It was the year of the American Bicentennial, the year of Niki Lauda’s horrific, fiery crash at the Nurburgring, the year a group of Irish teenagers formed a band they called U2, and the year another group of friends on the West Coast of the United States formed a computer company they called Apple. It also was the year the first Salon Retromobile was staged in Paris.
The 41st Retromobile starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday and among its features will be a special display of 1976-model-year vehicles, including the Volkswagen GTI, the Renault 14 (nicknamed the “pear” because of its styling), the W123 Mercedes-Benz sedan, the 6 Series BMW, and other “youngtimers,” as the European classic car enthusiasts might describe them.
Other special displays at Retromobile include:
- “Lartigue and His Cars,” an exhibition featuring 33 of pioneering French automotive photographer Jacques Lartigue’s photographs.
- 3 Monsters from the Record Books, featuring three speed-record cars from Britian’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu — the 1903 Napier, the Darracq V8 and the Fiat S76, nicknamed the “Beast of Turin.”
- “The Rhomboid of Retromobile,” featuring cars with four wheels but with one positioned in front, one at either side and the fourth at the rear, including the 1960 PFX Pinin Farina, the 1947 Alamagny, and The Ellipsis, a 1990 car with an egg-shaped passenger compartment designed to enhance passenger protection in a collision.
- Two of those Rhomboid cars were created by designer Philippe Charbonneaux, who did styling for General Motors, Delahaye, Renault and Citroen, among others. A special exhibition will feature Charbonneaux’ designs, from artwork to prototype vehicles and from toys to toothbrushes, household appliances and even highways.
- “They’re Over 100 Years Old, But They Still Drive,” featuring the 1908 Brouhot et Cie, 1903 Richard Brasier, 1905 Corre, 1912 Renault, 1900 Vis-a-Vis type G and the 1912 Torpedo type D1.
- And in conjunction with the Saumur Tank Museum, a showing of the %34 this right? Soviet and American Chaffee M24 tanks.
Held inside convention-hall structures at Paris Expo Port de Versailles, Retromobile is to winter what Pebble Beach is to summer, a worldwide gathering of the classic car community. And as at Pebble Beach, there are collector car auctions at various Parisian venues. — RM Sotheby’s is at Place Vauban, Bonhams at The Grand Palais and Paris-based Artcurial at the Port de Versailles Exhibition Hall.
Artcurial’s 2015 sale featured the barn-found cars from the Baillon Collection, and the docket this year includes what should be the star car of the Paris auctions, the 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti, which for more than 40 years has been part of the Pierre Bardinon Collection.
The car, which raced at Le Mans, Sebring, in the Mille Miglia and in the Swedish and Venenzuelan Grand Prix (click here to see a video of the car in action), carries a pre-auction estimated value of $30 million to $34 million.
As it did last year, Artcurial plans two sales, the second a single-marque docket this year offering 48 cars by Citroen, with most of them coming from the collection of Andre Trigano, founder of the Campeole Group.
RM Sotheby’s docket includes a 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica LWB coupe Aerodinamico, 1957 BMW 507, and a 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ as well as a 1951 Alfa 6C 2500 Ss Villa d’Este coupe by Touring.
Bonhams features a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB and a 1990 F40, a 2000 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, a 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider, and a 1937 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B.