Check Out This Funny Little French Car Auction Starting This Week
(Bloomberg) -- “Beauty and quality are the remedies for an age of ugliness,” Alain Ducasse stated recently, describing his latest epicurean endeavor.
The same could be said for automotive endeavors, particularly ones like the charming Citroën DS. Introduced in Paris in 1955, the quintessentially French luxury sedan featured a revolutionary body designed by Italian industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni, along with numerous advanced features such as hydraulic power and disc brakes.
In 1962, French President Charles De Gaulle credited a Citroën DS with saving him from assassination. And in 2009, a panel of judges including Giorgetto Giugiaro—the man behind the Maserati Bora, VW Golf, Fiat Panda, and Lotus Esprit—and Ian Callum, who designed a host of Aston Martins and Jaguars, selected the Citroën DS as the most beautiful car of all time.
Starting on Nov. 4, Paris-based auction house Artcurial will offer five of them, plus dozens of iconic French cars from Peugeot, Renault, and the SM cars that Citroën later made with Maserati, for sale at auction online.
The auction joins the ranks of online car sales that sprouted after the novel coronavirus shut down live auctions and seem to be demonstrating some staying power. Last month, RM Sotheby’s sold nearly $2 million worth of cars in its online “Open Roads” sale, with a strong sell-through rate of nearly 80% among 41 cars listed. At another October online sale, BH Auctions sold a single 1982 Lancia Rally 037 Stradale for nearly $720,000. In January, Bonhams will launch an online auction platform for U.S. buyers called the Market. Much like BringaTrailer.com, the permanent platform will allow buyers to place bids in real time during each car sale; a European edition has already launched.
The cars coming up in November belong to French entrepreneur Richard Romagny, president of Loire Industrie, which manufactures forging equipment. He is a prolific gentleman driver who has thrice competed in the grueling Dakar Rally that used to span thousands of miles including roadless desert in Africa and now takes place in Saudi Arabia.
Artcurial describes the upcoming collection as “a tribute to French marques and the best of French engineering.” All told, it features 37 Citroëns—including five Citroën CX models coveted for their odd but endearing long-wheelbase hatchback limousine body style and exceedingly rare in the U.S.—plus 24 Peugeots and 13 Renaults.
Notable among the lots are a 1989 Peugeot 205 GTI in Graphite Grey with just 88,570 km on the odometer and a high estimate of €30,000 ($34,737); and its competitor, a 1985 Renault Super 5 GT Turbo estimated at €25,000. Both were known in their day for practical size, durability, and the thrilling “turbo effect” of their small but mighty engines.
Romagny will sell a few other non-French cars, foremost among them the original 1998 Toyota Land Cruiser PHZJ 75 Protoy 1 par AMS in which he twice competed in the Dakar. The single-owner, 180-horsepower, four-wheel-drive off-roader is offered with a high estimate of €130,000. A silver 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL—the sibling cabriolet to the 300SL Gullwings that sell for millions—is expected to sell for as much as €130,000. A 16,634-kilometer, single-owner BMW Z3 coupe from 1998 will take an estimated €15,000 to €25,000.
More affordable treasures are also listed in this lot. A darling ecru 1976 Simca 1100 TI—the car from the obscure automaker founded by Fiat and associated with automakers from Ford and Chrysler to Talbot and Peugeot—is estimated at €10,000 to €15,000; a 1985 Peugeot 104 GLS is valued at less than €3,000.
Bidding will end on Nov. 22.
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