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The 1990s Supercar That Time Forgot

Auction / Comments

This race car for the road is one of only ten made.

Every few years, someone comes along with grandiose plans to build his own supercar and bring it to market. Most don't make it, but even those that do seldom last for longer than a flash in a pan. Like the Monegasque firm that built this one.

This 1994 Venturi 400 GT Trophy is one of just 73 made to racing specification, and one of only ten to have later been converted back to road-going trim. Now a quarter-century later, this rare chapter in the history of European supercars is coming up for auction.

Long before being revived for the electric Venturi Fetish roadster and the associated Formula E racing team, the original Venturi started out in 1984 in France before moving down the Azure coast to Monaco, aiming to take on the likes of Porsche and Ferrari.

A further evolution of the Venturi 160, the 400 GT adopted a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 402 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque – more than the Ferrari F355 it set out to beat, and 500 pounds lighter, too. It could reach 62 mph in 4.7 seconds and top out at 181 mph, with the first carbon-ceramic brakes on the market to keep it in check.

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Arguably the mid-90s equivalent of the McLaren P1 LM, the Trophy version was even more hardcore. This example was made for noted collector and enthusiast Hervé Poulain, who – true to his form as patron of BMW's famous art-car program – had it painted with a unique stripe motif by one Jean-Yves Lacroix.

Evidently well-preserved in the decades since, it's now coming up for auction on February 6 during the Retromobile show in Paris, where it's estimated to sell for €120-200k. That's about $140-230k at current exchange rates, which seems like a bargain for a rarity of such distinction. (Photos by Stephan Bauer for RM Sotheby's.)