Sixty years ago, a man named Roger Baillon owned a successful transport company in western France and began collecting some of the most beautiful and important cars the world has ever known.
For nearly two decades, he built up one of the finest collections in all of Europe, until his company "suffered a setback" in the 1970s. This "setback" forced him to sell over 50 of his beloved cars, but he was able to keep 60 of them. They sat on his property, untended, for four decades. Inevitably, time took its toll and rotted the cars to various degrees while they slowly faded from memory.
But now, they've finally been found, cataloged and valued around $18,000,000. And in February, they're all going up for sale in what is easily the most eerily beautiful classic car auction of the year, perhaps ever.
One of the belles of the ball is this Ferrari 250GT SWB California Spider. You know it as Ferris Bueller's valet's favorite plaything.
In the mid 1960s, the car was owned by an actor who used it to cruise around the French Riviera with (at different times) Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine riding shotgun.
It was found buried under piles of old newspapers. Only 37 of these cars were built, and Ferrari historians had wondered where this specific one had been for decades.
As for that car next to it? It's a super rare Maserati A6G.
It's one of three that was built with a body constructed by AC Frua, one of Italy's best coachbuilders.
If you want to know the true depth of the collection, check this out: It's a Talbot, but with a convertible body designed specifically for this car, at the request of its owner...King Farouk of Egypt.
Amazingly, the guys at Artcurial stumbled on the whole collection after a phone call told them to go to a property in small town, and to enter via the back. Artcurial's Pierre Novikoff remarked, "We could see different makeshift structures. Low shelters covered with corrugated iron. From there, we realized that this was something big. We still didn’t know what we were looking at."
The auction house's managing director was a little overcome when he first saw the collection, aptly comparing it to first opening King Tut's tomb.
Upon first inspection, some cars were described as greenhouses filled with weeds.
The Delahaye (left) was a pillar of the art deco movement, and the Talbot next to it was one of the most important cars produced in pre-war France.
Some of the cars have survived better than others, but even with 40 years of dust and dirt, a collection like this is still beautiful to behold.
Of course, having an entire shed full of old tires comes with the territory, and is one of the less talked about points of collecting cars.
Ivy. Classy as hell when it's growing on a centuries-old estate, but just kinda sad when it's slowly eating away at a decades-old classic.
Here lies an old Hispano-Suiza H6B with a custom body. You wouldn't be far from the truth to consider Hispano-Suiza the Spanish Rolls-Royce of the early 1900s, but that kinda sells it short. Rolls-Royce actually used Hispano-Suiza parts because they were so advanced.
This is an old Panhard Dynamique Coupe that's lost much of its luxury.
Talbot was noted for making some of the most gorgeous cars in the world, though the performance was often lacking compared to its British, German, and Italian counterparts.
And this, kids, is why you need to wash your car at least once a decade.
Jaguars, Porsches, random bits of timber; a Hollywood set couldn't have done a better job.
This is seriously the real life post-apocalyptic version of all those "Justification for Higher Education" motivational posters.
Note the separate compartment for the rear area? This is an old Delahaye that was meant to be driven exclusively by your chauffeur.
One thing's for certain. Finds this monumental, full of this many important cars, with this level of artistic beauty, are extraordinarily rare.
King Farouk's Talbot once more for good measure, shown with its long-time neighbors.
Although this isn't Tutankhamun's tomb, the history behind these automobiles and the decisions that led to them rotting away in a French barn are certainly worth investigating. One man's dream collection whittled down to rust and parts by the sands of time. Certainly eerie, but unquestionably beautiful.