RM Sotheby’s Paris 2023

Wednesday, 1 February

Lots: 0

Paris, France

Goodbye, Scottsdale. Hello, Paris. Just as we put the January auctions behind us, we’re already on top of the three major auctions held alongside Rétromobile, France’s massive classic car show and convention held each February. Last week we covered an ancient, awesome 1911 Simplex that was the talk of Arizona, this week we’re highlighting a car from the Paris events that’s 110 years newer. It’s brand new, in fact, and it’s now the most expensive brand-new car ever sold at auction. Sold by RM Sotheby’s at its new venue in Louvre Palace, the one-off Bugatti Chiron Profilée went for €9,792,500 (about $10.6M). And you thought new pickups were getting expensive.

RM Sotheby’s

This was Paris’ biggest sale, but we didn’t expect it to be. The most anticipated car of the week by far was Artcurial’s one-of-32 Ferrari 250 LM. Enthusiasts and collectors couldn’t wait to see how it would fare, partly because we hadn’t seen a 250 LM at auction since 2015, when one brought $17.6M in Monterey, and partly because it would have been an interesting market case study. One one hand, it had no race history (normally a negative for historic racers), but on the other hand it was remarkably well-preserved (usually a big positive for historic racers). Alas, after slow going in the room, the mid-engined masterpiece rolled off the stage as it failed to meet reserve. Its €20M high bid supposedly came from a phone bidder, but wasn’t enough and the room filled with murmurs as the 250 LM was whisked away. Rarely does an eight-figure car auction seem so quick and quiet. Oh, well. On to the Bugatti.

Since the 2000, the Alsatian carmaker has deftly spun off numerous special editions of its already ultra-exclusive 16-cylinder, quad-turbo hypercars. The Profilée is itself based the Chiron Pur Sport, but with revised aerodynamics, handling improvements, and shorter gearing to make it the fastest accelerating of its kind. The 0-100 km/h sprint supposedly takes just 2.3 seconds and top speed is limited electronically to 380 km/h (236 mph). Finished in a wonderful combination of a silver “Argent Atlantique” color over a blue-tinted bare carbon fiber lower section, it also has a woven leather finish on the console and around the dash and door panels.

Bugatti intended to produce a limited run of Profilée Chirons, but with the rest of the Chiron’s 500-car build run sold out quicker than expected, Bugatti canceled the project. It finished this sole example and had it approved for use on European roads. Technically, this was also the last car sold with Bugatti’s famous W-16, the engine that first set performance benchmarks with the Veyron way back in 2005.

RM Sotheby’s expected someone would pony up €4.2M – €5.5M for the privilege, but after intense bidding between the room, online, and by telephone, the final number landed at double that. Hold on a second, though, as that’s not the final price. Remember that this is technically still a new car, and one that’s being sold in Europe, no less. That means a little thing called VAT (Value Added Tax) got added, bringing the total to €11.64M (about $12.6M). Sounds rough, but then again when you have this kind of coin to spend on an exotic car you’ll barely ever drive, what’s another couple million?

RM Sotheby’s
by Andrew Newton
4 February 2023
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  • Glenn Hargrove says:

    It would be good if you put translations for all the numbers instead of a few. Think about who your largest audience is.

  • Mark Mumford says:

    I know that the market determines what a car (or anything) is worth. But don’t people with this kind of money have any humility? I paid $10M . . . I paid $20M . . . I paid $50M. . . . A fool and his money . . . .

    • Nielen says:

      These cars are bought and then stored. What is the pleasure in that? To be able to say you have one? To show how much money you have? To make a profit on a resale? No gearheads here.

    • Rob says:

      I’ll let anyone and everyone call me a fool if I could buy a car like this! I reckon Mr. Mumford’s reply smacks of JEALOSY.!

  • Gordon says:

    I love the comment, “handling improvements”; does this mean you can buy one that doesn’t handle all that good for only $10M!

  • EJ says:

    The endless money printing has definitely benefited some. Inflation? What inflation?

  • Gary Bechtold says:

    Interesting car that will be stashed away for future sale. It will not see much action in it’s life.

  • Duroc says:

    Obviously the afore commenters as I,can not afford to run in these circles. It’s a place we can’t go and don’t belong. Much like a fine watch, say Adamars Piguet Royal Oak for nearly $300,000.00 when a Timex probably keeps better time.

  • michael zimmerman says:

    Hey all, it kind of makes me sad that some of the posters here are, quite simply, jealous. Not all, but some. I for one love the car, no one knows who bought it and “maybe” they are “gearheads”. Albeit with money. So what? I am sure they are proud of it or they would not have bought it. Ego? We all have one right?

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