Artcurial at the Le Mans Classic, 9 July 2010 – Preview
The headlining McLaren F1 certainly puts the ‘Art’ into Artcurial next collectors' car sale. It’s the 1995 13th-place at Le Mans 24 Hours car decorated by Pop Art exponent César.
Auctioneer Hervé Poulain was one of the instigators behind BMW’s ‘Art Car’ programme. An enthusiastic amateur driver at Le Mans, he co-drove priceless ‘moving canvases’ by Alexander Calder (1975), Frank Stella (1976), Roy Lichtenstein (1977) and Andy Warhol (1979). These were 'official' BMW Art Cars but, when the works racing programme wound down, the Frenchman continued the tradition independently, with a Venturi 600 LM decorated by Arman (1994), the McLaren F1 GTR painted by César in 1995 and a Porsche GT2 by Wolinski in 1998.
The steel-grey F1 is covered in images of – wait for it – Poulain’s motor sport trophies ‘compressed’ by César into blocks of scrap metal. As the artist put it: “I have compressed your vanity but increased your glory.” Quite – give Sale Director Matthieu Lamoure a call for an idea on price. I’m no expert, but I think it’s going to be expensive...
The other entries in a 60-car auction are impressive. Starting with the very French 1976 Alpine A110 1300 VC (32,000 - 37,000 euros and No Reserve), the catalogue oozes quality. Lamborghini Miura SV, anyone? Yes, it’s a 1972 P400, estimated at 500,000 - 600,000 euros. There’s also a 1989 Countach (90,000 - 120,000 euros) and a 1967 400GT (120,000 - 140,000 euros).
Arch-rival Ferrari is represented by eight cars, the pick of which must be the superb silver 1967 275 GTB/4, competitively estimated at 750,000 - 850,000 euros. There’s also a 1989 F40 (230,000 - 260,000 euros) and one of my favourites, a glassfibre-bodied 1976 308 GTB for 45,000 - 60,000 euros. My, haven’t they gone up?
Other ‘Classic Driver’ cars include the 1964 AC Cobra 289 Mk II (340,000 - 380,000 euros and a wonderfully classy machine sans roll-cage, side pipes, big wheelarches or metallic paintwork) and a 1978 Porsche 935. The latter (450,000 - 550,000 euros) is an ex-Interscope IMSA car which had seen action in 1979 in World Championship for Makes races as well as domestic IMSA rounds – the best finished being in the latter, a 2nd in the Daytona 250 Miles, and pole position at Atlanta.
Porsche is also represented by a 1962 356 Carrera 2/GS 2000 for 160,000 - 200,000 euros and a pale yellow 1973 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Sport at 130,000 - 170,000 euros. For those after a British classic, the catalogue features several Astons (we like the LHD 1960 Aston Martin DB4 Series I for 180,000 – 220,000 euros) and just one Jaguar: a 1962 Mk 2 3.8 for 30,000 - 40,000 euros. It is a French sale, after all.
Prior to the motor cars, Artcurial has assembled 80 lots of automobilia including several mascots by René Lalique and a variety of original Le Mans 24 Hours posters such as a 1964 example estimated at 150 - 200 euros.
It looks a superb sale – if the reserves are realistic, and can be met, it might well spring some surprises.
The Artcurial Le Mans Classic Auction takes place on Friday, 9 July at 17:00.
You can see a full lotlist HERE.
Text: Steve Wakefield
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