The 60 lost classics set to go under the hammer the day before Artcurial’s traditional Retromobile auction – to be held on 6 February 2015 – carry such prestigious names as Bugatti, Hispano-Suiza, Talbot-Lago, Panhard et Levassor, Delahaye and Delage. But it’s not only weathered French machinery on offer; both Ferrari and Maserati also appear on the roster of recently discovered treasures, and make up some of the better-preserved relics of the astounding barn find.
The long-lost California Spider
One of the two significant Italians is a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider (chassis 2935) formerly owned by actor Alain Delon and, pictured buried beneath a stack of magazines, is the subject of one of the most memorable images this year. The Delon Ferrari outwardly displays an attractive patina, with Artcurial attaching an estimate of €9.5m to €12m as a result.
One of three
Fighting the ‘other’ red corner is an ultra-rare Maserati A6G 2000 Gran Sport with a body by Pietro Frua, one of only three such cars ever made. It shared its fateful long-term accommodation with the Ferrari – interestingly though, since it wasn’t put to work as a bookshelf, the paintwork has not been preserved quite as well. Hence the estimate has been set at €800,000 – €1.2m.
Rare coachwork in abundance
Elsewhere, a Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Saoutchik Coupé fared less well in fending off the elements, meaning interested parties are perhaps more likely to be art collectors, rather than traditional car enthusiasts. During the discovery, Artcurial specialists Matthieu Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff also found several more pre-War cars with rare (if not unique) bodies: a Talbot-Lago T26 Saoutchik Cabriolet formerly owned by Egyptian King Farouk, a Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet bodied by Million Guiet, and a Talbot-Lago T26 record Coupé, also with Saoutchik body.
Between now and February, each car will be recovered, scrutinised and given an estimate by Artcurial’s experts. We look forward to a unique auction catalogue packed with extraordinary stories behind each individual car – will there be a ‘barn-find’ of this magnitude ever again?