In his annual analysis of the collector car auction marketplace for the Classic Car Auction Yearbook 2018-2019, Matthieu Lamoure, managing director of Artcurial Motorcars, writes of how in recent months, “the market gently corrected itself, to return to more rational prices.”
Some of his fellow auctioneer house executives might disagree about how gentle that correction has been, but Lamoure reminds his audience, “We
might well have seen an abrupt downturn in the market.”
A drop of around 20 percent might be termed closer to abrupt than gentle. Nonetheless, Lamoure insists on focusing on the cup being nearly 80 percent full.
“How fortunate we are,” he continues, “the market is inexhaustible and is constantly renewing itself,” and now with “the arrival of new collectors, who are younger and even wealthier… which is fine with us!”
Lamoure and his team get a chance to prove the validity of his words in February when Artcurial stages its annual Retromobile auction in its hometown of Paris, where it has announced a docket that includes pre-war classics, cars with racing history and those with celebrity ownership.
“Stars, sporting success, history and variety in the most highly anticipated sale of the year, Retromobile 2020,” Lamoure is quoted in Artcurial’s latest news release. “We can’t wait!”
The 20-teens proved to be good years for Artcurial at Retromobile. In 2016, it sold a 1957 Ferrari 335 S for $35,930,639 and earlier this year, its late-winter auction sent a 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta to its next owner for $18,999,558.
But as Lamoure acknowledged in his Yearbook entry — pointing out that a 1990 Ferrari Testarossa that brought $120,000 just a few years ago now sells for $80,000 — there is a new reality in the marketplace. Thus, the highest pre-auction estimated value on Artcurial’s 2020 Retromobile docket is the €6 million to €8 million ($6.6 million to $8.8 million) it anticipates for a 1929 Mercedes-Benz 710 SS Sport Tourer with coachwork by Fernandez & Darrin.
Artcurial notes that the car was delivered as a rolling chassis to New York, where the American coachbuilders created a “stunning’ 4-door Sport Touring body with wraparound fenders and no running boards.
Another pre-war classic on the docket, and this one with racing history, is a 1936 Delahaye 135S. Chassis 46625 is one of only 16 135S models produced, and in 1937 it raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The pre-sale estimate is €800,000 to €1.2 million ($881,020 to $1.32 million).
Two post-war cars with endurance-racing history also highlight the docket. A 1959 DB HBR4 nicknamed “Le Monstre” was purchased new by Jacques Rey and won the Index of Performance in the 1959 Tour de France and then was handed off to his teammate Andre Guilhardin, who modified and lowered the bodywork. The car raced at Le Mans in 1961, finishing 20th overall and second in the Index of Efficiency. It recently has undergone restoration.
Also going to auction with racing history is the 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB that was the cover car for the 1966 Ferrari Yearbook after winning the GT class in the Monza 1000 that year. Chassis 6785 was delivered in full racing specification to its first owner and competed in more than 40 races between 1965 and 1968. Its pre-sale estimate is €2.2 to €2.8 million ($2.42 million to $3.08 million).
Another car on the docket with motorsports credentials is a 1983 Ferrari 126 C3 that was driven by Patrick Tambay and Rene Arnoux in Formula One competition. Arnoux steering the car to victory in the German and Dutch Grands Prix in 1983. The car is being offered from the Manoir de l’Automobile collection based in Loheac, France.
Contributing even more racing history as well as an element of celebrity to the auction is a 1967 Ford Mustang GT that Henri Chemin drove to second place at Monthlery in 1967, and more recently was part of the collection of French entertainer Johnny Hallyday, who drove with Chemin in the 1967 race.
The docket also includes a collection of nine Lamborghinis, including a 1977 Countach LP400 “Periscopio” delivered new to entertainer Rod Stewart and a 2001 Diablo formerly owned by F1 racer Olivier Panis.
Artcurial’s 10th Retromobile auction is scheduled for February 7 at the Parc des Exposition in the Parc de Versailles in Paris.