The Artcurial car collection department recently uncovered 60 vintage collection cars from major brands, ranging from the early debut of the automotive age, to the 1970s.
Found after 50 years of sleep, the Baillon collection will be auctioned by Artcurial Motorcars during the first part of the traditional sale of Retromobile, on February 6th in Paris, and it is said that it might be worth at least $19 Million (£12 Million). Until last week, these cars had been sleeping since the 1970s in a barn located in the west part of France, under makeshift shelters covered with corrugated iron.
This collection was assembled in the 50s by Roger Baillon, an entrepreneur who ran a transport company based in the west of France. A real dyed in the wool car passionate, Roger Baillon even exhibited at the Paris Salon, a roadster of his own manufacturing this very same year. His ambition was to save the automotive heritage in a special museum of his own. In the 70s, before he undertook this monumental project, his dream shattered when his business suffered a setback. He was then forced to sell fifty of his cars. Since then, the rest of the collection had remained frozen until discovered …
“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” – Artcurial Motorcars specialist Pierre Novikoff
Bugatti, Hispano-Suiza, Talbot-Lago, Panhard Levassor-Maserati, Ferrari, Delahaye, Delage … all these legendary brands are represented in this set discovered by Matthieu Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff, the team members of the Automotive Division of the Artcurial auction house who brought the collection back to the light of day. Most are signed by the most famous car manufacturers such as Million-Guiet, Chapron, Saoutchik, with the presence of several Talbot Lago T26 among which a very rare Grand Sport Aerodynamics and the extravagant Cabriolet that once beloged to former King Farouk.
“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,” – Artcurial Motorcars manager Matthieu Lamoure
But that was not all, yet. Far from it. Sheltered in a garage, both specialists discovered in a good state of preservation, one of three A6G Maserati Gran Sport bodied by Frua in 1956 and, under piles of newspapers, a short frame Ferrari 250 California, with streamlined headlights. It had been originally acquired by actor Gérard Blain before he sold it to the actor Alain Delon. The french actor was photographed several times racing this car back in 1964, with Jane Fonda on the set of the movie ‘Les Félins‘, as well as on the French Riviera with Shirley MacLaine.
Only 37 copies of this convertible designed by Pininfarina were built. And this one had been intensively tracked since it vanished, by historians of the brand. Apparently, this Ferrari 250 California will be coveted by a large panel of Ferrari collectors.
Pictures & video: Artcurial