As much as of world descends on Paris for what has become a sort of Monterey Car Week with a beret, the truth is that there is only one official auction at Retromobile – and that is held by Artcurial.
As this is probably Europe’s premier classic car show – other than Goodwood obviously – you would expect the caliber of cars in its official sale to be pretty high. And, thankfully, they are, this is a sale where the existence of a Bugatti Atalante isn’t the star bid.
That title, certainly in terms of front row attention, goes to a beautiful 1964 Ferrari 250 LM. The tenth of 32 ever made and subject of a complete restoration by DK Engineering, this particular LM has been in the same collection for 20 years, and is one of those cars so special that we members of the public aren’t allowed to know its estimate – think millions though, multiples of.
As lovely as that, the Atalante and others are, we found more interest in some of the other, perhaps less-heralded cars on offer. Take, for example, a De Tomaso Pantera, finished in a stunning teal paint. We’ve never seen a Pantera in such a hue, and boy does it suit the Pantera delightfully.
There’s a road going Peugeot 205 T16 to walk past, a Mercedes SLR 722 Stirling Moss Edition and an ex-McRae Ford Focus WRC, all squeezed together in one corner of the show. And nearby, you cannot help but notice what we’re dubbing “AMG corner”, an area with so many Mercs modified in Alfalterbach it’s almost funny.
Three stand out immediately, the 1989 560 SEC 5.6 wide body, with it’s, you guessed it, very wide body. Then the slighty bonkers 500 SEL Koenig special which has a magnificently bonkers body kit, triple exhausts and, brilliantly, a mileage of around 200,000km!
But both pale in comparison to the brilliant discovery of the Mercedes-Benz 500 SGS Gullwing. This tribute to the original gullwing was developed by tuning company SGS and features, you guessed it, gullwing doors on a 500 SEC. Only 57 were made and this one comes complete with an AMG body kit and wheels. It’s truly magnificent.
The Artcurial auction is a delightful centrepiece to Retromobile, but if that’s not enough high-end auction fun for you check out what our friends at Bonhams are selling in their nearby Paris sale here.