Out of the ordinary European classics star in Paris

| 26 Jan 2016

Words and pictures: RM Sotheby's

RM Sotheby’s third annual sale during Rétromobile week runs the veritable gamut of collector car icons, from a Ferrari F40 once owned by Stefano Casiraghi to the 1962 Earls Court Motor Show Ferrari 400 Superamerica LWB Coupé Aerodinamico. The catalogue also includes the very first LHD Aston Martin DB5 saloon. While these are certainly sights not to miss, the auction also brings to market some perhaps lesser known and less frequently seen European collectibles worthy of a nod.

1959 Abarth 2200 Coupé by Allemano

Carlo Abarth founded his tuning company in Turin in 1950. He eventually went on to take over the failed Cisitalia business, ensuring that Abarth would begin to produce successful cars in its own right.

An incredibly rare find, the 1959 Abarth 2200 Coupé on offer in Paris is one of a believed 28 examples produced by the company. Previously a part of racing driver Fritz Neuser’s Collection, it was restored by his Scuderia Auto Neuser in the 2000s and subsequently shown at the 2014 Schloss Bensberg Concours d’Elegance. Offered in amazingly original condition and finished in its delivery colours, it represents a fantastic opportunity for its new owner to stand out from the crowd (€180,000 - €200,000).

1963 Facel Vega Facel II

Built by one of France's most famous manufacturers of high-speed grand tourers in the Jet Age — a perfect fit for the Paris sale — the Facel II continued a grand tradition of American performance coupled with French high style. Powered by a 355bhp Chrysler V-8, the Facel II could sprint from 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds while carrying its passengers in Rolls-Royce-like comfort, making it one of the most desirable cars of early 1960s society. This particular example was the factory show car at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show, purchased and driven off the stand by its original European socialite owner. Significantly, it has remained in her family ever since! Well preserved, it boasts a wonderful patina and shows just over 20,600 miles on its odometer. A definite rare find offered fresh to the market (€220,000 - €280,000).

1965 Maserati Mistral 3.7 Coupé by Frua

Maserati was building on the success of the 3500GT and Sebring when it commissioned Pietro Frua to design a new body for the updated Tipo 109 chassis. The new two-seat coupé was named ‘Mistral’ after the strong winds blowing from the Mediterranean coast in the south of France. A model often overlooked by enthusiasts, it represents Maserati’s last car powered by its famed Grand-Prix-derived straight-six engine, and when unveiled, was considered by many as one of Frua’s finest designs.

The Mistral presented in Paris is one of just 383 coupés delivered new with the desirable 3.7-litre engine, complemented by a manual gearbox. Presented in excellent overall condition, this matching-numbers example boasts sophistication and character along with performance similar to that of the DB4 at nearly half the price (€220.000 - €250.000).

1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Tubolare Zagato

An evolutionary design, the competition 105 Series Giulia was introduced at the 1963 FISA Monza Cup. Named for its tubular space-frame chassis and striking aluminium coachwork, the Giulia Tubolare Zagato took the first four places in its class. A purpose-built competition GT, TZs competed in the most important races and, were driven by some of the best drivers at the time, competing against the likes of Ferrari 250GTOs, Shelby Cobras, Maserati Birdcages, and Porsche 904s, to log an impressive string of wins in both Europe and North America.

The example presented by RM Sotheby’s was owned by a string of Swiss racing drivers before landing with James Bernard Fortmann of team Bardahl Switzerland, who prepared the car for a busy racing schedule in 1968. It finished 5th in Class (Prototype 1600) at the 1968 Nürburgring 1000km, before racing in the ACS Swiss Championship at the Hockenheim Ring as well as the Grand Prix of Mugello. With just two owners in the last 32 years, it is a well-cared-for example of a landmark Alfa Romeo, eligible for nearly every prestigious event around the globe (€950,000 - €1,200,000).

For full event details or to view all entries for RM’s 3 February sale in the heart of Paris, download the complete digital catalogue at www.rmsothebys.com

For those unable to attend the event in person, RM Sotheby’s offers a range of remote bidding options, including absentee, Internet, and telephone bidding, and the auction will stream live at www.rmsothebys.com providing real-time coverage of the event.