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7 Stunning Pre-War Motorcars to be Auctioned in RM Sotheby’s Retromobile Sale

7 Stunning Pre-War Motorcars to be Auctioned in RM Sotheby’s Retromobile Sale

Seven stunning pre-war motorcars are due to feature in RM Sotheby’s first auction of 2018 that will be hosted in the historic Place Vauban in Paris as part of the city’s Retromobile event on Wednesday 7th February. 


In the auction’s pre-war assortment, the earliest and most valuable offering is a nimble 1925 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix, finished in the French national racing colour of blue.  Comprehensively restored after being found in a UK scrapyard in the late 1980’s, this Type 35 possesses a great deal of patina which is evident within the engine bay, across the metal dashboard and upon exterior features such as the leather straps that hold the spare wheel in place.  This Type 35’s wooden steering wheel has passed through a few famous hands including those of its first owner Lord Cholmondeley as well as Lady Dorothy Campbell, wife of speed legend Sir Malcolm Campbell, who placed the fourth with the Bugatti in the Junior Short Handicap at a Brooklands meeting in April 1927.


Eye-catching colour and superior comfort comes courtesy of a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom Tourer that boasts coachwork by Barker of London in addition to an original engine and chassis, a polished aluminium bonnet and apple green leather upholstery.  Originally used as a Rolls-Royce factory test car up until 1930, this striking Phantom travelled to Kenya where it is said to have chauffeured Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh during a visit to the city of Mombasa.  After several decades of residence in San Francisco, the Phantom was then painstakingly restored to original specification which soon resulted in the vehicle being awarded the Lucuis Beebe Trophy at the 1999 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Unusually the Rolls-Royce won this award despite two blanked-out holes in the radiator shutters. These had previously allowed a padlock to be fitted, which connected the two centre louvers covering the radiator and effectively acted as a ‘Mombasa anti-theft device’, for the Phantom would overheat within a mile or two if it were stolen!


Meanwhile, priced at a fraction of the estimates given for the Type 35 and Rolls-Royce Phantom, but not to be over-looked thanks to its bespoke body, is a 1937 Chevrolet Master Cabriolet.  This pre-war Chevrolet may have an American badge upon its bonnet but the styling is very much biased to Continental taste.  The one-off body, complete with a luggage compartment attached to the rear and side lamps on the front wings, was fashioned by Carrosserie Charles Duval who was well known for producing bodies for the Amilcar chassis. 



Finally, four pre-war cars from Mercedes-Benz combine to make an impressive portfolio of 1930s motoring style.  These include a long wheelbase 1936 290 Carbriolet B with its large ‘suicide doors’ and a bright red interior, a 1938 320 Cabriolet D also with a long wheelbase and a steeply angled windshield, a rare 1933 200 Lang Cabriolet B which has benefitted from a comprehensive restoration in Germany while a 1937 290 Cabriolet A, rebodied by Jahn Bahr Karosserie in 2004 and finished in a bold black and red paint, completes the collection.

Words by Gillian Carmoodie. Photographs courtesy of RM Sotheby`s.


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