Bonhams at Rétromobile, Paris 9th February 2008 - Preview

Bonhams’ first Rétromobile sale is marked by a deluxe 300+ page catalogue with over 70 motor car entries. Two Mercedes-Benz stand out: a 1928 26/120/180 supercharged S-type Torpedo Roadster by J. Saoutchik, and a former Le Mans entry, the 1989 Sauber-Mercedes-Benz C9.

Both cars are extraordinary in their own ways (although having sizeable estimates in common: EUR 2,250,000 - 3,250,000 for the pre-War car and EUR 1,500,000 - 2,500,000 for the racer). The older Mercedes marries the company’s potent ‘blown’ 6.8-litre engine with what could be described as ‘Hollywood’ styling - were it not for the fact that the coachbuilder Saoutchik was located in Paris and the car’s first customer a New Yorker... Pebble Beach here we come.

The other car is the first of the latter-day genuine Silver Arrows. It’s the Mass/Schlesser entry from Le Mans in 1989, the period when Swiss Peter Sauber ran semi-official cars for Mercedes-Benz carrying little sponsorship bar large three-pointed stars, and boasted a driving line-up that included ex-F1 drivers Mass, Schlesser and Jabouille. Just a year or so later a certain M.Schumacher was on the driving roster too. The catalogue describes the car as ‘set up for racing use, ready to run’ so prospective historic Group C competitors need look no further.

1936 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Coupé - EUR 750,000 - 900,000

1973 Porsche 2.7 Carrera RS Coupe - EUR 320,000 - 360,000

Given the auction’s location it would be mean of Bonhams to deny the Parisian connoisseur an opportunity to buy a Bugatti, Amilcar, Voisin, Citroën, Salmson or Delahaye. All marques are represented, and none so well as the famous manufacturer from Mulhouse. Pick of an exquisitely selected bunch of Bugattis would have to be the 1936 Type 57 Atalante Coupé at EUR 750,000 - 900,000, although the very usable 1929 Type 43 Grand Sport (EUR 600,000 - 800,000) makes a nice entry for the Mille Miglia retrospective or Le Mans Classic (held this year, don’t forget).

1921 Farman A6B Super Sport Torpedo - EUR 500,000 - 600,000

1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport - EUR 180,000 - 220,000

For jaw-dropping, er, ‘difference’, look no further than the French 1921 Farman A6B Super Sport Torpedo. A machine of singular styling – bespoke for its original owner, HH Maharaja Sir Daulat Singh – it is estimated at EUR 500,000 - 600,000. The Farman and the Bugattis apart, Bonhams has assembled a very good selection of pre-War entries with many racing cars present, and all very correct.

1968 Maserati Ghibli 4.7-Litre Coupé - EUR 46,000 - 60,000

1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Coupé - EUR 140,000 - 180,000

1929 Bugatti Type 43 Grand Sport - EUR 600,000 - 800,000

1964 Ferrari 250GT Lusso Berlinetta - EUR 320,000 - 360,000

Moving post-War, an example from most of the staple categories of top quality car collecting is in the catalogue. There’s a 1960 Mercedes 300SL Roadster for EUR 320,000 - 350,000, a 1964 Ferrari 250GT Lusso Berlinetta at EUR 320,000 - 360,000, a 1972 Ferrari Dino 246GTS Spyder (EUR 120,000 - 140,000) and a 1960 Aston Martin DB4 Series II estimated at a mid-market EUR 125,000 - 180,000.

The other Newport Pagnell car in the sale is the penultimate LHD Aston Martin DB4GT completed with regular Carrozzeria Touring bodywork (other cars bearing Zagato bodies). It’s a 1962 example and estimated at EUR 1,000,000 - 1,300,000. This particular car is one of two competition machines from the collection of ‘a Connoisseur’, the other being an ex-Sebring 12 Hours 1964 Lotus Type 26R Elan Series 1. EUR 180,000 - 220,000 will buy you a pre-1965 GT that will run rings around just about any equivalent front-engined car.

Bonhams  at Rétromobile, Paris 9th February 2008  - Preview Bonhams  at Rétromobile, Paris 9th February 2008  - Preview

Finally, we saw the car at marque specialists Frank Dale & Stepsons a few weeks ago and for wild styling and mid-1950s decadence it has few equals – the 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 4.9-Litre LWB ‘Perspex Top’ Saloon by Hooper estimated at EUR 280,000 - 320,000. Built to the order of Armenian oil magnate Nubar Gulbenkian, the two-tone car carries a totally transparent perspex roof and would make a unique addition to any Rolls-Royce collection. Very much ‘of the age’, we love it for all its craziness.

Prior to the motor cars, Bonhams will sell just ten lots of high quality automobilia including a superb Four Person Picnic Set by Drew & Sons of Piccadilly estimated at EUR 3,000 - 4,000.

Please CLICK HERE to see the full lotlist.

Text - Steve Wakefield
Photos - Bonhams/Frank Dale & Stepsons

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