Seven Bugattis, a Mercedes-Benz 500K and top prewar sports cars were announced for the Bonhams Paris Rétromobile Week 2020 classic car auction.
Approximately 100 lots representing nearly 100 years of motoring history from Edwardian elegance to 21st-century supercars will be on offer at the Bonhams’ ‘Les Grandes Marques du Monde’ Sale at the Grand Palais, Paris, on 6 February 2020. Top cars include several Bugattis led by a magnificent 1932 Bugatti Type 55 (estimate on request) and two Type 57s. Further prewar classics include a 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet A, a 1931 Invicta, a 1935 Delage and a 1934 Talbot Sports Racer.
Top Bugattis at Bonhams Paris 2020 Sale
Seven magnificent vintage and historic Bugattis lead Bonhams’ ‘Les Grandes Marques du Monde’ Sale 2020. The septet represents the golden age of French and indeed world automotive craftsmanship, innovation, and performance – and are fittingly showcased in the very venue where they were first unveiled to the world.
1932 Bugatti Type 55
In pole position is one of the most important sports models of the marque’s golden era, a 1932 Bugatti Type 55, estimate on request, which started life as a works entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans driven by two of the era’s most celebrated racing drivers, Louis Chiron and Count Guy Bouriat-Quintart.
One of only 29 known surviving Type 55s (of a total 38 produced), this car is noted for its striking and unique coachwork – configured as a two-seat drophead with highline doors – designed by Parisian automotive designer Giuseppe Figoni. He was commissioned by its second owner, French publishing magnate Jacques Dupuy, who entered the Bugatti in the Paris-Nice Rally and the Bois de Boulogne concours d’elegance.
This 55 is now offered for the very first time at auction, following an incredible 56 years in the ownership of one discerning British family.
1938 Bugatti Type 57 ‘Atalante’ Coupé
Lining up alongside the 55 are not one but two examples of the celebrated Type 57 – considered the quintessential road-going Bugatti and the first model designed entirely under the direction of Jean Bugatti, featuring advanced engineering including a dual-overhead cam engine and an independently sprung chassis.
The first is a rare 1938 Bugatti Type 57 ‘Atalante’ Coupé, estimate of €1,500,000 – 1,800,000. It is one of only 34 examples and regarded as the most sporting derivative of the car, styled by Jean Bugatti himself. This example is finished in rakish period two-tone black and purple paintwork. A similar 1935 Atalante, from the collection of the late Barry Burnett, was successfully sold by Bonhams at the Goodwood Revival Sale 2019, achieving a final total of €1,693,594 (£1,499,000).
1939 Bugatti Type 57C ‘Stelvio’ cabriolet
The Atalante’s sale sibling in Paris is a beautiful supercharged 1939 Bugatti Type 57C ‘Stelvio’ cabriolet, estimate €1,350,000 – 1,650,000, named after the legendary Alpine pass in Italy, of which only 40 examples were delivered. With coachwork by Gangloff, this was one of the last Bugattis sold before the Second World War and the personal car of Georges Groslambert, prominent industrialist, Bugatti dealer and marque enthusiast.
The story is that Stelvio was hidden during the war in one of the Groslambert factories but re-emerged in peacetime to enter the 1949 Rallye de Franche-Comté with its enthusiast owner. The car has only had two further enthusiast owners, covering some 45,000 km in its lifetime.
1925 Type 39 Grand Prix Racing Two-Seater
The fourth Bugatti flying the French flag is a 1925 Type 39 Grand Prix Racing Two-Seater, estimate €1,050,000 – 1,400,000 – identical to the most successful racing car ever, the Type 35, but fitted with a smaller 1.5 litre engine to comply with 1925’s new racing regulations.
In its debut race, the 1925 Grand Prix de Tourisme, the ex-works car finished third, achieving the same result in that year’s Italian Gran Premio in Monza, while finishing 7th overall in the Italian Grand Prix. Its finest hour came six years later and 16,000 km away as winner of the 1931 Australian Grand Prix. This car has been more recently exercised on hill climbs and is eligible for the most prestigious international historic race meetings.
The other Bugattis to grace the Grand Palais are: a highly original 1922 Type 23, estimate €500,000 – 600,000; a 1927 Type 40 ‘Grand Sport’ Tourer, first owned by a friend of Jean Bugatti, (estimate €350,000 – 450,000); and the first Molsheim-built model, a Type 13 Sports, estimate €190,000 – 240,000.
Top Bugatti Prices at Public Auctions
In nominal terms, the most-expensive Bugatti ever was the 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster sold for $10,400,000 at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2016 sale. It was the only Buggati ever to have sold for more than $10 million at public auction. The 1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe that Christie’s sold for $9.8 million in 1987 would be around $22 million in today’s money. If it comes up for auction now, it would probably fetch more than simply the adjusted value.
The ex-Works Team and ex-King Leopold 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports (Estimate: In Excess of £10,000,000) will be on offer at the Gooding London 2020 Passion of a Lifetime sale on 1 April 2020.
1935 Mercedes Benz 500K Cabriolet A at Bonhams Paris 2020
The Bonhams Grand Palais Sale is renowned for showcasing pre-war Grand Marques and this year’s edition offers the finest of the era including the supercar of the 1930s, a 1935 Mercedes Benz 500K Cabriolet A, estimate: €1,500,000 – 2,000,000. Designed by the in-house coachworks Sindelfingen and engineered by Hans Nibel, who created the chassis for the first legendary ‘Silver Arrows’ racing cars, only 31 Cabriolets were built.
This example was delivered new to the celebrated French film actor of the era, Henry Garat. In the 50-year ownership of its most recent custodian, the 500K has benefitted from a comprehensive restoration.
The most exciting Mercedes-Benz at the Rétromobile 2020 auctions is the 1929 Mercedes Benz 710 SS Sport Tourer, estimate €6-8 million, at Artcurial.
Top Prewar Cars at Bonhams Paris 2020
Lining up with the 500K and Bugattis is a trio of sports cars, which are all eligible for the most prestigious historic races and concours:
A 1931 Invicta 4.5 litre S-Type Low Chassis Sports with unique ‘sport cabriolet’ coachwork by Carbodies and the nickname ‘Scout’ which has campaigned at the Le Mans Classic (estimate €1,200,000 – 1,500,000).
A 1935 Delage D8S Cabriolet, with special coachwork by the ‘master’ of coachbuilding, Henri Chapron (estimate €800,000 – 1,200,000).
A 1934 Talbot AV105 Brooklands Sports Racer, victor at the celebrated Brooklands circuit in the hands of noted racer Dr Roth and the Talbot’s ace’ works driver WM ‘Mike’ Couper. More recently, the Talbot has campaigned successfully at the 2012 Le Mans Classic and was the overall winner of the 2013 Flying Scotsman Rally. Estimate €800,000 – 1,100,000.
Paris Retromobile Week Auctions 2020
Classic Car Auctions
The traditional Paris Rétromobile Week auctions in early February include:
- Bonhams: Les Grandes Marques au Grand Palais Sale on 6 February 2020.
- Artcurial: Rétromobile Classic Car Auctions on 7 – 9 February 2020.
- RM Sotheby’s: Paris Auction at Place Vauban on 5 February 2020.
Paris Auction Results 2020:
- 2020 Artcurial Paris Rétromobile Sale (Auction Results)
- 2020 Bonhams Paris Sale (Auction Results)
- 2020 RM Sotheby’s Paris Sale (Auction Results)
Press Releases 2020:
- Artcurial: Highlights (including 1929 Mercedes Benz 710 SS Sport Tourer)
- Bonhams: Top Bugattis (and prewar cars)
- Bonhams: 1966 Ferrari Dino 206S/SP Sports Prototype
- Bonhams: 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster by Figoni
- RM Sotheby’s: Three Delahaye 135 Cars
- RM Sotheby’s: Exotic Cars (including Jaguar D-Type, Veneno & Porsche 904 GTS)