12 beautiful classic cars found in a Swiss castle
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What makes the notion of the proverbial 'barn find' such a buzz among motoring fans is the accessibility and mystery — the idea that any old shed spotted during one's local commute could contain a four-wheeled piece of art.
We at Driven love a good barn find too, though for us it's more about the stories of how those cars came to their ultimate fate of sitting idle away from the public eye.
So naturally, we all got a bit giddy when we stumbled upon this story about 12 classic cars that are going to soon be auctioned off by noted international auction house Bonhams at the Spa Classic Sale on May 21 in Belgium. What makes this case different is that the cars are in superb condition, and the 'barn' isn't your classic corrugated iron job — but in fact a castle in Switzerland.
Curiously, and somewhat sadly, Bonhams don't list any real information about said castle. Though I'm sure you're more here to inspect the four-wheeled beauties, I'm sure you can sympathise with those interesting in knowing just how these 12 cars came to be Rapunzel'd.
Starting from the top, the two heaviest hitters on the 12-car list are a silver 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster and a 1921 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Double Phaeton. They're both very different cars — the Merc a thoroughly influential supercar and the Roller a luxury-car benchmark — but they're both valued at the same expected amount; €600,000–€800,00. That's $900,000–$1.3 million here, a pop.
The [above] Silver Ghost Double Phaeton (rolls off the tongue ... ) is one of two Rolls-Royces in the collection, with the latter a less valuable 1934 Phantom II (valued at around $150,000). In fact, the former owner of the collection must've loved buddying up his or her cars, as a lot of them come with a dancing partner of some description. There are three Maseratis (a Ghibli SS, a Quattroporte, and an Indy America), two Jaguar E-Types (a 4.2 and a series II V12), two Aston Martins (a V8 and a Volante), and a second Mercedes-Benz convertible.
Considering that, perhaps the one car that stands out as a bit of a strange choice is the bright red Ford Mustang. Like a jaffa trapped in a container full of milk bottles, the Mustang looks almost like a mistake here. Perhaps the collector was a fan of Diamonds are Forever, where James Bond drove a similar-generation hard-top version. The Mustang is the cheapest in the bunch, expected to sell for between $15,000–$20,000.
It's important to note that these cars aren't quite factory fresh. Bonhams don't necessarily detail this to its extremes in their description, but it's visible on certain cars in the collection. Most clearly on one of the other 'black sheep' in the set; this Lamborghini GT Espada. While the body looks rather sound, the car looks like it's fresh from a mild rally stage on gravel with all the gunk up its side sills.
The Bertone-designed Espada is something of a forgotten car from the flamboyant Italian marque, and probably came a little before its time as a 'family friendly supercar'. At a time where people would still chastise supercar manufacturers for trying to reach the masses.
All up, the total collection is expected to sell for between €1.7–€2.4 million — $2.6–3.7 million Kiwi in other words. Of course, nobody is expected to raise their hand and purchase the whole shooting box in one swoop. But it still raises the question of what such an obscene amount of incredibly valuable cars was doing hidden for so long.
Again, I can't help but want to know where these came from. Time to ask Google what they know ...