Auction houses fire the opening shots for Paris showdown

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Paris in February has always been a fiercely contested classic car auction battlefield with Bonhams and Artcurial traditionally fighting it out, but the competition has got even more fierce with RM Auctions joining the fray for 2014.

The Canadian giant fired the first salvo when it announced that it would sell the Harburg collection of historic racers (click here for details), but now the Europeans are fighting back.

Bonhams holds its sale at the Grand Palais and has revealed two of its prime lots including a 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet A (main image) that hasn't been on the market for more than 40 years.

Delivered new to Parisian actor Henri Garat, the one-of-33 car has been in a  Swiss collection since 1969 and expected to make a whopping €2-2.5million.

Coming from the same collection is a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster with factory hardtop that has been in the same private ownership as the 500K since 1972 and carries an estimate of €650-850,000.

The home team Artcurial, is also pulling out all the stops. Its consignments include a €3million Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta Oblin, a barnfind Chapron-bodied Delahaye 135 MS Roadster (€450-750,000) and Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato (€3.5-3.8million). Click here for more info on the Artcurial lots.

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