"Barn-Find" Ferrari 250 GT California SWB Auctioned For $18,5 Million
You’d think the days are gone when someone stumbles across a secret car collection hidden from public view, but that is exactly what happened in 2014, when over 100 rare European cars in various conditions were discovered in France. Dubbed by many as the barn find of the century, the discovery included a Ferrari 250 GT California SWB, one of only 55 built. The model usually fetches over $10 million at classic car auctions, so it should be no surprise that the unrestored barn-find went for the equivalent of no less than $18.5 million (as of 2/10/2015).
Built in 1961, the car in question was apparently owned at some point by French actor Alain Delon, and has been part of the collection of industrialist Roger Baillon since the late 1960s, alongside other rarities from Bugatti, Pahnard et Levassor, Delahaye, Delage, Hispano Suiza, Maserati and Porsche.
On Friday 6 February 2015, 59 cars found in the secret collection were auctioned off during an event called Salon Retromobile, with the auction lasting eleven hours and bringing in almost 1,600 bidders on site and another thousand or so online. The 250 GT California was by far the most coveted model, with the car fetching way much than originally expected, despite being in the condition it was.
Click past the jump to read more about this awesome barn find.
Why it matters
Found inside a brick garage, under a stack of old magazines and alongside a one-of-three Maserati A6G Gran Sport by Frua, the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB (short wheelbase) was considered lost by classic car historians, just like most of the other rare cars of the Baillon collection. The French shipping magnate had apparently amassed over 200 rare pre- and post-war European cars during the 1950s and 1960s, with the dream of one day displaying them in a museum.
Unfortunately, his dream collapsed after his business suffered financial setbacks in the 1970s, and Baillon was forced to sell about 50 of them, while the rest remained hidden from the public on one of his French properties. With both Roger Baillon and his son, Jacques, having passed away, no one actually knew of the collection’s existence until the fall of 2014, when his grandchildren stumbled on it by chance. About 100 rare or ultra-rare cars were found on the premises, 59 of them being in good enough condition to auction. The remaining cars will apparently be sold for parts.