Artcurial Paris Retromobile 2014 – Auction Report

Artcurial Paris Retromobile 2014 – Auction Report Page Four

1940 Packard 120 Convertible Coupe
Lot # 429 1940 Packard 120 Convertible Coupe; S/N 13992394; Cigarette Cream/Brown leatherette; Beige cloth top; Estimate $108,912 – $190,596; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $97,404 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $112,989 – Orange wire wheels, hubcaps and trim rings, whitewalls, dual remote spotlights, radio, clock, fog lights, luggage rack. – Acquired at the Steve McQueen auction in Las Vegas in 1984, Lot #552, for $23,000. Decent older paint, chrome and interior. Underbody and chassis are dry and mostly original. Badly cracked steering wheel rim. A good driver quality Packard. Mechanically freshened in 2011. Blaton Family collection. – A colorful history, and reasonably well maintained, a car that despite being ‘only’ a One-Twenty will take pride of place in any lineup of Packards. That alone accounts for a good portion of its value here, little related to the inherent attractiveness of the car itself.
1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Ti Series 1 Berlina
Lot # 501 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Ti Series 1 Berlina; S/N AR146813109; Engine # AR131593028; White/Blue houndstooth; Estimate $20,421 – $24,505; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $23,144 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $26,847. No Reserve – Single carb, column shift, blackwall tires, hubcaps, no radio, bench seat. – Functional repaint, major chrome and replaced interior. Some thin trim chrome. Engine compartment is pressure washed, has some new wiring. Engine has been out and cleaned, not detailed. Underbody is cleaned up original undercoat. Solo Alfa Collection. – The first car in the Solo Alfa collection. Not meant to be shown with the bonnet open, but the rest of the car looks OK for a weekend driver, even if this is a handsome price for an 80hp Alfa sedan. The first car offered in the ‘Solo Alfa’ offering, and a good way to start off, both the car and the price it brought.
1972 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV Coupe, Body by Bertone
Lot # 503 1972 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV Coupe, Body by Bertone; S/N AR2427632; White/Black leather; Estimate $20,421 – $24,505; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $34,035 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $39,481. No Reserve – Dellorto DHLA40 carbs, alloy wheels, Pirelli P4000 tires. – Decent old repaint, sound chrome and original interior with small seam pulls on the driver’s seat cushion. Chipped old undercoat in wheel wells. Solo Alfa collection. – A sound and usable but ageing and flawed example, this is more than enough for it.
1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce Sprint
Lot # 504 1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce Sprint; S/N 149302258; Engine # 131559056; Blue/Cream, Blue vinyl; Estimate $136,140 – $163,368; Visually maintained, largely original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $204,210 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $236,884 – 40 DCO3 Webers, 4-speed, alloy wheels, Pirelli Cinturato radials, sliding Plexiglas side windows, no bumpers, later engine but the original block, 131530107, comes with it. – Thickly but presentably repainted, sound but aged original interior. Dirty underbody with old undercoat. Dull aluminum trim. No floor mats, carpets or glove box door. Nifty but tired. Solo Alfa colllection. – Apparently semi-race prepared at some point, this Alfa has plenty of obvious needs, and potentially a litany of others less obvious upon visual inspection. With no competition history provided the price it brought is enthusiastic, bordering upon effusive.
1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA Sprint
Lot # 505 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA Sprint; S/N AR613311; Engine # AR10202A19244; Red/Black vinyl; Estimate $122,526 – $163,368; Competition car, original as-raced, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $171,536 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $198,982 – Full stock interior except carpets, stock magnesium wheels, Kleber street tires, a number of factory magnesium engine parts, oil cooler, close ratio gearbox, aftermarket woodrim steering wheel, original spare, stock 60 liter fuel tank, roll bar. – The first GTA delivered in France, perhaps used for the type homologation.Terrible, shrunken repaint Earl Scheib would be ashamed to call his own. Poorly repaired left front corner. Decent original interior and chrome. Has all its trim except bumpers. Solo Alfa sale, different consignor. – To say this GTA needs everything is something of an understatement, yet its purity and completeness make it the ideal candidate to become a show car or a choice ride for track days and historic racing. When all is said and done it captivated the Afla-centric bidders on Sunday at Arcurial’s Retromobile sale and their judgement is not to be disputed.
1953 Alfa Romeo 1900 Berlina
Lot # 506 1953 Alfa Romeo 1900 Berlina; S/N AR190006186; Engine # 130606200; Tobacco Brown/Brown cloth; Estimate $34,035 – $38,119; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $21,700 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $25,172. No Reserve – Cream steel wheels, hubcaps, Michelin X tires branded ‘Vitesse Max 30 KMH’. – Decent repaint, thin trim chrome, good upholstery, peeling old undercoat, overspray in rear wheel wells, cracked old door seals. Bottom of engine compartment is pretty ugly, as is the saran wrapped brake fluid reservoir with paper towel leak absorber. Old, cracked wiring. A bit scary. Solo Alfa collection. –
1968 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super Berlina
Lot # 508 1968 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super Berlina; S/N AR872016; Engine # AR0052660040; Crimson/Brown vinyl; Estimate $21,782 – $29,951; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $40,842 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $47,377. No Reserve – Voxson 8-track, factory woodrim steering wheel, Continental tires, lucky horseshoe and St. Christopher medal. – Engine has been out, engine compartment carefully cleaned and partially rewired. Good paint, chrome and interior. Thin door handle chrome. Quickly cleaned up but very well preserved underbody. Solo Alfa collection. – Not ‘restored’ as American collectors would think, but done to good and attractive driving standards, this is model that rarely survives, with the right go-fast stuff from Alfa. The new owner paid amply for it.
1960 Alfa Romeo 2000 Berlina
Lot # 510 1960 Alfa Romeo 2000 Berlina; S/N AR1020001613; Engine # 0020001610; Light Beige/Blue vinyl, cloth; Estimate $20,421 – $24,505; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $23,144 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $26,847. No Reserve – Voxson radio, large hubcaps on steel wheels, Michelin X tires, column shift, bench seats. – Decent older repaint, sound chrome and interior. cracked steering wheel, weak interior chrome. Underbody and chassis are original and lightly road grimy. Frayed window channels. Solo Alfa collection. – Hardly a favorite Alfa, but a significant step on the company’s 1950’s transition from large luxury sedans and sports cars to the small, nimble Giulietti. The coachwork is very Fifties, including chrome taillight housings in prominent fins. The interior is spacious and comfortable. Considering how unusual it it, the price is modest.

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Show Comments (9)

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  1. Dear Mr. Carey,

    Waouh! What an amazing article on a €30,000,000 sale, the best sale of classic cars ever in France!
    I’m really not sure you were present at our sale. I would like you to remember that all the presentation of each cars were done in English and French. My role in the sale was to present the cars and to repeat the bids in English. As soon there were an english speaker bidding on a car, I came to him repeating the bids slowly for him and announcing the next step.
    For a French speaker auction house, we sold 65% of the cars to English speakers collectors. They understood the sale I think!!!
    Concerning the buyers premium…Bonhams was at 15%+VAT without degressivity!!! I think it is more expensive than Artcurial Mr. Carey!
    Another thing…who are you Lord Carey to speak about “functionaries” who work on the block? Do you think they are only “functionaries” in France? Do you think we can reach such results being “functionaries”? My full team is in the action to reach the best results for all the cars consigned by our vendors. Such a sale is a huge job, a hard work which is synonymous of hundreds of travels in US and all Europe, trying to find the best cars for our customers at the same time you were sit in your confortable armchair next to the hot fire place drinking a cup of tea. When you was in holidays with your grand-children enjoying Christmas, eating and drinking, my full team of “functionaries” was working on the big Retromobile catalogue, forgetting Christmas and working hard to make our sale as a big event.
    Retromobile is a €1M. cost, before have sold any car. Did you risk any of your money Mr. Carey to organize such an event? No, you spend time to write articles to criticize the hard work of auction houses, sorry French auction houses! I have not read from you such an article about an English auction house…
    On another hand, you’re not chocked by Bonhams who organize their auction in France- Grand Palais with a €17M sale – using only the Shakespeare language? Did you think about the image of the Bonhams sale in France?!!!…

    Last thing, Hervé Poulain is auctioneer, starting its first auction of classic cars in 1973, and by the way, he ran 11 times the 24 Hours of Le Mans, creating the Art Cars for BMW. I think you have to speak about him with more respect. You have to speak about my team with more respect. Such a sale is a crazy challenge and this challenge, this year again, we won it, far ahead from RM and Bonhams results. When I work hard and I get good results, I want to read it. When I don’t work hard and I make big mistakes, I want to read it too. But this Retromobile sale was a huge success, the best sale ever in France and I would have expected, Mr. Carey, to read it.

    Matthieu Lamoure
    Managing Director
    Artcurial Motorcars

    1. Matthieu,
      Thanks for your comments. It’s rewarding to know the auction reports are being read.
      It was not, and is not, my intention to bash Artcurial or its staff, only to comment on things that were important at the auction, primarily in this case the confusing, distracting cacophony of two, three or four separate people talking simultaneously over the sound system. I was not alone in this opinion.
      Your comment about being ‘present at our sale’ is gratuitous and not worth my comment. Accepting your statement that ‘we sold 65% of the cars to English speakers collectors’ at face value I think most of them must have been somewhat familiar with Artcurial’s multi-bid-calling technique which left me, and many others, disoriented and unsure who was bidding, where or what.
      As to the commission, let me point out facts which I didn’t elaborate in the auction report but, since you brought it up:
      The median transaction at Artcurial was €59,000 including 16% commission (but not VAT.) The median transaction at Bonhams was €51,800 including 15% commission (excluding VAT.) That looks to me like a 1% saving in commission on the vast majority of transactions, all the way to a hammer bid of €600,000 and beyond, not to mention the 20% added hit of VAT on Artcurial’s higher commission. The hammer bid at Artcurial had to get to nearly €800,000 before the combined commission (not including VAT) resulted in an effective commission rate of under 15% excluding VAT.
      Your comments on how I spent my Christmas season are gratuitous and not called for. You were not present with me during the Christmas holidays, but were you to ask my wife you’d find that I was most definitely working.
      The cost of putting on your Rétromobile auction is likewise irrelevant but you should know that I paid my own way to Paris, and did so largely on the strength of the opportunity to experience Artcurial’s Rétromobile auction and its ‘Solo Alfa’ component. I risked my money – perhaps an inconsequential sum to you but significant to me – to come to Paris for a week.
      Other than you and the announcer who sometimes introduced a car (in French) I failed to see what contribution the phalanx of individuals flanking the auctioneer made, to me the definition of ‘functionaries’, i.e., persons shuffling paper without contributing to the economic output. You may wish to honor their contribution to the ‘big Retromobile catalogue’ by their presence on the block, but their contribution to the conduct of the auction was at best performance art.
      Next, I am fully aware of Hervé Poulain’s history and respectful of his accomplishments. I did not speak of him with disrespect, but remind you that it is not his 11 times at LeMans or creating BMW Art Cars at issue here but rather the disorienting, out-of-focus presentation with multiple people calling bids from all over the room. As the auctioneer I expect him to be in charge of the auction, but he was not. The responsibility was diffused among a variable cast of up to four people independently calling bids, in a pandemonium of conflicting aural inputs, made no less disorienting by occasionally adding an English component to the dissonance.
      Finally, it is apparent that you have not read many of my auction reports or you would know that I have criticized in no uncertain terms the conduct of a number of U.S. auctions.
      In closing I acknowledge the reasons for your pique. It was a successful auction. There were exceptional cars on offer. They moved smoothly across the block in a ridiculously confined space. But was it, as you state, ‘the best sale of classic cars ever in France’? No, it was not. It was the highest total sale in France [unless the Principality of Monaco in encompassed in the term ‘France’ in which case it was second-best] but with all due respect it was not ‘the best’ in its presentation.
      I hope that you will consider my observations as coming from one who has attended hundreds of collector car auctions over the last two decades. In that time I’ve experienced many auction styles both good and bad, effective and confused, straightforward and devious.
      I sincerely hope my observations on the Artcurial Rétromobile auction’s presentation will encourage you to consult other American contacts for their views. There is, after all, a sizable American car collecting community with substantial liquidity. Making the Artcurial Rétromobile auction friendly to their comprehension and participation will only make it more successful. It is my hope that will take place.

      Rick Carey

      1. Dear Rick,

        Thank you very much for your reply. I appreciate your comments here and I understand perfectly that 3 persons taking the bids in the same time is difficult to understand for foreign clients.
        What I didn’t like in your article was the ‘arrogant’ tone of writing and I reacted immediatly. Effectively, we have defaults but we are far from ‘functionaries’!!!
        We try to find solutions to improve our maner to auction to be more understandable by foreign clients. To be honest, you’re not the first to tell us that! The French auctions (in all Art specialities) are done in the same way. Effectively, it’s different than in US or England but it is as efficient to sell, sometimes even more!
        Thank you. And I will be happy to meet you in a future auction.

        With my best regards,

        Matthieu Lamoure
        Artcurial Motorcars

  2. I learn volumes from reading these remarks. It keeps this site from being a fanzine. Marvelous. Keep up the hard work, even if the snaps aren’t brilliantly clear at times–understandable, given the conditions.

  3. Thank you for the insights, and merci to Artcurial for the very honest and open response. I am a serious collector, and for me both sides of the story are very valuable.
    Henk de Vries, Amsterdam

  4. Such sensitivity from the people who trashed Muraroa Atoll and blew up a Greenpeace ship in Auckland Harbour, killing one of the crew. One can imagine his distress on finding a butted Gitane in his morning croissant!

  5. To be honest, I am not all that interested in auction reports. I read the ever increasing record results and shake my head in silent disbelief. Under normal circumstances I would have never made it down to the comments section had it not been for the editor’s remark in the latest newsletter. So it was with great interest that I started reading these lines top down and I must say It’s been an eye opener to me. It shows that, in the end, honest words written in respect can resolve what seemed an insurmountable dissent. These additional comments have turned an auction report into a true 3-dimensional experience for me, thank you very much to both, Rick and Matthieu!

  6. Great report and highly appreciated comments on both sides. I am grateful that we have such a strong voices in the Car Collector World, experts who does not hesitate to speak their mind on the importance of the car auctions community .