Barn finds, ‘Gullwing’ highlight Artcurial auction docket

16th Automobiles sur les Champs sale in Paris scheduled for November 1

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1960 AC Bristol
This 1960 AC Bristol roadster has been in nearly full-time storage since 1971 | Artcurial Motorcars photos

A barn-found AC Ace Bristol, a Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing,” and a Parisian’s collection of unusual European and American cars are highlights of the docket for Artcurial Motorcars’ 16th Automobiles sur les Champs auction, scheduled for November 1.

“Artcurial Motorcars has established itself as the specialist for barn-find discoveries,” the French auction house said. “Starring in this sale will be a stunning 1960 AC Ace Bristol Roadster, sold new by Chardonnet, the famous Parisian importer. This car has had just two owners from new, having been acquired by the current owner from his best friend in 1971. 

“The story surrounding the purchase of this car is extraordinary, resulting from a competition held by the newspaper Ouest-France. The current owner came up with the answers to the competition and gave these to his best friend, who entered and ended up winning all the major prizes. He promptly sold the French automobiles he had won in order to buy the car of his dreams, this AC Ace Bristol Roadster.

“Eleven years later, in gratitude, he sold the AC Ace for a token price to his best friend, who has kept it ever since, without ever really driving it. As a consequence, this amazingly original example has covered just 18,000 kilometers from new. The car has been conserved without ever being restored and still has its original paintwork.”

Artcurial expects the car to fetch  €300,000 to €500,000 ($351,000 to  $585,000)  at the auction.

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British racing driver Mike Hawthorn tried to convince his friend not to buy this ‘Gullwing’ Mercedes

The Gullwing on the docket was among the first sold in England in 1955.  As the story goes, Jeremy Boles was a 23-year-old motorsports enthusiast who was in the process of ordering the car at the 1954 London Motor Show when a friend, famed racing driver Mike Hawthorn, tried to convince him to buy a British car instead.

Boles insisted on the Mercedes, which arrived in early 1955 in silver-gray metallic paint with leather-and-blue-checked cloth interior. As it heads to auction, the car has a pre-sale estimate of €1.1 million to €1.3 million ($1 28 million to $1.52 million).

Also on the docket is the Hubert Andre Collection, which includes a 1973 Bond Bug 3-wheeler, 1973 De Tomaso Pantera GTS, first-generation Range Rover V8, two motorcycles and a Lambretta scooter. 

Andre Collection
‘Tank’ car needs restoration

Another vehicle of interest is another barn find, a 1928 Chenard & Walcker Type 68 “Tank.” (“Tank” was the name for an aerodynamic body style also used by Bugatti.) The car was owned by the curator of the Royal Belgian Cinema and passed to his family when he died in 1988. The car lacks its 1.5-liter engine, but is being offered as “a rare and historically important model” and “an exciting restoration project.” 

To view the full 65-lot auction docket, visit the Artcurial Motorcars website.

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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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