A Ferrari bought new by Roger Vadim, the movie director and actor who discovered and married Brigitte Bardot, sold last night for about 4.5 million euros with fees ($5.8 million) as choosy investors bought rare classic cars.
The silver 250 California GT LWB, dating from 1959, was among 80 cars offered by the Paris auction house Artcurial. The event was timed to coincide with Retromobile, France’s biggest commercial show devoted to classic vehicles, at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in southwest Paris.
Investors are looking to rare autos as an alternative to volatile financial markets. Still, the Paris auctions saw few lots sell above valuations, suggesting that the market for more routine classics remains highly selective. Collectible cars often fetch higher prices through discreet transactions than at public auctions, dealers said.
The Italian convertible was bought by a telephone buyer, underbid by a U.K. bidder, after being valued at 3 million euros to 4 million euros. Its hammer price was 4 million euros. The car was latterly owned by another French film director Jean-Claude Bajol, a Ferrari collector, who died last year. The auction fetched 14.5 million euros, Artcurial said after the event, beating an estimate of at least 11.5 million euros.
One of the sale’s surprises was a 1965 cream-color Citroen 2CV, which had recorded only 116 miles. It fetched 59,600 euros against an estimate of 30,000 euros to 40,000 euros.
A Bonhams sale of classic cars and motorcycles the previous evening at La Halle Freyssinet in the southeast of Paris raised 7.2 million euros with fees against a low estimate of 10.7 million euros, based on hammer prices.
The most highly valued lot -- a 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Coupe in silver, priced at a minimum of 1.1 million euros -- failed to find a buyer at the auction. It was sold immediately afterwards for 1 million euros with fees and was included in the final total, London-based Bonhams said.
A 1965 Citroen DS21 Cabriolet, with a low estimate of 150,000 euros, was among the 39 percent of the 258 lots that were unsuccessful. Most of the autos that sold were knocked down for hammer prices below their forecasts.
Car dealers at Retromobile earlier said a Ferrari GTO -- one of 36 produced by the Italian company in 1962 to 1963 -- was sold privately in the U.K. within the last two weeks to an unidentified buyer for about $32 million.
(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)