Find of the Year: The Baillon Collection

talbot-lago-t26-grand-sport

Looks like the car world is going to end the year with a bang! We have seen some amazing discoveries this past year, but I think it is safe to say that this one takes the cake. Outside of a small village in France there are a couple of unassuming structures that are full of classic cars. These are not just any old cars though. Some of the world’s finest vehicles are housed within these dilapidated garages and collapsing tin sheds. Cars that you may have never even heard of, but many of which are worth unfathomable amounts of money. Cars from the likes of Bugatti, Ferrari, Delahaye, Hispano Suiza, and Talbot Lago are all represented here and although covered in rust and moss they are an astonishing sight to behold.

The owner of this property had originally planned to preserve as many of world’s finest automobiles as he could. His collection focused on the great French marques and coachbuilders of the prewar era. He planned to build a museum to house them all (complete with a train to transport guests!), but unfortunately business went south before he could accomplish his goal. A large part of the collection was sold off in the 70s, but many cars remained and there they sat for 50 years… The dream was forgotten and somehow the cars were considered lost by the hunters who endlessly search for these rare birds. Ironically many of the automotive masterpieces that the owner hoped to preserve ended up suffering a worse fate in his care than they might have otherwise.

bugatti-in-the-barn

Some of the standouts here include a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider (which was previously thought to be lost), a 1956 Maserati A6G Gran Sport Frua, a Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport coupé Saoutchik, a Talbot Lago T26 cabriolet Saoutchik (which was once owned by a king), a Hispano Suiza H6B cabriolet Millon-Guiet, and a Talbot Lago T26 Record coupé Saoutchik. Don’t feel bad if some of these makes and models sound like gibberish to you. Just know that all those fancy words equate to big money. These are the sort of cars that you would expect to see at events like the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

facel-vega

Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of these show up there in the next few years since the cars are all being auctioned off in February. Artcurial is handling the monumental task of digging these all out and presenting them at the Retromobile auction. Boy, would I have loved to have been the guy who got the call to go take a look at this find! There is an interview posted on the auction house’s website where they discuss the experience. Understandably, it was a very emotional day and they even were quoted as saying that “This is surely the last time that such a discovery will be made, anywhere in the world“. Perhaps, but I’m not so sure…

Source: Articurial Motocars

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Comments

  1. Jeff Lavery Staff

    Read about it this morning. Absolutely incredible. That Ferrari California – just leaves me stopped in my tracks.

  2. Elliott Member

    The video was incredible, and the elegiac music fit the mood perfectly. Perhaps these sad remnants of a shattered dream will receive new life through new dreams! :-)

  3. sunbeamdon

    I had to turn the music off – too depressing.

    Wow – what a find – can’t wait to see the “pull-out” pics

  4. Jon

    It’s another Sleeping Beauties. I wonder if the owner is friends with Michel Dovaz.

  5. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    I’m glad to see the cars will move on to new caretakers. I’m sure some will be restored, some will be kept as-is…but at least they will be out in the public again. BTW, anyone have any idea what the roadster on the left of the bottom large picture is (has what looks like a diagonal bar across the grille)? Nice lines!

    • jean Lecointe

      The red roadster is a Georges Irat, a french builder who build sport cars in the early 30ies
      He used several engines in his production mostly Ruby which were not very powerful but as the car was very light had rather good performance;
      His last production in 1938 was fitted with the Citroën engine from the famous “Traction”
      The diagonal bar across the grille was Geoges Irat signature.
      They are rare because of the few ever built.
      There is a french club which will be obviously intrested about that find.
      Hi Jean
      ;

  6. Peter R

    The Ferrari California is the car of my dreams since I was 16 and I’m 72 now – I’ll need a winning sweepstake ticket just to bid.
    Amazing that these cars could have been overlooked all these years – More pictures please

  7. Art Fink

    Very depressing. This is the work of a Hoarder not a Collector. It’s a shame these beautiful works of automotive art had to suffer this ill fate. 50 years ago these cars should have been put in the hands of those who would treat them as priceless pieces of automotive history as they are, for the world to see. Hopefully some of the later additions can be saved and restored to their former glory. Just my humble opinion.

    • Mark C Williamson

      Without knowing all the circumstances I think it’s wrong to label someone. And 50 years ago not all of these cars were priceless pieces of automotive history. GT40’s had their tops cut off to be used as camera cars for the filming of the movie Le Mans, Ferrari’s could be bought cheaper then a new Corvette. And many race cars were stripped of usable parts and then scrapped. 20-20 hindsight is much easier then foresight.
      Now, the Schlumpf collection, that was hoarding, owning more Bugattis then anyone else, and not letting anyone in to enjoy them.

    • Mark E

      I agree with you except the hoarder must also be pretty well off to be able to have a Ferrari California for him to just throw his magazines, newspapers & crap upon. I’m sure if any of us would have the car, we would have all sold it for the $10-20 million it will bring at auction.

    • Richard

      Time to adjust your thinking about hoarders as such – years ago these cars meant next to nothing – they were just cars – nobody coveted them then the way they do today……and probably most of these particular cars would have been transformed into coca cola cans from the salvage yard if someone had not saved them – at least they were saved – whereupon if this gentleman had not collected them they may not even exist – look at the positive side of people “hoarding” cars and other historic items……sure, they could have been stored much better but at least they exist……this is an exciting find – like finding the King’s Spanish gold from a sunk 1700’s ship…….

  8. s

    sad..just so very sad.

  9. stuart

    Wow…a little different from the usual fare…very interesting, the music is spooky, kind of like Twin Peaks meets Pebble Beach….

  10. Edward

    Speechless!!!

  11. Rancho Bella

    Laddies…………fifty years ago these cars didn’t bring the kind of money they do today so some may have ended up scrap.
    For those of you old enough………recall ’66 Shelby Mustangs for $1500, Porsche Speedsters for the same…………….and this was in the late sixties early seventies.
    I reckon they will all be saved in some fashion.
    I agree with y’all about the Ferrari California………….holy smokes my knees are weakened.

    • Mark E

      Yeh, I remember when a Ferrari California was only good for piling the magazines and newspapers you were gonna recycle upon. Notice I did not say ‘stacking’ as the bundles of magazines were obviously tossed into a pile…

    • z1rider

      RB

      I couldn’t have said it better. All cars fall from grace over time and often become worth little more than their weight in scrap. Racing and sports cars in particular suffer when they become outclassed on the track by a more modern and faster car. We might well praise this “collector” for saving these from the smelter.

  12. boxdin

    Years ago we thought all of the major barn finds had been found !
    How wonderful we were so wrong. How many more of these are out there?

  13. cory

    wow. someone should put a disclaimer on that video. im still shaking. i could spend months in those barns just taking it all in.

  14. fred

    As exciting as this find is, I was a bit amused at the ability of the auction house copywriters to turn the deplorable condition of many of the the cars from a liability into an asset. “While a spider web or two might be lost in transit…we are selling them just as they are!”

  15. Warren

    Noted 1 ’70s cortina in the video

  16. Dolphin Member

    Rancho’s right….the people who accumulated these cars saved the pre-war ones from likely scrapping for the war effort during WW2. We lost many pre-war cars that way because of the metal they contained.

    The 250 California would likely sell at between $15-$20 million at a top auction if it were perfectly restored, probably more by the time it gets there. These are beyond valuable. They’re icons now.

    • John

      Since it is France during WW II the Nazis would have been there. The pre-war stuff would wound up in Herman Goering’s garage.

    • Mark E

      I dunno, that Ferrari cleaned up pretty well & looks good the way it is!
      http://cdn.classicandsportscar.com/sites/classicandsportscar.com/files/imagecache/News_lead_image/1961_ferrari_250_gt_swb_california_spider_collection_baillon_c_artcurial.jpg?1417779849

      It will probably bring a premium for it’s condition thanks to it’s provenance. Also, FYI, this collection will be up for sale next February according to the company who’s been hired to do the sale.

      • Dolphin Member

        Agreed that the California will probably be preserved, or should be because of its apparent originality and because it was owned by the famous French actor Alain Delon, but you never know. There are plenty of people who want PERFECT and have the money to get it. Either way, I’m sure it will bring a premium price at the auction.

  17. John

    Heartbreaking to see how these cars were left to rot. The Facel Vega and the Bugatti took my breath away. What a find.

  18. MikeH

    Retromobile is probably the premier car show in the world. I have never been and if this collection is going to be auctioned–this year may be the time. However, I went to Artcurial’s site and it wasn’t mentioned.

    http://en.retromobile.com/The-Exhibition/Pictures-gallery

  19. z1rider

    At first glance I thought the opening photo was of a car with the shed roof collapsed down onto it. I now realize the car was “deformed” in some other way. Can anyone here identify that car?

  20. RensoS

    @Z1rider: if you download the pic of the 1st car, the caption is Talbot T-26. There are other images on google(circa 1949). Most(if not all) of these cars were bought new as a running chassis. The new owner would then pick his favorite Coach-builder to build from there.
    Talbot’s were very fast for their time-125 mph in stock form in 1949 for example

  21. gunningbar

    It seems to me this person saved most of these cars from a worse fate. They are still here..after all.

  22. Alan (Michigan)

    Wow.

  23. Dieter Roßbach

    I’ll be in Paris to see this!

  24. Cameron Bater UK

    Ooohhh my Gooood, these cars are so beautiful, in fact I’m inclined to ask are we alowed to read this before the watershed?

  25. Scott Allison

    Serene… The music fit the mood of the video. Just seeing all those gorgeous cars sitting in those sheds just waiting, and waiting for someone to rescue them.

    Ok.. I’m going out in my garage now and hug my 75 Vette that I rescued from a barn 10 years ago (and now I am having a blast at car shows and events).

  26. Chris A.

    Best “Barn Finds” of the year. In the late 40’s and early 50’s the big booming 6 cylinderTalbot Lago engines and chassis were modified for successful GP racing and won Le Mans once and almost twice. Pierre Leveque drove one single handed at Le Mans for 23+ hours, leading and missed a Wilson pre selector shift blowing it up. The car was restored and still runs at historical events. Glad these T-Ls survived and hopefully will be restored.

  27. sunbeamdon

    Chris and other our Le Mans watchers:

    I was just a very young, but enthusiastic, motor-sports kid when I learned (after the fact in the Vancouver Sun) of the horrific crash at Le Mans in 1955 which killed Levegh and 83 others. I carried a misconception that this accident happened late in the race, thinking it was due as much to driver error (not Levegh’s) but to his fatigue.

    Here’s good link to Levegh, which may set the record straight:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Levegh

    Like 1
  28. Josh Staff

    Adam S just sent in this link to CNN’s update coverage of this collection: http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/02/05/dnt-vause-france-classic-cars-found.cnn It looks like they are trying to build some extra hype for the auction.

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