Auction of the Week: Artcurial Paris Retromobile Sale, February 8, 2019
This week's featured auction is Artcurial's annual Retromobile sale, which takes place in Paris on February 8. Here are ten of the most valuable, stylish, and downright unusual vintage treasures on offer...
1963 Messerschmitt KR200
Estimate: €30,000 - €40,000
The Messerschmitt KR200 was a three-wheeled bubble car designed by aircraft engineer Fritz Fend, and initially built by the German aircraft manufacturer in the 1950s.
As the European economy struggled in the aftermath of WWII, the Messerschmitt proved popular as a basic and inexpensive way of getting around town.
The aerodynamic design and lightweight body also meant it was capable of speeds in excess of 50 mph – not bad for what is essentially a "scooter with a cabin".
Today these quirky vehicles are much-loved by collectors specialising in 'micro-cars', and the experience of riding in one is said to be unforgettable.
1961 Lamborghini 5C Ercole Tractor
Estimate: €30,000 - €40,000
Before he began building sports cars, Italian industrialist Ferruccio Lamborghini made his name producing a slightly less stylish mode of transport: tractors.
He founded Lamborghini Trattori in 1948, converting used WWII military vehicles into farming vehicles, and used the money he made to establish Lamborghini Automobili in 1963.
This historic 1961 Lamborghini tractor features a rare combination of tracks and a 'tricycle' device, which made it easier to drive on roads, and is expected to "seduce the most serious of enthusiasts".
1961 Fiat 500 Jolly
Estimate: €60,000 - €80,000
The Fiat 500 Jolly, featuring a canopy roof and wicker seats, is regarded as the first 'beach' car ever designed.
The Jolly was highly popular with the rich and famous as a method of zipping around country estates or exclusive beachfront resorts, with celebrity owners including Aristotle Onassis, Grace Kelly, Mae West, and Yul Brynner.
Featuring coachwork by Ghia, the car is one of around 70 examples known to exist, and today they remain highly sought-after by collectors.
1944 Volkswagen 166 Schwimmwagen
Estimate: €90,000 - €120,000
The Volkswagen Schwimmwagen was an amphibious military vehicle originally developed by Ferdinand Porsche, and used extensive by German ground troops during WWII.
The vehicle could operate in two or four-wheel drive, and featured a screw propeller that could be lowered from the rear deck engine cover.
Due to their use in the midst of battle, in highly dangerous and rigorous conditions, few survived the war intact and are highly sought-after today.
1956 Citroën 2cv AZ 'Rally'
Estimate: €18,000 - €28,000
The humble Citroën 2cv may not seem like the most obvious choice for a rally car, but this vintage 1956s example is tougher than it looks.
The car has a rallying history dating back to 1957, when the sport was more open to every type of vehicle, regardless of the cost.
Having been comprehensively restored, the car also has a few added modifications to prepare it for the rigours of the modern road race.
With new Equilux headlamps, Cibié fog lamps, reinforced rims, a map reader and a mechanical washer, its ready to compete once again.
1936 Panhard & Levassor Dynamic 140 (X77) Coach 4/5 places
Estimate: €50,000 - €80,000
French manufacturer Panhard et Levassor was one of the world's first automobile companies, which began producing cars in 1890.
Launched in 1936, the Dynamic was unique for its time, featuring an aerodynamic design, panoramic windows and a centrally-positioned steering wheel.
This example was owned by a descendant of the Marrel family, a dynasty of industrialists who made their fortune in mechanical construction throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
The car on offer remains in its completely original, unrestored condition, and in November 2008 it was registered as an historic monument by the Architecture and Heritage department of the French Ministry of Culture.
1926 Hispano Suiza H6B Double-Phaëton by Million-Guiet
Estimate: €450,000 - €550,000
Produced between 1919 and 1933, the Hispano-Suiza H6B was once considered the best passenger car in the world and an iconic status symbol for wealthy motorists.
The car even inspired a French romantic novel entitled 'L''Homme à l''Hispano' (The Man with the Hispano), which was later adapted twice for the silver screen and further established the car's reputation.
This example, featuring coachwork by Million-Guiet, was delivered new to Sao Paolo, Brazil in 1927, and remained in the same family until the 1970s.
1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster
Estimate: $1 million - $1.2 million
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster is an icon of automotive design, which has gained legendary status amongst collectors since its release in 1957.
The model attracted celebrity owners such as Tony Curtis, Sophia Loren, Pablo Picasso and the Shah of Iran, and was voted the "sports car of the century" in 1999.
The original coupe version featured its famous 'gullwing doors', but the open-topped 'roadster' version was developed a year later for the California market, and production continued until 1963.
This highly original example comes with just 13,267 miles on the clock, and is offered with full Mercedes-Benz Classic Certification.
1957 Porsche 550 A Spyder
Estimate: €3.8 million - €4.8 million
The Porsche 550 was a milestone in the company's history, as the first Porsche designed specifically as a racing machine.
Just 40 examples of the 550 A version were produced between 1957 and 1959, featuring a lightweight construction and a more powerful engine to improve its performance.
These new developments brought Porsche their first overall win in a major event at the 1956 Targa Florio.
This example, chassis n°550A-0126, was originally owned by racing driver Hubert Wiese, who drove it to victory several times on his way to being crowned Champion of Central America in 1958.
1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Berlinetta
Estimate: €16 million - €22 million
This Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Berlinetta is one of only five examples ever built, and has been described as a "rolling masterpiece".
The car's stunning coachwork caused shockwaves when it made its debut at the 1935 Paris Salon, and it was the fastest production car money could buy prior to WWII.
This example, chassis 412024, is the second of the five, and will be offered at auction for the first time in two generations, having spent the past 43 years tucked away in a private collection.
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