Skip to content

Artcurial serves up the heat at St Tropez sale in south of France

Words: Nathan Chadwick | Photography: Artcurial

Mercedes-Benz is ‘in’ at the moment. This was always going to be the case, thanks to the 300 SL’s 70th anniversary this year, but the steady growth in interest in pre-merger AMG Mercedes-Benz as first discussed here has blossomed to the point where Bonhams is running a two-stage online auction, and Artcurial is bringing a wide selection of Affalterbach-fettled machinery to its sale in the south of France.

The latter auction is taking place at the Golf Club St Tropez on June 29, 2024, with 37 cars up for grabs, ranging from auction stalwarts to the fascinating oddities that Artcurial seems to excel in drawing out. The leading car in the sale is Porsche 918 Spyder no. 582, a Basalt Black car that’s never been seen on the market before. It’s estimated at €1.25m to €1.5m. However, it is another Stuttgart brand that dominates the sale – Mercedes-Benz – with a wide selection of AMG models from the pre- and post-merger days.

It is the above 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster that leads the Three-Pointed Star selection in terms of pre-sale estimate. Originally sold to Cuba with the rare factory hard-top, it later called the US home before being moved to France in 2006. Artcurial states: “The engine has its original matching numbers (198.9808500317), but it seems to have been re-stamped on the engine block at an unknown date; we therefore cannot confirm if this is the one fitted to the original car.” However, the car comes with receipts for extensive restoration work from the likes of Kienle, HK Engineering and Mathieu Woerle: Alte Stern Manufactur, as well as Mercedes-Benz itself. It’s estimated at between €800k and €1.1m.

We’ve previously reported on the way-above-estimate results for the Mercedes-McLaren SLR at Bonhams’ sales over the past year. Those sales are largely focused on the ultra-limited-production-number Crown editions, which used the 722 special edition as their basis. Here we have one of those SLR 722 models, a 2006 example originally delivered to the UK. One of 150 built, the 722 was crafted to celebrate the victory (and start time) of Stirling Moss in the 1955 Mille Miglia, driving a 300 SLR.

The 722 model saw upgrades to its external design, as well as more power and torque (641bhp/605lb ft vs the standard car’s 617bhp/575lb ft), stiffer dampers, lower ride height and 19in light-alloy wheels. This particular car, which has been in the hands of a German enthusiast since 2015, was overhauled in 2017 and then received a service more recently. It’s estimated at between €450k and €650k. Will the thirst for SLR Crown Editions be reflected in the 722?

Other post-merger AMG highlights include a 2006 CLK DTM AMG Cabriolet (est: €500k-€700k), a 2021 G63 AMG Brabus 800 (est: €320k-€380k), a normal 2007 SLR McLaren Roadster (est: €260k-€320k), a 2015 SL63 World Championship Hamilton Edition (est: €200k-€300k), a 2005 SLR McLaren (est: €240k-€280k) and a 2014 SLS AMG GT Roadster (est: €180k-€220k).

However, it is the pre-merger AMGs that are currently lighting up social media among a younger demographic – and a brace of AMG-fettled R129 SLs lead the line at Artcurial’s sale. By far the most exclusive is this 1997 SL70, one of only a handful built and largely for the Japanese market. Based on the V12 SL600, the SL70 modifications saw the engine bored out to 7.0 litres, but it appears as if this particular example is fitted with the 7.2-litre motor from the SL72, the vendor having checked its engine number with Mercedes-Benz Geneva. It’s estimated at €150k-€200k.

Other pre-merger AMG highlights include a 1995 E60 W124, one of 12 built by the factory rather than converted later (est: €120k-€180k), a 1996 SL60 (est: €80k-€120k at no reserve) and a 1996 SL600 AMG (est: €80k-€120k).

There’s more to this sale than Mercedes-Benz, with this 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 offering a distinctive ownership history. Originally sold to Formula 1 and endurance-racing driver Giancarlo Gagliardi, it would later spend some time in the US, before being taken back to its original homeland in 2005. The current owner has had the car since 2007; he had it fully restored byCarrozzeria Bacchelli & Villa, and finished in Blu Sera Metallizzato. In 2009, chassis 15231 achieved Ferrari Classiche certification. It’s estimated at between €600k and €800k.

Other Enzo-era Ferrari highlights include a 1967 330 GTC (est: €450k-€550k), a 1964 330 GT 2+2 Series I in barn-find condition and on sale for the first time in 56 years (est: €120k-€160k, no reserve), a 1962 250 GTE 2+2 Series II (est: €400k-€500k) and a 1972 Dino 246 GT, one of 52 finished in Blu Chiaro Metallizzato (est: €270k-€330k).

Of the post-Enzo era Ferraris, this 1996 550 Maranello is arguably the most interesting, courtesy of its first custodian – one Michael Schumacher. However, it also played an important role in announcing the 550 to the world – it’s one of ten cars supplied to the Ferrari Racing Days held at the Nürburgring between June 19 and 21, 1996 (you can see a video here). On those days it was driven by Massimiliano Papis, F1 driver turned Ferrari test driver. In 2003, the car was sold to Japan (with a note from Michael Schumacher wishing the new owner well), where it was acquired by the current keeper several years later. It’s estimated at between €250k and €450k, and is offered at no reserve.

Other post-Enzo era Ferrari highlights include a 2003 360 Challenge Stradale (est: €180k-€240k), a 2014 458 Speciale Aperta (est: €700k-€800k) and a 2010 599 GTO (est: €800k-€1m). If you’ve a fondness for F1 memorabilia, there’s also a Schuberth Michael Schumacher replica helmet from 2004 (est: €2k-€3k), a 2002 Sabelt belt signed by Michael Schumacher (est €1k-€2k), a signed 2002 Rubens Barrichello racing suit from the Belgian Grand Prix (est: €2k-€3k) and a ex-Barrichello helmet used for testing in 2003 (est: €5k-€8k).

This 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ was first delivered to France, and it would sped the first 15 years in Corsica. Chassis 750100 would then move to the US in 1987, before joining the respective collections of Richard Crump and then Tom Mittler. Mittler set about a full-sale restoration, before selling the car in 2004. In 2007 it returned to Europe via Switzerland, eventually being bought by its current French owner. It’s been used in the Tour de France Auto, and starred in a French-edition Classic & Sports Car issue in a piece written by racing driver Jose Rosinski. It’s estimated at between €700k and €1m.

Other arresting Alfa Romeos include a 2008 8C Competizione (€160k-€220k), a 2012 8C Spider (€180k-€240k), a 2022 Giulia GTAm (€180k-€240k) and a 1961 Giulietta Spider (€50k-€70k).

This 1982 Lancia 037 Stradale comes from 23-year ownership, having covered less than 16,000km. It was sourced from a specialist in Italy’s Cuneo region, and the current owner has a collection of Group B machines; this car, chassis ZLA151AR000000061, had its engine rebuilt in 2023. It’s estimated at between €500k and €600k.

Other 1980s and 1990s cars of note include a trio of Porsche 911 Speedsters from 1989 to 1993, and our favourite oddball from the sale, a rare 1989 Renault Trafic 2.0 4×4 Sinpar used as a fire and civil protection vehicle in the Dolomites (est: €8k-€14k).

Keeping to Lancias, but from an entirely different age, this 1955 Lancia B24S Spider America is the very last one produced. Chassis B24S 1181 was first delivered to Lebanon, where it stayed until 1991. Pierre Desgand brought it to France, and kept it until 1998. It then joined the collection of Giovanni Sieni, who had the car restored by Bonfanti Garage and Cassola over seven years. Subject to an engine and transmission rebuild in 2023, it also comes with its original Fontana hard-top. It’s estimated at between €770k and €970k.

This 1974 Alpine A110 1600 SC is one of just 481 1600 SCs built using the R12 Gordon engine. Already a rare car, it’s even rarer in its hue of Rouge Corail. It was bought by Jacques Verrain in December in 1979, and with co-driver Dominique Thomas, used it to take part in the 1980 Monte Carlo Rally. That ended in retirement, and the car changed hands later that year. In 1981, it was entered into the Tour de Corse, but an off during reconnaissance ruled him out of the event. It wouldn’t race again until 2012, after a full restoration. It’s been with the current owner since 2012, and is estimated at between €90k and €130k.

This 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS Touring is described as unique; originally delivered to France, it was one of only 161 finished in Ivory white. It was later converted to G configuration, before being bought by the current owner in 1981. He entrusted it to Garage Meznarie for a major restoration to 1973 configuration, but with several improvements: the suspension was reinforced to 2.8 RSR specification and repainted black.

It was further lightened to M471 specification (shaving 95kg). In 1995 it was fitted with a 2.8-litre Meznarie engine with a new new magnesium crankcase and crankshaft, and a host of other modifications, yielding 240bhp. It also features an additional oil cooler, light-alloy suspension arms, large brakes with RSR four-piston calipers and a ‘Rally’ exhaust system, in line with FIA Group 3/4 rules. It’s estimated at between €250k and €350k.

For more information on the sale, head here.

Get Magneto Magazine straight from publication to your door with a subscription.

2 Year Subscription £94 1 Year Subscription £54