Market: Bugatti Type 57C Atalante leads Rétromobile sale

No fewer than 13 world record prices were set, and over €29m invested in 142 cars at Artcurial’s Rétromobile sales in Paris. Here's what sold and what didn't

The 3000-strong auction crowd attending Rétromobile week were treated to a 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante Coupé crossing the Artcurial block and selling for €2,903,200 (£2,583,860) with premium, a new record for the model.

By sale end, the veteran auctioneer Hervé Poulain, accompanied by Artcurial’s Matthieu Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff, had clocked up 13 new world record prices. While 63 lots made more than €100,000, 12 fetched over €500,000, five exceeded the magic million and 40% of cars sold for more than their pre-sale estimates.

The last factory Ferrari to win the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1964, considered the most attractive sale of the auction, was withdrawn by the heirs to Pierre Bardinon only two weeks before this sale. Although the €7m or more sought for a 1958 250GT Cabriolet substitute headliner was not bid, an FXX Ferrari (below) did achieve the second highest price of the sale.

One of just 38 examples, the potent FXX had covered less than 100km since new in 2007 and reportedly sixth gear had never been selected. Sold with crates of spares that came with it, the rare supercar sold for €2,674,000 (£2,379,864).

In third place with another €2,445,600 (£2,176,584) world record result was a 1954 Maserati A6 GCS/53 with Spyder body by Fiandri & Malagoli (above) and period race history, including the 1955 Mille Miglia. The Trident-badged Italian had also taken part in six Mille Miglia retrospectives since last auctioned in Monaco by Brooks in 1993.

Taking fourth place on the leader-board was a four-owner Porsche 904 GTS (above) from the Jean-Claude Miloe Collection that raced the Tour Auto and the Nürburgring 1000km in 1964, and which attracted multiple bids until sold to an American collector for €1,873,600 (£1,667,504).

A Kienle-restored 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing with matching numbers and continuous history overtook a €1m top estimate to sell for €1,158,270 (£1,030,860); the fifth highest price.

The Ferrari F40 (below) has become one of the benchmark assets for assessing the true state of the current market. A French-registered 1990 29,000km example had been Classiche certificated and fitted with new fuel tanks before changing EU mainland owners here for €953,600 (£840,700), towards the top of the pre-sale estimate band and in sixth place.

Multiple bidding for a really early 1951 Porsche 356 Pre-A 1300 meanwhile ended in an American buyer paying €894,000 (£792,208), double the lower estimate and record money for the model. The 67-year-old 356 outperformed half a dozen 911s in the catalogue, including a 64,800km 1997 RUF CTR-2 (below) based on the narrow-bodied 993, though lightened and reinforced with integral roll-over bars and with gutters removed.

As early as 1981, in the village of Pfaffenhausen near Munich, RUF were granted constructor status and could issue their own VINs. Formerly owned by the Porsche Club of Japan President, and with 4WD, power-steering, air-con and heated rear window without wiper, the hand-built GT had been repainted by RUF and powered to a model-record €572,160 (£509,222) valuation by an American buyer to occupy tenth place.

Apart from the results topping Bugatti, two other pre-WW2 cars also made the top ten. For the eighth highest price, a world record €643,680 (£572,875), was paid for a Hispano-Suiza J12 with Gurney Nutting Saloon coachwork built in 1937 for the Maharaja of Indore, who had assembled one of the largest collections of motor cars anywhere in the world at the time.

Meanwhile €631,760 (£562,266) was forthcoming for a still exceptionally original Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet that was supplied to a German Consul in Norway in 1937, transported high ranking officers during the Nazi occupation and seconded by Crown Prince Olaf for a liberation parade in 1945.

A more-than-double top estimate €172,840 (£153,828), yet another record, was required to land a three-owner 1977 Renault Alpine 1600 SX (below) that had been well conserved beneath an earlier respray.

This was certainly the auction for those in the market to view and buy French classics, with 42 crossing the block, 18 of them Citroëns. The next day, 47 out of 48 more mainly French rarities, the majority ambitious projects amassed over many decades by the Broual family, were trailered away for an additional €1.5m (£1.33m).

Over the two days at Rétromobile therefore, 142 or 81% of the 176 cars displayed on the Artcurial stand sold for €29.39m (£26.15m) with premium. That's ahead of both the RM Sotheby's and the Bonhams Rétromobile sales.

There's more about Rétromobile here.

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