19/06/2012 Artcurial Auction, Le Mans Classic, 7 July 2012: Preview
1966 Ferrari 275 GTC: 1,300,000 - 1,600,000 euros
Parisian auction house Artcurial has assembled a stunning catalogue of 140 cars to be offered at its forthcoming Le Mans Classic sale.
Few will forget the 2010 auction at the same venue. With Centigrade temperatures well into the 30s, it was a feat of endurance to stay upright in a marquee closely packed with cars and bidders. Mathieu Lamour’s team will hope a little of the metaphorical ‘heat’ of its highly successful 2012 Paris Rétromobile sale will travel south-west to Le Mans – with none of 2010’s energy-sapping humidity.
As you’d expect, given the location, racing cars feature strongly – none more so than the varied selection of genuine ex-Le Mans cars. How about the fabulous Gitanes-liveried 1974 Ligier JS2 (750,000 – 1,100,000 euros), a car which finished second at the 24 Hours in 1975 and won the Tour de France Automobile in 1974? Or the 2006 Saleen S7R (600,000 - 800,000 euros) or – for the first time at auction – an ex-works 2007 Audi R10 TDI?
1970 Maserati Ghibli 4.9-litre SS Coupé: 65,000 - 85,000 euros
The latter carries an estimate of 1,300,000 – 1,600,000 euros and is joined by another ex-factory Le Mans prototype, the 700,000 - 1,200,000 euros, 1991 Peugeot 905 EV13. Realistically, neither of these cars could be run by the average enthusiast. Consider, though, that the same can be said of the pre-War Mercedes and Auto Union Grand Prix cars, yet that hasn’t diminished their value much, has it?
Other racing cars of interest to the sporting-minded Classic Driver include the 1997 Porsche 993 GT2 (120,000 - 180,000 euros), the 1983 Lancia 037 rally (90,000 - 150,000 euros) and the short-tail 1968 Porsche 908 for 1,300,000 - 1,600,000 euros.
And, of course, there’s always the headlining 1966 Ferrari 275 GTC (1,300,000 - 1600,000 euros), one of only three 275 GTCs built, with a continuous history file and in-period racing success (a class winner in the 1966 Nürburgring 1000Km).
Other Ferraris that take our fancy include the grey 1974 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer, a two-owner car with a period Voxson radio-cassette for 140,000 - 160,000 euros, the ‘barn-find’, ‘No Reserve’ 1959 250 GT Pininfarina Coupé, at 100,000 - 150,000 euros and the 2002 456 M GT, a classic of the future for an oh-so-reasonable 35,000 - 45,000 euros.
The Artcurial team had a considerable coup in consigning many cars from the collection of the Heuliez coachbuilding company. Among an assortment of cars that renders ‘eclectic’ an understatement, are such gems as the 1971 Citroën SM Espace (200,000 - 400,000 euros) and the 1988 Le Mans car, the WM P88 at 150,000 - 250,000 euros.
Despite the plethora of racing machinery and Heuliez collection madness, there’s still room in the catalogue for some staples of the collector’s auction saleroom; entries such as the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 'Gullwing' (480,000 - 540,000 euros), the 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 (500,000 - 600,000 euros) and the 50,000 - 80,000 euros, 1959 Porsche 356 A 1600 S.
And the Classic Driver pick? Well, there’s some terrific stuff here, but (sight unseen, usual disclaimers and all that) my modest money would go on Lot 105, the 1973 Porsche 911S 2.4 tuned by the famous Almeras brothers, estimated at 40,000 – 70,000 euros.
A ‘No Reserve’ car, all it needs is a couple of big yellow-tinted Cibiés on the bonnet, a well-used Goyard canvas bag containing a made-to-measure Stand 21 ‘pyjama’ race-suit and an open-face Bell helmet... Le Mans Classic 2014, here I come!
The 2012 Artcurial Le Mans Classic sale will take place at the Le Mans circuit on Saturday 7 July. Automobilia at 11:00, motor cars at 14:00. You can view the cars on 5, 6, 7 July with a special late-night schedule on Friday 6 July.