French automobile couture at Osenat in Fontainebleau
Not only was Parisian fashion once considered the ultimate in beauty and elegance, but so were French automobiles. Once glorious but now almost forgotten brands such as Delage, Delahaye and Talbot — as well as Citroën, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year — produced many ground-breaking new models in the pre-war years. A look at the latestOsenat cataloguereveals the splendour of this bygone era once again, fromGardener's turn-of-the-century “carriages”andAmilcarandBallot's amazingly modern examples from the 1920s to the big icons, such as theTalbot Lago T120 Baby Sportand the Delahaye 125 M as either coupé or cabriolet, wearing bodywork byChapron,DubosandLabourdette. The diverse, if only short, flowering of the French automotive industry in the post-war period is also represented by such examples as a wonderfulSimca 8 Sport, aPanhard Dyna Z1, aSalmson Coupéand (a bit more bizarre) aMochet CM-125.
But that's not all! After the tutorial in French car culture, Osenat takes us through the many decades of international automotive history. The 1960s are represented by aFiat 600 Multipla, aBentley S3and aFord Thunderbird, whilst the diversity of the 1970s is represented by anAlfa Romeo Montreal, aLand Rover Lightweightand aPontiac Firebird. From the 1980s, the spectrum ranges from aBMW AC Schnitzer S5to aFerrari Testarossa. And if you like it more modern, you can also raise your paddle for aPorsche 964 Carrera 4 30th Anniversarymodel or aJaguar XK8from the late 1990s. All 72 lots of the Osenat’s Fontainebleau auction on 23 March can be found in theClassic Driver Market.