Almost anything that happens in Paris carries a shimmering glow in my eyes, but something really special is happening today — February 3, 2022 — at Bonhams’ Les Grandes Marques du Monde à Paris auction.
A 1931 Invicta 41/2-Litre S-Type Low Chassis Sports — Lot 294 — is crossing the block in the Grand Palais.
Invictas are my favorite cars from the 1930s, mostly because I rode in one — it roared down the road and the scent of motor oil and blooming roses filled my nose — when I was a young boy.
I remember thinking that this car was far, far better than the one I saw in the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” movie.
In 2020, just before COVID exploded all over the world, I was standing in the Grand Palais with Paul Hardiman, who is now a Linkage writer. All the wonderful cars of Bonhams’ 2020 Les Grandes Marques du Monde à Paris Auction were all around us, but I was entranced as Paul went over to an Invicta that was on offer — and showed me all the features that made it so special.
It’s always fun to see a good friend in Paris, and getting to learn so much about the car was a ton of fun.
The low-slung chassis — unusual for its day — and the mighty, torque-rich engine really stood out. The car was in the sublime worn-yet-cared-for state that Paul loves so much.
“It’s just a lovely car,” Paul said. “Owners gave them names.”
The one on sale on February 3 looks lovely as well. It’s one of 77 built, so it’s a rare car. It carried a pre-sale estimate of $1.2 million to $1.6 million, but I would not be surprised to see it sell for more.
The current collector-car market is just that hot right now.
But this car should never be a pampered collectible. This one has spent its life on the road, and I hope the new owner will regularly fire up that 6-cylinder engine. This car belongs on the narrow, twisty country roads of England and France, making wonderful noises and leaving a scent trail of oil and hot metal.
This car’s name is “Sentinal.”
Road Art Primed to Set Records
Bonhams Rebrands Motoring Department
American Muscle and Classics Claim All Top Ten Slots at $113m Mecum Indy Auction