The other side of auctions

Cliff Goodall’s view

  • 09 December 2021
  • 3 min read
  • 8 images
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Artcurial, which had never organized an online sale even in the midst of the pandemic, decided to offer the Collection of Richard Romagny, an entrepreneur with a past from the Dakar Rally, with this format: from 4th to 22nd November, giving plenty of time for the offers to come in.

Grafico-1-1536x1536Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation

The real peculiarity, and something I found especially fascinating, were the cars. Among the 90 lots on offer (of which 89 sold, an incredible 98.89%!) there were all the cars you could have met on any given street in any French city from the 70s to the 90s: Citroen AX and BX, Peugeot 304 and 405, Renault 5 (beware! The 5-door models and not the very rare Turbo variants) and Megane... the very same models your neighbours or friends drove.

It is no coincidence that with such a large number of cars, the original estimate was somewhat low: €1,544,000 ($1,743,986) with final takings of €1,979,413 ($2,241,032), which works out as 28.20% more, and €22.241 ($25,180) per car on average.

2-behind-the-results-1536x1536Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation

While those who bought at the auction did so with an open heart and a healthy dose of nostalgia, Richard Romagny also followed his feelings while creating his collection. The love for the Citroen CX was clearly on show as now fewer than 12 were put up for sale at the auction, including his favourite: one painted in the extremely rare “Mandarine” colour, a very extravagant shade for a flagship model. Today, finding one in perfect condition is almost impossible. The estimate of €40,000-€60,000 might have seemed excessive but the uniqueness brought in numerous offers all the way up to €37,200 ($42,190). Without exaggerating, that was still a record for the model.

3-1978-Citroën-CX-2400-GTI-1536x10241978 Citroën CX 2400 GTI sold for €37,200 ($42,190)

Among the many on offer, two cars jolted my memory: the Peugeot 504 Ti from 1978 that chased James Bond in his Citroen 2CV in the film “For your Eyes Only”. In the late 70s and early 80s, these were common saloons in France, but who has seen one of late? The estimate of €12,000-€18,000 was spot on: €17,360 ($19,690).

4-1978-Peugeot-504-Ti-1536x10241978 Peugeot 504 Ti sold for €17,360 ($19,690)

Another star of the screen, only this time in Ronin. The grey Peugeot 605 in a chase driven by the bad guys. Probably a 3.0 V6, like the one offered at auction. This was not just any example, however: it had travelled just 3.370 km from new and, as you can easily imagine, it was in as-new condition. Offers stopped at €14,880 ($16,875) though, below its estimate.

5-1991-Peugeot-605-SV-3.0L-1536x10241991 Peugeot 605 SV 3.0L sold for €14,880 ($16,875)

And then there were the Renaults: my choice fell on a 30 from 1979. Among the hundreds of auctions that I have in various ways followed (presence, online, analysis), I think this is the first 30 that I have seen – for comparison I have seen 3 Ferrari 250 GTOs and 8 McLaren F1s – although this weas a top-of-the-range TS with the V6 PRV engine under the hood and automatic transmission. Listed at €12,000-€18,000, it changed hands for €17,360 ($19,690).

6-1979-Renault-30-TS-Automatique-1536x10241979 Renault 30 TS Automatique sold for €17,360 ($19,690)

Beyond the many curiosities and wonderful memories, some cars amazed with their financial performance.

The Renault 4 GTL from 1988, for example. A few days before the celebrations for its sixtieth anniversary, one celebrated at a French auction “that couldn’t have been more French” by setting a new record among the many from its career: the highest price ever reached by this model. White with blue interior, 35,900 km on the clock, estimated €8,000-€12,000, it went for €29,760 ($33,753). Magnificent.

7-1988-Renault-R4-GTL-1536x10241988 Renault R4 GTL sold for €29,760 ($33,753)

Even a Citroen BX kicked up a storm. Not just any model but a 4x4 16S (soupapes = valves) which, at the time developed over 160 hp, of 1992 with 36,315 km on the clock from new. Excluding the Group B 4TC – which we saw at another auction at Artcurial****recently – the best examples of this model go for around the €10,000 mark, but when the hammer fell, the €47,120 ($53,442) paid for this particular model transformed it into a rare case indeed: it tripled the price of the previous great sale.

Before concluding, however, I feel obliged to advise you to look at all the lots of this sale: anyone who lived in Europe in that period will find a piece of his or her life among the cars on offer.

8-1992-Citroën-BX-16S-1536x10241992 Citroën BX 16S sold for €47,120 ($53,442)