2023 Bonhams Paris Sale (Auction Preview)

A 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Cabriolet by Vanvooren is the lead car for the 2023 Bonhams Paris classic car auction.

Yellow 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Cabriolet by Vanvooren on sale at Bonhams 2023 Paris auction
© Bonhams

Bonhams is offering a mix of modern supercars and classic automobiles at the Rétromobile week 2023 sale in Paris. The most-expensive car on offer is a classic 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Cabriolet by Vanvooren that retained its original body. Modern supercars on offer include a rare 2020 Pagani Huayra Roadster and a 1988 Ferrari F40. The 1991 Jordon-Ford single-seater in which Michael Schumacher made his F1 debut is on offer as is a 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupé that participated in five consecutive Le Mans races.

Bonhams Les Grandes Marques du Monde à Paris Sale 2022

1932 Bugatti Type 55 by Figoni
© Bonhams

Bonhams Les Grandes Marques du Monde à Paris Sale: 1 -2 February 2023 in the Grand Palais Ephémère. This new exhibition pavilion on the Champs de Mars across from the Eiffel Tower is hosting Grand Palais events while the original is undergoing major renovations.

In 2022, Bonhams earned €19 million in Paris with a sell-through rate of 83%.

Bonhams earned €19,693,000 at the Paris 2020 classic car auction – its best result ever in Paris. The most-expensive car sold at the Bonhams Paris 2020 classic car sale was a 1932 Bugatti Type 55 that achieved €4,600,00 ($5,070,000). This was also the highest result of all the car auctions during Paris Rétromobile 2020 and one of five classic Bugattis selling for over $5 million in 2020.

Million-Dollar Cars in the Bonhams Paris Auction 2023

1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupé 'Chambas' on sale at Bonhams 2023 Paris auction
© Bonhams

The cars on offer in the Bonhams Paris Rétromobile week 2023 auction have upper estimates exceeding a million dollars:

YearCarEstimate (€)
11932Bugatti Type 55 Cabriolet3,000,000 – 4,000,000
22020Pagani Huayra Roadster2,300,000 – 2,700,000
31988Ferrari F402,200,000 – 2,700,000
41948Talbot-Lago T256 Grand Sport Coupé ‘Chambas’2,000,000 – 2,500,000
51947Volkshart V2 SagittaRefer to Department
61991Jordan-Ford 191 Formula 11,400,000 – 2,000,000
72005Porsche Carrera GT1,400,000 – 1,800,000
81934Aston Martin Ulster Two-Seater Sports1,400,000 – 1,800,000
92016Zagato Mostro CoupéRefer to Department
101937Maserati 4CM Monoposto1,100,000 – 1,400,000
111993Porsche 964 Turbo S Leichtbau1,000,000 – 1,200,000
121924Mercedes 28/95 Sportviersitzer Phaeton975,000 – 1,200,000
131952Lancia Aurelia Pf200 Spider800,000 – 1,000,000

1932 Bugatti Type 55 Cabriolet by Vanvooren

1932 Bugatti Type 55 Cabriolet by Vanvooren on sale at Bonhams 2023 Paris auction
© Bonhams

Considered the ultimate super sports car of the 1930s, the Bugatti Type 55 was the roadgoing counterpart of the racing Type 51, which campaigned in Grand Prix and at Le Mans races. Aimed at the wealthiest clientele, a mere 38 of the Jean Bugatti-designed chassis were produced, with more than half being bodied by the leading coachbuilders of the day.

One such was Vanvooren, which crafted elegant bodies for luxury marques including Hispano Suiza, Rolls-Royce, and Bentley, in its atelier in the Parisian suburb of Courbevoie. The carrosserie produced six Type 55s of which only four survive, with the 1932 Bugatti Type 55 two-seater cabriolet offered at the Bonhams sale being the sole example to retain totally original coachwork on its 1932 chassis, finished in striking yellow paintwork with black wings and hood.

Past owners have been just as colorful, notably Eugène Mulnard, the former president of the Écurie Flandres racing team which competed in Formula 1 races, rallies and hill climbs. Having acquired the 55 in 1948, Mulnard registered the car four years later in the name of Andrée Desplats, whom he would later marry in 1965 – once he had divorced from his wife. He kept the Bugatti until the late 1970s.

Having been the subject of a 10-year restoration, completed in 2018, with a mere 1,500 km covered since, this rare Type 55 is offered with an estimate of €3,000,000-4,000,000. This is the highest presale estimate of all the classic Bugattis on offer at Rétromobile auctions in 2023 including a 1929 Bugatti Type 35C and 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante at Artcurial and a 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster in the style of Jean Bugatti at RM Sotheby’s. The most expensive Bugatti in Paris is the very modern unique 2022 Bugatti Chiron Profilée, estimate €4,200,000 to €5,500,000, at RM Sotheby’s.

Top Modern Supercars on Sale at Bonhams Paris 2023

Several modern supercars are also expected to sell for top dollar in the Bonhams Paris 2023 auction. The 2020 Pagani Huayra Roadster was the 37th of only 100 produced. It has only 800 km on the clock so is considered by many jurisdictions a new car that will require VAT to be paid on top of the auction result. The same fate may befall the buyers of the 2,800-km 2005 Porsche Carrera GT and the one of only five built 2016 Zagato Mostro Coupé. The 1993 Porsche 964 Turbo S Leichtbau is also a rare car with only 86 produced.

Despite around 1,400 produced, the 1988 Ferrar F40 may well outsell all the modern supercars on offer. The F40 remains incredibly popular and prices are high. At least nine sold at public auctions in 2022 while the first one sold in 2023 at Mecum Kissimmee achieved a whopping $3,135,000 — the model record is $35,000 shy of $4 million.

Racing Cars at Bonhams Paris 2023 Auction

1991 Jordan-Ford 191 Formula 1 on sale at Bonhams 2023 Paris auction
© Bonhams

Several interesting million-dollar racing cars will be on offer at the Bonhams Paris 2023 classic car auction. These include amongst others:

The 1991 Jordan-Ford 191 Formula 1 racing single-seater car in which Michael Schumacher made his F1 debut during the first practice session preceding his pinnacle-class racing debut, in the Belgian Grand Prix of 1991. The car was driven by Andrea de Cesaris and Alessandro Zanardi in races. (A 1995 Benetton Renault B195 F1 single-seater raced by Michael Schumacher is on sale at the Artcurial Paris Rétromobile 2023 classic car auction with an estimate of €2,000,000 – 3,000,000.)

The 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupé ‘Chambas’ with an extensive in-period racing history, including five consecutive Le Mans entries from 1949 to 1953. 

The ex-Count ‘Johnny’ Lurani, Italian Championship-Winning 1937 Maserati 4CM Monoposto.

1947 Volkhart V2 Sagitta at Bonhams Paris 2023

Although the 1947 Volkhart V2 Sagitta has a “refer to department estimate”, a result of around €2 million is probably expected. Enticingly, the car is sold without reserve.

The 1947 Volkhart V2 Sagitta is the only V2 ever built, partly because Volkswagen refused to supply the designer, Kurt Volkhart, with Beetle chassis. The slippery coachwork allowed the V2 to reach a top speed of 138km/h with a 32 hp Ford engine, while the donor car, a Ford Eifel, could only do 100 km/h. In 2013, Volkswagen tested the draft coefficient of the V2 as only 0.216 — far below most modern cars.

Paris Rétromobile Week Auctions 2023

Classic Car Auctions

The following three sales traditionally open the European classic car auction year during the Paris Rétromobile Week that is held from 1 to 5 February 2023 at Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles

  • Artcurial: Rétromobile Sale on 3 February 2023.
  • Bonhams: Les Grandes Marques à Paris Sale on 2 February 2023.
  • RM Sotheby’s: Paris Auction 1 February 2023 at Salles du Carrousel du Louvre.

Paris Rétromobile Auctions 2023 Results

Paris Rétromobile Auctions 2023 Pre-Sale Announcements

Previous Paris Rétromobile Week Auction Results