Collectors go crazy for Citroëns. As the historic collection is downsized and moved, enthusiasts snap-up rarities. Words James Elliott.
The sale of 65 vehicles and almost 100 lots of automobilia from Citroën’s Paris Conservatoire resulted in a massive estimatebusting auction, when handled by online auctioneer Leclere on 10 December. The sale was prompted by the scheduled closure of the company’s 400-car collection housed in the old factory site at Aulnay-sous-Bois.
After the downsizing, some of the remaining vehicles will be rehomed to the refreshed L’Aventure Peugeot Citroën DS at Sochaux, while others will go into temporary storage. There were no especially big-ticket items – the best price achieved was €36,960 – but the majority of the cars exceeded their upper estimates. Top seller was the astonishing nine-seater Tubik utility concept, which caused a sensation at Frankfurt in 2011. The only other car to get past €30,000 was the late-model 2000 XM V6 Exclusive Phase 2 which, despite an estimate of €4000-6000, topped out at €33,600.
In fact, only four other lots even breached €20,000 and, remarkably, they were three Meharis and a FAF, and not even in especially good condition. Priciest of the quartet was a 1979 Mehari 4×4 that smashed its €6000- 10,000 estimate to make €28,000. Despite many lots exceeding their estimates, there were still good buys to be made, such as the 15,000km 1980 CX Pallas for €13,440.
The prices were all the more eyebrowraising because most of the vehicles sold require full restoration or, in many cases, road registration before they can be used. Oldest car sold was a 1924 Type C 5hp (€14,560) and the youngest a pair of 2014 Cactuses, a VTI 82 with just 7km on the clock (€14,560) and a 1.6 HDI (€11,760).
The wackier lots on offer included variants on the Berlingo theme, some of which came from the prolific bizarrist Franco Sbarro. His 1999 Flanerie six-seater show car made €10,640, while the V6-powered Grand Angle designed for photographers and film crews sold for €8960, and his 2000 take on a London taxi made €7840. The 2004 Geneva show Escapade Phase 2 concept raised €10,080, and a full-size cutaway Berlingo from the 1996 Paris show sold for €2800. There were also more concepts, prototypes and one-offs, such as the Jumpy-based ski resort special, the Atlante des Neiges, which sold for €17,920.
On the automobilia front a special 1992 Citroën edition of Hergé’s Tintin adventure The Blue Lotus was estimated at €30-60. That grossly underestimated its rarity, though. Limited to 1000 copies to celebrate the 60th anniversary of a Citroën expedition to Peking, this one sold for a whopping €784.
Five Octane faves
Three trolleys were sold, offering a rare opportunity to own original equipment from the old Javel and Asnières factory. Cheapest of the trio was €1120.
This 1930 C4 flat-bed with stiffened chassis was an accomplished load-lugger pre-war. It sold for €7840 against an estimate of €3000-6000.
An upper estimate of €4000 was more than tripled by the 1977 GSpecial Series 2. One of the best-presented cars on sale, it has covered only 2078km.
In need of recommissioning was a 1990 BX GTI 16S that took part in the 2.0-litre production championship in Spain.
Estimated at €15,000; sold for €17,920. Citroën’s effort to sell a Jeep-type vehicle to the French army resulted in a joint-assault with VW: this Iltis still has the German engine. It made €10,080.