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Retromobile Opens its Doors - Retromobile Review 2009

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Retromobile proves strength of classic car market

The 34th annual edition of the Retromobile opened on Friday February 6 in Paris. This year the popular Gallic show is held in Hall Seven at the sprawling Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles, and it runs until February 15.

 

This year’s show celebrates alternative energy vehicles and the electrically powered Jamais Contente of 1899 is on display, the first car to have exceeded 100km/h.

 

Citroen celebrates its 90th anniversary this year and the marque’s stand is notably French and colourful and includes an example of the first production Citroen, a 1919 Type A. Naturally competitor Peugeot has an equally impressive stand next door.

 

As usual, Retromobile is jammed with the unusual and exotic. Bugatti, Hispano Suiza, Delahaye and Lancia are displayed amid dealers and collectors selling their top quality wares. Prices are even higher this year because of the strong Euro but plenty of American and British are evident enjoying the proper three-course menu over the long and sociable lunch times.

 

The Bonhams auction on Saturday night was a great success with over €12 million worth of cars selling, up from last year’s €9.7 million. The star car, the ex-Earl Howe Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe sold for €3,417,500 including buyer’s premium and ‘Black Bess’ (1913 Bugatti Type 18 Sports two-seater) went for €2,427,500 including premium. A Citroen DS23 Chapron convertible sold for an astonishing €337,500 which all indicates the collector market remains strong in these uncertain times.

 

Numerous fabulous cars are on display at Retromobile including the ex-Billy Fiske 41/2 litre Blower Bentley on the Fisken of Kensington stand. But the car of the show must be the never-seen-before 1952 Mercedes-Benz Works Gullwing with operational roof mounted air brake on the Hall & Hall stand.

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