18th February 2020

Rétromobile Paris, A Snapshot of a Global Marketplace

For five days in February, the eyes of the world’s classic car community turned to Paris as the world’s dealers, auction houses and aficionados all came together for five days of sales, networking and showboating. A motor show par excellence, Salon Rétromobile has just finished for 2020, and once again, it broke records.

With three of the world’s largest auction houses all holding major sales of classic cars at the same event, it is often considered a good barometer of the marketplace overall and if that is the case then 2020 shows a level of confidence returning, with a slew of good results having been achieved throughout the event.

The French auction house Artcurial broke a world record for achieving the highest price paid at auction for a pre-war car when the hammer came down on a 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta. For the impressive sum of 17 million euros, this sporting great changed hands and entered the history books.

Bonhams held its annual ‘Les Grands Marques du Monde’ (greatest marques in the world) sale where a more diverse selection of vehicles sold equally strongly, with the star lot of a 1931 Bugatti Type 55 Supersports selling for 4.6 million euros. RM Sotheby’s held an equally successful sale, where a 1964 Porsche 904 GTS broke its estimate, selling for 1.9 million euros.

Outside of the sale rooms, impressive displays of confidence were given by the multitude of international dealerships, many of whom continue to enter the good natured, informal, annual competition to see who can boast the most impressive stand. That accolade could have been awarded for this year’s event to the London based dealer, Fiskens. With a sizeable stand in the middle of the main hall, it wasn’t just the array of exotic classics that drew the eye, but also the vast backdrop to the display covered in the dealer’s own tartan livery.

With so many attendees over the five days, it was not just the very top of the market that was represented. Throughout the halls there was an increasingly strong presence of modern classics, which many remarked showed that for the new wave of collectors, it is the poster cars of the 1980s that are now finding favour with buyers. The Lancia Delta Integrale in particular featured heavily throughout in both road and rally specs.