Amazing Triple Bugatti Barn Find!

Only the family of Belgian sculptor August Thomassen knew what was hidden away in his studio barn. Behind the sandbags stacked in front of the large wooden doors, there was a collection of four vintage vehicles including a million dollars worth of Bugattis! The cars will be up for auction on Feb. 8 at the Retromobile event in Paris, where one of them may fetch as much as $750,000 by itself!

Thomassen purchased the three Bugattis in the late 1950s and early 1960s. They were driven regularly until they began to increase in value and started getting unwanted attention. The family didn’t have money to insure the cars so they hid them in Thomassen’s studio barn and placed sandbags in front of the doors to discourage looky-loos. The Fox News article sums up what happened next, “…last year someone broke into the building during what was suspected to have been a recon mission for a theft. With Thomassen now 95 and unable to drive, the family decided it was time to get rid of them, along with a 1925 Citroen Torpedo that was also stored away.”

This is the star of the collection. It is a 1937 Type 57 Cabriolet which features custom coachwork by Graber and may sell for as much as $750,000 when the gavel falls. The auction description of the car indicates it has all original matching-number axles and engine that match the chassis numbers, which add tremendously to the value.

This is a 1929 Type 40 that unfortunately was damaged in an accident. Thomassen was performing the new coachwork himself but never finished the project. According to the auction house “…the vehicle components indicates that the original engine number 630 is still in the chassis that has the serial number 40719 engraved on its crankcase. The original rear axle is numbered 630.”

The last car is a 1932 Type 49 Berline and features coachwork by Vanvooren. The auction house estimates this one at 150,000 – 200,000 €. An inspection of the car reveals “totally original mechanics.” Overall, these are three really original Bugattis and it will be interesting to see if they can reach the seven-figure mark. Do you think they will?

Source: Classic & Sports Car

Like This? Get Our Daily Email!

Comments

  1. leiniedude Member

    WOW! Sell one and now you have the cash to insure the rest. Great story Montana!

    11
  2. Fred w

    Sad thing is, taxes in France will take a huge chunk of the families windfall.

    12
    • Arno

      Fred, even cars are sold in France the family seems to live in Belgium. Hopefully Belgium is less greedy than France (not that difficult…)

      12
      • Dairyman

        Actually the owner lives in the Netherlands, the cars are stored just across the border in Belgium, and the cars are being sold in France.

        10
  3. Gaspumpchas

    Thanks Montana- goes to show they are still out there!!!! Good luck to the new Owner!!!

    Cheers

    GPC

    12
  4. Kenneth Carney

    Hi Mike! Glad to see you survived that
    nasty cold snap. These cars are drop
    dead gorgeous! If they were located
    here, you could sell the blue ragtop and be set pretty much for life! Or, take the
    cash from the first car, finish it, and hold
    onto the two you have left and watch the
    values accelerate. That would be a great
    legacy for your family after you’re gone.
    Still working on my submissions to get
    a job here writing great stories for all of
    you to read. Maybe they’ll give me a
    discount on a membership too. Hard to
    get one when you’re on a fixed income.

    8
    • leiniedude Member

      Hey Ken, send me a copy. I would enjoy reading it. If they are as entertaining as your Emails you are in bud. 43 degrees here now, Whoopie!!!!!!!!

      4
    • Jerry

      They could probably find a museum who would be happy to store, display, and insure them…Or they could contact the Louwman Museum in the Hague in the Netherlands. They might be interested in it, or they would know all the good possibilities to continue with.

      1
  5. Bert Kanne

    Amazing finds in amazing condition. Let’s hope the new buyers make them all roadworthy and keep their patina!

    2
  6. Lyle A Rigdon

    Wayne Carini…. are you listening???

  7. Jan Mazgaj

    Fabulous find. Unfortunately they will probably disappear from sight again when purchased.

    4
  8. Wrong Way Member

    My first thought was, WOW! What a lucky butternut. Then I thought about his security paranoia. I only wish I had to put a few sandbags up on my door to keep people away. LMAO, I am feeling 3 Rottweilers, 2 Pitts and a couple other dogs to roam my property. Oh yeah, 11 cameras around here too. Sandbags would be so much cheaper. Great article, great cars. I would just like to be sitting in the audience and catch the high on just being there. Great for your heart ya know.

    1
    • bowmad

      Maybe some security around the house and the garage like in the movie, The Accountant.

      1
  9. Robert E Townsend

    I hope they fare better than the Schlump collection.

  10. Robert Pittman

    The second of six 1932 Type 41 Royale Berline de Voyages was sold to an owner who had never driven during the hours of darkness and didn’t intend to, so the model had no headlights. The featured Type 49 is also lacking headlights, could it be for the same reason?

    3
  11. Bert Kanne

    Could be if there is no indication that the car had a headlight switch, wiring or hardware mounted for the lights. It therefore should not have any signs of a tail light as well as dash lighting. Exterior car lighting was terrible in vehicles from that era.

    3
  12. daCabbie

    Thomassen was performing the new coachwork himself but never finished….

    Seems to me that would make this August Thomassen’s last unfinished sculpture… a true piece of art! I hope he signed it… I’d drive it as is (except for the flat rear tire).

    But can someone explain why I cannot find any artwork produced by an artist named August Thomassen? Nor can I find him listed as an artist… and Wiki has no artist by this name? Seems strange.

    3
  13. leiniedude Member

    Look at image 11 on the Classic & Sports Car site posted above if this does not come through. If you look between the two cars on the floor, I think it might be one of his sculptures! Pretty funny daCabbie, put some glasses on the sculpture and it would look like the dude leaning against the car! Take care, Mike.

    1
  14. Bob McK Member

    Wow!

  15. Bob

    Here’s a Bugatti in which I once rode:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABMaW5EmYF8

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.