It takes quite a vehicle to make Pierre Novikoff, the deputy director of Artcurial Motorcars, do a double-take. So what happened when he came across 60 collectors’ automobiles in 2014, dating from the early days of the motorcar through to the 1970s? “I will never forget the first time Matthieu Lamoure (Artcurial Motorcars’ managing director) and I set eyes on the Baillon Collection in the west of France,” he recalls. “Barnfind discoveries are always exciting, but this really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“An extraordinary collection of cars had been tucked away, untouched for close to half a century, and included both rare and highly valuable models. We photographed the cars in situ – it was a magical sight – and the story of this collection captured the public’s imagination around the world. The number and variety of special models in the collection was breathtaking, and even included a Saoutchik-bodied car that no-one knew existed!” Such are the perks and privileges of being part of Artcurial Motorcars’ team of specialists, who continue to uncover and assess rare and important jewels of the automobile world.
This year alone has seen Artcurial successfully sell a 1965 Dino Berlinetta Speciale par Pininfarina for a mighty €4.9 million (US$5.8 million), while a 1948 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa par Scaglietti went under the hammer for nearly €3 million (US$3.5 million). It seems the appetite of the global car-collecting community remains voracious, suggesting that bidders are hungry for more. (For the record, the Baillon Collection went on to bring in a total of over €25 million (US$29.5 million) in early 2015, with a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider going for a record-breaking €16.3 million (US$19.2 million) – the highest bid in Artcurial’s history.)
Even if your automobiles haven’t been hiding in garages and under corrugated iron shelters for the past 50 years, it’s worth approaching a reputable auction house if you feel you’d like to see your motorcar – say, the pride and joy of your classic car collection – up on the auction block. But what distinguishes a star car as an acquisition worth raising the paddle for? And should you tinker with the original gearbox if it sounds like it’s struggling? Novikoff gives his expert take on what makes bidders’ engines rev: