We’re in the midst of exhibition season with the epic Rétromobile approaching fast. As has become tradition, the Paris exhibition also hosts the vast Artcurial Motorcars auction. As always, they have assembled a true potpourri of drool-worthy classic cars – many of them from the very heavy end of collector car heaven. If you have the means, they are all up for grabs…
Granted, many of us don’t have the means. But should that keep us from dreaming? Absolutely not!
So go ahead – dive into their auction catalogue: Artcurial Motorcars at Rétromobile
Daydream, imagine and fantasise all you can muster – that is after all still free of charge…
We at ViaRETRO did the same and came up with the following:
Søren is bidding on these two for his fictitious garage:
Lot 100 – 1955 Maserati A6G/2000 Berlinetta Allemano/Zagato
When Zagato drew the lines for his interpretation of the Maserati A6G in the mid-1950s, it was with such equilibrium that it turned out as nothing less than art. It’s the most beautiful thing that has been created on four wheels, in my eyes anyway. The low sweeping roofline, the big mouth in front and the delicate, yet simple curves behind. It’s the highlight of sports car design, and the like will never see a production line again. Maserati’s small inline six-cylinder engine belongs to my favorite constructions – again a piece of art. This isn’t just about performance, but more about excellence. The purchase will drain the money reservoir seriously, but we will simply have to cut back on the Flemish paintings instead.
Lot 16 – 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet Vanvooren
With the Maserati A6G already in the shopping cart, my next purchase must be of a completely different nature. As my age has passed 50, I’m ripe for a serious piece of automobile – the script on the badge can only spell out “Bugatti”. No automotive brand is bigger than the French nobility. You would have to search long and hard to find so much craftsmanship and innovation gathered in one place. I sense that I’m finally ready to take up the challenge, and drive a car from 1938. The driving sensation will no doubt be an acquired taste, but with time and familiarity behind the wheel, I am certain that it will be an outright pleasure. Look closely at the old car – a sight for sore eyes!
Claus is bidding on these two for his fictitious garage:
Lot 47 – 1970 De Tomaso Mangusta
I am no longer alone in admiring the Mangusta – and all this new-found interest has driven prices north! I’ve always liked rarity and with just 401 built, the Mangusta qualifies. And then there’s the design. From 1967, just one year after the Miura. But the Mangusta makes the hailed Miura look old and outdated! I always thought it deserved much more credit. Sure, it’s engine is nowhere as exciting as the exterior, but the good old Ford 289 delivers a solid punch. And maybe it’s not that important anyway, as the Mangusta is rumoured to have fairly poor handling characteristics. But in that colour, I can just sit and look at it all day.
Lot 54 – 1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 BB
Initially I had decided to bid on the absolutely fabulous Ferrari 250/275 P racer – the actual winner of Le Mans 1963. But then I realized I would probably not drive it enough. Instead I settled for another old dream car, an early Berlinetta Boxer: A proper road car of immense capability, comfortable enough to be really useable and not least a very fine stablemate for my newly acquired Mangusta. This Boxer just had a mechanical overhaul at the cost of 74.000 Euros, so I enter our relationship in the belief that nothing more can go wrong. And it’s even in the best colour for a Ferrari: Not red.
Anders is bidding on these two for his fictitious garage:
Lot 35 – 1965 Porsche 904 GTS
Just look at it! No further justification for choosing this Porsche should be necessary. To my eye, no other sports car comes even close to matching the 904’s perfectly sculpted and oh-so feminine curves. There is a prettiness to the 904 which is perhaps at odds with its purposeful and pure race breed reason-for-being, but this only adds to the appeal. Low ownership, a perfectly documented history and impeccable race history makes this example the one to have. With both a 4-cylinder and a 6-cylinder engine included, you can choose freely between speed or authenticity. My entry ticket for Tour Auto!
Lot 112 – 1969 Lamborghini Espada Series 1
With the 904 secured for the egoistic early Sunday morning blast across twisty backroads, I’ll need something for proper grand touring as well. Maybe even with the whole family on board. Is there a more stylish way of achieving that than with an Espada? No, there is not. And this particular Espada is simply off the scales on ultra-coolness! For starters, it’s a Series 1, which means I get the funkiest dashboard design in the business. Then there’s the bright orange paintwork. Oh, and then there’s the Miura alloys from Campagnolo. It’s a statement – It’s perfection.
Dave is bidding on these two for his fictitious garage:
Lot 98 – 1968 Abarth 1000 SP barquette
115 bhp per litre, a tubular chassis and weighing only 500kg, it’s got the right homologation papers and a Targa Florio history where in 1969 some lunatic took it to 16th overall. It’s from the days when racing cars were still properly dangerous. Look at the cooling slats, the single wiper, a cockpit like a fighter jet. It is absolute function with an accidentally elegant form. The whole thing oozes purpose and it sounds like a megaphone full of wasps. Best of all, the period photographs are credited to “Actualfoto” so it’s definitely all real.
Lot 63 – 1953 Citroën Traction 11BL Fourgonnette 450 kg
Old commercial vehicles are cool (undisputed fact) and this is one of the best. It’s an excellent stealth van as it takes a second look to recognise the converted bodywork, but it’s no home-made lash up. The load bay is lined and it’s got a mesh bulkhead just like a modern van. We’re looking at serious practicality here and it would be rude not to add to the patina. If I’m having the Abarth I’ll need a service van, and best of all being a commercial it could be offset against my tax return (probably). What’s not to like?
Dear reader, will you be attending Rétromobile in Paris between Wednesday the 7th February and Sunday the 11th February? More importantly right now, will you be at Artcurial’s smorgasbord of an auction on Friday the 9th February? Whether that’s a yes or a no, doesn’t really matter – go ahead and indulge on those dreams, while you share with us which two classics you’ll be adding to your fictitious garage…
And remember, just in case Artcurial’s 254 lot catalogue didn’t include your dream classic, or if you’re on a proper buying spree and want more than what they have on offer, there are two other major auctions in Paris during Rétromobile. While neither of these are held within the Rétromobile venue, RM Sotheby’s have 84 lots up for auction at Place Vauban on Wednesday the 7th February, and then Bonhams follow up with another 137 lots at The Grand Palais on the Thursday the 8th of February.
If you are indeed planning on bidding during Rétromobile, start of by having a thorough read of ViaRETRO’s analyses of the classic car market only last November: The Current Temperature of the Classic Car Market
All pictures courtesy of Artcurial Motorcars.