The eyes of the motoring world were fixed on Paris today as the Roger Baillon Collection – which was discovered last year on a French farm – went under the hammer at Artcurial's Rétromobile sale.
The two star lots were undoubtedly the ex-Alain Delon Ferrari 250GT California and an equally well-preserved 1956 Maserati A6G 2000 Gran Sport Berlinetta Frua, which was shown at the 1956 Paris Salon.
It was the ex-Delon Ferrari that stole the show, the excitement in the sale room palpable as it crossed the block for a staggering hammer price of €14.2m – comfortably surpassing its €12m pre-sale upper estimate.
The Maserati was close on its heels, exceeding its €800-1,200,000 estimate in just 10 seconds of furious bidding, going on to sell for an impressive €1,720,000.
The success story continued for the more affordable metal, with dozens of the 60 lots doubling and trebling their pre-sale upper estimates, with a number of cars achieving more than 10 times the figure predicted by auctioneers.
It took just over an hour for the first car to break the one-million mark, with the stunning – yet heavily damaged – Saoutchik-bodied Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport SWB selling for €1.45m – well above its €4-600,000 estimate.
It was followed by another Saoutchik-bodied car, this time a T26 Record Fastback Coupé, which sold on estimate at €350,000.
The third Saoutchik car in the sale was a 1948 T26 Record Cabriolet, which sold for €625,000 (estimate €120-150,000).
A 1927 Amilcar CGSS Biplace Sport was one of the best performers of the day, sailing past its €5000 upper estimate and on to a staggering €46,000.
A 1937 Bugatti Type 57 with Gangloff bodywork also did well, fetching €250,000.