This stunning Alfa Romeo just sold for €17million!

In 1976 an enthusiast splashed out the equivalent of €10,000 and bought himself a very special old Alfa Romeo. The car, a rare 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta, stayed in the same family until last weekend when it became the auction superstar of the Retromobile show in Paris, selling for almost €17,000,000, or £14.9m.

Alfa 8Cs have long been the most coveted Alfas, as well as being among the most valuable pre-war cars. In our preview of the car’s sale – see our story here – we likened it to a 1930s McLaren Speedtail for its combination of beauty, race-bred speed and luxury.

Auction house Artcurial had thought this particular example might make as much as €22 million, but even at €17m it becomes the third most expensive pre-war car ever sold at auction, as well as representing a new high for all the Retromobile sales.

The car was originally delivered new to Italy in 1939 but was brought to the UK later that year where it had several owners. It was being sold by the Dutch car collector son of the man who bought it 43 years ago. A bidding battle for the car ended with a private collector from the US making the winning bid. Including the premium, the car sold for €16,745,600.

Artcurial’s sale, the biggest of the Retromobile auctions, raised a total of €42m, almost a third up on the previous year and kicking off 2019 collector car sales on an upbeat note. The second most valuable car in the sale, the only surviving Serenissima Spyder from 1966, sold for three times its presale estimate at €4.2m, a record for the rare Italian marque.

Three Serenissima cars had been entered in the auction by Count Volpi, the man who set up the marque and ran its racing team. The ’66 competition Spyder is the only surviving example of two built, and the only Serenissima ever to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The other car in Artcurial’s sale to sell for more than a million euros was a 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR Stirling Moss edition. It went for €2.6m and set a world record for an SLR.

Four barn find pre-war cars, three Bugattis and a Citroën, collectively sold for a million, while a record was set for the 1971 Porsche 916 prototype which sold for €953,600. A Group 4-spec de Tomaso Pantera was notable for selling at twice its estimate (at €202,000).

Highlights of what was billed as the world’s largest collection of helmets and F1 racewear were an Ayrton Senna race suit (which sold for five times its estimate at €97,000), and a helmet worn by Alain Prost, which went for €54,600.

At the Bonhams sale at the Grand Palais in Paris on 7th February the star of the auction was a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A, formerly owned by the King of Jordan. It sold for €1,581,250.

Other Bonhams highlights included a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing which sold for €1.2m and a 1950 Porsche 356 split-window ‘Four-Digit’ Coupé which sold for €805,000. Bentleys flew the flag for Britain with a 1928 Bentley 6½-Litre selling for €1,150,000 while a 1931 8-Litre Sports Tourer achieved €787,750.

Words by Bob Murray, photography by Tom Shaxson/Artcurial.

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