French dejection: €1.8m for Artcurial in Paris ‘Sur les Champs’

French dejection: €1.8m for Artcurial in Paris ‘Sur les Champs’ 31st October 2019

They couldn’t pull it off twice. This June, Artcurial’s amiable automotive team led by Matthieu Lamoure just dragged a Ferrari 275 GTB over the line to give its summer sale some respectability. No such luck this time; after the headlining Fiat 8V and a tranche of Porsches failed to sell, the 27 October event was stuck on 51% sold by number with a lacklustre gross of €1,822,360.

The result mirrors low-key European sales post-Rétromobile this year unless mostly at No Reserve (RM in Portugal, Bonhams at Bonmont), with unrepeatable entries (the garage-find Miura at RM in London), or subject to unusual local conditions (Bonhams at Zoute). A sell-through by number sub-60% is the new norm.

At a glance:
* Gross: €1,822,360 (June 2019, €4,724,892)
* Percentage sold by number: 51% (June 2019, 50%)
* Top-selling car: 1980 Porsche 911 ‘Backdating’ by Julia 911 €139,200 gross, €125,000 net (est. €125k to €165k)
* Well sold? The No Reserve Testarossa (top) that had been in Guadeloupe until 2011 and put into storage thereafter that went for €64,960 including Artcurial’s chunky premium. One for the brave
* Well bought? €119,480 all-in for the red glassfibre 308 GTB, 49k on the clock and consigned from a French Ferrari club member living in the South of France? Maybe, but that’s probably today’s value for these cars
* One to take away? The 1986 Porsche Turbo 3.3 perhaps, at €53,360. Lot of miles on this ex-US car but black/black is nice, and someone bought a ‘beater’ Turbo for new BMW money. Go on, put it on ‘75’ plates with yellow headlamp lenses and re-enact ‘Rendezvous’

Taking the average of mid-estimate values, the sale should have grossed over €5m. The guide prices were not over-ambitious but, when the top-selling Singer-inspired 911 is a an ‘evocation of an evocation’, something has gone awry – the same old story of too many auctions, too many cars that can be bought another day. Or, in the case of modern supercars such as the Murciélago, F430 and SLR McLaren, should never have been in a classic car auction at all.

Still, the world is now aware of the gloriously Gallic 1982 Citroën CX Fourgon Grand Volume four-door by agricultural machinery firm Tissier (pictured, above), a solution, surely, to the problem of accommodation at the Le Mans Classic next year. And all for €9,280 with premium.

Artcurial in Paris, 27 October 2019 (June 2019)

Gross: €1,822,360 (€4,724,892)
Number of cars not sold: 34 (49)
Number of cars withdrawn: 0 (1)
Total number of cars: 70 (84)
Number sold: 36 (35)
Percentage cars sold by number: 51% (42%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 22% (25%)
Number of cars sold below low estimate: 22 (25)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 61% (71%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 86% (97%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 6% (0%)
Average year of cars offered: 1975 (1975)
Average price of cars sold: €50,621 (€134,997)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 29% (32%)

Photos by Artcurial