Collector car auctions will be moving to the Paris round later this week. Among the many highlights on Retromobile will be the three tier-one auctions, and Paris is the ideal setting for the event. The auctions take place at RM Sotheby’s on February 8, followed by Bonhams on the 9th of February, and lastly at the Artcurial on the 10th of February. Even though the world record price may not be under threat this year—like was the case last year— there are still some extremely important and historical cars that will be placed on auction this week.
Here are ten of them:
1. Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 by Nuvolari: auction estimate between US$4.1 and $5.4 million
Examine this unique 1934 Alfa Romeo closely, and on its bonnet you will see the emblematic logo of a prancing horse which was popularized by Ferrari Scuderia. More than ten years ago, before Enzo Ferrari began building cars using his own name, he had his own racing team that turned to a quasi-works team for Alfa Romeo. The car he built is a Tipo B P3 and it is one of only seven ever made. It is the first one-seater vehicle in the history of Grand Prix racing. During its time, the car dominated the racing scene, albeit for a short time. It is also the first one to be seen at the auction in more than a decade.
2. Dino Berlinetta Prototype (1965) by Pininfarina: auction estimate between US$4.3 million and $8.6 million
This car is the prototype for the mid-engined Ferrari Dino. it will be auctioned some 52 years after it debuted at the Paris motor show held in 1965. From 1967, it has been displayed at the Musee de l'Automobile in Le Mans. The auction description details the story of this historic car. It was the first Dino prototype and the first Ferrari to be equipped with a mid-sized engine. It could easily be sold at a price exceeding the estimate. This car is one to watch.
3. Ferrari’s 1948 166 Spyder Corsa by Scaglietti: no auction estimate
This was the 7th competition Ferrari to be made. It came with an elongated wheelbase chassis and a body by Ansaloni. Most of the greatest drivers of that era, like Giampiero Bianchetti, Raymond Sommer, and Giuseppe Farina, raced using this car, and it won in 1948 at Reims. The following year, its engine was re-bored to 2,300 cc and its chassis cut back in order to enhance its competitiveness. It would continue to star on the track until it was redesigned with a superb new body by Scaglietti. This presaged the design of the legendary 750 Monza and 500TR. This car represents a critical part of the early history of Ferrari. It still has its original engine, and it qualifies to be entered in all reputable motor racing events.
4. 1935 Ulster Aston Martin: auction estimate between US$1,720,000 and $1,950,000
This is one of the best lightweight two-seater 1930s sports cars anywhere. It was a factory entry by Aston Martin in the Le Mans 1935 24-hour race, where it finished fifth in its class. The car was in effect a works replica of a production racer by Aston martin. Riding in these light masterpieces, the Aston Martin team performed exceptionally well against the competition in the Ulster TT of 1934, taking third, sixth, and seventh position. The car maker started offering identical vehicles to non-professional racers for only £750.They were so sturdily-built that 28 of the 31 cars that we made still exist. This statistical rarity attests to the exceptional design and craftsmanship of the car. Its ownership is well documented, covering the time after its production and the more detailed modern-day competition history.
5. Cadillac Custom by Boyd Coddington: auction estimate at US$54,000
This is part of the expansive car collection of Johnny Hallyday, also known as the French Elvis. Custom-created by Boyd Coddington, the car started life as a Cadillac Serie 62 Cabriolet in 1953 and it is being auctioned by the owner in aid of charity. Hallyday’s car collection comprises of many fabulous cars including a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, an AC Cobra, a Bizzarrini, an Aston Martin, and many motorcycles—and it must be said that this car has unmistakable presence. Most probably a local will bid the highest on the car which is a no-reserve offering. This is because even though you may not have heard of Johnny Hallyday, he has over a thousand recorded songs and has sold more than 110 million albums, most of them in French.
6. Porsche 917/10 Prototype (1970): auction estimate between $ US$5.0 and $6.0 million
This has been dubbed the best racing car of the twentieth century, and therefore, this prototype 917 Spyder is an extremely valuable car. Meticulously documented, the car has a development and factory test chassis with a serial number one. It was the first of just 13 cars with 917/10 chassis that were ever made. The core of the car is a five-liter, air-cooled, 12-cylinder DOHC engine that generates over 600 hp. This Porsche might be over 50 years old, but it still has sufficient power to make even the most seasoned drivers wary.
7. Cadillac Series 62 (1947): cabriolet of Claude Francois, auction estimate between US$43,000 and $65,000)
Created in the final year of the finless Cadillac styling, this convertible is thought to have been owned by Claude François, a French singer. He is most famous for one song, though he was successful in his other creative endeavors. In 1967, he co-composed 'Comme d'habitude' before recording one version of the song. When Paul Anka, a noted Canadian-American songwriter/singer saw a clip of the song on TV, he bought its rights and rewrote it in English, but with a different meaning. Anka’s version was then recorded as 'My Way' by Frank Sinatra, and the rest, as they say, is history. The ownership period of François is poorly documented, but it is still a superb car, particularly given its price.
8. Ducati Formula 750 SS (1974): auction estimate between US$65,000 and $75,000
Only a few motorbikes are in the Paris auction this year, and a collection of Ducati motorbikes are one of the few high points. The collection includes a Ducati Formula 750 Imola Replica of 1972 (€40,000 to 50,000), a Desmosedici RR of 2009 road bike (€50,000 to 60,000), and a 750SS racer of 1974, which is the best of the bunch. It was factory commissioned by a father for the 18th birthday of his son, and it comes with a racing specification and a separate NCR kit (optional). Even though little is known about the bike in the intervening period, it has been comprehensively reconstructed and it looks almost new. It is a perfect sample of the Ducati F750 motorbike that fist made the v-twin a legend. Nowadays, the bikes that were replicas of the 750SS cost more money than the estimate, and this is one of the few authentic bikes-not a replica.
9. Ford GPA 1943-Amphibious Military Vehicle: auction estimate between US$150,000 and $185,000
Built along the lines of the iconic jeep, this car was designed to meet the requirements of the American army during the 2nd World War. The army needed a light amphibious car, and hence the GPA was created by Roderick Stevens Junior, who was already famous because of designing the DUKW, an amphibious military car. The Volkswagen Schwimmwagen is the German equivalent of the GPA and already is valued at the suggested price, and this Ford is a much rarer car.
10. Volkswagen Kombi (or Samba Van): auction estimate between US$65,000 and $107,000
A lot has been written regarding the dramatic rise of the Volkswagen Kombi at the auction. Another Volkswagen of the prized, record-setting twenty-one-windowed and twenty-three-windowed vans will be auctioned in Paris, and many people will be keenly monitoring how it is going to fare. The huge range of the estimate is indicative of the lot’s high potential.