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A 1947 Gordini raced by motorsport icons including Juan Manuel Fangio and Jean-Pierre Wimille was the top lot at Bonhams’ Chantilly sale yesterday, making £618,619 (€690,000).
The striking blue machine was born in 1947 as a single-seat competition car but was rebuilt from the ground up in 1952 and subsequently competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
As one of only two remaining four-cylinder barchettas it was always expected to command big money, and went under the hammer with a hefty €700k-1m (£620-890k) estimate. And although it didn’t quite make that lower figure, it was still far and away the priciest car to sell at the auction in France.
A total of 40 cars were up for grabs at the sale, which took place as part of the Chantilly Arts & Elegance concours, but only half of those on offer changed hands.
Pre-war cars proved particularly popular, though, with a 1932 Invicta 12/45 4½-Litre Tourer making £247,447 (€276,000), a 1935 Bentley 3½-Litre Drophead Coupé selling for £129,910 (€144,900) and a 1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom III fetching £103,103 (€115,000).
Other cars with big price tags included a 1953 Aston Martin DB2/4 (£185,585/€207,000) and a 1962 Citroën DS19 Décapotable (£159,810/€178,250).
Two Volkswagen camper vans sold for vastly different amounts: a 1965 Type 2 Samba 21-Window Microbus, pictured above, made an incredible £92,792 (€103,500) while at the other end of the scale, a 1956 Combi Van went for £12,887 (€14,375).
A pair of Porsche 356Bs also found new owners – one, a 1960 T5 Super Cabriolet, made £97,126 (€108,333) while a 1962 T6 Super 90 Coupé was a bit cheaper at £55,675 (€62,100). And fittingly, given the auction’s location, a rare French classic in the form of a 1954 Salmson 2300 Sport Coupé sold with a price tag of £45,365 (€50,600).
Sadly, some of the auction’s most exciting lots didn’t sell, among them a BMW 507 that had been offered with an estimate of £1.6-2m and a Shelby Cobra 427 which was expected to make around £800k.