Aguttes and Osenat. French-style Ratatouille.

  • 13 April 2024
  • 4 min read
  • 10 images
Aguttes and Osenat. French-style Ratatouille. image

Photo credit: Aguttes, Osenat

The world of French cars has always been special. The auctions are unsurprisingly the same way. Therefore, after last week's article about the British auction market, we spotlight the French market this week. On March 10, Aguttes offered 59 cars worth €4,210,000 in Paris. On March 25 Osenat, based in Fountainebleau, presented the same amount of cars (59), however, estimated at about half the value: €2,329,500.
Aguttes, Paris, 10th March 2024
Based on these numbers, their performances looked like photocopies: 41 cars sold by Aguttes (69.50 percent) and 45 by Osenat (76.27 percent) with a total revenue of €3,517,755 for Aguttes and just under half for Osenat (€1,701,310). Average prices were quite far apart: €85,799 for the Parisienne and €37,807 for the "City of Kings".
Osenat, Fontainebleau, 25th March 2024
Let's start with the "bungled" Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Zagato which is an interesting example in any case, regardless of whether it was Aguttes' top notch. In 1931 it was sold as a Gran Turismo Serie 5 but later converted in the 1970s in England through one of those typical "maneuvers" of the time: Shortening the chassis, changing the engine and adding the supercharger. In 1987 it even participated in the 1000 Miglia. Times, fortunately, have changed considerably since then. Originality now has a much higher value and it's doubtful that it would still be accepted at the 1000 Miglia. The valuation took this into account: 400,000-500,000 € which is a fraction of the value of a "real" 6C 1750. Congratulations to the Aguttes team that placed it at €465,300.

Aguttes and Osenat. French-style Ratatouille. - 1 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Zagato sold for €465,300 ($504,850)

This was not the only case in this auction. There was also a 1949 Delahaye 175S Roadster and a 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Corto Spider. The Delahaye had a shortened chassis to fit a different body, so it had been remodeled and around a decade ago further changed to a flamboyant, magnificent and one could say fancy body. The estimate was €150,000-200,000; it sold for €206,636.

Aguttes and Osenat. French-style Ratatouille. - 2 1949 Delahaye 175 S Roadster sold for €206,636 ($224,200)

It was even worse for the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, built from a blank sheet of material by Pur Sang, the wizard of replicas. The documents, in fact, list the chassis of an Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint. Sold within the estimate of €300,000-400,000 at €321,070.

Aguttes and Osenat. French-style Ratatouille. - 3 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Corto Spider Replica Pur Sang sold for €321,070 ($348,350)

It is common perception that these kind of cars completely lack the excitement and pride of real models that could perhaps even be of less value. If there was one car at Aguttes that actually had a history that increased its value, it was undoubtedly the 1979 Panther Lima. The 1970s brought classic cars back into fashion again, featuring cars that were admittedly modern but with styling that was inspired by classic cars. They were expensive and oftentimes highly customized. This model was purchased by Jean Paul Belmondo. A normal exemplar has a market value of € 10,000-20,000, while Belmondo's car (albeit with 32,500 km and hence in quite good shape) had an estimate of € 25,000-35,000, high but justified by the owner's name. The bids, however, came pouring in and in the end it was sold for € 48,100, probably 3 times the value of a unit without any history.

Aguttes and Osenat. French-style Ratatouille. - 4 1979 Panther Lima ex-Jean-Paul Belmondo sold for €48,100 ($52,200)

From a market point of view, the 2007 Ferrari F430 "Pilota" is very interesting. Here are its characteristics: 85,000 km, used as a demonstration car by Charles Pozzi (historic Ferrari dealer for France) and with manual transmission. The price for a model with F1 gearbox ranges from €75,000 to €130,000, in this condition it would probably be worth less than €100,000 but the manual gearbox is a nice plus: This unit carried an estimate of €150,000-200,000. The adjudication at € 173,260 shows that the auctioneer was correct. Ferraris of the small , late series with manual transmission, scattered among those with F1 gearboxes, are increasingly sought after. Keep an eye out for these: 599 GTB, 612 Scaglietti and California sometimes have this sought-after surprise.

Aguttes and Osenat. French-style Ratatouille. - 5 2007 Ferrari F430 Pilota sold for €173,260 ($188,000)

At the Osenat sale, a trio of French cars captured hearts.
One of the three was undoubtedly the top lot: A 1940 Delahaye 135MS Roadster Grand Luxe. Let's have a look at the bodywork first: Designed by Chapron it was the perfect example of the 1930s French "design" (when there was no such word yet). The story, however, was exceptional: 1940 was the year of France's occupation. So imagine the car was finished on February 28, 1940 and shipped in March for advertising purposes to the 1940 New York World's Fair, which ended in October 1940. By that time, however, France was occupied so it couldn't be returned to Europe and that was its salvation: It was sold to the United States. It eventually returned in 2005 to France where it was partially restored. The estimate of €300,000-500,000 (without reserve) was correct, rather low considering the car's history, but it ended up being auctioned off at €264,000.

Aguttes and Osenat. French-style Ratatouille. - 6 1940 Delahaye 135MS Roadster Grand Luxe sold for €264,000 ($286,500)

With a zero down, the 1970 Citroën SM, one of the earliest produced, still running on carburetors and painted in a very rare (and equally beautiful) Tropical Green, looked quite nice. In 2014 it was completely repainted and in 2022 the engine, HP pump, brakes and electrical system were replaced. The very modest estimate of €28,000-30,000 is around half of a regular MS. At € 30,600 it can certainly be considered a bargain.

Aguttes and Osenat. French-style Ratatouille. - 7 1970 Citroën SM sold for €30,600 ($33,200)

Let's remove another zero and move on to another interesting French car. A 1967 Renault 4 it was in the magnificent sky blue shade. Admittedly, in 1967 it no longer had the billet grille but a plastic version. It still had the lettering on the fender of the early series, though, and the embellishment on the front. This is one of those models that every collector would like to have.The estimate of €2,000-3,000 seemed more like a steal than a bargain. It is therefore no coincidence that there was a battle in the hall to get it. In the end the price jumped to € 7,920. Definitely well sold but considering the rarity also well bought.

Aguttes and Osenat. French-style Ratatouille. - 8 1967 Renault 4 sold for €7,920 ($8,600)