Only 5 cars? That’s already a nice collection that you could have built during the last Artcurial auction
Artcurial Automobiles sur les Champs auction : every week, thousands of classic cars are bought and sold across the world, but only this kind of event remains the meeting place for all petrolheads.
A few days ago, I visited, saw, touched, felt, checked (as much as possible) the cars of the Artcurial Automobiles sur les Champs auction sale. Of course, without being able to try them, like when you’re a real auctioneer.
So I thought that a short article to tell you about my car selection would be interesting. Then I remembered that the automotive market was complicated at the moment. So I preferred to wait for the results of the sale on October 27th to decipher what happened and tell you, in my opinion, what you should have bought.
Yeah, you missed some good deals but it’s never too late, especially since 4/5 cars I had selected didn’t sell. 4/5? Oh, really? I’m willing to have special tastes, but still! For sure, I’m a little offended.
1 – 1953 Fiat Otto Vu Tipo 106 Sport Berlinetta at Artcurial sur les Champs
You’re going to tell me “obviously, this was the most expensive car offered”. Yes indeed, but it’s not because the car is expensive that it’s interesting, but because the car is interesting that it’s expensive. Was it clear?
There were only 114 Fiat 8V ever produced and you know what? Fiat only built 34 8V Rapi series 1 and Artcurial’s 1953 Otto Vu is a series 1! Lucky boys. Among this 34 cars, 5 were destroyed, 5 rebodied, 1 converted to Rapi II optic, 8 are currently unknown, 2 partly modified. Actually, only 13 surviving cars remain like this one. Isn’t that not enough for you? You are demanding.
The berlinetta project was imagined for the American market. That’s the main reason we’re going to find a V8 under the hood. In 1950, Fiat launched the project without really believing in it, as it often does. Despite they don’t believe in it very much, they are still developing a brand new 70° V8 engine with a 2.0L all-aluminum (wtf) engine, thinking they will use it in other models later. Ahahahah, are you kidding? Of course, the engine will never be used again, this has become a real tradition at FCA.
Then, they add 3 carburetors to bring the engine up to 105HP. Fiat, who does not believe in it (I remind you), subcontracts the design and production of the car to Siata in Turin. As a result, all the parts that make it up are new, except for the suspensions which come from the Fiat 1100. Craziest things? Suspensions with 4 independent wheels and tubular chassis. Now we are talking.
Finally, engineer Rapi worked on the bodywork to produce a pretty and efficient steel dress thanks to the Fiat wind tunnel in Orbassano. So Fiat’s Special Bodywork Division delivered a splendid car. The Otto Vu is light, only 930 kg (which, for a V8 is really good) and has a top speed of over 200 km/h! And, now you want to buy it? Still not?
This particular car is matching numbers. Hallelujah! Sold new on 9 March 1953 by the Fiat distributor in Turin, it has been kept in its exact and original configuration. It passed through several British hands, has been exhibited in a personal museum and completely restored at the end of the 1990s. In 2001, it finally integrated a a real racing car enthusiast collection. At the wheel of the Otto Vu, he competed 5 times the Mille Miglia, 2 times the Tour Auto and many other historic race events and Concours d’Elegance. Its last owner acquired this diva in 2009 and took part the following year in the Mille Miglia too.
A rare car, beautiful, almost totally original, efficient, regularly driven and which has run international races… That’s it, you’re in love, I was sure.
To afford it, you had to pay between 1.1 and 1.3 million euros. The good news is that it hasn’t been sold, so you can still make an offer. Come on, I know you’re dying to go through all the classic races aboard this pretty diva. And if you don’t want to drive it, you can also lend it to me. I promise, I’ll be careful.
2 – 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Coupe
At the beginning of the millennium, we had a choice between Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, each more crazy one to the other. Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, made beautiful and comfortable cars as they had always done very well.
Then one day in 2003, Mercedes and Mclaren presented the SLR. It gives me the goose pulpit too by reading these three letters. The name SLR stands for “Sport, Leicht, Rennsport” (“Sport, Light, Racing”). If you already know anything about it, it’s a tribute to the fantastic Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR from the 1950s which dominated the 1955 World Sports Car Championship by winning the Mille Miglia, the RAC Tourist Trophy and the Targa Florio with Stirling Moss on board. Unfortunately, it’s also known for the dramatic accident at Le Mans in 1955 that killed 82 people and caused 30 years of absence for Mercedes-Benz in circuit competition.
In short, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is beautiful, with its long, very long hood, elytra doors, angular air intakes and turbine shaped rims. It’s clearly a nice tribute to what Mercedes was doing in the 50s with all the elegance, modernity and sportiness it should. But this SLR is not just a beautiful object. Indeed, it has a carbon fiber structure, aluminum suspensions, ceramic brakes, and then it carries a supercharged Mercedes-AMG V8 (unlike turbo today) of 5.4L powering 626HP! Do you like numbers? Ok, 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, 334 km/h top speed: I think the numbers speak for themselves, this car is clearly an exceptional machine. To compare, the Mercedes-AMG GTR currently available is 585 HP, for a 0 to 100km/h in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 319 km/h.
What’s the best part of it? You will see very few of them since only about 1700 were ever produced. There’s nothing more unpleasant than seeing your car on every street corner, don’t you think?
About the one offered for sale at the Artcurial auction, it’s black, red leather interior, without any lack of taste. Honestly, red leather can sometimes be a little violent, but that’s in the spirit and tradition of Mercedes-Benz. Delivered in April 2006, this coupe had only three previous owners and shows only 49,150 km! Which is very reasonable. Having inspected the SLR, I can say it looks new, or almost new. When I saw it I literally had a crush.
To buy it you had to pay between 195.000 – 245.000 €. A price that may seem quite important, but looking the current market, it’s not very expensive. With prices close to what we can see in the United States and United Arab Emirates, it’s probably the cheapest SLR in Europe. However, you guessed it, no one won this car… Too bad, I deeply think that’s a future classic to collect urgently. Mainly because we will never have the chance to see this type of car produced in the near future (not too close I hope anyway).
To conclude : maybe it’s time to make indecent offers to SLR owners and buy one of the few really memorable cars of the early 20th century.
3 – 1975 Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2 from Artcurial sur les Champs auction
Everyone knows these long, angular and baroque Ferrari from the 1980s, right? Everyone (or almost everyone) hates it too. Not me.
First, Enzo Ferrari had a 365 GT4 2+2 as a personal car. That should be enough for you, but for the more stubborn, under the hood we have a 4.4-litre V12 all alloy with 4 overhead camshafts featuring 340HP. Now you’re probably convinced, so I won’t talk about the chassis that comes from the incredible 365 GTC/4, the fantastic manual gearbox, the two small seats in the back to bring your girlfriends / boyfriends, the beautiful leather and gorgeous wood veneer interior…
Why would you choose a 365 instead of a 400, 400i or 412? Easy, it’s the most beautiful because it has a pair of three taillights, it’s the most vintage with its three carburettors, it’s the lightest with 1500 kg, it’s also the fastest with a 0 to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds (as fast as the 412 actually) and it’s not the rarest but almost with 525 cars produced only.
Concerning the car offered of sale during Artcurial’s auction, I will be honest, it has one main flaw: it was a bit expensive: 60.000 – 80.000 €. Ok, it’s a superb 365 GT4 2+2 with a blue Sera metallic color and beige leather interior. Perfect livery according to me, despite the car is in its original condition. Personally, I love it. The paint is not perfect but with a good polish it would be beautiful, the leathers are patinated just right and we have a manual gearbox. In short, the grail (for looking like a furious 80’s businessman)! Yes, but this car needs a complete overhaul. Its engine has a total of 109,502 km, almost 100,000 km of which were driven before 1984. Indeed, in 1984 the engine was rebuilt and since then it has been driven very little. To make it short, this is a very good basis for a mechanical restoration (aesthetically only deserves a few treatments). Anyway, not for this amount.
4 – 1954 Peugeot 203 coupé
Now you’re thinking “Whaaaat? A Peugeot? A popular French car?”. Yes, but not just any 230, a coupé version!
The Peugeot 203 was launched in 1948 just after the WW2. Peugeot’s objective was to restore its financial health by offering a car that will meet the needs of French families for new mobility. To produce a car only 3 years after the war and the war occupation of the factories, Peugeot did what they already knew how to do: a simple and robust car largely inspired by what they were already doing before the war. The Peugeot 203 sedan doesn’t make any aesthetic revolution, in fact it looks a little like the 1941 Ford but in a miniature scale. However, Peugeot worked a lot on safety and comfort, much more than its former 402 offered before.
The 203 sedan sold nearly 700,000 units between 1948 and 1960. Big success, so what do we do? We were creating special bodies! So, Peugeot offered a 203 sedan, a convertible sedan, a station wagon, a pickup truck, a convertible, a coupé… And the coupé has this short bubble shape rear, 1940s typical style. That’s very elegant, especially if you are an Italian gangster.
Concerning the model for sale in Paris, this is the penultimate coupé produced of a total of 953! God only knows how many are left today, but I can assure you that I must have seen only 3 or 4 Peugeot 203s coypé in my whole life.
This 203 has a particular interest because it’s totally original (except for its painting redone before the 90s). Anyway, I’m in love with this Peugeot’s patina! Indeed, it has a slight patina that suits it superbly. That’s probably why the last owner kept it for almost 30 years!
Oh yes, did I already tell you that my grandfather has a Peugeot 203 that he got from his father? Maybe I should have mentioned it earlier. So, from my point of view, 40.000 to 60.000 € for a 203 coupé in this condition doesn’t seem completely crazy.
5 – 1999 Shelby Series 1
When reading this, you must already be laughing. You must ask yourself “but why”?
The Shelby Series 1 is rare, very rare, only 249 cars produced but and it’s above all a car designed by Carroll Shelby. Okay, that’s not an argument. Indeed, I must admit that this Series 1 is strange. It looks a little like a Dodge Viper, which would have copulated with a TVR Chimaera, a 90s Ford Mustang and a 90s Corvette. Don’t ask me who’s the father. Its design is so unusual and extravagant that it’s almost cool, especially from the front with a huge hood air intake and from the side with giant air extractors and a fuel tank behind your heads, just behind the seats. You can probably fill the tank without getting out of your car. Genius idea. Anyway, it’s obviously not for design that we buy this car… Well, it’s because we used to drive it in GranTurismo 2 (not only).
Designed as a roadster, this Shelby is probably the vision of a 2000s Cobra by the famous Carroll Shelby. In short, we like or dislike it but the fact is the car for sale has its Oldsmobile “L47 Aurora” 4.0L V8 original engine, and its a supercharged version! Jackpot, only 70 cars were equipped like this! Thanks to this little mechanical extra, the car delivers 450HP! And it’s simply huge for the time, especially with a contained weight of 1200kg. Cherries (because they are several) on the cake, the engine is coupled to a manual gearbox, the car has only known one owner and only has 7000km since its purchase in 2001!
So give me one good reason why you shouldn’t succumb to the irreverent charms of this American ride? Fuel consumption here in Europe? Okay, now I just have to invest in an oil company… That’s certainly what the new owner thought when he paid 101 320€ to buy this angry rocket (despite it was valued 90.000 – 120.000 €).
Bonus – 2008 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup at Artcurial sur les Champs
A TOP wouldn’t really be a TOP if it didn’t have a Porsche, would it?
This Porsche is very special. It’s a race car but not just any race car, a race car with a real significant sporting success. Sold in 2008 to the driver Anthony Beltoise, 7 races later he was crowned French champion at the wheel of this Porsche. That’s done. Preserved since then by its current owner, the car has undergone very little modification since its victory. In 2012, Porsche updated the gearbox as recommended on this model.
Based on a smashing 997.2 GT3 RS, the racing car features a new 3.8 litre engine. With 450HP at 7.500 rpm it’s almost the same as the regular car despite some specific modifications. To make it simple, it has an angry body, a new LED tail lights and a modified racing exhaust system. Finally, the car is 225 kg lighter…. Oh-my-god!
With only 9990 km this incredible car, with a light racing patina, is ready to win everything. Okay, after a small initial investment: 75.000 €. Obvioulsy, unsold.
I let you negotiate with the owner and I count on you to make us try it on the track. Thank you very much.