They offer white-glove, full-car service and protection, storing your classic and collectible vehicles in their super-secret underground facility. But what happens to classic cars that aren’t stored properly?
We thought it would be fun to take a look at some barn finds – amazing vehicles that were put away and left to rot in some old shack somewhere. Decades later, someone rolls open the door, squints into the darkness, sees a glint of chrome and discovers a treasure. It’s what car folks dream of, and here are some of our favourites.
The French Barn of King’s Cars
For 20 or so years, a French trucking magnate named Roger Baillon assembled a collection of cars that he intended to display in a museum one day. The collection included some very famous and irreplaceable one-offs, and was filled out with your standard super-collectible rarities. The 60 or so cars were parked under the cover of little more than a lean-to and sat in the rain waiting for their chance to shine. Unfortunately, Mr. Baillon passed away before he could realize his dream, and the cars were left to rot. In 2014, the cars – including a Talbot Lago T26 Cabriolet Saoutchik once owned by King Farouk of Egypt – went on the block. Total haul? $28.5 Million USD.
Most valuable car: 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider (1 of 37 made): $18.5 million
The Suburban Bugatti
Everyone loves a Ferrari, but in terms of ultra-chic sportscar names, Bugatti stands almost alone. Founded in 1909 and abruptly ended with the death of its namesake and founder in 1947, there were only 8000 of the cars made in total. So to find one of the last, almost untouched, tucked away in a suburban New York garage, is the stuff of dreams. The 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante Coupé was one of a high-quality collection owned by a member of the Macy’s family and had been parked since 1962. Rediscovered in 2007 and auctioned by Christies, the old Bug remains unrestored (beyond drivebility) and almost completely original.
Auction value: $842,000 USD
The Doctor’s Turkey Barn
Car guys around the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul used to talk about a magical car barn hidden away on a turkey farm somewhere. For years they thought it was a rural legend. But one intrepid car guy made it his mission to find the elusive treasure and after some inventive sleuthing, discovered a retired doctor with a unique collection of undriven muscle cars parked in a steel outbuilding. (It used to be a farm, but not for turkeys.) The doctor was a private man, and wanted to keep the cars only for himself, but eventually agreed, due to failing health, to let the collection go to those who would want them. He hired on the ‘detective’ to sell off more than 40 Corvettes, Cudas, Challengers, Mustangs and more.
Most valuable car: 1966 Corvette Roadster 427 4-spd
The First Porsche
Long before he started his own namesake sports car company in 1928, Ferdinand Porsche was involved in the designing and building of cars. His first design, dubbed the P1, was an electric vehicle made by the Egger-Lohner company of Austria in 1898. It looked like a horse carriage, but the little electric engine could make over 20MPH and actually powered the car to the first Porsche race win, beating an all-electric field in 1899. Discovered untouched since 1902 in an Austrian barn, the P1 has since been returned to the Porsche factory museum where it holds the pride of place.
Estimated value: Priceless?
Barn finds are fun, but don’t let your classic become the stuff of legend! Store it with Auto Vault Canada and keep it ready for the road.