Wrecked Bugatti makes €260,500

The car spent more than 70 years sitting at the bottom of a Swiss lake. (SUPPLIED)

LONDON A wrecked 1920s Bugatti sold at a Paris auction last night for €260,500 (Dh1.35 million). Bidding was encouraged by the car's history: It had spent more than 70 years sitting at the bottom of a Swiss lake.

The 1925 Brescia Type-22 fetched a hammer price of €230,000. It total price with commission was about three times its minimum estimate of approximately €90,000. The roadster had been abandoned by its owner in 1936 and was pushed into Lake Maggiore by Swiss customs officials.

"The officials were left with a quandary," said James Knight, London-based auction house Bonhams's International Managing Director, before the sale. "They came up with a neat solution. The car, with French number plates, had accrued import duties that may have been higher than its value, and their non-payment required that it be destroyed," said Knight.

Yesterday's sale, on behalf of the divers' club who salvaged the Bugatti, was part of the Bonhams annual Retromobile event. This was the first major European test of demand for classic vehicles in 2010. Cars proved more resilient than other areas of the auction market during the economic slump, said dealers.

 

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