Last week, French auction house Osenat sold an incredible collection owned by the recently deceased Gerard Gombert who ran an auto repair shop in the south of France in the late 1960s-early 1970s. He became a Lotus and Alpine specialist, rapidly aquiring a local reputation. The Alpine team occasionally relied on his assistance when testing for the Monte Carlo rally.
As soon as the early 1980s, his property started to look like a scrapyard, as Gombert accumulated countless broken sports cars, engines, chassis and even bikes. All of these rusted in the open air, except for a handful of prestigious cars stored in a barn. The Frenchman retired towards the end of the 1990s and gradually wihdrew from society until he passed away a few months ago.
The Gombert collection that was auctioned off was comprised of nearly three hundred items, including posters, miscellaneous spare parts, gas pumps, bikes and cars. The centrepiece of the collection was undoubtedly the Alpine M65 that raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 1967 and 1969 and which won the performance index category in 1968 thanks to its tiny 110 bhp- one liter engine. The car was designed by Marcel Hubert, the man who would later create some of the Matras and Renault Alpines that won Le Mans, as well as a few Cougar/Courages. Only nine M65 were ever produced, eight of which still exist.
Gombert acquired the car in the early 1970s and drove it on public roads. The engine eventually broke down when he was headed to the Paul Ricard track. The car was returned to Gombert’s garage on a flat bed and remained in his barn for some forty years. When the auctioneers found the car, several engine and body parts were missing… but the original laurel crown for the winner remained! Bidding started at 80,000 euros, and the car eventually fetched a staggering 850,000 euros. Once restored, the car is expected to be worth over a million euros.
A rusty alpine A106 (one of the first ever Alpine models built in the late 1950s) also went for 15,000 euros, while a rare convertible Berlinette (A110) and a Renault 12 Gordini sold for 39,000 euros. Over a thousand people attended the event, and the auction gained a total revenue of 1.9 million euros.
All the items that were auctioned can be found here.
Photo Credit: Osenat