The Paris Retromobile show switched the classic car world in a higher gear after a long wintersleep. There have been some events going on earlier in the year, but you can hardly neglect that the first real important show that attracts attention from all over the world is the Retromobile in Paris. This is even more emphasized by the fact that all major auction houses were present in Paris. And in what a way. Even folks that are not into the classic car scene have read the news or seen footage on tv or the intenet about the new world record price for a car sold at an auction. Artcurial’s Hervé Poulain hammered the 1957 Works Ferrari 335 S Spider for approximately 32Mio €. Pretty sure the new owner will be proud of his acquisition. The list of drivers that once drove this car at a race is extra-ordinary. Mike Hawthorn, Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips, Pierro Taruffi. Sir Stirling Moss even won the Cuba GP in this particular car. The french industrial Pierre Bardinon, a renowned Ferrari collector and connoiseur, had this car in his collection for almost 40 years. We’re glad this car has found a new home,and we’re sure the new owner will take good care of it.
Another important car that went under the hammer, at RM Sotheby’s, was
the Porsche 550 Spyder (Chassis 550-068) that Porsche put on display at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The Frankfurt Motor Show was nothing more but a stop for the car, as it left the Zuffenhausen factory to be shipped to Florida, USA. Mike Marshall was the buyer of the car, and used it intensively for racing with among many others entries at the 1955 Sebring 12hours and the 1956 Nassau Speed week. After changing owners several times throughout the years, the car found it’s way back to Europe in the late 80s, early 90s. A Porsche 550 Spyder is a unique entry ticket for Le Mans Classic, the Mille Miglia and much more classic car races. The car sold for 2.7Mio €, a price that I think is very reasonable for a car with a provenance and as well documented as this one.
At the Retromobile show, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest ACO, better known as the organisation behind the Le Mans 24h, brought some of it”s museum cars on display, to present a retrospective of the 110 years it has spent serving motorists and the automotive industry. 2 significant Porsches among them : the Steve McQueen Porsche 908/2 and the Porsche 904 that Michelin used to use for its test before they donated it to the ACO.
As we all know, in many countries Porsche Classic Centres are rising up. In Paris, the Porsche Classic Centre started in 2012. However, to encourage the local dealerships to develop restoration and maintenance activities for classic Porsches, Porsche France decided to organize a Classic Restoration Competition in 2014, and had 7 entries. The great succes made Porsche France to renew the competition this year, with 9 entries as a result. The Retromobile was a unique opportunity to bring this action under the attention of the large public and some of the competitors in the competition were on display at the Porsche stand, next to the marvellous Porsche 718 W-RS Spyder, on loan from the Porsche Museum. I presume they send this unique Porsche 718 to bring the launch of the Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman Series under attention.
Serge Heitz once again brought a immense load of Porsches to Paris and once more he seemed to be doing good business. Most of the cars had the “sold” sign on the windshield. This guy’s selling skills must be enormous as the cars he sells are not priced for the weak of heart.
Axel Shuette, a renowned German Classic Car dealer who showed the ex Roy Scheckter Porsche 718-023 at last years Retromobile, now had a stunning Porsche 904-050 on display. This is probably one of the most original Porsche 904s in existence. After it left the factory the car was shipped to Midlands, Texas USA. Jim
Hall, founder of the Chaparall Race Cars was the first owner. The car is believed not to have participated in races until the early 80s when Leonard Turner, owner of the car at that time, entered it in 2 races. In 2010 the car returned to Germany, and is a true time capsule.
The Glöckler Porsche, that was brought under attention at last years Technoclassica and Retroclassics, is still looking for a new owner. This truly unique Porsche would be a great addition to any collection, however, I presume the car may not be that popular because of the fact that is rather unknown to the large public. Wondering if the car found a new home or will it be at the coming great shows again.
Gregor Fiskens, the London based classic car dealer, outperformed himself with a truly unique exhibition of cars. Among them 3 Porsches that any serious collector wouldn’t mind having. First was the Porsche 356 Carrera GTL Abarth (Chassis 1002) in French Racing Colours. The Porsche Carrera Abarth is one of the most rare Porsches ever built with a production number of 20 cars. Based on a Porsche 356B chassis, the Porsche 356 Carrera GTL Abarth was designed to qualify as a production car for homologation as defined by the FIA.
This particular car was raced to first in class in the 1960 Targa Florio by Herbert Linge and Paul-Ernst Strähle and another class win at the Nurburgring 1000km the same year. As by now, it is unclear to me when the car changed colours to the French racing blue. Was this solely to be more attractive to the French public ? Or is this a way to make the car look like the 356 Carrera GTL Abarth that Robert Buchet raced in the 1960 Tour de France ? I am working to clear this out, but it might be a long search. Not sure yet but the car might be the same as the Porsche 356 Carrera GTL Abarth that Benoit Couturier showed at the 2007 Technoclassica.
Another very interesting car at Fiskens was the 1976 Porsche 934 RSR Turbo , chassis 01553. The car, one of 31, was bought directly from the factory by the Belgian Jean Blaton. Originally the shell was painted
in the Belgian racing yellow, but because of some sponsorship contract, it immediately was resprayed in white-red-blue to compete in the Le Mans 24H.
Only one year later, the car changed ownership and joined the stable of Jean-Pierre Gaban to be used in more races like the GP Zolder and the Le Mans 24h.
The Porsche 962C offered by Fiskens is one of the last examples to be built, and its chassis is one of Richard Lloyd Racing’s specialist batch of six, purchased by ADA in February 1992. That same year, the car made its 1st outing at the Le Mans 24h with Derek Bell who was joined by his son Justin. Despite some braking problems initially, they managed to finish 12th overall.
Paris Retromobile is ofcourse much more than just the tons of amazing cars and auctions. It is a unique opportunity to find parts for your car too. Collectors of memorabilia and literature find their way to Paris too, as the Retromobile might be one of the most important shows worldwide on this matters. All major players have some great stuff for sale, and without any doubt any collector will definitely find something new for his collection.
With far over 100.000 visitors, approximately 500 exhibitors the Paris exhibition halls were extremely busy once again. This show is definitely not to be missed, and succeeds in surprising the visitors every year again.
Pictures : Wilfried Geerts