Barn finds are the dream of every petrolhead. Imagine creaking open a dusty old garage door and catching a glimpse of the prancing horse of a Ferrari… or something even more exotic.
It’s not a fantasy, it happens.
These are the most incredible car barn finds of all time.
9. Lamborghini Miura – USA – $1.5 million
the Miura shook the world with its mid-engined layout and spaceship-like stylings.
It became an instant icon and was glamorized at the beginning of the 1969 film, The Italian Job.
Amazingly, one in the exact same spec was discovered on the outskirts of Chicago where it was hiding for about 25 years.
This early 1967 P400 belonged to the same family since 1970. Apparently, the owner parked it in his garage to work on the brakes in the late ’80s and it sat there for 25 years.
The same model Muira can sell for more than $1.5 million in the current market.
8. Ferrari 166MM Barchetta – USA $1 million+
The 166MM made its name at Le Mans in 1949 as the first Ferrari to win the famous endurance race.
It is one of the earliest and most valuable Ferraris ever made. So imagine finding one abandoned in a barn.
A California buyer forked out “more than $1 million” for the car in its abandoned desert condition after it was left in Arizona for decades.
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He bought it without even looking at it, the name was enough to know it was worth it.
The lucky buyer then found out it had some serious history too, it had raced in Le Mans and Silverstone.
It’s so famous the barn find Ferrari was even featured in video game Forza Horizon.
One $1 million sounds like a bargain when you see the current prices for a 166M, which can fetch up to $8 million.
7. Bugatti Type 57S Atlante – UK – $4.4 million
Newcastle is probably the last place you’d expect to find an abandoned $4.4 million car.
But that’s where this 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante was, owned by doctor Harold Carr.
He bought the car in 1955 and in 1960, decided to put it in a shed… for 49 years.
In 2009, the family of Mr Carr inherited it after his death.
The ultra-valuable classic car was then sold at a Bonhams auction to a mystery buyer.
6. The only Ferrari Daytona alloy body – Japan – $2.17 million
Only a mere five alloy-bodied Daytonas were ever made for racing events.
One was made for the road, which went missing sometime around 1980.
Nearly 40 years later, it was eventually found in a Japanese garage belonging to the collector, Makoto Takai.
He stored the car almost immediately after buying it.
After discovery, the one-off Ferrari headed to auction in 2017 with RM Sotheby’s and sold for $2.17 million.
5. Uday Hussein’s Ferrari F40 – Kurdistan, Iraq – $1.15 million
Following the United States’ invasion of Iraq, it is said that Uday Hussein instructed troops to burn down his exotic car collection.
Amazingly, his Ferrari F40 managed to survive.
Ratarossa, who shares content on YouTube, set out to hunt for the missing F40 as he wanted to buy it.
But it was a couple of spy photographers who ventured out to Kurdistan and managed to get a close look at the ’80s icon.
It took two Toyota Land Cruisers, some bodyguards and much waiting for the two gentlemen to get up close to the car.
Since then, the car has been thoroughly restored and the owner doesn’t seem to want to sell it anytime soon. Apparently, a fleeting price tag for it was $1.15 million.
4. Porsche 901 – Brandenburg, Germany – Price unknown
The very first batch of Porsche 911s was known as 901s (there was a bit of a lawsuit with Peugeot over that name).
The legal dramas happened only a week or so into the production run.
And it was thought all of those original cars were lost.
That was until Porsche’s classic department received a phone call from a German TV station, RTL2.
They found two classic 911s sitting in a barn. Critically, one of them was chassis no.57.
That number classed this barn find as one of the first 911s ever produced, built in late 1964 as the 901.
The rare classic was treated to a full, bare-metal restoration.
Three years later, it was beautifully finished and now sits proudly in the Porsche museum in Stuttgart and is the oldest vehicle in the collection.
3. Bullitt Ford Mustang – USA – $3.4 million
The car chase in the movie Bullitt is called the greatest chase of all time. It features a Dodge Charger 440 R/T and a Ford Mustang GT390 Fastback, with Steve McQueen barrelling around the hills of San Francisco.
And both of the on-screen muscle cars ended up as barn finds.
There was a ‘hero’ car and a ‘stunt’ car.
The stunt car was found rotting in a Mexican scrap yard, where an enthusiast found it and wanted to turn it into an Eleanor replica from Gone in 60 Seconds.
He stopped when he saw reinforced modifications were made to the shell, and the chassis number confirmed it was the missing Bullitt stunt car.
The ‘hero’ car – well Steve McQueen attempted to buy it twice in the late 1970s and was rejected by the owner.
He even wrote a pleading letter (which you can read below).
That Mustang was finally sold in 2020, for $3.4 million.
2. Shelby Cobra Daytona chassis no.CSX2287 – $4 million
Chassis number CSX2287 is the original prototype for the near-mythical Shelby Cobra Daytona. Only six were ever made.
You might have played a video game that had the Cobra Daytona, you may have seen the grainy old photos of it racing. But few had seen one in the flesh until 2001.
That’s when it was found in a private storage unit after it had vanished in the 1970s.
The car was sold for $4 million and it’s now at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum.
1. The Ballion Collection – Western France – $52 million
Barn finds don’t come any bigger than this.
A French entrepreneur had a dream of creating his very own classic car museum during the 1950s.
Unfortunately, this dream was cut short due to that pesky problem most of us have – cash.
His collection reached about 200, and the family sold off 50 to get their finances back in order.
But then the remaining 150 were left to rust in the Ballion family home in Western France – creating one of the most epic barn finds ever!
They were taken to auction in 2015 by Artcurial Motorcars, and the collection sold for $52 million!
Among the highlights of the collection were a Ferrari 250 GT California SWB and a Maserati A6G 2000.
The Ferrari sold for a staggering $17.1 million.