Seekers of the unusual, which is yours truly as I can't afford to buy any of this stuff anyway, should be delighted with the offerings at Bonham's Paris auction on February 07. The event is called "Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais." That's French for "The Great Marques of the World at the Grand Palais." The Grand Palais is certainly a palatial location; it's an historic Beaux-Arts exhibition structure located on the Champs-Élysées.
The offerings include more than 600 lots, among them hood ornaments, books, posters, cars and motorcycles. Many of the cars are French, of course, creating an opportunity for international buyers to bring back something truly unique. The 1922 Amilcar Type 4C Skiff in our feature photo is a superb example, with its body clearly inspired by powerboats of the period, as were the boattail examples of the 1930s, Auburn in particular.
And now for something really different, folks. It's an aircraft... but not just any aircraft. This exquisite deHavilland Gypsy Moth is the very plane that Robert Redford (or at least his stand-in) flew in the 1985 movie Out of Africa. If you've never seen the film you should. Not only did it win seven Academy Awards but the flying sequences were among the best I've ever had the pleasure of watching. Flying high and fast in a jet may be fun but flying low and slow in an open aircraft is a romantic adventure.
As a Canadian I suppose I should be aware of all the cars that were named after my home country but the only one I knew of until now was a Volvo. In 1963 the company opened an assembly plant in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to build cars for the North American market from factory kits. The 122S sedans were called Amazon in Europe and Volvo Canadians here. I've no idea how or why the 1948 Peugeot 202 came to be called Canadienne, or why the French spelling was used. On the other hand, the French like to do things their own way, which probably explains why Peugeot wouldn't name it a Peugeot Woodie. Only 3,000 1948 Peugeot 202 Canadiennes were produced, making this one a rare find.
Your visit to the Bonhams auction should tie in nicely with the Salon Retromobile at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, February 6-10. The world's largest indoor classic car show, Retromobile is one of those "must see in my lifetime" events. I'm still hoping and if I make it I'll meet you for coffee on the Champs-Élysées.