile sale,” said Matthieu Lamoure, managing director of Artcurial Motorcars. “Interest was strong across the full range of motor cars on offer and the atmosphere in the sales room was fantastic. It was wonderful to present these cars to a room buzzing with excitement and packed with so many true enthusiasts.

“The results speak for themselves and our close-knit team, with a shared passion for collectors’ cars, gives Artcurial Motorcars a very special character.

“Selling the Ferrari 166MM the following day the day after the car crossed the block) has been the icing on the cake!”

For the first time, Artcurial’s Retromobile auction spanned two days, the second called “Solo Alfa” and devoted to 44 Alfa Romeos.

The 166MM highlighted by Lamoure is a 1953 166MM originally built with a Vignale body, but that was switched out in 1954 for one-off Oblin coachwork. The car, with an extensive racing history highlighted by victory in the Liege-Rome-Liege road race in 1953 and a runner-up finish in the Grand Prix at Spa in 1955, was restored to its appearance at the 1955 Brussels Motor Show.

The Ferrari didn’t quite reach its reserve price in bidding during its appearance on the block. However, consignor and bidder agreed to a price — $3.44 million — the following day, making the 166MM the top sale of the Artcurial auction and the second most costly car (after a 1955 Jaguar D-type at RM) during any of the three auctions during Retromobile, Europe’s mid-winter celebration of classic cars.

'65 Alfa TZ brings $1.289 million at Solo Alfa sale
’65 Alfa TZ brings $1.289 million at Solo Alfa sale

From the mid-1970s until 2001, Artcurial was an art gallery that was part of the L’Oreal (cosmetics) group’s holdings. After the gallery closed, catalog publisher Nicholas Orlowski, with investment from French aircraft and technology company Dassault, bought the gallery and with auctioneers Francis Briest, Herve Poulain and Remy Le Fur, turned it into an auction company selling not only art but objects from wine to watches and from comic strips to classic cars. In 2002, Artcurial moved into the Hotel Marcel Dassault, just off the famed Champs Elysses.

Combined with the RM and Bonhams auctions earlier in the week, the Artcurial sale boosted the Retromobile totals to more than $80.5 million.

The top sale completed on the block at Artcurial was $3.44 million for a 1931 Bentley 8-litre Sportsman coupe with coachwork by Gurney-Nutting. Talk about a long run of awards, the car won the best coachwork trophy from the Royal Auto Club in 1932 and also best-of-show at the Louis Vuitt0n concours in 1999.

In addition to the top-10 sales, all of which exceeded $1 million, highlights of the auction included the sales of:

  • An unrestored 1937 Delahaye 135 Coupe des Alpes cabriolet with Chapron coachwork ($128,888) that had been owned by the same family since 1961;
  • A 1962 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Mulliner-bodied cabriolet ($386,065) formerly owned by French film star Brigitte Bardot;
  • A black-with-yellow-flames 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air coupe ($65,953) formerly owned by Ringo Starr;
  • One of seven 1975 Citroen SM Mylord convertibles by Chapron ($739,958);
  • A barn-found 1941 Pierre Faure electric car ($69,170, which was more than double its pre-auction estimate);
  • A collection of archival material from acclaimed car designer Tom Tjaarda ($17,465).

Top-1o sales | Artcurial Paris (prices include commission)

  1. 1953 Ferrari 166MM by Oblin, $3,441,225
  2. 1931 Bentley 8-litre Sportsman coupe by Gurney-Nutting, $2,955,945
  3. 1924 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8A cabriolet by Ramseier, $1,737,076
  4. 1934 Hispano-Suiza J12 Type 68 by Vanvooren, $1,520,940
  5. 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, $1,241,540
  6. 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ coupe, $1,289,366
  7. 1933 Delage D8 S cabriolet by Pourtout, $1,281,647
  8. 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS, $1,213,719
  9. 1969 Lamborghini Miura S, $1,088,669
  10. 1969 Maserati Ghibli Spyder 4.9-litre, $1,011,477



Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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