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The 2024 Paris Rétromobile auctions: what you need to know

The 2024 Paris Rétromobile auctions: what you need to know 30th January 2024

Fewer cars offered? Higher values? Perhaps an improvement on years past: it’s actually the smallest number of entries for Paris Rétromobile Week since 2014. Let’s take a look inside the glossy catalogue covers to decode what’s about to cross the block in the French capital.
 
RM opens proceedings with a 74-car catalogue on Wednesday, 31 January, then it’s a marathon for Bonhams all day Thursday – 96 cars, plus motorcycles and automobilia – with Artcurial wrapping it up at the Porte de Versailles complex on Friday. The local firm, official auction partner of the event, has crammed in 131 cars, all confined to one day only; Saturday is for 20 motorcycles.
 
2024 Paris Rétromobile sales – at a glance (Artcurial, Bonhams and RM)
 
* Number of cars offered: 301 (2023, 451)
* Average mid-price estimate per car offered: €430,444 (2023, €382,256)
* Number of cars at No Reserve: 146 / 49% (2023, 204 / 45%)
* Combined gross 2023: €112,358,299 at 75% sold by number
* Top estimated cars in 2024: RM 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione (€9m to €11m) and Artcurial 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider (€8.5m to € 11.5m)
* Most valuable car sold in 2023: RM’s 2022 Bugatti Chiron Profilée, €9,792,599
 
Life at the top
 
Two of Ferrari’s icons top the listings, big-hitters you’d usually associate with Monterey rather than Paris. RM’s yellow 250 GT SWB Competizione has seen its fair share of market action and was offered during Car Week in August 2015 as part of the Pinnacle Portfolio but not sold. Now it’s estimated at €9m to €11m (say $9.75m to $11.93m), significantly less than others have achieved. Why?
 
It’s an early version lacking some of the sexier details found in later cars, and has been restored to a greater or lesser degree more than once, sometimes to less exacting standards than expected today. The very fresh, apparently original-spec bright green interior is an acquired taste and may be too strong for some. Perhaps more than anything it’s just been around a lot. But overall we’d rate this as good value for a genuine Competition SWB, even if not a top tier car. It deserves to sell.
 
Over at Artcurial the headliner is the 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider. Okay, it’s a long-wheelbase version, a little less wieldy and certainly less valuable than the short-wheelbase that followed, yet looks almost identical, and as an early production California it’s less evolved mechanically and cosmetically. These suffered at auction last year, but ironically it was mass-market outfit Mecum who confirmed what a benchmark covered-headlight, steel-bodied SWB California was worth a few days ago in Florida ($18 million). Artcurial’s very broad €8.5m to €11.5m ($9.25m to $12.5m) estimate for chassis no. 1011GT suggests a bullish vendor and an auction house hoping he’ll be motivated on sale day if they promote it well. This will be a tough sell: Ferrari Red Book notwithstanding, blame a flurry of speculation over the originality of its body and, as a non-EU entry, liability to various import and VAT duties if remaining in France (or Swiss taxes if it goes home after selling in the EU), plus Artcurial’s hefty 16% under €900,000/12% over €900,000 buyer’s premium plus local VAT.
 
Despite a non-matching transaxle and colours, RM’s alloy body, long-nose 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C ticks many boxes at €2.7m to €3.2m. Artcurial has a steel short-nose with minor local rally history, also in non-original colours and with some modern mods, for €2.2m to €.2.7m.
 
Bonhams’ contribution to the big-hitters is a one-owner, 9,500km 2004 Ferrari Enzo in black with red interior at €3.5m to €4.5m. It’s been in storage for the past three years so factor in some recommissioning. RM sold a black/black Enzo with 17,474km in Paris last year for just over €4m, or $4.4m on the day, but ‘specullectors’ are more cautious today.

In the middle
 
Three BMW M1s make it to Paris, two road cars around €550k and a €1m racer labelled ‘Procar’ by Artcurial but really a road car modified in 1982 to Gp. 4/IMSA spec. RM’s Blau over Schwarz street car with 21,142km is probably the one to have.
 
Also coming from Switzerland at Artcurial s a 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso with another strong estimate: €1.6m to €2m (plus, plus, plus by the time it arrives in your European garage). With one exception at Monterey last year, Lussos have not been achieving these prices since 2014-2015.
 
Naturally there are a couple of red Ferrari Daytonas for €450k to €550k. RM’s 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS is in at €500k to €700k. Certainly attractive, the German-delivered car was found as a restoration project in Japan and comprehensively brought back to new in Poland, not the spiritual home of Ferrari restorers. Marrone Dino Metallizzato is a delicious livery; let’s see if anyone bites.
 
Amongst 16 Lamborghinis in Paris lies a solitary Miura. As far as Bonhams’ 1969 P400 S chassis no. 4124 is concerned, we can only quote the following from the catalogue description and let you decide: “…The mid-section bears no. 494 corresponding to chassis no. 4118, instead of 493 corresponding to chassis 4124, and the rear bonnet no. 344 from chassis no. 3679…Parts such as the door cards, the overhead console, the handles, etc. come from a Miura P400…. Chassis 4124 now contains the P400 engine no. 2266 originally installed in… car no. 3691.” This will take a brave buyer: the ex-Kuwait collection car is appropriately No Reserve.
 
Modern hypercars defied the low-key vibe in Arizona last week and those looking for a Bugatti Chiron (RM), Ferrari LaFerrari (RM), 2020s Ford GT (Artcurial and RM), Lamborghini Centenario LP770-4 Roadster (RM), McLaren P1 (RM and Artcurial), Senna (Artcurial) and Speedtail (Artcurial) will be checking their bitcoin accounts.
 
The rest
 
Let’s not lose sight of the fact that many thousands of visitors flock to Rétromobile to find treasure on the automobilia stands and bid on cheaper cars at No Reserve at the auctions. Nearly half the cars offered this week will sell regardless of price. Most are pre-War or are consigned from the disposal of small collections, such as the one at RM that includes one of the Ferrari Daytonas, now resale red with wire wheels but first delivered to Cologne in funky Viola Dino Metallizzato over white hide.

There are some gems out there if you have the patience to find and restore them.
 
Expect K500 to give you the results every night and expert analysis of the trends we’ve picked up over the next few days both in the auction rooms and also from the stands at the exhibition.
 
You can download a complete lotlist of all cars offered by Artcurial, Bonhams and RM Sotheby’s sorted by make and model HERE.
 
Photo by Rex Features/Shutterstock