Retromobile Paris 2023: Finally back to its former glory


Retromobile Paris 2023: Finally back to its former glory
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Retromobile Paris 2023: Finally back to its former glory

After last year’s disappointing event (Corona be damned), this year’s Retromobile was back to its full glory, with thousands of cars spread out on several auction venues and the main event itself. The star of the event was arguably the Ferrari 250 LM which would be auctioned at the Artcurial sale on Friday, and which unfortunately didn’t sell, with the high bid reaching 19 million Euros.

Known names of the industry were present at this year’s Retromobile, resuming business-as-usual after a long absence from the show. Kidston, Girardo, Lukas Hüni, Axel Schütte, Fiskens, and more, all had a beautiful selection of blue chip cars.

The first auction on Wednesday was RM Sotheby’s and marked their most successful yet in Paris. The highlight of the sale was the one-off, Bugatti Chiron Profilée, with an estimate between 4.2 to 5.5 million Euros, which ended up being sold on the phone for incredible 9,792,000 Euros all-in and excluding VAT, a record braking auction sale for a new car. The other 85 car didn’t all sell, at only 68% of the lots selling, 18% less than the previous year, and of which several sold for low estimate. Probably due to the high estimates and some of the cars being not as good as one would hope, such as the Porsche 904 which was closer to being a replica than a genuine car. Still, the auction grossed a total of 46,368,800 Euros, almost double what it scored the year before. Other results included a silver 275 GTB/4 which was offered on and off for sale for many months, selling for close to 3.1 million Euros, and an F40 with history selling for just over 1.9 million Euros.

Bonhams was next on Thursday, with a beautiful display of cars at the stunning Grand Palais Ephémère. With an incredible 145 lots offered, the percentage of sold cars was, at 78%, higher than RM’s. With the star of the lot, a Ferrari F40, selling for 2,185,000 Euros all-in, there was something for everyone, with several 80’s and 90’s curiosities such as the Gemballa 911 and Koenig Special 512BBi, a Pagani Huayra Roadster (which didn’t sell), several Porsche 911 Turbos from a collection, and a black on Ascot Carrera GT. The sale grossed at 28,579,899 Euros.

Probably the most anticipated auction in Paris was happening at Artcurial on both Friday and Saturday, with the highlight of the sale on the first day being the 250 LM, and on Saturday the SLR McLaren Stirling Moss. Unfortunately, neither sold. Other sale highlights included a high-mileage Porsche 959 Komfort, a red Carrera GT, a Ferrari 340 America Barchetta which went for a whopping 5,580,000 Euros all-in, and a beautiful original Countach LP400 which went for a “cheap” price in our opinion. In total, the auction grossed 23,189,280 Euros on Friday and 14,049,400 Euros on Saturday, amounting to a total of 33,336,800 millions for both days.

The auctions in Paris showed that the passion for cars is still very much alive and that the latest price peaks (Monterey and Miami) have stabilized and consolidated at values situated just below, instead of plummeting as some expected.

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