Top 10 French cars being auctioned this weekend

A dream auction for any Francophile classic car collector is taking place at Peugeot's vintage car museum in Sochaux this Saturday. We've picked out 10 of the most interesting cars on offer

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Amazing classic Citroën and Peugeot collection on sale

A plethora of classic vehicles from the PSA Citroën Peugeot range will be sold by French auctioneers Leclere later this week, and its host venue adds to a grand sense of occasion.

63 classic vehicles from PSA’s main French marques – plus historic brands Talbot and Simca – will cross Leclere’s auction block on Saturday 16 September, taking place at Peugeot’s historic vehicle museum in Sochaux.

Ranging from Dakar and World Rally Championship pedigree racing machines to affordable classics available for a few thousand euros, there’s something for all tastes. We’ve picked out ten of the best lots on offer this weekend.

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1937 Simca Gordini 8

This streamlined sportscar can trace its roots all the way back to Italy, based upon a Fiat 508C Balilla rebadged as a Simca 8. Seeking to enhance its reputation with a motorsports programme, Simca hired Amédée Gordini – who would later found the eponymous Gordini racing team – to modify and campaign its machinery.

This streamlined model had a brief but prestigious racing career. Raced by Gordini himself, chassis 823885 scored victory at the 1938 Bol d’Or, also competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1938 and 1939. Jean Breillet was the car’s most common pilot throughout its life, scoring 1100cc class victory in the 1938 Tourist Trophy held at Donington Park.

Estimate: €700,000 – €800,000

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2003 Peugeot 406

When it comes to cinematic provenance, no car from Peugeot’s line-up can trump the 406. Acting as the leading star in Luc Besson’s Taxi film franchise, the iconic white 406 – this one from Taxi 2 – was kitted out with wide bumpers, a large rear wing and racing-spec wheels, amongst other visual modifications.

It’s no slouch either, with 204bhp produced by the 3.0-litre V6 engine, giving the power necessary to zip around Marseille’s streets as if one were competing in the French rally championship.

There’s one hitch, though – it’s not road legal. Built without a VIN number, it can’t be retroactively made road legal in Europe either. Nor will Marion Cotillard be sitting next to you in the passenger seat. Oh well.

Estimate: €8000 - €10,000

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1990 Citroën ZX Rallye Raid

PSA Group’s two main brands were once a dominant force on the notoriously gruelling Dakar Rally, starting off in the late 1980s with an adaptation of its highly successful Peugeot 205 T16 rally car. After two subsequent wins for the Peugeot 405, it was Citroën’s turn to uphold company honours.

Its ZX Rallye Raid won on its debut at the 1990 Baja Aragon and picked up where Peugeot left off, winning the Dakar Rally in 1991, 1994, 1995 and 1996. This particular ZX in Leclere’s auction was raced by 1981 WRC champion Ari Vatanen at the 1990 Rallye des Pharaons, then at the Dakar Rally in 1991 and 1993 with one-time WRC rally winner Alain Ambrosino.

Estimate: €160,000 – €190,000

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1987 Citroën CX

For those uninterested in motor racing, the sale has a wide selection of road-going PSA Group cars. One particular Citroën in the auction docket was designed to be as comfortable for its passengers as the driver, a lengthened Prestige version of the Citroën CX.

Featuring extremely roomy rear seats, this CX has a diplomatic history, serving as the ambassadorial car for Yugoslavia’s embassy in Paris. Recently restored to the tune of €16,000 and featuring Citroën’s trademark hydropneumatic suspension, this 2.5-litre diesel can be enjoyed as much from the back seats as the front.

Estimate: €17,000 - €20,000

P.S. Thinking of buying this auction lot? Check our Citroën CX buying guide to be fully prepared!

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1927 Peugeot 177M

Even pre-war classics can be affordable, as this Peugeot 177M fitted with Weymann-style coachwork demonstrates. Though the Type 177 was built in large numbers, the 177M with this type of coachwork was far rarer, with only around 300 believed to have been built.

Restored in 2004, this near century old Peugeot looks to be in great condition, painted in a beautiful Bordeaux Red that matches its original specification.

Estimate: €17,000 - €20,000

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2004 Peugeot 307 WRC

One of the most modern machines present in Leclere’s auction line-up, this Peugeot 307 WRC was built to compete at the highest level of world rallying. Based on the cabriolet derivative of the 307, it was an ultimately an unsuccessful follow-up to the all-conquering 206 WRC, which swept to two drivers’ titles and three manufacturers’ titles.

This particular 307 WRC was driven by one-time WRC rally winner Harri Rovanperä during the latter stages of his 2004 campaign, before acting as a test vehicle and passing to privateer hands with Bozian Racing, and then returning ‘home’ to the French championship with Dany Snobeck.

Though overshadowed by its PSA stablemate, the Citroën Xsara WRC piloted by rally legends Sébastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz, it’s still a special car worth looking at.

Estimate: €290,000 – €320,000

Photo courtesy of Motorsport Images

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1992 Peugeot 405 Mi16 Le Mans

Built as a nod to Peugeot’s participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its 905 prototype, the 405 Mi16 Le Mans was a product of its golden era, when every tuned-up version of its standard cars was an instant hit.

Without the subtle Peugeot Sport striping and bonnet branding, this would be a bonafide ‘Q-car’, with nothing to give away its finely poised handling or punchy engine.

Regardless, this is the holy grail of 405. They rarely show up for sale or at auction, so it’s hard to believe how low an estimate it’s been given by Leclere.

Estimate: €6500 – €8500

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1983 Talbot Samba Rallye

Before the Peugeot 205 GTi stole the hearts of hot-hatch lovers everywhere, sister brand Talbot used a similar formula on its Samba hatchback. Intended as an entry-level rallying machine, its simplistic stripped-back nature made it a rally car for the road, even if it packed a mere 79bhp.

This example is said to be “completely original” both in its exterior, interior and mechanical parts. Thanks to its younger cousin, the Peugeot 205 GTi, stealing all the limelight, there’s a decent chance this one hasn’t been abused to within an inch of its life.

Estimate: €13,000 - €17,000

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1992 Citroën BX

If you’re hunting for a bargain buy, this could be worth a look. Though a departure from the fluid curves seen on pre-PSA era Citroëns, the BX still held trademark features like the hydropneumatic suspension system.

This late-run series two example is a TZD Turbo Diesel, the most powerful diesel BX produced with 88bhp, coming with all the mod-cons like air conditioning, all-round disc brakes, Webasto sunroof and velvet interior. At such a low price, we’d be surprised if someone doesn’t take a chance with this plucky BX.

Estimate: €2800 - €3500

P.S. Tempted to buy this car? Check our Citroën BX buying guide for a comprehensive review

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1985 Peugeot J9

This quirky van has potential despite its rather basic appearance. Its spartan interior features a mishmash of components from other, smaller Peugeot vehicles from the same time period, like the steering wheel borrowed from a 504. Also, the engine is located next to the driver’s right foot. We did say it was spartan.

It does appear to be in good condition and, with reputedly a mere 2870 miles on the clock, it could be a fantastic bargain purchase.

Estimate: €2000 - €3000

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Bonus: Simca Gordini 50cc

In amongst several pedal cars featured in this auction is a unique 50cc-engined mini-single-seater, powered by a chain drive. Built by a Gordini mechanic, it was owned by 1972 Monaco Grand Prix winner Jean-Pierre Beltoise, who was synonymous with Matra before its takeover by Peugeot.

That provenance undoubtedly contributes to its rather eye-watering estimate, though if your son or daughter is looking for the next step up from Goodwood’s Settrington Cup, this might be the perfect purchase.

Estimate: €40,000 - €60,000

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