French Citroen collection set to feature during the second day of sales at Artcurial’s Retromobile auction.
Artcurial caused a stir in the auction world last year, thanks to its thrilling sale of the ‘barn find’ Baillon collection and record breaking Ferrari 250 SWB California Spider at its Retromobile auction. With a few high-profile cars entered in the sale this year, including a stunning Ferrari 335 S, it’s already shaping up to be another great sale.
Taking place on the second day of Artcurial’s sale (6 February) is La vente Citroën, a sale of 47 interesting models from the company's history. The majority of cars will be coming straight from the garage of well-known French collector André Trigano. Trigano’s collection numbers around 300 cars, and it was his love for Citroen that kickstarted this life-long obsession.
A multitude of elegant DS models, Tractions and a few modern offerings will be offered, as well as some of the earliest, rarest and most valuable models from Citroen's past. As well as the Trigano cars, a few of the cars such as the 2CV Sahara and Visa 1000 Pistes will be joining the sale from other sellers.
Here are just a few of the most interesting:
1961 Citroën 2CV Sahara
What’s the best way to create a four-wheel drive 2CV? Simple, add another engine and gearbox to the rear end of the car. The 2CV Sahara was a very clever and extremely capable car, and this example was bought new by a travelling vet, who needed occasional access to remote mountain sites. Artcurial describes this 11,367km example as one of the best remaining, and it was recently re-discovered hiding in a barn after an extended period of rest. Estimate: €60,000-€90,000.
1971 Citroën M35 prototype no. 417
Chances are, you won’t have seen one of these curious little cars in the wild. Citroen was fascinated with developing a Wankel rotary-engined car in the early 1970s, and the M35 prototype vehicle was the forerunner to the production version of the GS Birotor. Sold to a handful of Citroen’s most loyal customers for extensive real-world testing, all but a few M35s were bought back by Citroen and destroyed, making this original surviving example even more desirable. Estimate: €15,000-€20,000.
1986 Citroën BX 4TC
It’s fair to say that the BX 4TC isn’t a looker, especially in the company of elegant Tractions and DS models. While the original Gandini-penned BX featured angular and very well-proportioned styling, the Group B 4TC gained an extended front overhang to house it’s hastily-installed, longitudinally-mounted Turbo four-cylinder engine. The 4TC’s rally career was pretty much over before it started too. It arrived at the same time as the next-generation of custom-built monsters like the Ford RS200, 205 T16 and Lancia Delta S4, and the plug was quickly pulled when it became clear that it couldn’t compete.
Today, there’s something appealing about owning a Group B road car, and the BX has to be one of the most affordable, and user-friendly around. Just 86 of the planned 200 cars were built, and many (around half) were bought back and destroyed by Citroen. Estimate: €40,000-€60,000.
1984 Citroën Visa 1000 Pistes
Another Group B Citroen rally car, the Visa 1000 Pistes, was somewhat better resolved than it’s bigger brother. Appearing at the beginning of the Group B era, the four-wheel drive Visa 1000 Pistes made do with a 112bhp 1.4-litre engine. This example has covered just 2500km from new, and remained in the original owners hands until 2011. As most of these Visas were converted into rally car, it’s unusual to find one in such well-preserved condition. Estimate: €30,000-€50,000.
1954 Citroën Traction 15-Six H berline
There are many wonderful Tractions in this sale, including Cabriolet and Coupe models, but this ‘H’ model is probably one of the most alluring among Citroen enthusiasts. H, of course, stands for Hydro, making this first in a long line of hydraulically suspended Citroens. In order to improve ride comfort, stability and load carrying ability, engineer Paul Mages engineered a new high-pressure hydraulic suspension system, which would later find fame in the iconic DS. This example represents a genuine piece French motoring history, and is the ultimate evolution of the Traction model line. Estimate: €30,000-€40,000.
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