A treasure trove of classic cars left in a barn for 50 years has sold for a total of £20 million. The collection included the “lost” vintage Ferrari California Spyder, which fetched £11.8 million alone.
The 1961 Spyder was one of only 37 examples and while every other has been documented, this car was considered lost. It was once owned by the French actors Gerard Blain and Alain Delon, who was photographed in it with the Hollywood stars Jane Fonda and Shirley McLaine. It was eventually found beneath a pile of newspapers.
The Spyder was purchased by a telephone bidder for £10.5 million plus £1.3 million in fees. A 1956 Maserati A6G Gran Sports – just one of three in the world – sold for £1.4 million and a Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport SWB went for over £1.2 million.
The majority of the cars were collected by Roger Baillon, an entrepreneur who dreamt of restoring vintage automobiles and displaying them in a museum. However, he suffered financial setback and sold 50 of the cars, leaving the rest sat in corrugated iron shelters in the west of France. Baillon died around 10 years ago and his son, Jacques, died last year. The cars were passed down to Baillon’s grandchildren, who had no idea as to the value of the collection.
Matthieu Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff of auctioneers Artcurial Motorcars helped value for the cars
“These sorts of finds do not happen often. I think you go into this profession for discoveries like this; it really is a treasure trove. No doubt a once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” said Mr Lamoure said
“I have to say that when we discovered the extent of the collection 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.”