In a surprise move, Christie’s announced, one week prior to their planned sale of a rare 1939 Auto Union Grand Prix car, that they were pulling the car from their February Retromobile sale, so that they and Audi could further research its provenance.
On February 28, Christie’s announced their findings and the fate of the Auto Union in question:
“In a joint effort with Audi Tradition over the past three weeks, we have completed considerable additional research on the race history of the 1939 Auto Union D Type V-12 Grand Prix racing car originally scheduled for sale at Retromobile in Paris on February 17. Our joint research confirms that the car’s chassis is frame 19, and not 21, the chassis of the 1939 French Grand Prix winner.
“Regarding racing history, Audi has confirmed that chassis 19 is a genuine 1939 D Type chassis and that it was first raced by Rudolf Hasse in the Eifelrennen on the 20th May 1939 at the Nürburgring, in which Hasse finished in 5th place. It was next raced at the 1939 French Grand Prix in the hands of legendary Auto Union pilot Hans Stuck, who brought the car home in 6th place, behind the company’s 1st and 2nd finishers. Audi has kindly been able to support these race results with extensive documentation.
“During our now completed verification process, no alteration has been made to the car itself which we believe to be the only Auto Union to which Grand Prix racing results can be attributed.
“Christie’s was delighted at the response and interest that the car received in the run up to and while on view at its auction in Paris. Based on our now completed research, we are accepting sealed tender bids for a period of one week today [Feb. 28] and invite prospective bidders to contact Christie’s London office directly to receive applications for this tender.”