On 9th February, Le Grand Palais will be the striking backdrop to Grandes Marques au Grand Palais, Bonhams sale of fine collectors' motor cars, motorcycles and automobilia. Fittingly, several French marques will be represented at the auction with offerings from Bugatti, Citroën, Renault, Delage and Talbot Lago to name but a few.
1923 Bugatti Type 27 Brescia Torpedo
An iconic sports car of its era, even 94 years later this little Bugatti remains a delight to drive. Capable of speeds of up to 110km/h, it is little surprise that this example was used as in several hold-ups in the Bois de Boulogne area throughout the 1920s. Nimble and spritely, the Brescia was the ideal getaway car for disappearing without a trace in to the Paris traffic. Delivered new to Paris, this is one of the few Brescias to retain its original coachwork, likely the work of Lavocat et Marsaud. (£330,000 470,000)
1955 Renault 4CV 'Pie' Parisian Police Car
At the beginning of the 1950s, the Parisian police force abandoned the Citroën Traction Avant in favour of the specially modified Renault 4CV. Sporting a black and white exterior, they earned the nickname 'Pie' meaning magpie. Offered with documents confirming its delivery to the Paris police department in 1955, this example is one of only 15 production cars produced with the cutaway door windows which facilitated the easy use of firearms when necessary. The lot is accompanied by DVDs of the 16 films in which the car has starred, including The Pink Panther and Sois belle et tais-toi featuring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Henri Vidal and Alain Delon. This car represents a true slice of social and cinematic French history. (£25,000 30,000)
1983 Renault 5 Turbo Group B 'Tour de Corse'
One of only 20 works cars, the 1983 Renault 5 Turbo Group B Tour de Corse works rally car was a mid-engined homologation special built in very limited numbers for Group B rallying between 1979 and 1986. Essentially a two-seater supercar and with a top speed of 260km/h, the model made its rally debut in 1980 on the Tour de Course. There is known ownership history from new, and with the exception of the gearbox (which also accompanies the lot), all parts of this example are entirely original and combine to create a genuine Group B works rally car. (£180,000 260,000)
1964 Citroën DS 19 Décapotable
It is impossible to discuss French motor cars without including the eternally elegant DS. Bonhams is delighted to offer a 1964 Citroën DS 19 Décapotable, the rare and highly desirable soft top version of one of the most historically significant motor cars of all time. The DS introduced ground-breaking hydro-pneumatic suspension technology which is still used today, and for several years the vehicle was matchless in terms of driving comfort. Restored in 2008 by highly respected specialist Fabrizio Libera, this example is in excellent condition and remains one of the most eye-catching additions to any motoring gathering. (£150,000-180,000).
1958 Talbot-Lago T14 America Coupé
The last gasp of Talbot-Lago was certainly a pretty one... One of the very last cars to leave the Suresnes factory which closed in 1959- this Talbot-Lago T14 America Coupé is a pristine example of the beautifully proportioned design and efficient engineering which characterized this marque. With only circa 9,000 kilometres covered from new, this vehicle runs and drives superbly and is one of only some dozen models completed to this specification. (£390,000-480,000).
1930 Delage D8 Cabriolet
Popular amongst film stars and royalty such as King Gustav V of Sweden, The Delage D8 remains a truly head-turning vehicle. This model has been meticulously and sympathetically restored throughout its life, and is thought to have taken on its current form (restyling was a common occurrence at the time) in the 1930s. It had a full chassis and drive train rebuild, along with timber frame refurbishment. Equally suited to continental touring or the concours lawn, this is an opportunity to own a rare RHD version of a French design classic. (£300,000-390,000).