Four British Land Speed Record cars were the centrepiece of the stylish Retromobile show in Paris, France, from February 7-16, 2003. These cars, all normally displayed at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, were Malcolm Campbell’s 1925 Sunbeam, the 1927 1000hp Sunbeam, the Golden Arrow and the 1964 Bluebird. The 28th running of the Porte de Versailles event also hosted the post-restoration debut of the 1924 Delage, the first ever V12-engined Grand Prix car. Formerly part of the late Bob Sutherland collection, this important machine returned to England in 2001 and was authentically restored by Sean Danaher’s team. With spectacular engine-turned bodywork it was unveiled on the Delage Owners’ Club stand.
With 300 exhibitors the show was compact but claimed to have attracted 100’000 visitors over the nine days. Swiss specialist Lukas Hüni displayed a gorgeous 1935 Delahaye 145 V12 with Chapron bodywork. On the same stand was a gunmetal grey 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series I with chassis number 0729 GT. The car belongs to a Swiss connoissour, has a red leather interior and is perfectly maintained. It was originally delivered to Oscar Olson in Detroit/MI who in 1959 sold it to J. Carter Hermann in Beverly Hills/CA. In August 1960 Hermann showed 0729 GT at the Beverly Hills Concours d’Elégance. It later was part of the Greg Garrison Collection before it was sold in 2000 through East Coast dealer Mark Tauber.
Christie’s auctioneers held their auction of about 50 cars at the event. Included was also the ex-Reza Rashidian-owned 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Tour de France Berlinetta, a very late example with open headlights. S/N 1333 GT was originally sold to Count Giovanni Volpi’s Scuderia Serenissima and raced extensively by Carlo Maria Abate of Torino. It won the GT class at the ADAC Nürburgring 1000 km race in 1960 with Abate and Colin Davis at the wheel. Price estimate was between € 1’000’000 and 1’200’000. This is a fabulous Gran Turismo machine, very well preserved and unrestored. It has had only three or four owners and was clearly one of the main attractions in Paris.
There is no doubt that Retromobile is the kick-off meeting for the new season and the number of important collectors, dealers, enthusiasts has increased dramatically. The first weekend of the show is always the best and is ideal for networking and meetings. This year, within only a few hours on the first public day, I ran into the following people: Brian Brunkhorst (US Alfa collector), Bruce A. Meyer (Beverly Hills Ferrari collector), Hartmut Ibing (German Alfa, Maserati and Ferrari collector), Ernst Schuster (German Ferrari and Porsche collector), Scott George (Curator Collier Collection), Junichiro Hiramatsu (Japanese Ferrari collector), Gregor Fisken (English dealer), Ted Walker (Ferret photo specialist), Christian Philippsen (Monaco-based dealer), Jacques Swaters (Garage Francorchamps), Alexis Callier (Belgian historian), Didier Moreau (Club Ferrari France), Jean-Louis Maitron (Secretary Club Ferrari France), Keith Bluemel (UK historian), Jean-Pierre Garçonnet (French historian), Patrick Peter (French event organizer), David Clark (investor and dealer in UK), Lukas Hüni (Swiss dealer), Carlo Voegele (Swiss collector), Mr. Temperle (big time Swiss Delahaye collector), René Wenger (Swiss restorer), Peter Heuberger (Swiss collector), Peter Sachs (US collector), Jean Sage (French collector), Patrice De Conto (French model car builder), Pierre Bardinon (French collector), Bart Rosman (Dutch Bugatti and Ferrari collector), Kazuhide Ueno (Japan), Ron Stern (UK Ferrari collector), Mike Horton (UK book specialist), Klaus Werner (German dealer), Urs Paul Ramseier (Villa d'Este Concours organizer), Simon Kidston (President Bonhams Europe SA), Philippe Lancksweert (Belgian dealer), Gregory Noblet (son of French Ferrari driver), Jess Pourret (French Ferrari historian), Doug Freedman (American Ferrari collector and former FCA president), Tony Singer (US memorabilia specialist), Flavien Marcais (French collector), Martin Eyears (US dealer), Richard Sutton (Goodwood Motorsport Director), Jay Felter (US broker), Egon Zweimüller (Austrian restorer), Steven Tillack (US restorer), Rudy Pas (Dutch dealer), Graham Gauld (UK historian), Patrick Van Schoote (Symbolic Motor Car Co.), Mario Aquati (Monza Automobile Library), Hilary A. Raab (US collector), Keith Martin (publisher of Sportscar Market Letter), Jean-Claude Bajol (French Ferrari collector), Oscar Davis (US collector), Roland Tubbessing (German collector). And there were many many more!
Fans of all forms of transport found the classic boat Retronautique a fascinating addition to a classic car show. And there was an autojumble, a model exhibition, car clubs and an art show. The French restorer Carrosserie Cointreau showed an painstakingly restored Ferrari Dino 246 GT on their stand. This lovely Coupé was painted Argento Auteuil (metallic silver grey) with a red leather interior. It was a late example and registered in the French region of Le Calvados. On the stand of the event organizer “100 Ferraris against Cancer” was a Ferrari 275 GTB longnose on display, a very nice yellow Scaglietti Berlinetta with black interior and serial number 08209. Christie’s auctioneers also offered a bronze metallic 400 Automatic, which had belonged to the late Dutch beer king Alfred Heineken. They had a red 246 Dino GTS available as well.
Classic Motor Action, a dealer from Belgium, showed a 250 GT Europa Coupé. Serial number 0419 GT was painted metallic silver grey with a red interior. It was displayed without front and rear bumpers. This was the 1956 Brussels Motor Show car, which was later hillclimbed by Olivier Gendebien. In the 1960s it was in Holland and then in the 1980s with Andrea Auletta in Italy. This significant historic Ferrari surely needs a good home.
For all Ferraristi the real superstar of the 2003 Retromobile, however, was to be found on the stand of Ferrari-Maserati France and Club Ferrari France. A genuine 1958 250 Testa Rossa with envelope body by Scaglietti, totally unrestored and with a serious patina. Chassis number 0704 TR is the second TR prototype after 0666 TR (owned by Jon Shirley). American Ferrari legend Phil Hill and English race ace Peter Collins used 0704 TR extensively and they won both the 1958 Buenos Aires 1000 kms and the Sebring 12 hours with it.
It's exceptional racing pedigree also included a 2nd place at the Nürburgring and 4th places in Venezuela and at the Targa Florio. Following the 1958 Le Mans race 0704 TR was sold by the factory to John Von Neumann in Hollywood. Richie Ginther and Josie Von Neumann then raced it in California. It then went to Jack B. Nethercutt and on to Dick Hahn and Art True. Following True’s death the car was donated in 1967 to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn/MI. It stayed there for about 30 years and was never restored. Peter Helck's son Jerry Helck traded the rare Locomobile Old #16 (Vanderbilt Cup Winner) to Manny Dragone, who has a sports car sales business in Bridgeport/CT. Dragone then traded the Locomobile for the 250 Testa Rossa and cash to the Ford Museum in Dearborn/MI, and sold the 250 TR to Abraham “Abba” Kogan, Monte Carlo. 0704 TR is still unrestored and a tatty old race car but it looks extremely good. It must be preserved exactly the way it is.
This outstanding time warp Ferrari was definitely the highlight in Paris. Retromobile always offers nice surprises!
© Marcel Massini 09/02/03
Click here to return to the Ferrari Happenings page.