IF YOU are still fizzing with a blend of jealousy and lust at the story we ran in April about an unused 1993 Porsche 911 RSR barn find, then you are not going to believe this selection of some of the world’s most jaw-dropping discoveries.
The Baillon Collection
What’s better than one incredible barn find? What about 100? Okay so 40 of the rare and historic vehicles unearthed as part of a deceased estate in France in 2014 will never drive again, but the rest of the extraordinary haul changed the world’s ultra-desirable classic vehicle count overnight.
The unbelievable fleet was too extensive to detail in full here, but highlights included a Maserati A6G 2000, Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux and a Talbot Lago T26 Saoutchik that is believed to have belonged to king Farouk of Egypt.
While many of the beautiful cars had succumbed to the years and elements, some proved that spending 50 years under a pile of magazines needn’t affect value to any great degree, including this Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder, which later sold for $US18.5m ($A25m).
And what’s better than one supremely desirable and rare Porsche? How about 200? That’s what went up for grabs in a sleepy corner of the UK in 2013. Curiously, the collection was discovered in the USA but shipped to Kings Lynn to be sold by relatively small-time auctioneer Anglia Car Auctions.
Among the many 911s, 912s and 356s were a number of highlights, including a 1956 356A Coupe, 356B roadster and a 356 Super 90.
It’s hard to believe such valuable and rare cars can be forgotten so easily but it is even more difficult to understand when unique one-off vehicles are lost, such as arguably the most famous Bond car to date.
Created for the 1977 007 film The Spy Who Loved Me, the submarine Lotus Esprit was purchased for a very reasonable $100 as part of a shipping container blind auction in 1989. Little did the new owner know that the container’s contents were worth closer to a cool million.
The car was one of several vehicles modified and used for the feature, and is believed to have been forgotten by the production company that was renting the container. On set, the watertight Lotus was nicknamed Wet Nellie.
As another celebrity twist in the swimming Lotus story, the car was eventually bought by technology start-up Tesla’s founder Elon Musk, who reportedly has plans to slot in an electric powertrain and enable the car to pull the amphibious stunt it performed in the film - but for real.
An example of what is often cited as the world’s prettiest car clearly wasn’t enough to keep one 1970s Greek pop star’s attention for long.
After an engine problem rendered the 1969 Lamborghini Miura S undriveable, Stamatis Kokotas banished the car to the basement carpark of the Athens Hilton and that’s where it stayed.
The car was last seen in London where it failed to make its reserve in auction.
Hot underground Ferrari
Our final instalment of the best barn finds proves that it pays to dig deep if you really want to unearth something special.
The history of this Ferrari Dino 246 GTS is not completely clear but it is believed that the vehicle was stolen in 1974, but the thief decided that the conspicuous car probably needed hiding until the heat was off.
While more accomplished and experienced criminals might have opted for a respray, export overseas as parts or time-out in a back-street lock up, this guy decided to bury it.
When the car was discovered by playing children in 1978 it was in a sorry state, which you can kind of forgive it because it had spent four years underground.
The Ferrari proves that if something is valuable, rare or desirable enough, anything can be brought back from a dilapidated barn find, and that you never know where the next discovery of the decade will turn up. Happy hunting!
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