From the original Ferrari Dino concept car to Sebastien Loeb’s Porsche 930, there was no shortage of star cars at Artcurial’s Retromobile sale in Paris. And they weren’t all Italian or German either…
FEB 14th 2017
Seven French cars we wanted to nab the keys to at Retromobile
As befits a sale in the French capital during the Retromobile classic car show, there were plenty of delectable French machines up for grabs as well. Here’s seven of them, at different price points, that we really would have quite liked to have brought home with us. Prices are sale prices including premium…
And incidentally Sébastien Loeb’s Porsche did sell – for way over its presale estimate, eventually going for €262,200.
1956 Citroën 2CV AZ Rallye
Sold for €32,200
When the doors of this 2CV were being sanded down during its restoration they found white roundels under the paint. A 2CV with a competition past? Perhaps. Post-restoration and now resplendent in Rallye trim, this Deux Cheveau is certainly in line for a competition future – it’s been prepared for classic rallying. What makes a 2CV a Rallye? Equilux headlamps, Cibié fog lamps, reinforced wheels, a map reader, a mechanical washer, new carburettor and a protective skid plate under the engine. As Artcurial says, it’s all “from a time when competing didn’t cost the earth”. The car has covered just 69km since its “comprehensive restoration”.
Presale estimate: €15-25,000 (about £13-21,500).
1937 Delage D6-60
Sold for €62,000
It’s not often you get a car from a racing school come up for sale (maybe they don’t survive long enough!) but this is most definitely one of them. It started life as a 3-litre Sports two-seater that in the mid 1940s was owned by Delahaye. In 1947 the manufacturer donated it to Montlhéry so it could be used at the autodrome by the French association of independent racers, or AGACI, to train novices. Here then is the car in which a whole generation of French drivers first leant to race – and the car still bears the markings to prove it. The Delage reappeared in 2003, after being untouched for 37 years, when it had a complete overhaul. Artcurial says it’s a very easy car to drive, is light weight with a powerful engine “and bound to get noticed”. We agree.
Presale estimate: €60-80,000 (about £52-69,000).
1934 Citroen Traction 7 Sport Roadster
Sold for €121,600
So you want a Citroen Traction Avant but you want one with the later more powerful engine and you want an open roadster body? Yes, that combo exists but it is also very rare. Fitted with the 7S 11bhp engine, this roadster was built in December 1934 and spent most of its life in the Loir et Cher region before being bought by its current owner in ’79. Since then, it has had a lot of work done and in cream with its red hood and bright red upholstery is now very dashing, very French…and a real "Reine de la Route”.
Presale estimate: €90-120,000 (about £77-103,000).
1960 Facel Vega HK500
Sold for €155,000
The epitome of ‘60s French automotive glamour, this HK500 in ivory with red leather interior is said to be one of the best around. It has had only a few (all French) owners (only two since 1985), it’s been fully restored (800 hours of labour they say), but the bit we like most is that it’s also been well used, covering 40,000 km since all the work was done. Its enthusiast owners are said to have maintained it meticulously with lots of care and attention by noted Facel specialists, including Vega Passion.
Presale estimate: €150-180,000 (about £129-155,000).
1982 Renault 5 Turbo Groupe 4
Sold for €321,800
You wait ages for an ex-works Renault 5 Turbo world rally championship car to come along…and then two appear at once. While down the road in Paris Bonhams was selling a Group B car that Jean Ragnotti drove in ’83, the car in the Artcurial sale is Ragnotti’s own earlier Group 4 car – the very last one built. This was Ragnotti’s car for the 1982 Ivory Coast Rally, where he chased Michelle Mouton in the Audi Quattro for the lead until the little mid-engined, madly-turbocharged 270bhp R5 hit a bump and came a cropper. Ragnotti bought the bashed-up R5 from Renault Sport in 1984 but it wasn’t until 10 years later that, now fully restored, it was presented to him at his 50th birthday celebrations – during a meal at Paul Bocuse’s restaurant no less!
Presale estimate: €300-500,000 (about £260-430,000).
1938 Peugeot 402 DS Sport Roadster by Darl’mat
A prewar style and performance shot-in-the-arm for the Peugeot range of the time was provided by the unlikely pairing of an engineer by the name of Émile Darl’mat and dentist-turned-car-designer Georges Paulin. Between them, they came up with an elegant hybrid of Peugeot 302 chassis with 402 engine and running gear under a new and aerodynamic body. When the result was acclaimed for running for 25 hours at Montlhéry at an average speed of 139km/h, Peugeot decided it had better build a series of them. This is one of those cars. The Darl’mat specials raced at Le Mans – in 1938 one of them finished fifth overall and won the 2.0-litre class – and the car for sale is eligible for the Le Mans Classic where it has already competed several times.
Presale estimate: €400-460,000 (about £343-395,000).
1936 Talbot Lago T150C
Sold for €1,610,500
Billed as the very essence of French prewar racing cars, this factory Talbot from ’36 has led quite a life: four Le Mans starts, the 1937 Mille Miglia, assorted Grands Prix, Spa 24 Hours, and Liege-Rome-Liege Rally over a competitive career that lasted until 1950. Drivers such as Chiron, Chinetti, Levegh and Rosier sat behind its wheel and mastered its monster performance. A near 4-litre straight six delivering 170bhp to a Wilson preselector gearbox gives the magnificent machine a top speed of over 130mph. The Talbot T150C was, along with Bugatti 57G, Delage, and Delahaye 135S/145, built as France’s big hope to win Le Mans. Artcurial says cars from this elite group that have survived in reasonable condition number no more than 20 in the world. That makes this Talbot – one of a number of cars in the auction from the collection of Vuitton dynasty descendant Hervé Ogliastro – a rarity, one moreover eligible for most international historic race events. It would certainly make quite a sight in the new Varzi Trophy race at Members’ Meeting.
Presale estimate: €1.2-1.6 million (about £1-1.4m).
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