My Car Quest

July 19, 2024

A Barn Find Discussion and Cartoon

by Mike Gulett –

This Ferrari 275 GTB was at the Gooding auction in Monterey in August 2011. The estimate was $900,000 – $1,300,000 and the car sold for $1,540,000!

Ferrari 275 GTB

Ferrari 275 GTB

Ferrari 275 GTB

Ferrari 275 GTB

Gooding’s description:

Desirable Alloy-Bodied 275 GTB

Believed to Have Less than 60,000 Miles from New
Marvelous, Untouched Condition
Beautifully Preserved Paint, Interior and Engine Bay
Long-Term Ownership
Prime Candidate for Preservation Display
Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini
One of the Most Exciting 275 GTB Discoveries in Years

What they call “Marvelous, Untouched Condition” I call very bad shape. And the headlight cover is cracked to boot.

Ferrari 275 GTB

Here is a close up of the “Beautifully Preserved Paint”, which did not look well preserved at all to me when I saw it in person.

Ferrari 275 GTB

Ferrari 275 GTB

Ferrari 275 GTB

There are two questions that come to my mind:

1) Will the new owner restore this car?

2) Restored or not will this prove to be a good investment?

The price guides show the following values for this car in 2011:

Hagerty Price Guide (No. 15, May-Aug 2011)

Condition 4: (they do not have a condition 5 in the book) – $850,000

Sports Car Market (mid-year 2011) Low: $837,500

These price estimates are very close – I wonder if the new owner knows something that the price guide folks don’t know since the actual price paid is nearly twice the price guide numbers. The price paid is higher than the Condition 1 price.

I just thought of two more questions:

3) Is an unrestored, original car that is in very rough condition worth more than a car that has been restored correctly?

4) Do the price guide authors need to add another category for unrestored, marvelous, untouched condition?

Ferrari 275 GTB door handle

Ferrari 275 GTB logo

Ferrari logo

And one more question – after ten years is the buyer of this Ferrari happy with their purchase?

Barn Find Video

This animated video below is 1:10 long and you can watch it on full screen (click on the arrows to the left of ‘Vimeo’ in the lower right corner and then click the play triangle in the lower left corner – turn on the sound).

After you watch the video let us know what you think in the Comments.

Ferrari Logo

A version of this article was originally posted in 2011 and the cartoon was originally posted in 2013. All photos and video by Mike Gulett.
A Barn Find Discussion and Cartoon
Article Name
A Barn Find Discussion and Cartoon
A classic car barn find can defy logic sometimes.


  1. ~ ‘then why not just leave it in the barn?’
    ‘you do not understand classic car people.’

  2. Best line: “A car can be original only once”

  3. Beautiful video clip.
    I too love the ‘then why not just leave it in the barn?’ (and let the value escalate even more!)
    I love it. The conundrum of pretension vs reality.
    What it is, is what it is, regardless of what you’d like it to be.

  4. I am happy someone appreciates my humor – you know this will only encourage me.

  5. lol.
    (Encourage, encourage)
    Its like; “Of course, I’m fitting the original tyres for the correct look”.
    Those 15/20yr old Pirelli Cinturatos turn in like bowling balls down a well waxed alley.
    Momentum 1: Original equipment 0

  6. The only term missing was “Restoration Ready”

  7. Is rust the new gold?

  8. Mel Walters says

    Your best animation sequence yet, I think. Thanks, Mike!

    I was wondering if there was a typo in Jim Simpson’s comment. Did he not mean, “Rusteration Ready”?

  9. Trevor Gaunt says

    Hey! What kind of idiot opened the barn doors too fast and dented the front valance or is that just additional patina to be kept original?

  10. In my experience, quite a few of so-called “condition 1-2” high-end cars are in worse shape than their shiny paint and over-the-top detailing would suggest. Bad prior body repairs, bent frames, shoddy engine jobs, incorrect technical details, damage from standing around only become apparent upon very close scrutiny and actual driving. Such cars are over-priced, based on their looks. Correction would require major restoration work and would put them way past their actual market value. These cars don’t really drive nicely and don’t work properly. So they are passed on, again based on their looks.

    I would rather buy an honest restoration project and actively participate in the restoration – in the end, at least I know what I have got. I am not alone: I see people make offers on cars that are still under restoration, simply because they have been following the work and know what they would get. So buying a restoration project / barn find can make a lot of sense, provided one has a clear idea about the actual restoration cost and the market value of a condition 1 car. And, if your barn find still runs, it may be the cheapest way to participate at Pebble Beach…

  11. danny mather says

    I get reallllly upset when mint cars are put on Barn finds when` there not actual barn finds . Dannys Mustangs

  12. Rex OSteen says

    I’m a low-end muscle car guy, and I’ve seen the same structure of the so called ‘barn-yard’ find as an
    excuse for hidden problems.

  13. Trevor Gaunt says

    This James Dean style Porsche found in Orange, Ca., looks a viable find, but most so-called “barn find” cars that I’ve seen at auctions have rather obviously been in need of extensive recommissioning at the very least and good luck to the sucker who pays over the odds to buy it.

  14. Wayne Watkins says

    It was left in the barn because it was an old Ferrari and probably needed massive expensive mechanical work . And suddenly years later the barn doors are opened and it is an instant ” well maintained ” classic car . By the condition of the paint it was once a respray and obviously never looked after or polished . Lucky that it was an alloy bodied car or it would also be riddled with expensive Ferrari rust . These upmarket Auction Houses sure know how to twist the English language in the seller’s and their favour .

  15. Trevor Gaunt says

    Sorry if I confused anyone by mentioning a Porsche 550 Spyder in my previous post. I had forgotten that My Car Quest doesn’t permit weblinks to photographs embedded in comments. The Porsche had been secreted in a shipping container for decades yet came out looking remarkably pristine.

  16. Robert Feldman says

    1.5M is strong money for a car like this, but at least the new owner bought an alloy body car. Only after a thorough and extensive mechanical evaluation could anybody estimate what it would cost to recommission this car into drivable condition. Even then, it’s a little rough to look at. With a proper full restoration at a well known shop the owner will be out another few hundred thousand dollars and a significant wait, but at least then he will know what he has, be able to enjoy it, and with luck the Ferrari market for alloy body 275GTB’s will pay him back 2M down the road.

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