A 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster has sold for €1,115,600 to lead the sales chart at Artcurial's Le Mans Classic sale, which took place on 5 July at the circuit in La Sarthe. In total, more than €13m changed hands, with 37 classics selling for €100,000-plus.
Though the 300SL grabbed most of the headlines, the real interest lay in lesser lots, with many fetching much more than was expected. A 1953 Jaguar MkVII Beutler cabriolet sold for more than double its upper estimate at €160,900, while a Ferrari F40 sold for €691,400 – nearly €200,000 more than was predicted.
The French auction house also claimed a new world record for a 1958 Aston Martin DBIII cabriolet, which smashed its €280,000 estimate following feverish bidding. When the hammer eventually came down, it had sold for €602,000.
More than 2000 people packed into the sale hall for the two auctions, in which 111 cars and 148 lots of automobilia were offered; 82% found new owners.
Artcurial's spokesman, Matthieu Lamoure, said: "Sales in France continue to set new records and are attracting an international clientèle, with buyers coming from as far afield as South Africa, the West Coast of the United States and South America. We have been able to find gems such as the Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera RS that was discovered in Marseille and sold today for €580,500. These cars that are fresh to the market create a buzz and attract collectors’ attention."