Cars from a “hidden” car collection from Italy, discovered in 2019 by a couple of French car lovers, will be auctioned near Paris on December 12.
Most of the 33 cars from the 70 car collection up for sale are Italian, but there are also French and even British models – with the unifying feature being flowing body work.
Called Anna-Lisa, after Anne-Lise Duvarry who with her husband Patrick bought the collection from an elderly Italian, the collection has also been given the modest sub-title Art on Wheels.
Anne-Lise, who comes from a family with Italian heritage, was called Anna Lisa by her grandfather, who also loved cars, which his how the name came about.
A tribute to the owner
On a website dedicated to the collection Anne-Lise Duvarry wrote, when they first saw the collection which had been under wraps for 30 years: “For us there was an urgent need to save this forgotten heritage and let it relive. By buying this remarkable collection I was able to make real a life of researching, and having a passion for art.
“Making this collection live again is also a way of paying homage to the man who patiently collected it several decades earlier.”
Gautier Rossignol, who is responsible for the auction at the Aguttes auction house in the upmarket Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, told The Connexion he had seen lots of collections in his time, and this one was “truly exceptional.”
“There is a coherence to the collection, characterised by a love of beautiful bodywork and just lovely cars which is very special,” he said.
“The Duvarrys who are in their 70s have decided to sell these cars from the collection as they feel that they belong with people who will be able to look after them properly.”
Meticulously preserved and maintained cars
Some of the cars have been fully restored, others still need work done on them to get them roadworthy again.
“They were kept in good conditions in Italy, out of the sun, and work was either completed to a good standard on restoring them, or maintaining them in a roadworthy condition if they were running when bought,” said Mr Rossignol.
“There are only a few which will have to be winched on to a trailer.”
When the Duvarrys bought the collection for an undisclosed price, it had not been seen in public for 30 years.
Estimates in the catalogue, (which is available as a high definition download from the Aguttes site) vary from €4,000 - €6,000 for a 1933 Peugeot 201 B to €800,000 - €1.2million for a Alfa Romeo, Giulia Turbolare Zagato from 1965.
British cars from the Anna-Lisa collection which are up for sale include 1939 Bentley 4L Continental Saloon with an estimated sale price of €30,000 to €40,000, a 1965 Jaguar S Type with an estimate of €12,000 to €18,000, a 1922 Rolls Royce Twenty Berline with an estimate of €20,000 to €30,000 and a Triumph TR 2000 with an estimate of €20,000 to €30,000.
Another car in the auction is a fully restored Ferrari BB 521i, which used to belong to Jean-Paul Belmondo, between 1986 and 2002. As well as having documents from the time the film star owned it, it has his signature on the driver’s side ashtray.
Estimates for the 1982 model car are €350,000 - €450,000. The BB part of the car’s name is officially from Ferrari calling it a Berlinetta Boxer – even though the car is not a berlin and does not have a boxer engine.
Unofficially the legend is that when the designers saw it as a real model, they were so struck by its beauty they compared it to the French film star Brigitte Bardot, and the name stuck.