Two thirds of the 61 lots were sold at the "Weekend de l'Excellence Automobile" car auction in Reims at the weekend.

The top sale was €458,500 for a gorgeous, bright red 1968 Ferrari 330 GTS Spyder, with a four way telephone bidding battle sending the price soaring up from the €325,000-345,000 estimate.

Other bids were healthy if not spectacular: two Mercedes, a 540K Cabriolet C (pre-WWII) and a 300SL "Gullwing" Coupe (post-war), sold just short of their estimates at €354,000 and €345,200.

The gleaming black Type 18 Bugatti, which Ettore Bugatti himself had driven at the 1912 Le Mans race failed to sell, however.

The lower estimate had been €1.8m, and the bidding stopped short of there. The auction house say they are in talks with an interested party.

The auction performed well relative to the economic climate.

Nevertheless, the auctioneers have an idea that it might have performed even better if the British buyers hadn't been rendered cautious.

Sales taking place using Euros look expensive if you're using pound sterling at the moment, and in particular the Euro shifted up against the pound for two days just before the sale, which may have made some classic car enthusiasts hesitate before crossing the channel.

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