Christie's at Le Mans Classic 8th July 2006 - Preview

Christie’s has a habit of pulling out all the stops for their biennial sales held at the famous circuit de la Sarthe; readers will remember the multi-million EURO Bentleys sold in 2004. This time there’s another vintage Cricklewood car and it’s a 1931 ‘Blower’ 4 ½ Litre that’s expected to fetch 1.400.000 - 1.800.000 EURO.

For many people the supercharged Bentley is the quintessentially English pre-war car and the result has been many superbly crafted ‘re-creations’ based on more staid saloons of the period. Make no mistake, the example Christie’s will be selling is one of the original 55 cars (fifty for the Le Mans regulations, plus an extra five chassis for Tim Birkin himself) made originally with a Vanden Plas Drophead Coupé bodywork but re-bodied in the ‘60s in the Le Mans style. A wonderful car that should go ‘all the way’ with the phenomenal interest in the resurgent Bentley marque all over the world.

1950 Jaguar XK 120 Aluminium Roadster - 130.000 - 180.000 EURO

1988 Porsche 962 Directly from the Kremer collection, the ex-Le Mans 1989 and 2004 - 280.000 - 340.000 EURO

1955 Austin Healey 100 / S - 280.000 - 340.000 EURO

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing - 260.000 - 340.000 EURO

There are also two more older racing cars of great importance; as well as a unique GT Ferrari with Le Mans history. The 1921 Sunbeam Grand Prix and Tourist Trophy, 600.000 - 700.000 EURO, comes from the era of pioneering racers with riding mechanics, driving cars suitable for both Grand Prix and endurance events, while the 1950 Talbot-Lago T26C is ex-Works, having been raced by drivers that included Juan-Manuel Fangio, Louis Rosier and Georges Grignard, and is estimated at 600.000 - 800.000 EURO.

The magnificent French blue single-seater, chassis 110051, can be credited with assisting Louis Rosier to his French Championship win in 1950, as well as the only two World Championship podiums that the marque recorded, and 8 World Championship points in 1950, more than any other Talbot-Lago, the car therefore representing a very significant part in the story of the Suresnes manufacturer. It’s also highly eligible for events like the Goodwood Revival and Laguna Seca historic races, where it has previously been seen in action.

And finally, of the earlier competition cars entered mention must be made of the ex-‘Johnny’ Lurani 1937 Maserati 4CM at 300.000 - 500.000 EURO, and the 1959 Lotus 15, 270.000 - 350.000 EURO, the ex Derek Jolly, Graham Hill, 1959 Le Mans entry that was running as high as 7th before engine failure retired the car at 02.35 am on the Sunday. Having viewed the car on display at Christie’s 26th June London Sale, I can confirm this looks a very desirable and ‘hot’ car in which to go historic motor racing at the top level - I wouldn’t say no myself.

1967 Citroen DS 21 Cabriolet - 105.000 - 135.000 EURO

1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce - 80.000 - 120.000 EURO

1959 Lotus 15 Ex Derek Jolly, Graham Hill, Le Mans 1959 - 270.000 - 350.000 EURO

1935 Jaguar SSI Special - 60.000 - 100.000 EURO

Of course it’s not all racing machinery although the surroundings (and presence of the world’s top-level historic racers) do tend to dictate the catalogue. Pride of place of the road car entries is the 2004 Maserati MC12 at 500.000 - 650.000 EURO, a car available at sub-Enzo money yet having even more devastating performance. The black 1983 Ferrari 512BBi, 50.000 - 80.000 EURO, looks nice while the 1979 Porsche 924 Carrera GTS Prototype appears a real collector’s item for 50.000 - 80.000 EURO in its ‘factory’ white with black interior colour scheme.

Move the clock back a few decades and the line between road and racing machinery was less clear cut than it is today. Take the alloy-bodied 1950 Jaguar XK 120 Roadster at 130.000 - 180.000 EURO, or the 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce at 80.000 - 120.000 EURO; either car eminently suitable for some modest competition at the weekends yet still driveable on the road in the intervening days. And for those goggling at the estimate on the Alfa, it’s one of the very rarest early cars with alloy panels and sliding perspex windows.

The ‘Blower’ Bentley apart, it’s the 1972 Ferrari 365GTB/4 'Daytona' Competizione Spyder, the ex-NART (North American Racing Team) and Geneva Motor Show car, estimated at 1.200.000 - 1.400.000 EURO that’s likely to take centre-stage at the sale. ‘Daytona’ prices have been going through the roof recently and this car, with its Michelotti styling, is one of the rarest, wearing bodywork that’s lines improve with time and carrying an original Gp IV 458 HP series 3 engine. The story behind the car was that NART commissioned the re-bodying of a 1972 ‘street’ car for entry at the 1975 24 Hours race, the project financed by a Los Angeles customer, Dan Ward, who would then take delivery of the unique GT afterwards. In the end the car only practised, it being part of the three-car entry from NART that was withdrawn just 88 minutes before the start of the race, a protest over the organisers’ treatment of its heavily modified 308 GT4’C’.

The car would now appear to be in ‘fast road’ condition with a trimmed interior but carrying all the hallmarks of its racing career including the powerful tuned motor, racing fuel cell and side exhausts. A genuine one-off Ferrari and a ‘Daytona’ to boot, it has an awful lot going for it - let’s see what happens on the day.

1968 Howmet TX Turbine ex-Le Mans - 400.000 - 600.000 EURO

2004 Maserati MC12 500.000 - 650.000 - EURO

Prior to the Motor Car Sale Christie’s will be offering over 80 lots of Automobilia including several original Le Mans 24 Hours posters and many items from the Automobile Club de France to commemorate the centenary of the first French GP in 1906, as well as a wonderful number of entries ‘without reserve’ from the Estate of the late Louis Chiron.

The Sale is being held at Le Circuit des 24 Heures, in the heart of the ‘Village’, behind the various paddocks and commences at 10.30 am sharp. Viewing is from 10.00 to 19.00 on Friday 7th July, and from 08.30 to 10.30 on the day of the Sale.

STOP PRESS!! - Late Entry:
Directly from Henri Pescarolo, the ex-Le Mans 2004, 2005 and 2006 2nd place driven by S. Loeb (twice and current WRC world champion), F. Montagny (current F1 driver Super Aguri team), E. Hilary (former LM winner) Pescarolo C60 Judd
Estimate: 600.000 - 900.000 EURO

To view the complete Lotlist, please click HERE.

To see all the motor car entries, including colour photos and links to Christie's website, please click HERE.

Exceptional Motor Cars and Automobilia - 26 June 2006 - London - Results

Rupert Banner, Head of Christie’s International Motor Car Department: "This evening’s sale saw a packed saleroom with bidding from Europe, the USA and the Middle East. We were particularly pleased with the results for the BMW “Batmobile” which saw fierce competition on the phones from the USA and Middle Eastern markets. We look forward to our next sale in Le Mans on 8th July 2006"

Highlights -

1938 Aston Martin 15/98 short chassis 2/4 seater Sold for £123,375. French private buyer (Estimate: £80,000-100,000)

1903 Panhard-Levassor two cylinder 7hp Sporting two seater Sold for £91,650 UK private buyer (Estimate: £80,000 - 120,000)

1973 BMW 3.0 CSL “Batmobile” Sold for £84,600 Middle-Eastern private buyer (Estimate: £55,000-75,000)

To view the complete results, please click HERE.

Philip Kantor
Jan Lühn
33 Boulevard de Waterloo
1000 Brussels

Tel: +32 2289 1330/33
[email protected]

Text: Classic Driver
Pictures: Christie's

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