Auction Review: Christie’s at Retromobile, Paris 8th February 2003

Text - by Steve Wakefield
Photos - Don Rose

Christie's must have been more than satisfied with the results of last Saturday's sale at Retromobile, their second at the annual event in Paris. Fittingly, top money was achieved by a French car, the Bugatti T55 (€1,680,250) with the 1959 Ferrari 250 Tour de France, in original condition, selling for €1,108,250. The Heineken collection, having received a lot of pre-event publicity, also produced some big figures; the 1954 Bentley R-type Continental selling for €272,250. To most observers the pre-sale estimate for the Aston Martin DB4GT seemed optimistic but the car was sold at a whisker under it; €668,250.

With bidding both in the room, and by 'phone, very strong most lots were sold near or above estimate, however none of the Bugatti EB110 Prototypes were bought and neither was the very historic Ligier ex-Le Mans car. High prices were achieved by both 1950s Mercedes Convertibles, the 300S and 300SL, selling for €151,520 and €173,250 respectively. In an evening full of surprises €99,875 for the 1906 Renault, and €62,275 for the Cadillac State Limousine were perhaps not so unusual after all.

The price for the Aston DB4GT will certainly be seen as a turning point for a model which, whilst regularly touching €450,000, has only exceeded this sort of figure with ex-works racing history or suchlike. Likewise the R-type Continental, perhaps collectors are voting with their wallets to buy these relatively rare cars before they move too high. A Ferrari Dino 246GT (€96,300), a model regularly seen on the auction circuit was another good performer.

Christie's next sale is in London on 24th of March at the Jack Barclay showroom. Star lot this time is the last ever Ford GT40 and the motoring department will be hoping for another bumper sale to repeat their Parisian success.

Lundi xx avril 2002 Veillée d'armes.