Bonhams, Grand Palais, Paris, France, February 6, 2014
Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
There are just a few particularly charismatic places to hold collector car auctions.
Worldwide’s auction in the Cord Front Drive L29 Assembly Building in Auburn is one.
Bonhams at the Grand Palais, site of the early Paris Auto Shows, is another.
It is impossible to be unaffected by the surroundings. I took my 12-year old granddaughter and covered her eyes as she entered so she got the full effect of the towering cast iron vaulted roof, acres of glass (even under dull February Paris skies) and well-worn stonework.
Bonhams presented many eras at the Grand Palais. All of them looked good. But none looked better than the elegant Voisins, Delages, Hispano-Suizas, Rolls-Royces and Citroens that traced their heritage to the grand époque that the Grand Palais represents.
Now, I’m a sucker for the charms of Paris, even, as happened this year, when all the taxis in France went on strike at 7AM Monday when we were going to the airport to come home. Our hotel (Hotel de Buci, which can’t get a higher recommendation than it earned for our trip this year) found a taxi willing to arrive at 6:30 and rush us to Charles de Gaulle before the strike deadline.
When asked why the taxis were striking our driver gave a Gallic shrug; he didn’t know. That’s the real France experience with the bonus of a rush through nearly abandoned early morning Paris streets driven by a pro.
A peripheral joy of an auction like Bonhams in Paris is the opportunity to see – and in my case document – cars that rarely if ever turn up in auctions on this side of the Atlantic. There are things here that are beyond rare in North America, but still recognized as important exemplars of marques and models.
Bonhams crammed a full day into their auction at the Grand Palais, offering 149 cars of which 105 were sold (70.5%) in addition to hours of motorcycles. With a sale total of $21,763,311 for cars alone it is a creditable result, but even more respectable for conducting a first class auction in a setting that is essentially without parallel in its elegance and history.
The atmosphere, the food, the setting, the landmarks: Paris is hard to beat. So is Bonhams Grand Palais auction.
Bonhams Paris Grand Palais 2014 – Auction Report