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 Retromobile, 2009


Paris, 06 – 15 February 2009

The 2009 Retromobile classic motor show was the 34th running of this annual event at the Porte de Versailles in Paris, its longevity is a testimony to its tremendous popularity. It attracts enthusiasts and collectors from all parts of the globe, and has established itself as the European winter international meeting point.

Green is Good - Every year the organisers come up with innovative themes and this year was no exception, with an eclectic display of alternative energy vehicles that have been produced over the years. This was particularly apt at this time, when we are all being encouraged to “go green”, and showed some of the forerunners to today’s green technology. The varied selection of vehicles presented included one of the largest exhibits ever shown at the show, the 1879 tram car from the “Tramway de Nantes” which ran on compressed air. Another exhibit was a replica of the electric powered “Jamais Contente” originally built in 1899, which was the first car to achieve 100kph on 01 May 1899 at Acheres in the Yvelines district south of Paris. This bomb sgaped projectile was powered by twin electric motors fed by no less than eighty batteries! Amongst the other “green” exhibits there was the appropriately liveried 1939 electric delivery van used by Harrods of Knightsbridge, and an electric powered Renault Dauphine, whilst the exhibits outside included an Everett steam car from 1900.

Citroen hits 90 – The first Citroen car, the Type A, hit the roads in 1919, and was the progenitor of the innovative marque which has produced a number of ground breaking cars over the years, including the Traction Avant from 1934, which featured front wheel drive and unitary body construction, both great innovations for the time. In fact the gestation period while the car was developed nearly brought the company to its knees, but once the package was fully developed it became a great success and laid the foundations for many of the mass production cars we know today. Citroen’s most famous car is undoubtedly the “Deux Chevaux”, the classless corrugated body people‘s car, with its twin cylinder engine. Further up the scale was the DS, which went into production in 1955, and once again broke new ground with its wind cheating styling, plus the introduction of hydro-pneumatic suspension which provided a supremely comfortable ride over the cobbled streets that abounded in France at the time. Apart from the Citroen’s in the main feature display, there were a number of rare Chapron bodied examples in the Bonhams auction, including a 1974 SM Opéra limousine, of which only eight models were built.

Bonhams Auction – After their disappointing Gstaad auction in December, Bonhams were obviously hoping for better things in Paris. The auction was held during the evening of the first Saturday of the show, and featured a wide variety of offerings, including motorcycles and memorabilia. The star of the selection was undoubtedly the very original and totally unrestored 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupé, originally owned new by Earl Howe, and which had been dormant and hidden away in a garage in the north-east of England since 1955. As befitted its continuous history and impeccable provenance it made strong money, eventually being hammered at 3,417,500 Euros. Another Bugatti, the 1913 5 litre Type 18 Sports model, known as “Black Bess” also made strong money, selling for 2,427,500 Euros. Most of the cars sold were within or close to the estimates, whilst a 1955 OSCA 1.5 Sports Spider made an above estimate 370,000 Euros, whilst a rare Citroen DS23 Cabriolet made a nearly double the estimate 337,500 Euros. There was a selection of colourful advertising vans used in various editions of the Tour de France cycle race, which were offered without reserve, but unfortunately for the vendor all but one sold for well below the estimate. However, the appeal of these must be strictly limited to a specialist few. In the memorabilia section a Lalique “Chrysis” nude crystal mascot sold for 5,980 Euros, almost twice the high estimate. All figures quoted include buyer’s premium. Overall the sale must be adjudged a success with 78+% of the memorabilia selling, and 70+% of the vehicle lots went to new homes.

Et All – Apart from the items already mentioned, the show features a wide range of one make club stands, numerous prestige classic car vendors, a section devoted to model car sellers, a large autojumble area, an expansive gallery of original artwork, national and international booksellers, tools and accessories, classic car insurance, in fact almost anything associated with the automobile is represented. At the end of the day it is the rich diversity of exhibits, captivating atmosphere, and socialising with friends and acquaintances at almost every turn, that provides Retromobile with its endearing Gallic charm.

Keith Bluemel

Paris, 6 – 15 February 2009

Ferrari Models On Display


Model Colour Chassis #

Bonhams Auction

250 GT PF Coupé Red/Beige 1409 GT

250 GT SWB Berlinetta Blue Met’/Red 2501 GT

275 GTS Black/Red 07627

365 GTB/4 Yellow/Black 15367

Sport & Collection

248 F1 Red 256

712 CanAm Red/Red 1010

512 S Red/Red 1016

250 GTO Red/Blue 4757 GT

250 GT TdF Berlinetta Red/Beige 0899 GT

365 GTB/4S Conv’ Red/Black-Red 12419

365 GT4/BB Red/Beige 18011

308 GTB Gp4 Red/Red 20905

246 GT Red/Black 03460

365 GT 2+2 Cal’ Conv’ Dark Blue/Cream 11967

Hall & Hall

500/625 Monoposto Red/Brown 5/0480

RM Auctions

365 GTB/4C Red-White/Black 16363

Lukas Huni

250 LM Red-Pale Blue stripe/Blue 5907


250 GT TdF Berlinetta Red-Green/Yellow Stripe/Red 0787 GT

E. Thiesen

275 GTS Yellow/Black 07653

Bruno Vendiesse

275 GTB Red/Black 06915


308 GTB Red/Black 19303

Charles Pozzi Levallois

246 GT Blue Met’ (In Rest’) 01644

Prevost Automobiles

246 GT Red (In Rest’) ?


365 GTB/4 Red/Black 15221

Les Voitures de

275 GTB Red/Black 06691

Johnny Hallyday

Keith Bluemel


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