French auction house Artcurial has pulled off a major coup, using the occasion of this weekend’s rescheduled 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours race to announce the sale of an important and unique piece of French motor racing history.
On 5th February next year, a mighty Matra MS670, chassis 001, the winner of the 1972 Le Mans 24 Hours, will be offered for sale by Artcurial as the star car at its traditional Retromobile auction in Paris, with the victorious V12 estimated to sell for between €4-7.5 million, or roughly £3.6-6.7 million.
This winning Matra prototype has remained the property of the French Lagardère publishing group (Matra’s owners at the time) and kept in the Matra Museum in Romorantin since its last race in 1973. This legendary MS670 retains the original livery of its 1973 Le Mans race with its race number 15, the same number it wore for its important 1972 victory at Le Sarthe, when it was driven by two motor sport legends, the English Grand Prix World Champion, Graham Hill, plus local French racing hero, Henri Pescarolo.
The Artcurial sale of the MS670 has been caused by a French court decision. On 31st January 2020, after an eight year trial, Matra was ordered to pay 4.2 million euros in compensation to 296 former employees of its Romorantin car production plant, closed in 2003 when Renault cancelled its contract with Matra to build Espace and Avantime models. The dismissal was recognised “without cause, real and serious” by the court judges.
Reacting to the planned sale of this important competition car, former Matra ex-works driver and joint Le Mans victor in this MS670 driver Pescarolo blasted Lagardère's decision to sell this “monument of motorsport”, reacting with "It's scandalous, stupid!”