Profile: Automobiles Historiques

Flavien and Vanessa Marçais are both steeped in motorsport. Brought up around fine motor cars in families rooted in racing on either side of the English Channel, the duo bring huge experience and passion to the challenging and often difficult roles of organising and running events.

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Automobiles Historiques: Expect the Extraordinary

Client confidentiality, utmost discretion, specialist expertise, personal attention and ultimately trust are the proud professional hallmarks of Automobiles Historiques Limited. For 20 years principals Flavien and Vanessa Marçais have sourced, researched, bought and sold a plethora of the world’s finest cars.

Bildschirmfoto 2020 05 02 um 11.51.28The Anglo-French husband-and-wife team behind the growing business were both brought up in respected motoring families. Passion for motoring is in their blood. Embroiled in collecting, restoring and racing cars since childhood, Flavien and Vanessa can also draw upon a network of discreet contacts globally.

Successfully marketing extraordinary classic and competition cars demands an extremely high level of specialist knowledge. A specialist writer and historian, Flavien’s encyclopaedic memory for detail is underpinned by an exceptional automotive library and world-class photographic archive, uniquely in-house.

This notably includes the collection of Flavien’s Late grandfather Serge Pozzoli, Christian Moity’s library and Ferret Fotographics, the motorsport image library built up over decades by Ted Walker, which comprises over 7-million original images and was added to the collection in 2017.

Wife Vanessa is British, daughter of leading Jaguar restorer and specialist Aubrey Finburgh. She, too, has raced Historic sportscars. Having carved out her career in the historic motoring world from a young age, working with some of the best in the industry, Vanessa founded Automobiles Historiques Limited – parent company of the “GT & Sports Car Cup” race series – with husband Flavien some 20 years ago.

The majority of cars Automobiles Historiques deal with are not advertised, but matched by Private Treaty to individual requirements. If you are minded to acquire a very special car, or find a new custodian for one you have cherished, Automobiles Historiques Limited’s track record is exemplary. Please do not hesitate to contact them! Find out more here.


Current Inventory


1947 Delahaye 135 M Roadster by Guilloré

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Frenchman Émile Delahaye built his first basic car at the foundry he managed in Tours in 1894. The pioneer motorist proved his products in sporting events from the 1500km Paris-Marseille-Paris road race of 1896. Investors enabled him to launch the Delahaye marque in 1898 with a factory in Paris’ rue du Banquier. Delahaye retired in 1901 but did not live to see its glory days. Derivatives of the straight-six engined 135 model won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1937 and ’38 Le Mans 24 Hours.

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Delahaye’s robust touring car chassis and proven running gear were clothed, sometimes extravagantly, by some of the world’s greatest coachbuilders, including Figoni and Falaschi. Parisian ‘carrossier’ Alphonse Guilloré’s creations were no less beautiful, and more practical.

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The stunning example we offer is one of three 135 M ‘compétition’ roadsters, which emerged from his atelier at Courbevoie for 1947. Two are known to survive. Powered by a 3.6-litre engine, with triple Solex carburettor option, driving through a four-speed Cotal electro-magnetic gearbox. Cherished by only five French owners from new since 1947, the most recent has lovingly restored it to concours condition. An extraordinarily rare prestige car to drive and show at the best concours worldwide, where it has never been seen.

 

1958 AC Ace Bristol

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Was there ever a more aptly named car? Debuted at the 1953 London Motor Show, the post-war Ace transformed AC’s image and fortunes. Designed by John Tojeiro, its lithe independently-suspended tubular chassis set new standards of sportscar handling. When the venerable two-litre six-cylinder AC engine was superseded by Bristol’s 100D ‘six,’ mated to a bespoke close-ratio gearbox, with disc front brakes upgrade, the Ace came alive!

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The engineer responsible was Ken Rudd, whose AC dealership Ruddspeed in Worthing developed performance tweaks to maximise owners’ enjoyment. Proving the product, Rudd and Peter Bolton took a privately-owned road car to the 1957 Le Mans 24 Hours and finished 10th. Eighth in ’58 (Dickie Stoop/Bolton), the model’s best finish was seventh (Ted Whiteaway/John Turner’s Rudd entry) in ’59.

LR 1958ACAceBristol 156

First registered YPX 630 in ’58, this splendid full-history Ace is chassis BE 367, originally a Ruddspeed demonstrator which competed in period club events including the Gosport Speed Trials. Having passed through Connaught Engineering’s hands, subsequent owners included racers Alan Wershat, Viscount Portman and Michael Campbell-Bowling. Acquired by the vendor in 2007, it benefits from a rebuilt engine by Stanton Motorsports (dynoed at 175 HP) and is offered in excellent overall condition.

 

1963 Jaguar E-Type “Semi-Lightweight”

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The superlative car we are delighted to offer was reconfigured to FIA Appendix K 1965 semi-lightweight specification – with alloy bonnet, boot and doors – from a 1963 roadster reimported to the UK in 1991, then raced in the Spa Six Hours and other European events. Acquired by the vendor in 2015, then totally rebuilt with no expense spared, #881611 has been raced successfully since.

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Offered with a Historic Technical Passport (Period F), this stunning icon is ready for action in Pre-’66 GT racing events, including the prestigious Goodwood Members’ Meeting, Spa 6 Hours, Le Mans Classic, GT & Sports Car Cup and Sixties Endurance. Road registered, it is also eminently eligible for the Tour Auto, Coupe des Alpes or Modena Cento Ore rallies.

 

1959 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk1

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Cross-pollination between the British Motor Corporation’s Austin division in Birmingham and the Donald Healey Motor Company of nearby Warwick begat some fabulous Grand Touring cars. Proven in International racing and rallying, works Austin-Healeys are the holy grail. UJB 140 is the first of four built at BMC’s Abingdon competition department for the 1960 Sebring 12 Hours race in Florida, used for circuit acclimatisation.

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Back in England, Jack Sears drove it at Silverstone to develop Girling’s three-pot disc brakes. Sold in August 1960 by New York Austin-Healey importer Ambro Automotive Company to SCCA member Richard Ecklund, it was raced sparingly at future US Grand Prix venue Watkins Glen and Harewood Acres in Canada. Ecklund sold it to his occasional co-driver Bob Deuell in ’86 with 20,000 recorded miles! In 2009, Peter Jaye began a superb restoration, returning it to Sebring specification.

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Offered with Ambro’s sales invoice, period race programmes, factory heritage certificate and HTP valid until 31/12/2030. Eminently eligible for every prestigious Pre-1963 and Pre-’66 GT racing event on the planet, including the GT & Sports Car Cup, Equipe, Goodwood Revival and Le Mans Classic. This period stunner with impeccable provenance would equally tackle rallies such as the Coupe des Alpes and Modena Cento Ore with relish.

 

1963 Jaguar E-Type ‘Low Drag’ Coupé

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Five-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Jaguar’s E-type may not have matched its C and D-type forbears’ achievements at La Sarthe, but its mission was different. From its introduction in 1961 the E-type’s drop head gorgeous styling immediately made it the Grand Touring Car everybody desired. A winner on its race debut at Oulton Park, the model enjoyed successes on tracks worldwide, particularly when evolved into the ultimate factory Lightweight versions, which of course are now priceless.

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Legendary Jaguar aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer masterminded arguably the most beautiful E-type derivative – the ultra-sleek Low Drag Coupé – in a wind tunnel, where its figures were even more impressive than the Lightweights.’

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Acquired from the factory and raced by dealer Dick Protheroe in 1963-’64, it finished second overall to a snarling Ferrari sports-prototype on its debut at Reims. EC1001’s participation in international races is why the configuration is recognised by the FIA as a period specification.

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The magnificent car we are proud to offer was built to the Low Drag Coupé’s blueprint with no expense spared by Swedish engineer Hans-Erik Johansson in 2004, from a superb US import 1963 FHC, and uses its original engine. Acquired from Johansson by its current owner in 2016, #889326 has been raced once at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, then fastidiously re-prepared and detailed by marque specialist Riedling & Mouser Ltd. Eligible for prestigious Pre-’66 GT racing events, including Goodwood and GT & Sports Car Cup, this svelte stunner is road registered, thus would equally grace the Coupe des Alpes or Modena Cento Ore rallies, and is guaranteed to wow at the most exclusive automotive gatherings worldwide. Learn more

 

1949 Foden Plaxton ‘Motorsport Transporter’

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Full Front Coach stunningly converted to a unique historic car transporter. A great site of the historic racing scene, which gains access to the paddock at Goodwood. Sympathetically modernised with a 6-cylinder turbo diesel Cummings engine, smooth manual gearbox, power steering and brakes. Learn more

 

1955 Lotus-Bristol MK X

The third of six built by the Lotus Engineering Company Ltd, combining the genius of marque founder Colin Chapman’s lightweight chassis design and Frank Costin’s superb aerodynamics.

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Powered by the favoured 1971cc Bristol six-cylinder engine, the disc-braked beauty was bought by charismatic West London motor trader Cliff Davis and debuted at Brands Hatch on July 9, 1955. Class second in the final Goodwood Nine Hours (Davis/Reg Bicknell). Recommissioned for the 2019 Goodwood Members’ Meeting, this full history car – a movie star of the ’50s – is eligible for the most prestigious events, including the Goodwood Revival Meeting, GP Historique de Monaco, RAC Woodcote Trophy and GTSCC.

 

1954 (1960-spec) Jaguar XK120

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Jaguar’s XK120 was the world’s fastest production sportscar when launched at the 1948 London Motor Show, thus redefined the genre. Power came from the new 3.4-litre straight-six XK DOHC engine designed by chief engineer William Heynes, the suffix reflecting its 120mph top speed.

XK120s earned international success in racing – most notably Leslie Johnson’s fifth place on the 1950 Mille Miglia and Stirling Moss’ ’51 Tourist Trophy victory – and rallies, spearheaded by dealer Ian Appleyard and his wife Pat, Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons’ daughter. On the British domestic front, former RAF officer Elmer Richard ‘Dick’ Protheroe was at the forefront of the XK action, racing his car registered CUT 6 and nicknamed ‘The Ancient Egyptian’ from 1953-’60, the end of FIA Period E.

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Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire, Jaguar dealer Protheroe continuously evolved it far beyond early OTS spec, using performance parts homologated for the ultimate XK150S, including 3.8-litre engine breathing through triple Weber 45 DCO3 carburetors and disc brakes all round. This potent machine – originally a LHD roadster – featuring aluminium bonnet, boot, doors and hardtop to reduce weight, mirrors the Protheroe car’s spec and has a current period E HTP. A unique and potent car giving an intriguing flavour of Jaguar history and the indomitable character behind the subsequent CUT 7 E-types. Eligible for the GT & Sports Car Cup, Stirling Moss Trophy, Equipe and Sixties Endurance. Learn more

 

1973 Lola T282 Chassis No. HU6

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The most rewarding front-running car of its era to drive, the Lola T282 is also the most sustainable with a robust aluminium monocoque chassis and proven Cosworth/Hewland drivetrain. Beautifully prepared with no expense spared and straightforward to run, HU6 has been a regular winner of European events in recent years. A passport to Le Mans Classic, CER, HSR Classic 24 Hour Daytona and HSCC Thundersports events, it is offered with a comprehensive spares inventory. Learn more

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Automobiles Historiques
Flavien and Vanessa Marçais are both steeped in motorsport. Brought up around fine motor cars in families rooted in racing on either side of the English Channel, the duo bring huge experience and passion to the challenging and often difficult roles of organising and running events. Client confidentiality, utmost discretion, specialist expertise, personal attention and ultimately trust are the proud professional hallmarks of Automobiles Historiques Limited. For 20 years principals Flavien and Vanessa Marçais have sourced, researched, bought and sold a plethora of the world’s finest cars. The Anglo-French husband-and-wife team behind the growing business were both brought up in respected motoring families. Passion for motoring is in their blood. Embroiled in collecting, restoring and racing cars since childhood, Flavien and Vanessa can also draw upon a network of discreet contacts globally. Successfully marketing extraordinary classic and competition cars demands an extremely high level of specialist knowledge. A specialist writer and historian, Flavien’s encyclopaedic memory for detail is underpinned by an exceptional automotive library and world-class photographic archive, uniquely in-house. This notably includes the collection of Flavien’s Late grandfather Serge Pozzoli, Christian Moity’s library and Ferret Fotographics, the motorsport image library built up over decades by Ted Walker, which comprises over 7-million original images and was added to the collection in 2017. Wife Vanessa is British, daughter of leading Jaguar restorer and specialist Aubrey Finburgh. She, too, has raced Historic sportscars. Having carved out her career in the historic motoring world from a young age, working with some of the best in the industry, Vanessa founded Automobiles Historiques Limited – parent company of the “GT & Sports Car Cup” race series – with husband Flavien some 20 years ago. The majority of cars Automobiles Historiques deal with are not advertised, but matched by Private Treaty to individual requirements. If you are minded to acquire a very special car, or find a new custodian for one you have cherished, Automobiles Historiques Limited’s track record is exemplary. Please do not hesitate to contact them!