This could be the barn find to end all barn finds. Throughout the 1950s, ’60 and ’70s, French trucking magnate Roger Baillon amassed an impressive collection of high-end rides with the intention of creating a museum. Unfortunately, a 1978 bankruptcy nixed those plans, so Baillon locked the barn doors and called it a day.
Fast-forward nearly four decades later, when the late Baillon’s western France estate now is in the hands of his grandchildren. Apparently, none of said grandchildren are car buffs. It wasn’t until a family friend mentioned rumors of a hidden trove of classic cars to someone working with the auction house Artcurial that the stash of 60 rotting, but still gorgeous classics was discovered.
“When we arrived here, we found ourselves overcome with emotion,” said Matthieu Lamoure, managing director of Artcurial Motorcars. “Probably much like Lord Carrington and Howard Carter on being the first person for centuries to enter Tutankhamen’s tomb. It really was a case of waking up Sleeping Beauty.”
Among the automotive sleeping beauties that have us here at E3 Spark Plugs in absolute awe:
The collection’s crown jewel is a Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider found buried beneath piles of magazines and in dusty, but relatively good condition. Records show the car’s two previous owners were French celebrities, including Alain Delon, who was photographed in it on separate occasions with Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine in the passenger seat. It’s one of just 37 ever made. A similar model in pristine condition recently sold at auction a cool $15 million.
Many of the cars in the collection are one of a kind, custom-designed by famous coachbuilders of the day. Baillon passed away a decade ago, leaving behind a monumental treasure. His classics will go on display and up for auction during the annual Retromobile Salon classic car event in Paris in February.
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