French fancies sell well
A dry-stored and dusty Citroën 2CV Sahara – one of very few surviving twin-engined eccentrics of the less than 700 built – that had travelled only 11,367 kilometres in 55 years went under the Artcurial hammer at Rétromobile in Paris. It achieved €168,200 (£129,514 with premium), which was £43,000 more than the top estimate. This set a new world record for a Sahara 4x4 and, indeed, any 2CV at auction.
Meanwhile, one of the last of the more mainstream 2CVs of the 5,114,961 produced, a Charleston Edition 2CV 6 that had only one owner from new in 1990 made €371,120 (£28,582) – top estimate money. In addition, a well preserved 1987 AZKA snail, acquired new and driven 11,206k by Andre Trigano, whose huge cache of Citroëns were so successfully thinned in Paris, fetched €15,080 (£11,612), £2300 more than had been forecast. Also, a baguette-delivering 1964 2CV AK 350 Fourgonette van with 20cm extended platform, suicide doors, corrugated sides and hammock seats collected a top estimate of €12,180 euros (£9379).
The model that triggered Trigano’s addiction for the double chevron marque was a 1939 Traction 11B Cabrio that had been driven by French Resistance members in World War 2. Trigano drove his favourite 77-year-old automobile onto the auction stage, where, after several minutes bidding, the stunningly restored example sold for €162,400 euros (£125,048), one of six world record prices that were established for Citroëns during this session.
Thoroughly English Minis from the mismanaged BMC and Rover periods also pulled surprisingly well in the French capital. The 1998 Mini Cooper supplied directly to the John Cooper Works in Littlehampton to be specially rebuilt with a Swiftune 1380cc motor and straight-cut five-speed gearbox for John Cooper himself made €69,600 (£53,592).
The very last Mini Cooper S Works of the final 50 that came off the Longbridge line on 25 April 2001 became the personal car of Mrs John Cooper. Driven only 550 miles, the Mrs Cooper Mini Cooper went for €69,600 (£40,194).
A restored and internally upgraded 1961 Austin Mini Countryman in left-hand drive, one of the first half-timbered estates with a fuel tank within the car rather than located underneath, but with 998cc rather than original 848 engine, sold for €59,160 (£45,553). Meanwhile, €40,600 (£31,262) was lavished on a LHD 1966 Austin Mini Cooper 1275S that had been French local hill-climbed during it first ownership and restored in a workshop between 1993 and 2008.
Then €41,760 was handed over for a Manoir de l’Automobile museum workshop restored 1963 Ranault Dauphine. One of only 2140 of the 1093cc Sports versions made, the car had a four-speed export gearbox and a tacho in place of the storage compartment to the left of the steering wheel.
And finally, restoration projects not only excited plenty of dreamy viewing and some bullish bidding at the Paris sales, but, in the really scruffy case of an Alfa GTA non-runner, performed phenomenally. The 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA, one of the very first, had been estimated by the auctioneers at €150,000200,000. Such was the auction fervour, the final bid fell at €429,200 (£330,484).