The Market


Stop press from the 2024 Paris sales: Artcurial

Stop press from the 2024 Paris sales: Artcurial 3rd February 2024

Local firm Artcurial scaled things back a little this year, conducting a lengthy, only one-day auction of 131 motor cars. In 2023 it was 198 over two days. Twenty motorcycles will cross the block tomorrow.

As usual, Matthieu Lamoure’s team was in high spirits and (following official results released 5 February) the official auction house of the event sold roughly three-quarters of its motor car catalogue, grossing €15.8m.

It was a test of endurance, starting at 2pm and only finishing at 8.30pm. As usual, The Three Musketeers – Hervé Poulain, Matthieu Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff – conducted proceedings with brio. A frequent cry of “Mes amis!” implored the packed saleroom to either quieten down, bid higher or simply herald the arrival of the next lot.

Few of the more expensive lots found homes on the night. These included the overpriced – for what they are – California Spider and Lusso, and high quality 275 GTB and 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet, Ferraris that deserved to sell. Unlike at RM, of the modern hypercars, only the McLaren P1 was moved on, for €1.36m.

At a glance (final, updated 5 February 2024):

* Gross, motor cars: €15,843,200 (2023, €33,336,800)
* Percentage sold by number: 73% (2023, 71%)
* Top-selling car: 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 'Gullwing' €1,427,440 gross, €1,210,000 net (est. €1.1m to €1.5m)
* Well sold? On a less certain day than Wednesday and Thursday, the 1980 BMW M1 Procar, a built-up car just out of period that achieved €988,320
* Well bought? Less fashionable in 2024 but nevertheless still the original Lamborghini V12, the 350 GT was estimated at a broad €400k to €500k with no reserve. The average quality car was bought for €394,400, or around $430k, with the benediction of Fabio Lamborghini (above, right)

So it was down to a ‘Gullwing’ to take top slot. This was a nice example in original silver with blue plaid interior and factory-fit Rudge wheels (still on the car). Like the 275 GTB and Pininfarina Cabriolet from the same owner, this was a car that had received proper attention: marque expert sans pareil Paul Russell retrimmed the interior and partially restored it in 2008. Like many 300 SLs, the engine was a factory replacement.

Other results of note (all prices gross):
* 1973 Iso Grifo Series 2, €324,800. Later car with revised bodywork, Ford 351 Cleveland engine and automatic gearbox. Great original colour of pale blue lifts the car and offsets the negatives of an auto ’box.
* 1982 Lamborghini Countach 5000 S not sold. Catalogue notes “distinctive look with unique colour combination” like they are good things on this wildly retrimmed and repainted car.
* 1989 Aston Martin V8 Volante, €185,600. Nice example in Burnham Green consigned from Europe. Well bought.
* 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 'Daytona', €533,600. Red with black from new, flip-up-light car in “acceptable used condition”. On the money.
* 1962 Porsche 356 Carrera 2000 GS, €371,200. Tricky market for replacement-engine GS with colour change inside and out but sold, in the circumstances, pretty well.

So it was no fairy-tale ending for this year’s Rétromobile Week classic car auctions. Working on official results updated 5 February, for the three auction houses together, the sell-through has climbed to 78% from 75% last year. The combined, year-to-year gross at auction is down around a third, partly thanks to some big lots not selling, but principally due to fewer cars.

Business on the stands at the exhibition has been the busiest we have known it. Expect an overview of the figures and the K500 takeaway early next week.

Artcurial at Rétromobile Paris, 2 February 2024 – official results at 5 February (2023)

Total gross cars: €15,843,200 (€33,336,800)
Number of cars not sold: 36 (58)
Number of cars withdrawn: 2 (3)
Total number of cars: 129 (198)
Number sold: 93 (140)
Percentage cars sold by number: 72% (71%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 26% (45%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 58% (49%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 84% (79%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 8% (14%)
Average value of cars sold: €170,357 (€238,120)
Average year of cars offered: 1971 (1973)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 43% (59%)

All prices include buyer’s premium

Photos by K500