Bonhams boasts record sale in Paris

$5 million 1932 Bugatti Type 55 tops Retromobile auction results

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Retromobile 2020
The top individual sale among the three auctions staged this past week in Paris was this 1932 Bugatti Type 55 roadster that sold for $5,061,380 at Bonhams | Bonhams photos

Bonhams concluded a record Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais Sale during Retromobile week  with sales totaling €19,693,000 ($20,456,218), the highest figure ever for its collector car auction in Paris. It also claimed the highest price paid for any car at any of the three Retromobile 2020 auctions as a 1932 Bugatti Type 55 roadster on its docket sold for €4,600,000 ($5,061,380).

In addition to the Bonhams sale, RM Sotheby’s posted $18.09 million in sales and Artcurial Motorcars did $24.95 million in Paris.

“This has been an excellent start to our European calendar, which this year also features our popular Monaco Sale, as well as a return to Bonmont after last year’s exceptional auction, plus an exciting new location which will be announced shortly,” Bonhams group motoring chairman James Knight was quoted in his company’s post-sale news release. 

According to Bonhams website, its Paris auction sold 64 of the 100 collector vehicles on the docket. 

1931 Invicta sells for world auction-record price for the marque

Of the 1932 Bugatti Type 55 roadster, Bonhams said it was one of only 29 surviving and was being offered for sale after 56 years of ownership by the late British Bugatti collector Geoffrey St John and, more recently, his niece, Alissar McCreary.

The car had been raced at Le Mans by Louis Chiron and County Guy Bouriat-Quintart before being reconfigured with coachwork by Guiseppe Figoni. With that coachwork, the car won the 1933 Paris-Nice rally for its second owner, French publisher Jacques Dupuy.

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“In the palatial Parisian saleroom, it was the subject of a serious yet spirited three-way bidding battle in the room before being sold to a Swiss Bugatti collector,” Bonhams reported.

“We were extremely proud to have been entrusted with this exceptional and historic sports car,” said Philip.Kantor, Bonhams European director. “It presented a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy one of the most important examples of the golden age of automotive craftsmanship and performance.”

1955 Alfa Romeo 1900 C SZ has coachwork by Zagato

“The Bonhams Grand Palais Sale is renowned for successfully selling pre-war Grand Marques and so it is no surprise that another top seller from today’s sale included a 1931 Invicta 4½ litre S-Type Low Chassis Sports with unique ‘sport cabriolet’ coachwork by Carbodies which achieved a world auction record for the marque, selling for €1,610,000.,” the auction company noted. 

Top-10 sales, Bonhams Grand Palais Paris 2020

  1. 1931 Bugatti Type 55 Supersport by Figoni, $5,061,380
  2. 1931 Invicta 4/12-liter S-Type low-chassis sports ‘Scout,’ $1,771,483
  3. 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet A, $1,771,483
  4. 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster, $1,136,976
  5. 1934 Talbot AV105 Brooklands sports racer, $967,988
  6. 1955 Alfa Romeo 1900C SZ coupe by Zagato, $797,164
  7. 1952 Pegaso Z-102 2.8-liter cabriolet, $782,089
  8. 2009/2019 MAT New Stratos coupe, $756,861
  9. 1937 Horsch 853 Spezialroadster by Erdmann & Rossi, $618,103
  10. 1937 Maybach SW38 special roadster, $567,645
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(Prices include buyer’s fee.)

Bonhams next motorcar auction is scheduled for March 5 at Amelia Island, Florida.

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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