Artcurial returns to Paris with star-studded catalogue

After the sensational sale of the Baillon Collection last year, Artcurial returns to Paris on 5 February with a star-studded catalogue. We’ve digested the catalogue so you don’t have to…

The record-breaking sale of the Baillon Collection, culminating with the ex-Alain Delon Ferrari 250 GT ‘California’ Spider (16.3m euros), is still fresh in the memory. Building on the success was never going to be easy, but Artcurial’s fantastic Rétromobile 2016 catalogue is a valiant effort. No doubt the team, led by specialists Matthieu Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff, will be most proud of the 1955 Ferrari 335 S – genuinely one of the finest sports-racing Ferraris in the world. The car finished second in the 1957 Mille Miglia and snatched victory at the 1958 Grand Prix of Cuba. Since 1970, it’s remained under lock and key in the esteemed collection of Pierre Bardinon. When it crosses the block, it could achieve a sensational 28-32m euros. Last year’s auction season taught us that collectors are paying more attention than ever to individual provenance, and are willing to pay almost any price for the finest ‘blue-chip’ classics, such as this Ferrari. 

Market observers and analysts will also be interested to see whether the 1963 Ferrari 250 GT ‘SWB’, from the same family ownership for the last 33 years, achieves its 9-12m-euro estimate. Short-Wheelbases underperformed last year (save for British auction house H&H’s ex-Colton example). This one was allegedly the last one built – whether that has an effect on the result remains to be seen.

The pretty 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet is estimated at 1.4-1.8m euros – a car with Moroccan Royal provenance. Gianni Agnelli’s unique Ferrari Testarossa Spider is another of Artcurial’s star lots. It’s expected to fetch 680,000-900,000 euros. We appreciate the charm of this special one-off, though we wonder if a matching-numbers 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ with full Classiche certification would be a safer place to invest such a sum. Opinions differ, even in Maranello. 

While pre-War Bugattis from Molsheim once dominated the market, today relatively modern classics from the ‘Italian phase’ are becoming more popular. Both collectors and investors will be watching to see if the Monaco Racing Team Bugatti EB110 reaches its 800,000-euro lower estimate, or the intriguing EB112 (completed by the owner of the aforementioned racing outfit) finds a buyer. Modern classics from other brands also feature prominently in the catalogue – look at the Lamborghini Countach 'Periscopica' and Porsche 959, both barely below the million mark, or the more unusual Lancia Hyena Zagato (220,000-260,000 euros). Is 250,000-300,000 euros a reasonable sum to pay for the 20-year-old Porsche 911/993 Carrera RS, while the rarer 964 Carrera RS is pitched at only 150,000-200,000 euros? The market will decide. One thing we’re sure of is the silliness of a 400,000-600,000-euro Ferrari California – manual gearbox or not… 

We’re particularly taken with two cars from the catalogue. First there’s the wonderfully restored Alfa Romeo 6C from 1929, with its original engine and interesting competition history. It’s estimated at 1.35-1.55m euros. Meanwhile, perhaps the most appropriate car in which to leave the saleroom next week is the first-ever Facel Vega FVS, built in 1954. It was a milestone in French automotive history and, at 350,000-550,000 euros, a relative bargain in comparison to some other Grand Touring cars from the era. Artcurial will also offer 48 classic and modern Citroëns from the André Trigano collection, from which we’d happily take the 2CV Sahara. Trip to Morocco, anyone?

Photos: Artcurial

You can find the complete catalogue for Artcurial's Rétromobile sale, taking place on 5-6 February in Paris, listed in the Classic Driver Market.