My Car Quest

November 22, 2019

The French Ferrari Barn Find

by Wallace Wyss

The Movie Star’s Ferrari – it was out there waiting to be discovered, but no one was looking.

You have to laugh at the improbability of it all–there’s this famous movie star, see, who has been in something like 80 films, not counting his later TV career. And when he was in his prime, he was as handsome as Clint Eastwood.

He dated the most attractive women such as Jane Fonda in her Barbarella period, and was seen and photographed squiring them around in the most desirable car of the time–the Ferrari 250GT California Spyder.

Alain Delon and Jane Fonda in Ferrari California Spider

Alain Delon and Jane Fonda – This and other pictures with Delon and Fonda threw Ferrari barn finders off the trail as it turned out to be a borrowed California Spyder

But when Ferrari experts were asked back in the ’60s or early ’70s “What about this Alain Delon–where is his Ferrari California Spyder?” The answer at first was “fogehtaboutit–that was one he borrowed from Gunther Sachs or some other playboy.”

Ah, but what about the documentary book authors who say “Here are the serial numbers of the California Spyders” and so forth, these lists delivered to us Ferraristi with the authority of the 10 Commandments.

Well – there was a book on the 250GT and it had a sentence like that but guess what, no such number, so when those looking for the serial number reported to be Delon’s looked, it wasn’t listed.

Worse yet, some other books showed that same serial number assigned to a SWB 250GT coupe.

Now this mystery chassis number stuck in some writer’s craw and he writes Ferrari and a Ferrari official said that number was assigned to a “Lusso.” So some gave up there thinking Lusso Berlinetta but that was a mistake, the Ferrari man meant “Lusso” as in “luxury” not the model known as Lusso.

So nobody looked, for several decades. Then Delon’s name came back into the Ferrari world in 2013 when his Testarossa was sold for an outsize amount–no doubt because he promised to personally inscribe the Owner’s Manuel for the lucky buyer.

So that sale must have awakened a family who were rural residents of France who not only had a Ferrari in their garage but one that belonged at one time to Alain Delon. So they rang up the same auction firm–Artcurial–and laid that upon them.

No doubt the auction company looked in the same expert’s book but maybe they had an updated edition where that serial number was listed as belonging to a California Spyder. At any rate, they sent a man out to the countryside to see about this Ferrari.

Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder

When the Artcurial man saw the Ferrari he found the papers listing the car’s owner. He had the magazines taken off the car that had hidden it from view, and the car rolled out into the sunlight and photographed.

The presence of a rare Maserati next to it sealed his determination to represent the cars. There were dozens more cars on the property including Talbot Lagos, Delahayes and Delages but due to poor storage, they were very rusty indeed, They were all the leftovers from what a relative had planned as a 200-car museum.

But that museum had been scotched by business failures. The family had to wait until the owner of the collection died, and his son as well before they dared contact an auction company.

Barn Finds in France

Total value of the collection is estimated at $18 million, with the one Ferrari representing $10 million of that total.

The auction is scheduled for February 6, 2015. Maybe they can get the now white-haired Delon to put in a cameo appearance (and maybe Jane Fonda, his one-time main squeeze. Ain’t she single now?).

I can see the couple in my mind’s eye now, tooling down the Promenade de la Croisette on all twelve cylinders, on the way to Cannes to relive those days of glory when all you needed was the newest Ferrari to make your day…

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss said this car will be featured in Incredible Barn Finds No, 3 available from Enthusiast Books, Hudson WI on May 1, 2015.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Summary
The French Ferrari Barn Find
Article Name
The French Ferrari Barn Find
Description
The former Alain Delon Ferrari is found in a barn in France.
Author

Comments

  1. Thomas Ollinger says

    I’ve beeen following this greatest of barn finds story. Thanks for more info.

  2. Hello Mike,

    just some additional info to this story which has been on everyone’s mouth in France and Italy these last months. This collection belonged to Mr Roger Baillon, a successful business man in the transport, who after WWI bought all Delahaye and Talbots he could find. It seems that such pricey (today) cars were quite cheap at this time. In the sixties he started to bought italian cars. The maa seemed to be very “old style” too and no one in his family, but his son, had access to the collection or could even know about it. Actually, RM Auction people found more than 180 classic cars most of which in a very bad shape but the Baillon family agreed to sell only 60 to 80 cars circa. The cars will be auctionned ‘as is”, which is incredibile also because some of them have been sitting for 40-50 years and are 100% original.

    Here in Europe, it is told to be the most incredible discovery in the last 30-35 years; only after the collectionnist and his son died, the heirs were informed of this collection which sit quietly in a remote property of the family.

    Ferrari 250GT is splendid but there also many other interesting cars:
    – 1956 Maserati A6 by Frua Carozzeria
    – Talbot Grand Sport Aerodynamique
    – Talbot T26..

  3. Ha Ha You believe the magazines were stacked on the car. Total publicity stunt. Mr. Barnfind

  4. wallace wyss says

    OK I’ll admit I fell for that buried-under-magazines shot,but you have to admit that car auctions are a bit of razz-ma-tazz and show business and it starts from the minute you find a significant car. You clean this one and not that one, you put the better cars where they are better lit. I say why not go all the way? Yes, hire Delon and Fonda to reprise their role as carefree lovers on the Cote d’Azur, by appearing on stage as the car is auctioned, have film clips of their greatest movies in the background, have French music and pink champagne flowing, even cases of Alain Delon men’s perfume to hand out. And add some big rock concert type speakers to periodically play sounds of a 250GT nearing redline as it goes through the Monaco tunnels

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