The press breakfast invitation issued by Bonhams prior to their 'Collectors' Motor Cars, Motorcycles and Automobilia' sale coolly states that it is "highly anticipated"; reading the roster of classic cars up for auction, one would be tempted to think that this was an understatement.
The sale will be conducted on February 5, in the startling environs of the Grand Palais, on the Champs-Elysées, Paris. Bonhams are, of course, one of the leading auctioneers in the world when it comes to classic cars, and this sale will no doubt draw a wide range of collectors and alternative investors from across the globe.
Lot 346 leads the way - an elegant and perfectly preserved 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Spyder. Designed by Vittorio Jano with a body built by Zagato, the car was driven by Italian politician, activist and amateur driver Luigi Scarfiotti in the 1930 Mille Miglia as part of the Scuderia Ferrari team.
Thus, this remarkable vehicle was one of the first cars to race under the famous 'prancing horse' banner of Ferrari, a highly significant point in the modern history of classic cars. As such, this collectors' car is likely to sell for between €800,000-1.25m - a mighty investment and a potent symbol of the lasting value of the Alfa Romeo.
Another highlight included in the sale is a 1933 Bugatti Grand Prix Type 51, formerly owned by Fitzroy John Somerset - better known as Lord Raglan. Raglan, described by the Guardian as 'the Pope' of the Bugatti 'religion', was a voracious collector of the French marque.
His dedication to Bugatti ownership even extended to the effective transformation of his manor house into a shrine to the manufacturer. This particular car was a favourite of Lord Raglan's; he raced it in various locations around the world for nearly 30 years.
It is listed by the Bugatti Owner's Club as chassis number '51153'; one of only two known to exist today. Lord Raglan's Type 51 is a genuine example of the love of a collector for his car - for a new investor, the vehicle is expected to cost €600,000-800,000.
Finally, a noteworthy celebrity lot is John Lennon's blue 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Coupe, which we first wrote about here. The late Beatle passed his driving test at the height of his fame - 1965. In the wake of this announcement, local car dealers rushed to his home to parade cars he could purchase. After inspecting the veritable feast of automobiles, Lennon selected this pristine Ferrari, buying it for £2,000.
He sold it later the same year, no doubt because of his limited opportunities to drive. However, in what would have been his 70th year, this beautiful relic from the time of Beatlemania could be a fine investment for a fan of both Ferrari and the Fab Four. It is estimated to sell for €120,000-170,000. Since both Ferraris and Mr Lennon are highly collectible, the price may be driven beyond that . . .