For the first really important automotive week of 2014, three of our fellow members travelled to Paris to witness the French automotive madness, from 4th to 9th February 2014. With four automotive auctions, and the Salon Rétromobile, there was a lot to do. RM Auctions was holding its first auction in the French capital, and there was huge expectations going with this sale. So did RM meet these expectations? Text: Mickael B. © Images: Mickael B., Luca W., & RM Auctions ©


It was half past nine when we arrived in front of RM Auctions tent at the Invalides in Paris, just under the beautiful Saint-Louis cathedral with the golden dome. We didn’t bother arriving too early, as the cars announced for sale by RM Auctions were so exceptional. At 10 am, the opening time, we were like kids waiting to unveil their Christmas presents on 25th of December: overexcited. And boy our gifts were amazing. Augustin, one of RM’s team members took us on a little presentation tour of the different cars, starting of course with the only Automobilia lot Rob Myer’s Auction house was offering. The Lamborghini Countach Koenig sculpture by Benedict Radcliffe, builded in 2007 in fluoresecent orange steel rods. It is certainly a huge piece of art and an amazing one-off but would you have considered getting it if you had a garden or a living room big enough?

 “At opening time, we were like kids on 25th of December: overexcited”



Benedict Radcliffe (born 1976) graduated from the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow, and exhibited in the city a full size 3D wireframe Subaru Impreza, which made him famous. In 2007 he set up a studio in London and in 2011 he exhibited his work at “The Power of Making” show at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Benedict Radcliffe has completely nailed the Countach presence, and considering all the details, like the Pirelli P7 inscription on the tyres, it is very easy indeed to see the car throughout the steel rods. We can almost feel the curves that Marcello Gandini gave to the Lamborghini, although they are only air here. What other car would you like to see with this type of artwork?

 “Benedict Radcliffe has completely nailed the Countach presence”


The Lamborghini Countach Koenig by Benedict Radcliffe was sold for 93’600 €.

The second lot was a 1963 Fiat 500D, one of the very few convertible with the suicide doors, which open the opposite way like on Rolls-Royces. With its almost 20 horsepower 499 cubic centimetres two-stroke engine, a four-speed manual gearbox, and four-wheel drum brakes, this Fiat was one of the most typical microcars of the sixties. The car has been restored and is presented in its original Verdi Oasi 383 color over a light tan interior, with original registration documentation and manuals. It is probably one of the most desirable 500 Ds in existence although I would prefer sparing a little more and get a proper, even more desirable Abarth 595 EsseEsse, with the sporty 48 horsepower engine. It was sold for 19’600 €.


The third lot was probably one of the most funny of the auction. It was a 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super “Polizia”. Yes, you did read correctly, if you had been at the auction, you could actually own a real police car today. Sold for € , it featured the 1.6 litre 110 horsepower twin camshaft four cylinder engine, with the standard five speed manual transmission and the four disc brakes. It has been restored, and was used in numerous Italian films. It even has all the correct police accessories: lights, sirens and vintage radio to play with while simulating a car chase against some terrific villains.

 “Yes, you did read correctly, you could actually own a police car”

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As a four-door sports saloon it was probably one of the most ideal police car between the sixties and seventies. Let’s hope the new owner will put it back to work in movies or celebrations. One of the bidders was Simon Kidston, who owns the Lamborghini Miura SV #5110 amongst other cars, and we would probably bet that if he had won this car he would have made us a wonderful Italian job short movie with his legendary Miura… Sadly he didn’t get it as it was sold for 28’000 €.


Lot 4, sold for 50’400 €, was a 1960 Lancia Appia Cabriolet, which had only one owner for 52 years, before being sold to its second owner who restored it. The Vignale convertible body by Giovanni Michelotti, in its two-seater configuration, is certainly one of the most desirable versions of the Lancia Appia, especially with less than 1600 units produced, with the 1.1 litre V4 engine, four-speed manual gearbox. With 53 horsepower, the Appia was the last Lancia to use the sliding pillar suspension, which gave it a simple sporty handling.


“Only one Porsche 911 in Paris for sale at RM, but a highly desirable one…”

The only Porsche 911 sold at Rob Myers Auction house, lot number 5, was a 1971 E Targa version with the 2.2 litre 153 horsepower flat six, capable of a top speed over 220 km/h. This particular white exterior, tan leather combination had the optional sports seats and the standard legendary Fuchs aluminium alloy rims. The 57 millimetres additional length added to the early 911s wheelbase resulted in better handling and improved interior space. Back when this Porsche went out of the factory, the 911 had three-speed windscreen wipers, a front fuel pump, and the Targas had been upgraded with the optional large curved window and the electrically heated back light since 1968.


The 1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Berlinetta with the 62 horsepower, 1.3 litre four-cylinder in line engine was lot number 6, sold for 21’280 €. It is the first post-war four-door saloon, introduced in 1955 at the Torino Motor Show. Equipped with a synchromesh four-speed transmission, it was manufactured at the original Portello factory in Milan, Italy. With a top speed of 155 km/h, this particular example is matching numbers and has known ownership from new. It is as well quite amazingly eligible for the Mille Miglia or the Tour Auto. Although this car went out of the factory in Grigio Notte, it was repainted in this gorgeous blue color presentation.


If you wanted a typical english roadster, and another car eligible for the Mille Miglia, RM was offering an Austin-Healey 100-6 BN4, as lot 7. Austin-Healeys are certainly quite common, especially the 3000 series, but getting hands on a proper example of this Great-Britain myth is not an easy task. For 36’400 €, this freshly restored 100-6 example with 102 horsepower delivered from the typically british 2.7 litre six-cylinder twin carburettors engine was sold with a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate. The 100-6, designed to replace the 100, had several improvements like the engine itself, a fixed windshield, a different radiator grille and two additional rear seats. It was more a grand tourer than the sports racing 100. This particular car spent almost its whole life in the United States, was delivered in New York with wire-wheels, laminated windscreen, a heater, overdrive and was restored by Classic World Racing when getting back to the United Kingdom with its actual owner.

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Now the big question would be: which car would you choose between the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the Austin-Healey, if you wanted to do the Mille Miglia? The choice seems quite obvious. Why do the Mille Miglia in an English roadster when you can do it with a typical Alfa Romeo? It would be like going to Italy searching for the best pudding. Complete nonsense. So I’d have the Alfa.

“I couldn’t imagine doing the Mille Miglia in an English roadster. It would be like going to Italy searching for the best pudding. Complete nonsense.”

First Ferrari of the sale was lot number 8, one of the prancing horse’s typical grand tourer, a 1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 “Queenmary”. Presented in 1967 at the Paris Motorshow, it had a fastback design by Pininfarina, with the 4.4 litre 320 horsepower overhead-camshaft V12 engine, and was the first Ferrari ever to be equipped with a standard power steering and brakes. With air conditioning, stereo, power windows combined with the plush leather and the luxurious veneered trim panels, a little more than 800 of these luxurious grand-tourer were produced. With the five-speed manual transmission, this matching numbers example was built in September 1969 in Grey Ortello, over black leather. Although it is now repainted Bianco or white in Italian, the black leather is still original. This great Modenese four seater was sold for 117’600 €.

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The other Lancia convertible of the sale was certainly one of the most beautiful of the Italian brand: a 1957 Aurelia B24S. Although it is not one of the more desirable America versions, it is still absolutely gorgeous and still rare, with only 521 units built. This particular example is one of the last Aurelia B24 S Spider produced, built in 1957. It was sold to several Californian enthusiasts like former American Lancia Club President Steve Peterson, before getting in the hands of a german collector in 1986. It has the 118 horsepower twin carburettors 2.5 litres V6, and was restored in its original colours twenty years ago by marque specialist B&R Touring. Afterwards it was selected to represent the 100 Years of Lancia exhibition at the Fiat Museum, which is proof of this example’s great overall condition. This lot, number 9, was sold for 308’000 €.

“Owning a car that was selected for an exhibition is a warranty of good condition or special history”

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 Lot number 10, the most powerful of the sale, with its impressive 1100 horsepower was one of German’s engineer Weineck creation, based on the legendary Cobra. Designed and built in 2005 with a 780 cubic inches V8 – yes that is 13.5 litres of engine capacity – it can do, if you have the balls to push it to its limit the 0 to 300 km/h in less than 10 seconds, which is the time a Carrera GT takes to go to 200 km/h… Apart from being hugely monstrous in terms of design the Weineck Cobra is as well a rare sight as the german engineer only built fifteen of its own creation. It was sold without reserve at 61’600€, a bargain.

 “The – mad – Weineck was probably the best horsepower to price ratio ever”

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The first Bugatti of the sale, lot number 11, was an EB 16.4 Veyron Gran Sport, one of the 1001 horsepower convertible version. This special model was the first one delivered in France, and has unique features such as a « 669 » motif written on the side panels of the Veyron and on the inside. With under 1300 kilometres from new, this particular car had been spotted several times in Monaco, where it was seen for sale before RM put it in their Paris auction. With the incredible 8 liter W16 quad-turbo engine the Bugatti has been universally recognized as one of the 21st century most incredible automotive achievement. Capable of getting to 100 km/h from stand still in less than 3 seconds, passing over the 400 km/h barrier, as docile and easy to drive as any Volkswagen Golf, thanks to the four wheel drive transmission the Veyron is one of Molsheim’s finest. Compared to the Coupé, the Gran Sport was equipped with new front lights and a removable glass hard-top roof. This particular example with the aluminium side panels and red color combination is probably one of the ideal cars for touring on the French Riviera in the summer. « Rien n’est trop beau, rien n’est trop cher », nothing is too beautiful, nothing is too expensive used to say Ettore Bugatti, the founder of the marque, but sadly, the lot 11, was not sold, achieving a high bid of 850’000 €, which was under its reserve price.

“The Bugatti Veyron is one of the 21st century most incredible automotive achievement, one of Molsheim’s finest”



Lot number 12 was a rather rare car, a 1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 BB, for Berlinetta Boxer, which most people confound with its own successor, the Ferrari 512 BB. The 365 was the first Ferrari equipped with the flat 12 engine, which lead to the legendary Testarossa, and is a car often forgotten. It was presented at Turin in 1971, developped an already impressive 380 horsepower from the 4.4 liter engine. It could hit 175 miles per hour, had been designed by Bertone’s young designer Marcello Gandini, who had already put his hands on the legendary Lamborghini Miura a few years earlier. The 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer was as well the last Ferrari entirely built by hand. The lot 12 was an Australian delivered car in original Argento and beige leather interior. It was sold fourteen years later to a british customer who simply stored it, before repainting it in 1988. This particular example would be the perfect basis for an excellent restoration project which will put this car back to its original glory, especially as it still holds its original chassis, interior and engine, although the gearbox has been replaced. It was sold to Sheikh Amari, a well-known collector who has a magnificent supercar collection in the UK, for 187’600 €.

“The Ferrari 512 BB – often forgotten to the Testarossa – yet more desirable”

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Lot number 13 of the sale was a 1956 Jaguar XK140 SE Drophead Coupé. Formerly owned by author and car collector Albert Pincus, this rare left hand drive SE with automatic example, was sold for 67’200 €. This Special Equipment version was fitted with wire wheels, a dual exhaust, two fog lamps, windshield washers, a crankshaft dampener, along with the big-valve cylinder which helped the power to get to 210 horsepower. This particular unit has had a nice restoration, and was repainted light grey metallic instead of the original cream, and upholstered in burgundy leather.

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One of the most impressive pre-war cars of RM Auctions Paris Sale was the 1940 Horch 853 A Sportcabriolet, which was lot 14. Chassis 854402 is a recreation of the Spezial Roadster, creation of the two genious craftsman Erdmann and Rossi. Stored during many years in Russia, hidden from communists, it was purchased by a German owner in Hamburg who started his own project of rebuilding an Erdmann and Rossi body using several car parts and expertise from well-known specialists around 1998. The car was completed in 2008 in this black exterior with cream beige interior leather livery. Because of this not very clean history and the fact it was only a reconstruction, this 1940 Horch only attained a high bid of 575’000 €.

“An obscure history and a bodywork recreated to copy an Erdmann and Rossi are probably the two key elements which stopped lot 14 from achieving its reserve price.”

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The lot 15 was a 1962 Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider, by Touring. Equipped with the 145 horsepower triple carburettors six cylinder in line engine with a five speed manual gearbox, this Touring masterpiece had been restored with great care in its original Grigio Biacca over red leather configuration. This particular model, delivered new in Belgium, had had several belgium and holland owners, and has covered less than 54’000 kilometers since new. After an 18 month restoration it was brought back to a showroom new condition and was sold for 81’200 €.

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The next lot was one of the most expected of the sale : a 1971 Mercedes-Benz 600 Six-Door Pullman Landaulet. Only 26 six-door Landaulets have been built, it was considered as the holy grail of Mercedes-Benz 600s. This very imposant 3900 mm wheelbase special model was commissioned only on very special demands, and was not even included on the official price list. It featured a folding convertible roof over the rear seats to allow the passengers to stand up for their public. With only two owners from new, this particular car was hidden for over three decades and only recently rediscovered. In its complete original condition, unrestored, it was this year’s barn find not to miss. Amazingly though, Rob Myer’s auction house estimated it only between 60’000 and 80’000 €, but knowing the american high desire of rare barn finds, I had bet it would achieve a high bid of 400’000 €, which might have been considered risky. I wasn’t very far as the final bid for lot 16was 480’000 €, more than six times the highest estimation ! At a final price of 537’600 €, it was the biggest surprise of the sale, and probably the most unexpected, considering the global disastrous condition of the car. It might seem strange to spend more than half a million euros on a car which doesn’t work at all, but considering it had still every original part, it is one of the best basis for a great restoration project.

“Spending more than half a million euros on a car that won’t even start might seem strange, but not so much.”

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Lot number 17 was a 1952 Alfa Romeo 1900C Sprint by the Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, with the 100 horsepower 1.9 liter four cylinder in line engine. With its only Solex carburettor, and its four speed manual transmission, and thanks to the shorter 2500 millimetre wheelbase compared to the Turismo Internazionale, it was capable of a top speed of 112 miles per hour and exceptional driving capabilities. Juan Manuel Fangio himself illustrated this surprisingly sporty behavior during the 1952 Mille Miglia and a class win during the 1954 Carrera Panamericana road race. Chassis 01020 offered by Rob Myer’s auction house was one of the first series Touring 1900 C Sprint, and one of the very few delivered new in black exterior to the United States, on 9th May 1952 to Pennsylvania. It had several owners in the United States, and did a three year restoration under the hands of italian marque specialist Restoration and Performance Motors, Vermont. Now finished in Ice blue, its restoration has been severally documented, in research of authenticity and is now ready to be enjoyed on multiple historic events such as the Mille Miglia.

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The Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark 3 has always been considered as the DB2’s most desirable form, except maybe for the DB2 Touring Convertible which had been a special order of David Brown at the time. This 1957 example offered for sale by RM in the french capital was no exception, thanks to its redesign bodywork which included Aston Martin’s now legendary front grille in one piece, and thanks to the DBA specification six cylinder in line engine which allowed the engine to produce 178 horsepower. This car was certainly ordered by the marque’s american official importer at the time, J.S. Inskip but was delivered to an american owner who actually lived in Nice, in France, with the desirable options such as the front brake discs, the two armrests on the doors, the rubber floor mats, and a Smiths oil gauge, as the build sheet from the Newport Pagnell factory testifies. This engine matching number example has been meticulously restored in 2008 in its original Golden Brown exterior paint with the Connelly beige leather interior. Sadly though the pistons have been upgraded to DB3S racing specifications to ensure the car would run correctly during the different rallies it participated to with its owner. Lot number 18 was sold for 207’200 €.

“The DB2/4 Mark 3 offered by RM might have just been perfect, if only its pistons were still original”

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The next lot, number 19 was one of these numerous forgotten often unknown pre-war cars, a 1921 Schneider 4.5 liter Tourer by Domain. With its big 4.5 liter six cylinder engine and its four speed manual gearbox, this creation from Theophile Schneider is still a matching numbers today, He started to build cars in 1894, teaming up with Edouard Rochet, building the famous Brillié Schneider buses and cars, including the first buses of the french capital of the Compagnie Générale des Omnibus. He moved in 1910 in Besançon to start his own manufacture, where he started to build a 1.9 liter four cylinder engine automobile, which he raced during the 1912 to 1914 period, quite successfully, finishing at the second place of the Grand Prix de France. During the first world war the manufacture was requisitioned by the french government to produce some military equipment, and after the war Théophile started to rebuild cars including the 4.5 liter six cylinder model. From these cars, only three examples were imported to Australia including the particular example offered for sale by RM, probably because of the very expensive price, almost twice as much as a 4.5 liter Bentley. Of these three units, two were sent to the Domain workshops of Melbourne, making it a rare opportunity to acquire one the speed record breakers of the time. It was then restored in the 1960s, and has only had two careful owners since then, with the last owner who commissioned a major engine rebuild in 2012. This piece of automotive history was sold for the modest sum of 61’600 €.

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There were « only » two Bugatti offered for sale at Paris by RM Auctions, the first one being the Veyron Gran Sport 669 which didn’t sell, and the second one was this 1930 Type 40 Roadster. It is one of the thirteen survivors of the Jean Bugatti Roadsters on the Type 40 chassis, and is equipped with the 45 horsepower 1.6 liter four-cylinder in line engine, issued from the Bresica. Documented by Bugatti historian Pierre-Yves Laugier, this 1930 Type 40 Roadster is the 25th produced, originally delivered green with a black stripe and black wings. Sold a few months later in june 1930 to its first owner, french prosthetic dentist, Monsieur Barel. It changed in the hands of several owners, before being upgraded to the Type 40A specification with a displacement of 1627 cubic centimetres in 1962. French collector Broual acquired it and enjoyed it until his death in 1992, where it was sold to a Netherlands Bugatti collector who did a three year restoration to its actual configuration. The lot number 20 is incredibly well documented, and was sold for 252’000 €.

“Thanks to its very reliable engine, the Bugatti Type 40 chassis was quite a success at the time : 780 units sold !”

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