One barn find is something of a small miracle, but 60? That’s unprecedented, to say the least.
The Collectors’ Car Department at Artcurial, a French auction house, recently discovered a forgotten trove of classic cars laying in various states of ruin for over 50 years. Thankfully, it plans to send them to the auction block to … and hopefully onto a new home.
If you’re wondering who left this many classic cars to go to ruin, I’ll tell you. The collection belonged to Roger Baillon, a transport entrepreneur and car enthusiast who collected pre-war vehicles, as well as then-contemporary sports cars. His collection, beginning around 1950, was nearly twice as big as the number recently discovered. Due to business setbacks Baillon was forced to sell off more than 50 just to keep the lights. The rest? abandoned to history … that is, until now.
‘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,” stated Matthieu Lamoure, Managing Director of Artcurial Motorcars. “This really is a treasure. No doubt a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.”
Amongst the gems discovered under various flimsy shelters and sheds are Talbot Lago T26s, a 1956 Maserati A6G Gran Sport Frua, and, beneath several stacks of magazine bundles, a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider. Only 37 of these were ever made and is said to be the gem of the collection.
It’s impossible to conceive of the circumstances that led to cars such as these left abandoned for so long. As tragic as it is to see cars of this vintage and rarity sitting such rot and decay, we car fanatics can find solace in the fact that this discovery finally means these treasures — once lost to the world — will finally find the restoration and haven that Roger Baillon intended for them.