|1952 Peugeot 203 Darl' Mat sedan
|less than 200
|Original List Price:
|Tune Up Cost:
|Chassis Number Location:
|On the firewall plate and on the lower right firewall
|Engine Number Location:
|Small brass plate on the left side of the engine
|Les Amis de Darl’Mat, 146 Blvd. Grenelle, 75015 Paris, France
|Simca 8 Sport cabriolet and coupe
The car shown here, properly called a 1952 Peugeot Darl’Mat Sedan, sold for a world record price of $22,410, including buyer’s premium, at the Barrett-Jackson Petersen Museum auction on June 16, 2001. This particular model is so obscure that it gives appraisers nightmares, and any price at which it sells is a new market price.
The car offered here was a “plain vanilla” four-door, with single Solex and Peugeot chassis plate, converted by Darl’Mat. I first drove and examined it in the mid-nineties. The owner was a charming gentleman named Stanley Tillis, who lived in Orange County, and had a brace of interesting pre- and postwar Peugeots. The car pictured here was his, it was the very first car that he restored and collected, and it was not for sale. The car drove as well as any 203 sedan that I have ever driven.
A year or so later, I called Mr. Tillis and inquired if the 203 might be for sale. Yes, he said, but not for a penny less than $35k. I concluded that he really did not want to sell the car, and after few social pleasantries, I rung off. That was the last time I talked to Mr. Tillis. A couple of years ago, I herd that he had passed away, and that one of his heirs was selling the collection. I was offered the 203 for $20k, and declined. At the beginning of this year, the 203 appeared at local auction with no reserve. A friendly and very brave dealer bought it in the $10k range.
At Barrett-Jackson/Petersen, I reacquainted myself with my old friend, this 203 Darl’Mat Sedan. I also saw my dealer acquaintance, who had bought it at the previous auction, and wished him luck. I was sure that the car would not sell, or at least would not bring more that $11k. The final price of $22,410 surprised all of us, and shows what can happen to even the most obscure of cars when an auction company brings two motivated bidders into the same room.
The new owner will be the hit of any Bastille Day car club meet, and won’t ever have to face the multi-thousand dollar mechanical repair bills that Ferrari owners seem to be so proud of (if they’re not, then why do we keep hearing about them?). While the price made was much more than I expected, it proved once again that an item, any item, on any given day, is worth exactly as much as two people (the high bidder and underbidder) want to pay for it.—Raymond Milo