In a marathon evening sale that lasted until well after midnight, Hervé Poulain sold 102 lots out of 115 for a sale-rate of 89% – though one of the 13 lots remaining unsold was the engineless Mirage V jet fighter nonchalantly parked out front.
Adding to the strong sense of theatre, the sale, in a separate hall away from the show, kicked off with some (very French) singing and dancing, as three of the biggest and brashest American cars were driven in. As well as the Duesenberg J cabrio by Murphy, one of two cars that topped a million Euros to make £881,890, the sale included two lead-sled American customs, plus cars from four private collections. The star of the show, the Talbot-Lago T150C racer that warranted its own separate catalogue, changed hands for £1,243,992, and perhaps the best Citroen SM in the world, elevated beyond factory finishes, garnered £111,481. The front-cover 1953 Fiat 8V coupe by Vignale, now beautifully restored, was one of the star lots that failed to sell; the other was an achingly perfect 1956 Maserati A6G/2000 by Allemano, failing to reach their £640,000 and £360,000 estimates.
As the two Bugattis belonging to one-time company owner Romano Artioli came up, the man himself stood and waved to loud applause, which must have boosted their prices, the EB110SS making £382,014, and the Type 57 Coach Ventoux going well over estimate for £343,038.
A very original pairing of 1970 Lamborghini Miura S and 1972 Ferrari Daytona made £362,526 and £261,600, while a two-owner 1973 Dino 246 GTS fetched a very healthy £223,050, pipping the ex-Jacques Swaters 246GT sold at Bonhams the previous night that sold for £210,410. A very original 1962 250GT Cabriolet still with books and cartridge tapes was £719,946, the 1967 330 GTC blew its estimate to reach an amazing £355,718 and a well-restored left-hand drive Aston Martin DBS took a strong £85,185. On competition cars an FIA MGB looked rich at £44,592, far more than they sell for in the UK, and a little-used Lancia 037 well over RS200 money at £150,031.
The 1987 Ferrari Testarossa owned by Alain Delon featured heavily in the catalogue intro, though bidding started slowly until two men in the room locked horns, followed by another player bidding via the internet, before the hammer went down at €136,000 - £145,950 with commission, way over the pre-sale estimate of £34-68,000. A similar car from 1990 but without the celebrity ownership fetched a more market-reasonable £36,508.
Following massive queues to get in, the saleroom (a partitioned-off section of Hall 4) provided standing-room-only for the estimated 2000 visitors for the first few hours. Multiple bidders on most lots in the room, on the phone and via the internet meant the 115-car catalogue took 61/2 hours to work through – and as the clock struck midnight Poulain was on lot 404, patiently taking €1000 at a time for a restored but no-reserve 1969 Fiat 500 that sold for £15,233. Even the last lot, a Rover P5B that rolled around well after midnight, attracted three phone bidders, the most persistent acquiring it for £9106. Grand theatre indeed.