Around 60 ancient automobiles have been discovered rusting in a farm shed in France. Some of the cars date back to the 1930s. The collection will be sold at auction and it’s hoped they will net at least $12 million.
French company, Artcurial Motorcars, say that among the many vintage cars discovered are legendary marques: Bugatti, Hispano-Suiza, Talbot-Lago, Maserati, Ferrari, and Delahaye.
“I have to say that when we arrived here, we found ourselves overcome with emotion. Probably much like Lord Carrington and Howard Carter, on being the first person for centuries to enter Tutankhamun’s tomb. It really was a case of waking up sleeping beauty,” Matthieu Lamoure, Managing Director of Artcurial Motorcars, said in a press release on Friday.
The cars were not stored in solid, purpose-built sheds, but in makeshift constructions.
“We came closer and saw there were dozens of cars parked underneath. We soon realized that some of these had been put there 50 years earlier and left untouched,” Pierre Novikoff, a car specialist, said.
The collection was started in the 1950s by Roger Baillon, an entrepreneur and car enthusiast, who even exhibited a roadster built by himself at the Paris Motor Show.
Baillon wanted to create a pre-war car museum, but due to business problems had to sell a half of his automobiles. Nobody had heard of the collection for many years.
Some of the cars have amazing stories. A Talbot Lago T26s cabriolet once belonged to Egyptian King Farouk, while a Ferrari 250GT SWB California Spider was Alain Delon’s. It featured in films with Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine.
“It was thought that everything had been sold, and its existence had been forgotten about. And here, we just found the lost collection!” Novikoff said.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many exceptional cars together in one collection. Roger Baillon saved these cars and succeeded in tracing the history of the automobile through the finest examples!” he added.
The collection will be auctioned by Artcurial Motorcars at the Retromobile Salon in Paris on 6 February 2015.