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Artcurial Le Mans Classic sale preview

Artcurial’s Le Mans Classic sale is being headed by a 1964 AC Cobra that made history at the race. The Cobra 289 racer will also be joined by several other former Le Mans competition cars among a sale of 112 cars, plus there is a sale of automobilia.

The Cobra is the only one of its kind to complete Le Mans as a privately entered machine, driven by AC’s French importer Andres Chardonnet and co-driver Régis Fraissinet. They finished 18th overall and the car went on to compete at Montlhéry. It was restored in 1985 and remains in excellent condition and ready to compete. It’s estimated at €1.3 to €1.7 million.

A more affordable way to gain entry to next Le Mans Classic race is with the 1959 PB Panhard HBR5 coupé, which is estimated at €120,000 to €160,000. This quirky French coupe competed in the 159 Le Mans, though it retired with clutch problems that year. It was back in 1960 to finish 19th and then again in 1961 to record 21st place overall. This car has also raced in the Tour de Belgique and 1000km de Paris, as well as various hillclimbs, and is being sold in restored condition.

More unusual French Le Mans history comes in the shape of the 1954 Tank Deutsch & Bonnet Renault HDR. Estimated at €180,000 to €280,000, this car in the 1954 24 Heures du Mans, but retired with a broken gearbox. The streamlined coupe body encloses a central driving position and mid-mounted Renault engine. It comes in excellent original condition and with FFVE papers.
For a non-French Le Mans entry, an Alvis TA 1.5-litre Le Mans is entered in the sale with an estimate of €275,000 to €310,000. It was a factory-entered car and finished ninth in the 1928 race. It has been sympathetically restored and comes with a selection of spares.

More modern British machinery is represented by two Aston Martin DBRS9 GT3 race cars, both finished in Russian national team colours. They are being sold following the liquidation of SARL LMP Motorsport and both come with an estimate of €80,000 to €120,000.

Other lots include a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 that was the only Daytona to be raced in period in Asia. It’s had a mechanical rebuild and comes in Group 4 specification with only 19,500km on the clock due to being used predominantly for racing. It’s estimated at €800,000 to €1 million

Most expensive non-competition car in Artcurial’s sale should be the 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300Sl Roadster estimated at €1.1 to €1.2 million. It comes complete with hard top and the original wooden packing case the roof was delivered in. There is also a set of fitted luggage cases. The car was restored in the 1980s with one of the last ever genuine replacement aluminium engine blocks from the factory. It also the second ever 300SL Roadster to be delivered with disc brakes and is described as being in wonderful condition.

By Al Suttie

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