HomeEventsBonhams features French classics at Retromobile auction in Paris

Bonhams features French classics at Retromobile auction in Paris


This 1958 Talbot-Lago T14 America Coupe was the last car built before the company closed | Bonhams photos

French classic automobiles are fittingly featured at Bonhams’ Paris auction, which takes place February 9 during the Retromobile celebration of vintage vehicles. The annual sale will cover 101 years of motoring history, Bonhams says.

The auction, named Grandes Marques au Grand Palais, will include offerings from French brands Bugatti, Citroën, Renault, Delage and Talbot Lago, among others, in an international sale held during one of Europe’s most flamboyant automotive festivals.

The French vehicles include:

The 1923 Bugatti Type 27 Brescia Torpedo is thought to be a former getaway car

1923 Bugatti Type 27 Brescia Torpedo – One of the few examples of this sporting car to retain its original coachwork. Estimated value: $410,000 to $580,000

“An iconic sports car of its era, even 94 years later this little Bugatti remains a delight to drive,” Bonhams says in its description. “Capable of speeds of up to 110km/h (68 mph), it is little surprise that this example was used in several holdups in the Bois de Boulogne area throughout the 1920s. Nimble and spritely, the Brescia was the ideal getaway car.”

1958 Talbot-Lago T14 America Coupe – The last car to leave the Suresnes factory before the company closed, the ultra-low-mileage coupe “is a pristine example of the beautifully proportioned design and efficient engineering which characterized this marque,” Bonhams says. Valued at $490,000 to $590,000.

1955 Renault 4CV ‘Pie’ Parisian Police Car – Nicknamed Pie for magpie, Renault 4CVs were regularly used as police cars. Delivered new to the Paris police in 1955, this car went on to appear in 16 films, including The Pink Panther and Sois belle et tais – toi. “This car represents a true slice of social and cinematic French history,” Bonhams says. Valued at $30,000 to $37,000.

The Citroën DS 19 Décapotable is the convertible version of the iconic luxury car

1983 Renault 5 Turbo Group B ‘Tour de Corse’ – A very different sort of Renault, this was one of 20 mid-engine works Group B rally cars. The supercar racer has a known history from new and is made up of all-original parts, with the exceptional of the gearbox (which comes with the car). Valued at $220,000 to $320,000.

1964 Citroën DS 19 Décapotable – “The rare and highly desirable soft top version of one of the most historically significant motor cars of all time,” Bonhams says of the convertible version of the iconic Citroen. Totally restored, the DS is valued at $150,000 to $180,000.

1930 Delage D8 Cabriolet – A favorite among European royalty, this right-hand-drive convertible “has been meticulously and sympathetically restored throughout its life, and is thought to have taken on its current form (restyling was a common occurrence at the time) in the 1930s,” Bonhams says. Valued at $380,000 to $490,000.

The 1935 Aston Martin Ulster two-seat roadster has a seven-figure value

Headlining the Paris sale from the British auction house is a pre-war motorports classic from the homeland, a 1935 Aston Martin Ulster two-seat roadster that was a works entry in the Le Mans 24 Hours of 1935, where it finished fifth in class. One of just 31 Ulsters built, chassis No. CML 719 competed in British, European and U.S. races, which “all witnessed the robust elegance of what is widely considered to be the marque’s finest pre-war car,” Bonhams says. Value is estimated at $1.7 million to $1.9 million.

Another seven-figure entry from England is a 1957 Bentley S1 Continental drophead coupe, one of just 31 built with left-hand drive, valued at $1.1 million to $1.6 million.

The oldest car at the auction is a 1900 Benz Ideal 4½ hp Vis-à-Vis, valued at $130,00 to $150,000, while the newest are a 2001 Bentley Continental R Le Mans Coupe and a 2001 Rolls-Royce Corniche V Cabriolet.

For information about Bonhams’ Paris sale at Retromobile, visit the auction website.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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