1931 Bentley 8 Litre auctions for $3m at Artcurial Paris

A magnificent 1931 Bentley 8 Litre has seen the top bids in Artcurial's Retromobile 2014 auction, held on February 7 in Paris.

An exceptional example with a number of accolades, the 8 Litre sold for $2.9m.

Bentley 8 Litre 1931
The 8 Litre was Bentley's attempt at becoming number one for British luxury motorcars

At the beginning of the 1930s, Bentley's forte was its competition cars, having achieved a number of victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, it could not compete with British rival Rolls-Royce for luxury - until the introduction of the 8 Litre.

Unveiled at the 1930 London Motor Show, the car is described as an "aesthetic masterpiece", with this example going on to win the Best Coachwork Award at the 1932 RAC Rally.

It has continuous ownership from new, and was awarded Best of Show at the 1999 Louis Vuitton Classic as well as second in class at the 2001 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

The 8 Litre is also something of a rarity, with only 100 models ever made due to the limited spending of the Great Depression.

Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8A
Paris showed a preference for early motorcars, moving away from the 1950s/1960s racers popular with the rest of the collector car market

Early motorcars were the preference in Paris, with a 1924 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8A cabriolet seeing the second highest bids at $1.7m. Consigned from the respected Albert Prost collection, it was originally owned by collector Yves Dalmier and is recorded in his book, Le roues de fortune.

The Tipo 8A displays all the extravagance of the era in which it was made, and was more expensive than the equally luxurious Duesenberg on its release. Made in Italy, many were shipped to the US in the 1920s, with Rudolph Valentino counted among its patrons.

The auction came amid a series of sales from the world's top auction houses, which were held to coincide with France's premier classic car event. Bonhams set a new record for a Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta at $3m, while RM Auctions featured the Harburg Collection of competition cars.

Racing memorabilia is the perfect complement to a classic car collection - check out our selection for sale.

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