Decaying away on a French estate, there was a collection of about 100 dirt-covered cars that had been undisturbed for decades, according to The Telegraph. They included all of the great European marques, like Bugatti, Porsche, Maserati, Ferrari and many more. Most of the vehicles were underneath a shed but generally exposed to the elements; however, two very special sports cars were hidden away in a garage (pictured above). In there was a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider with covered headlights. It was one of just 37 made and thought to be lost. Beside the Ferrari was a 1956 Maserati A6G Gran Sport Frua.
The collection belonged to Roger Baillon, a French transport magnate, according to Artcurial. He amassed this wonderful collection, but when his business fell on hard times in the '70s, Baillon sold part of the group off. These were the ones he kept, but they eventually went forgotten.
Artcurial thinks that only 60 of the cars are actually in salable condition, and they cross the block during the Retromobile Salon in February. The auctioneers believe the Ferrari could sell for as much as 12 million euros (14.74 million) and the Maserati for 1.2 million euros ($1.5 million). Check out the gallery to glimpse the breadth of classics in this collection. Be sure to scroll down for a must-watch, gut-wrenching, patina-laden video showing off the collection and for Artcurial's press release about the sale.
BREAKING NEWS: ARTCURIAL DISCOVERS A FORGOTTEN TREASURE IN FRANCE - SALE FRIDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2015 -
￼1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider • Chassis 2935 • Ex Alain Delon • Baillon Collection Estimate : 9 500 000 – 12 000 000 €
1956 Maserati A6G Gran Sport Frua • Chassis 2140 • Baillon Collection
Estimate : 800 0000 – 1 200 000 €
Paris – The Collectors' Car Department at Artcurial has discovered 60 collectors' automobiles, all major marques dating from the early days of the motor car through to the 1970s. Found following fifty years of lying dormant, the Baillon collection will be sold by Artcurial Motorcars in the first part of the traditional sale at Retromobile Salon, on 6 February 2015, in Paris. These motor cars have been tucked away in a property in the West of France, under makeshift corrugated iron shelters and in various outbuildings.
Matthieu Lamoure, Managing Director at Artcurial Motorcars, declared: « Not since the revelation of the Schlumpf Collection in Mulhouse, of which Maître Hervé Poulain was the expert, has such a group of emblematic automobiles been disclosed and what is more, in such original condition! Visitors to the Retromobile Salon will be able to share in our emotion, much like that experienced by Lord Carrington and Howard Carter entering Tutankhamun's tomb. Artcurial will put on show the magic of these sixty mysterious mechanical creatures, like a giant work of art: the unrealised dream of its owner brought back to life...»
Pierre Novikoff, motor car specialist declared : « These sleeping Beauties are clothed in the precious patina of time gone by. A collection like this can't fail to arouse the passions of those who love automobiles, as well as art and history enthusiasts. Never again, anywhere in the world, will such a treasure be unearthed! »
Bugatti, Hispano-Suiza, Talbot-Lago, Panhard-Levassor, Maserati, Ferrari, Delahaye, Delage...these legendary marques make up the extraordinary cache discovered by the Artcurial car department team, Matthieu Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff. Many of these cars were built by highly celebrated coachbuilders such as Million-Guiet, Chapron and Saoutchik, with a number of Talbot Lago T26s including a very rare Grand Sport Aérodynamique and a rather extravagant Cabriolet once owned by King Farouk.
Sheltering in a garage, conserved in good condition, the two specialists came across one of just three Maserati A6G Gran Sports with coachwork by Frua, dating from 1956. Beneath piles of newspapers, they discovered a Ferrari 250GT SWB California Spider, with covered headlights. It had been bought new by the actor Gérard Blain, then sold to fellow actor Alain Delon, who was photographed several times at the wheel of this machine, including in 1964 with Jane Fonda during the filming of 'Les Félins' and on the Côte d'Azur with Shirley MacLaine. One of 37 examples, this Pininfarina-designed cabriolet, its whereabouts unknown to marque historians until now, is bound to attract the attention of collectors of important historic Ferrari.
This collection was assembled during the 1950s by Roger Baillon, an entrepreneur who ran a transport company based in the west of France. As enthusiast from the early days, he exhibited, at the Paris Motor Show during the 1950s, a roadster that he had built. His dream was to conserve the heritage of pre-war automobiles in museum surroundings. During the 1970s, before he could carry out the necessary restoration work, his dream was shattered when his business suffered a setback. He was forced to sell some fifty cars, and since that time, the rest of the collection did not move until this discovery.
About Artcurial –
Founded in 2002, Artcurial confirmed its position as the leading French auction house in 2013 with 123 sales organised across 20 specialist departments. In 2013 the auction house achieved an overall sales total of 178.1- million euros, representing an increase of 24% on 2012, and notably achieved the third highest auction price of the year in France with the sculpture La Rivière, by Aristide Maillol, that sold for over 6.1-million euros. It has also confirmed its position as market leader for Comic Strips in Europe, Collectors' Cars in continental Europe, jewellery and watches in France and Monaco and Old Master Paintings in Paris. With a strong international bias, Artcurial maintains its presence abroad with offices in Milan, Vienna and Brussels, and travelling exhibitions in the United States and Asia.
Over the course of the last two years, the collectors' car department at Artcurial has grown rapidly, increasing from 30 M€ / 40 M$ in 2013 to 50 M€ / 66 M$ in 2014 (+67%). The sales in France have continued to set new records and attract an increasingly international clientèle. Artcurial Motorcars has established a reputation for sourcing cars that are new to the market and for presenting large private collections, creating excitement and attracting collectors.