Artcurial, Briest-Poulain-F. Tajan, Retromobile, Paris, February 7-8, 2014
The signature auction at Retromobile, February’s big car collecting show in Paris, has been traded around. From Christie’s to Bonhams to this year’s Artcurial, it arrived at its 2014 expression as a two-day auction of some 175 automobiles with diverse marques on Friday and a ‘Solo Alfa’ auction (of post-war cars) on Saturday.
Now, I have a self-admitted proclivity for the cars of Portello (and Arese). The ‘Solo Alfa’ sale contained examples never seen, nor probably heard about, in the States including diesels, turbos and the despicable Ondine, an Alfa-built Renault Dauphine. But there were GTAs, GTAms, Giulia and Giulietta Ti’s (apologies to my English teachers for that misplaced apostrophe but ‘Tis’ isn’t clear) that encompassed much of Alfa’s postwar history. Hard to resist? You bet!
Retromobile is worth visiting by itself, presenting displays from manufacturers highlighting their history right through the spectrum of exhibitors to fringe (by American standards) marque clubs representing obscure French fascinations like BNC [but think back to the V8-60 powered BNC presented at
RM Amelia, not so fringe on that basis.] Vendors sell carburetors, chrome trim, mirrors, models, prohibitively expensive timepieces and everything in between. The book dealers alone could harm even a grandiose IRA.
Ellen, my wife, got a pair of open finger mittens with fur trim. Why were they at Retromobile? I have no idea, but we live in an old New England house and it gets cold in winter so they’ll be put to good use.
Collector car dealers displayed phalanxes of mega-Euro cars … more than we’d see on all the auction blocks of Monterey combined.
But, to the Artcurial Briest-Poulain-F.Tajan auction.
First, cramming 175 cars into a far corner of the vast, but still limited, Hall 1 of the Porte des Versailles exhibition space meant sucking in your tummy and minding your bum while wending through the spaces between cars. The close quarters also explain the many oddly-shot high angle photos in the auction report.
There were a number of American consignors, including the Ferrari 166 MM/53 with Oblin Barchetta coachwork that was, by a handy half million dollars plus, the auction’s highest sale.
Even accepting the site’s restrictions, however, the auction’s presentation was not friendly to anyone not conversant, or better yet, fluent, in French.
That’s not referring to being conducted in Euros – although the currency conversion display had a materially inflated conversion of the Euro bids into dollars.
It’s about the presentation.
The maitré, M. Hervé Poulain, was flanked by nine functionaries on the block, two of them with microphones. Another spotter, also with a microphone, roamed the bidders. All of them would chime in, frequently simultaneously in a cacophony of French — descriptions, calling bids independently, commenting and carrying on conversations — that was incomprehensible. ‘Calling bids’ means exactly that, announcing independently of the maitré the amount of the bid, sometimes even announcing successive bids from different bidders without being acknowledged by the auctioneer. It was like Dean Kruse and Phil Skinner talking simultaneously on the old Kruse Auburn auction block with Marty Hill and Brent Earlywine holding mics on the block and in the audience and calling bids. There was no idea where the bids were, who was in charge or what was going on.
The French-speaking bidders may have been able to sort it out; the rest were left cross-eyed and distracted. One of the mic-bearers would occasionally announce a bid in English, but that was the exception, not the rule.
Don’t get me wrong. This was a successful auction. It sold 152 lots of 175 offered (86.9%) for $39,146,936, 26.3% of them for over the high estimate (38.3% under the low estimate), racking up 99.2% of the estimates on the cars sold. The mean sale was $257,546, with a median of $71,520 (27.8% of the mean) which means a few cars were sold for Big Money but most were accessible, particularly the ‘Solo Alfa’ collection on Saturday.
But it was the most confusing, diffused, erratic auction I’ve attended at least since my last Artcurial Paris sale in 2003. Then they didn’t even have a currency conversion display and announced the bids in French.
Compared with Gooding’s Charlie Ross (the benchmark for clear, concise, defined auctioneering) or RM’s Max Girardo [who moves seamlessly from English to French to Italian and back to English depending upon his bidders] Artcurial’s multiple French language bid-calling cacophony is disorienting and does nothing to involve non-French speaking bidders who, is should be recalled, have much of the buying power in today’s collector car market.
Hervé Poulain and his Artcurial cohorts might take notice.
[Note: My calculations couldn’t accommodate Artcurial’s buyer’s fee structure. Hammer bids on cars over €1.4 million are inaccurate due to Artcurial’s buyer’s fee structure: 16% of the hammer bid up to €600,000, 12% of the next €800,000 and 10% of the bid over €1,400,000, by far the most expensive venue to buy a collector car in the world. Buying a car at Artcurial’s Retromobile auction is an experience (mixed though it might be), but bidders will have to decide for themselves if it is worth the 16% buyer’s commission on even expensive (€600,000 equaled $816,840 hammer on the day of the sale) cars?]
[Note 2: The pandemonium of multiple French-speaking auction staffers is exacerbated by the hazards of translation. A good example stood outside the Retromobile hall,
Its owner no doubt though the chosen name expressed a positive image of a dedicated hauler barreling down highways through to dark to get precious cargo delivered in the nick of time. An American, reading the name, could be forgiven for declining to entrust cargo to a ‘Fly by Nite’ company.]
Artcurial Paris Retromobile 2014 – Auction Report
Lot # 316 1927 Minerva AF 32CV Sport Roadster, Body by d’Ieteren Freres; S/N 55979; Engine # 56047; Black, Burgundy accent/Brown leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $476,490 – $612,630; Unrestored original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $469,991 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $545,190 – RHD. Black wire wheels, blackwall tires, dual sidemounts with mirrors, rumble seat, Cicca Tenor horn, headlight and radiator stoneguard, Star spotlight. – Cracked old repaint, cracked and tom original upholstery. Decent brightwork. Sides used to be red. Orderly but aged largely original Minerva said to run and drive superbly. – A star car by any standard, sympathetically preserved and handsomely bodied on the short wheelbase chassis. Offered by Gooding in Pebble Beach in 2011 with a reported high bid of $450,000. Expensive, but a super-elegant and deliciously original example of a rare, high quality marque, this is what it deserves to bring.
Lot # 319 1964 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 5831; Engine # 5831; Red/Black leather; Estimate $129,333 – $170,175; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $127,186 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $147,536 – Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, Michelin X tires. – Sound but erratically masked repaint over several layers of old paint visible in the touched up chip on the passenger’s door. Scuffed trim and bumper chrome, creased and worn old interior upholstery and trim. Old undercoat in wheelwells. Only just barely good enough to be an acceptable driver. – A tired and generally unattractive Ferrari, bought for a generous price for its condition.
Lot # 321 1953 Ferrari 166 MM/53 Barchetta, Body by Oblin; S/N 0300M; Engine # 0300; Matte Charcoal, Dark Red stripe/Black leather, White piping; Estimate $3,948,060 – $4,764,900; Competition restoration, 2+ condition; Post-block sale at $3,161,473 plus commission of 13.03%; Final Price $3,573,524 – RHD. Chrome spoke outside laced Borrani wire wheels, period style Michelin tires, full width windscreen, two seats, driver’s head fairing, Marchal headlights and grille mounted fog lights, outside fuel filler. Internal engine number 296. – Originally coupe bodied by Vignale, raced by first owner Jacques Herzet through 1953 including winning the Liege-Rome-Liege rally teamed with Lucien Bianchi. Rebodied for Herzet by Martial Oblin for 1954 with the present barchetta coachwork, displayed at Geneva show in 1955. Later owned for many years by Dr. Lou Selz in Florida including twice in the MM Storica. Meticulously and thoroughly freshly restored restored and better than new. Comes with copies of the original Ferrari build sheets, tools in the original wood box, full tool roll. Original chassis, engine, gearbox, rear axle. Beautiful and unique, with a solid racing history. – Came up short on the auction block but concluded during the auction with this result, a modest price for its history, performance, provenance, condition and the welcome entry it will be in any event.
Lot # 327 1973 Citroen SM Coupe; S/N SBSD00SD1562; Engine # 105651; Silver/Grey cloth; Estimate $54,456 – $108,912; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $29,147 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $33,810. No Reserve – Automatic, Citroen AM-FM. – Very good clearcoat paint, luxurious cloth upholstery, bright chrome, clean, orderly underbody. Evidences some use, but hardly more than enough to break it in. Everything an SM should be. – Everything, that is, except valued highly by the Retromobile bidders. Maybe it was the automatic, the very feature that makes it rare and unusual. It boiled down to a very good value for the new owner.
Lot # 328 1969 Maserati Ghibli 4.9 Spider, Body by Bertone; S/N AM115S1005; Engine # AM115S1005; Yellow/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $789,612 – $871,296; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $857,682 plus commission of 15.81%; Final Price $993,278 – Chrome spoke wire wheels, Michelin X blackwall tires, AM-FM-cassette stereo. – Good paint, chrome and interior. Underbody has been done right. Wheels and brakes are dirty. Wavy door bottoms. Restored to good standards, then driven. – An early 4.9 liter Ghibli presented in arresting colors and done to high standards. Even with the road grime the restoration’s care and attention to detail are evident. As an alternative to a Daytona Spider it represents great value, even at this price.
Lot # 329 1956 Maserati 150S Sports Racer, Body by Fantuzzi; S/N 1664; Engine # 1664; Red, Black nose band/Black leather; Estimate $1,905,960 – $2,450,520; Competition restoration, 2+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $1,497,540 – RHD. Chrome spoke outside laced Borrani wire wheels, Dunlop Racing tires, full width windscreen, passenger’s seat hard tonneau cover. – Raced by first owner Louis Cornet including the 1956 Mille Miglia (accident) and Le Mans (engine). Eventually restored for Lord Brocket in the UK. Restored like new with better paint. Underbody shows a little use but also very good care. – As some remember a ‘Lord Brocket’ provenance is not exactly a positive attribute. Under the circumstances the reported high bid could (but not should) have been enough to see this delectible Maserati off to a new home to build a more positive provenance.
Lot # 332 1961 Jaguar XKE SI flat floor Roadster; S/N 875232; Engine # R1357-9; Opalescent Gunmetal/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $190,596 – $245,052; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $183,789 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $213,195 – Flat floor, outside bound latch, welded louvers, 5-speed. Chrome wire wheels, Avon blackwall radial tires, modern Becker Mexico stereo. – Clearcoat repaint with some small flaws like small pimples on right door; applied over an extensively filled body. Good upholstery and interior trim. Engine and underbody show some road use and age. Equipped with the 5-speed gearbox designed by its long term owner in the U.S., Jack Bryan. – It’s a little hard to figure out how this early flat floor, welded louver, outside bonnet latch Jag settles down with the 5-speed and 4-piston aluminum caliper front brakes. The Retromobile bidders seem to have reached a compromise with the seller. Now the new owner will have to decide whether to enjoy it as it is or take it back to its original configuration and go win some prizes. Either way it is a sound value at this price in the current hot market for XKEs.
Lot # 334 1963 Lagonda Rapide 4-Dr. Sedan, Body by Touring; S/N LR128L; Engine # 400/128; Dark Green/Biscuit leather; Estimate $190,596 – $299,508; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $220,547 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $255,834 – Lefthand drive, 4-speed, Motorola multiband radio, centerlock wheels with decorative wheel covers, A/C – Good older paint and chrome. Very good lightly creased upholstery. Underbody thoroughly covered in old, dirty underseal. A good cosmetic restoration of a sound and rare sedan. Known history from new – Extremely rare and highly desirable, one of only four survivors originally delivered in lefthand drive with 4-speed manual transmission. Sound and eminently usable as it, it brought a price that reflects its rarity, performance and luxury.
Artcurial Paris Retromobile 2014 – Auction Report Page Two
Lot # 338 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Pf Coupe Se I, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 0997GT; Engine # 0997; Dark Red/Black leather; Estimate $408,420 – $544,560; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $449,262 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $521,144 – Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels. – Dull wheel rims, creased and stretched driver’s seat upholstery, passenger’s is lightly used. Good paint and chrome. Underbody still has its old undercoat. An attractive older cosmetically restored 250 GT. – Not so long ago this much money would have bought a Lusso, now it’s the expected result for a Series I Pininfarina coupe. The quality of the work done some time ago by Francois Sicard in the U.S. is apparent from the way the car is standing up and gives positive prospects for the new owner.
Lot # 339 1964 Ferrari 500 Superfast Coupe, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 5981; Engine # 5981; Ice Blue/Dark Blue leather; Estimate $2,042,100 – $2,450,520; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $1,769,820 – Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, Michelin XWX blackwall tires, P/W, Blaupunkt multiband radio, open headlights, no outside mirror. – Good recent clearcoat repaint, chrome and interior. Inner wheelwell panels have been done, but not the underbody, which still has old undercoat. Original seats are lightly creased from use and age but are sound and highly presentable.. – Offered by Sotheby’s at the first Maranello auction in 2005 with a reported high bid of $413,474. Subsequently restored in Germany to the present high standards of fit, finish and function retaining the original interior. The restoration can’t have been inexpensive, but it pales in the context of the, entirely reasonable, bid here.
Lot # 340 1985 Ferrari 156/85 Formula 1; S/N 086; Red/Beige suede; Estimate $680,700 – $748,770; Competition restoration, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $408,420 – Ferrari Classiche certified. – Driven in 1985 by Stefan Johannson, best finish 4th at Kyalami. Not fresh, but orderly and showing some track use. Engine rebuilt by Ferrari F1 Clienti in 2008. – Turbo-era F1 cars are not user-friendly, but they’re more user-friendly than the reported high bid here gives them credit for, even with limited GP results.
Lot # 344 1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 BB, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 17993; Red, Black sills/Black leather; Estimate $95,298 – $149,754; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $299,508 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $347,429. No Reserve – A/C, Radiola cassette stereo, Michelin XWX tires, manuals and tools. – Flawed, tired, scratched old repaint, worn but sound original interior. Highly original, honest and never messed up, with the undeniable charm of patina, maybe even a little too much patina. Estate of Albert Prost. – The estimate range is as far off the mark as the price at which this 365 GT4 BB got hammered sold, a result that has little connection to its condition. It is expensive, even among today’s blossoming Ferrari values.
Lot # 348 1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Coupe; S/N 13313; Silver-Grey/Black leather; Estimate $340,350 – $408,420; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $490,104 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $568,521 – Centerlock allay wheels, Michelin XWX tires, A/C, P/W. – Fresh clearcoat paint job with minor flaws, otherwise a tired original car appropriate to the 48,571 km on the odometer. Sound, appealingly worn original interior. Dented deck lid, dead hood struts. Bought by the Albert Prost in 1980. Albert Prost estate. – A sound, highly original Daytona out of extended ownership by Albert Prost where it received what it needed for over three decades. The bidders appropriately handicapped the conflicting considerations of originality and long term ownership with the age and many years of sitting in the Prost collection after his 2002 death in a flying accident.
Lot # 358 1991 Ferrari F40; S/N ZFFGJ34B000089889; Red/Red cloth; Estimate $748,770 – $1,021,050; Visually maintained, largely original, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $736,517 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $854,360 – Centerlock Ferrari alloy wheels, Pirelli PZero tires, A/C, Assembly #07246. Ferrari Classiche certified. – First delivered to 1999 Le Mans winner Pierluigi Martini. Two subsequent owners. Unblemished paint, upholstery worn as expected for the 29,957 km it has covered. Clean, orderly but not pristine engine and underbody. Active suspension removed, but parts to restore it are included. Fresh belt service. – An exceptionally well maintained F40 showing just enough use and continuing care to give the new owner confidence in it. Confidence was indicated in the price, too, a responsible transaction value for this car.
Lot # 360 1969 Lamborghini Miura S; S/N 4377; Engine # 30436; Orange, Gold sills & wheels/Beige wild boar leather; Estimate $816,840 – $952,980; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $925,752 plus commission of 15.53%; Final Price $1,069,516 – Headlight eyebrows, Pirelli P4000 tires, P/W. – Highly original, possibly even the paint, with very good paint, interior, underbody and engine. Trim chrome is a little weak and deserves to some attention. The colors, especially the boar hide interior, are unusual and go together well. – A million bucks for a Miura is more the rule than the exception these days. They are still the rivetting objects that they were when new, with performance to match.
Lot # 371 1963 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster; S/N 12104010025168; Silver-Grey/Orange leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $122,526 – $149,754; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $176,982 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $205,299 – Hubcaps, wide trim rings, Michelin X blackwalls, Becker Europa multiband radio. – Restored like new with better paint, chrome and interior. Engine compartment is like new. An outstanding 190SL. – This is an exceptional 190SL, done to the highest standards in attractive colors that complement its lines. The price, however, is breathtaking even as it echoes so many other similar 190SL results. This is, remember, a 220 Sedan based car with 105 horsepower. It was never exciting, except for the prices they’re bringing today.
Lot # 372 1961 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Competition Roadster; S/N 12104010021484; Silver/Black leather; No top; Estimate $122,526 – $149,754; Modified restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $119,803 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $138,972 – Driver’s big aeroscreen, Nardi woodrim steering wheel, 185/80R14 Michelin MXT tires, no bumpers, lightweight doors and hood, Weber carbs. – Sporty little creation with very good paint and interior. Tidy underbody splashed with fresh sealer. Chassis and suspension done nearly like new, as is the engine. – This 190SL probably does not suffer from having only 105hp, but it has been built to make a visual statement, not to any larger purpose and is worth no more than the price it brought here today. It will be much more fun to drive than a standard 190SL on sunny days, however, being both lighter and more powerful. Just don’t take it out when there’s risk of rain.
Artcurial Paris Retromobile 2014 – Auction Report Page Three
Lot # 376 1989 BMS-Dallara 189 Formula 1; S/N 004; Red, White ‘Marlboro’/Black carbon fiber; Estimate $204,210 – $231,438; Competition car, original as-raced, 4+ condition; Post-block sale at $133,947 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $155,379 – Stack display, Cosworth DFR V-8. – 4th in Canada in 1989 driven by Andrea de Cesaris. Engine appears to be missing its ECM. Good paint but otherwise grubby and dirty. Seat belts are filthy. Driver’s seat insert is missing. This is a display car until a lot of money is spent on it. – Tired and neglected, this Dallara has potential, but will need comprehensive work before its performance potential can be sampled. The bidders appropriately balanced its potential against its condition and the work it’ll need to arrive at this post-block price.
Lot # 389 1954 Pegaso Z-102 Series II Cabriolet, Body by Saoutchik; S/N 01021530136; Engine # 0102017013; White/Blue, White leather; Dark Blue cloth top; Estimate $918,945 – $1,361,400; Cosmetic restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $856,111 plus commission of 15.82%; Final Price $991,518 – RHD. Chrome wire wheels, wide whitewalls, woodrim steering wheel. – Excellent paint, chrome and interior. Underbody and chassis are thoroughly saturated with undercoat. Converted to a berlinetta for a while, then restored in the original cabriolet style. – It’s difficult to accommodate the convertible-berlinetta-convertible history of this Pegaso’s coachwork, and the condition of the underbody and chassis are not as good as the body, interior and engine. It is fair to call this price fair to both the buyer and the seller under the circumstances, and way better than when RM offered it at Amelia a year ago with a high bid of $700,000 but also benefiting from very good recent attention to its presentation.
Lot # 396 1961 Lotus Elite Series 2 Coupe; S/N 1205; Engine # 8163; Orange/Black vinyl; Estimate $95,298 – $122,526; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $86,115 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $99,894 – RHD. Silver painted wire wheels, Cinturato P3 tires, outside fuel filler. – Restored like new with very good paint, chrome and interior. Even imperfections in the fiberglass body are invisible. – Sold by RM at Monterey in 2012 for $96,250 and now showing just two more miles on its odometer. Considering that the consignor probably netted something under $80k on this transaction and had ownership and transportation expenses of not inconsiderable magnitude those were a pair of very expensive miles.
Lot # 398 1957 Lancia Aurelia B20S 5th Series Coupe; S/N 1276; Engine # 4608; Maroon/Maroon leather, Beige cloth; Estimate $115,719 – $156,561; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $119,237 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $138,315 – Lefthand drive, column shift, woodrim steering wheel, Condor radio, steel wheels with brushed alloy rim covers, chrome hubcaps and Michelin X tires. – Sound repaint with minor surface imperfections. Filled lower body and door bottoms. Good interior, dashboard and instruments but the radio deserves more attention. Underbody is not done and has old undercoat. – Maybe a little down on power with the single carburetor, and less sporting than the Nardi floor shift linkage, but a sound and usable example with a reasonable price tag.
Lot # 406 1956 AC Ace Bristol Roadster; S/N BEX 222; Engine # 2208; Silver/Dark Red leather; No top; Estimate $258,666 – $285,894; Modified restoration, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $176,982 – Converted to RHD and updated with a different 100D2 Bristol engine with triple carbs. Silver painted wire wheels, Avon blackwalls, Moto-Lita woodrim steering wheel, overdrive, top bows but no top. – No Bristol engine plate. AC plate shows 100D2 1038, cataloged with number 2208. Good clearcoat repaint, good upholstery only lightly worn and edge scuffed. Underbody and engine have been done but show miles. – The reported high bid is enough for an engine-changed Ace Bristol with more than a little use.
Lot # 419 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Coupe; S/N 9113601115; Engine # AT6630900; White, Red ‘Carrera’/Black cloth; Estimate $394,806 – $449,262; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $442,249 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $513,009 – Sparco seats, 4-point belts, braced rollbar, red spoke Fuchs 7-, 8-inch rim wheels, Avon tires, rally timers removed, limited slip. – Actively rallied by the first owner Bernard Dulcy with co-driver Jean-Francois Bagarry. Factory replacement engine. Restored in the 90’s by the original owner and subsequently to complete the 2011 Tour Auto. Orderly, clean, dry rally car with good cosmetics, except where they took out the rally timers. – Sold by Bonhams here at Retromobile in 2008 for $425,430 in essentially the same condition as it is presented today. Considering the eligibility which its period history confers, it brought a sensible price here.
Lot # 423 1938 Peugeot 402 Darl’Mat Roadster; S/N 400210; Blue/Black leather; Estimate $367,578 – $422,034; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $326,736 – Steel wheels, skirts, rollup windshield, recessed covered rear spare. – Owned from the early 70’s until 2011 by Michel Carey (no relation) and thoughtfully maintained. Sound but aged, scratched, scuffed, edge-chipped old paint. Decent interior. Dull aluminum trim. Chassis and underbody look like they’ve never received much, if any, attention. A usable driver-quality Darl’Mat. – The long term ownership is augmented, but also offset, by the mediocre and creditable original condition of this Darl’Mat. It could have been sold without regret at the reported high bid.
Lot # 426 1972 Fiat 850 Shellette, Body by Michelotti; S/N 100GB1593183; Light Yellow/Wicker; Estimate $40,842 – $54,456; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $47,649 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $55,273. No Reserve – Nardi woodrim steering wheel, Campagnolo 13 inch alloy wheels. – Described as ex-Phillipe Starck. Good repaint with light fisheyes, sound interior wood and wicker. Underbody is dry and original. – Even without the Phillipe Starck celebrity ownership this is a modestly priced highly original and well maintained Shellette.
Lot # 427 1968 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2; S/N 11675; Engine # 11675GT ;, /; Estimate $108,912 – $163,368; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $206,933 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $240,042 – Centerlock alloy wheels, A/C, P/W, P/S, P/B, Blaupunkt multiband radio. – Good clearcoat repaint, reupholstered front seats and original rears. Engine compartment is clean and orderly. Underbody is dry and original. A reasonably attractive driver. Blaton Family collection. – A generous price but for a high quality Queen Mother with quality provenance. With far better performance and more seductive lines than 330 GT 2+2s and 250 GTEs, even at this generous price it is still, relatively speaking, a sound acquisition.
Artcurial Paris Retromobile 2014 – Auction Report Page Four
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. –
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.
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.
Artcurial Paris Retromobile 2014 – Auction Report Page Five
Lot # 515 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ Coupe, Body by Zagato; S/N AR750042; Engine # AR0051100080; Red/Black vinyl; Estimate $1,021,050 – $1,361,400; Competition restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $1,102,734 plus commission of 14.96%; Final Price $1,267,736 – 5-speed, aftermarket woodrim steering wheel, silver painted Campagnolo alloy wheels, Pirelli Cinturato P3 tires. – Restored to showroom condition with better paint. Exceptionally sympathetically and thoroughly done, everything fits as it should and looks ready to run. A French-delivered car with known ownership from new, only three owners until 1990 and no race history. Solo Alfa collection. – The star of the Saturday ‘Solo Alfa’ sale, as it should have been, and brought an appropriate price for its clear history and very satisfying presentation.
Lot # 518 1979 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV Turbodelta Coupe; S/N AR116360022770; Engine # None; Red, Matte Black hood/Grey velour; Estimate $34,035 – $38,119; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $42,203 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $48,956. No Reserve – 1962cc/150hp, dual Dell’Orto dual choke carbs, single turbo, 5-speed, steel wheels, blackwall tires, radio removed. – A rally homologation special, one of 400 built. Marginal repaint, original chrome and interior. Clean original underbody. Orderly engine compartment. Highly original except for the paint. Solo Alfa collection. – While this ‘flirtation with rallying’, as the catalog describes it, never amounted to anything this 150hp Turbo Alfetta (as we’d know it in the States) is a remarkable and rare variant that deserves the rather exceptional price it brought. It might even turn out to be a good value if anyone knew what it was, or cared.
Lot # 523 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Ti Series 3 4-Dr. Sedan; S/N AR221285; Engine # AR0012922641; White/Grey vinyl, cloth; Estimate $24,505 – $32,674; Recent restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $17,698 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $20,530. No Reserve – Pirelli CA57 tires, 5-speed, 2-barrel Solex carb. – Superficially redone with attractive paint, good chrome and interior. Underbody repainted body color over old, cracked undercoat. Engine compartment is orderly, clean and mostly original, even the lubricant sticker. Engine has been done but not dressed up. Solo Alfa collection. – By now halfway into the Solo Alfa cars, this result may reflect some exhaustion by the bidders. It is arguably (and in comparison with earlier cars) a very good value in a sound and usable Alfa at this price.
Lot # 524 1965 Alfa Romeo 2600 SZ Sprint, Body by Zagato; S/N; White/Black vinyl; Estimate $245,052 – $299,508; Older restoration, 2- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $211,017 – Steel wheels, Michelin X radials, heater, no radio. – A good older restoration to like new with limited age and use. Good paint and chrome, orderly engine and undercoated underbody. Not show quality in the US, but probably good enough to show in Europe. Solo Alfa sale, different consignor. – Emphatically not one of Zagato’s best, but they did what they could with the tall 2600 engine. A classy autoroute devouring car, the 2600 SZ has no competition heritage. It isn’t unreasonably valued at this reported bid.
Lot # 526 1970 Alfa Romeo 1750 GTAm 2 + 2; S/N AR1530938; Engine # D211266461004; Ochre/Black vinyl, cloth; Estimate $381,192 – $435,648; Competition restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $375,746 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $435,866 – Braced rollbar, high capacity fuel tank, outside fuel filler, silver painted 13 inch alloy wheels, Plexiglas sliding side windows, dual brake boosters, sliding throttle fuel injection, 4-point belts, bucket seats, stock dash stack, pop-riveted fender flares. – Built, like all GTAms, by Autodelta and campaigned by them during 1970. Later converted to GTV 2000 configuration and raced some more by Autodelta, retired in 1977. Restored in the 00’s to its 1973 configuration. Beautifully restored and presented (except for an asshole named ‘Andrzet Jakubowski – Polonia’ who scratched his name in the rear window molding), may he rot in a peculiar corner of Dante’s Hell forced to do endless bodywork repairs on Trabants using only his saliva and scraps of paper torn from old copies of Izvestia. Solo Alfa collection. – For some uf us even the TZ1 pales beside this beautifully restored GTAm with its magnificent slide throttle fuel injection and every detail done right. The Artcurial Retromobile bidders got it as a realistic price, with more than enough in the kitty at the end of the day to forever banish the memory of The Jerk Jakubowski with a new rear window lock strip.
Lot # 529 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Berlina; S/N 148833082; Engine # AR1315503284; Light Grey/Grey vinyl, cloth; Estimate $20,421 – $24,505; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $16,561 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $19,210. No Reserve – Hubcaps, Michelin MX tires, bench seat, column shift. Original engine AR1315523284. – Restored like new, inside, out and under. Flawed only by an underbody that could be better and silver hammertone painted cam covers. Solo Alfa collection. – Represented as the original engine, but the number on the block doesn’t correspond with the data plate, an inconsistency that is more than made up by the modest price it brought. This is much more car (and enjoyment) than money.
Lot # 539 1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV GTAm Replica 2 + 2; S/N AR1366261; White, Red/Black cloth; Estimate $224,631 – $251,859; Competition restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $194,159 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $225,225 – Dellorto DHLA 45 carbs, 5-speed, riveted flares, silver painted alloy wheels, fuel cell, roll cage, fire system, Sparco seats, 4-point belts, Sparco seat, sliding Plexiglas side windows. – Neatly but not exceptionally well done. A GTV raced from new, then modified in 1970 for revised classifications, done to the standards expected of a high performance car. Competently and thoroughly restored in the early 00’s. A choice car for competition with some period competition history. – I’m a sucker for the GTAm look, having a GT Jr. in my garage with the flares, roll cage, wide wheels and a 2-liter 45 DCOE engine. If only it were worth (or was prepared like) this GTAm hot rod. Someone got a hot ride for no more than it would take to build it.
Lot # 540 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Ti Series 2 Berlina; S/N AR132210; Engine # PC011121419; Light Blue-Grey/Grey vinyl, cloth; Estimate $20,421 – $24,505; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $19,060 plus commission of 16.00%; Final Price $22,109. No Reserve – Column shift, bench seat, silver steel wheels, hubcaps, Pirelli Cinturato S tires. – Good repaint, major chrome and interior. Flawed hood paint. Underbody is original but clean. Engine is pressure washer clean on top and in reasonable good order. Restored it is not, but sound it is. Solo Alfa collection. – It’s really hard not to like this honest but unassuming Alfa, especially at this price.
[Source: Rick Carey]
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.
Qu’est-ce que sait “degressivity,” je vous en prie?
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.
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,
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.
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
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!
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!
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 .