Even today, when the whole world has been mapped by GPS, there are still valuable hidden treasures left to discover. After calling in auctioneers, the grandchildren of entrepreneur Roger Baillon discovered that the collection of 60 vintage automobiles from the 1930s to the 1950s left to rust in sheds on the family’s farm in western France could be worth £12 million or more at auction.
These aren’t your run-of-the-mill 1930s vintage automobiles, either (if such a thing exists). One Talbot-Lago in the collection had previously been owned by Egyptian King Farouk and a Ferrari had been used in the filming of a movie with Jane Fonda. Along with the rare Maserati in this collection, Baillon had intended to build a museum with his collection. When things didn’t go as expected, however, he had to sell 50 cars, and the rest of the collection was forgotten.
The collection will be put up for auction in Paris on February 6th, 2015. Any cars unfit for restoration will be sold for spare parts.
“This sort of thing doesn’t happen often enough! I think, above all, you go into this profession for discoveries like this. Yes, this really is a treasure,” said Artcurial Motorcars manager Matthieu Lamoure
“I have to say that when we arrived here, 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”
Facel Vega (left) and a Talbot-Lago (right)
Pierre Novikoff, a senior specialist at Artcurial, said, “this was somewhere between a metallic graveyard and a museum. Nature had taken a hold, over the years. Ivy had invaded a car and entirely covered its wheel, while weeds had taken root in a passenger compartment as easily as in a greenhouse”
“We were standing in front of the Baillon collection. It was thought that everything had been sold, and its existence had been forgotten about. And here, we had just found the lost collection!”
“Certain cars, much like paintings or sculptures, are works of art, created by artists! Not only the engineering, but their styling reflects the history of design”
A vintage Ferrari (left), once sat in by Jane Fonda, and a Maserati A6G 200 Berlinetta Grand Sport Frua (right), one of only three in the world.
Ferrari 250 GT California SWB. “Ferrari is a legendary name in the automobile world. And this car is unique. Only 37 examples of this model were built making it extremely rare. Every example has been carefully documented by historians and this one was thought to be lost. We have found it!” explained Lamoure.
A Talbot-Lago T26 Cabriolet once owned by Egyptian King Farouk
Hispano Suiza H6B Cabriolet Millio
Matthieu Lamoure (left) and Pierre Novikoff (right), the auctioneers and classic car experts who found the collection