Ferrari Found Rusting in French Barn Sells For $23 Million (PHOTOS)

Feb 11, 2015 05:30 PM EST | Matt Mercuro

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A rare Ferrari sold for a record $23 million at auction this weekend, making it the fifth most expensive vehicle ever sold.

The Ferrari 250 GT SWB is one of just 37 ever manufactured and one of 59 classic vehicles found on a farm in western France in 2014.

The cars were collected from 1950 to the 1970s by entrepreneur Roger Baillon, who had aspirations of restoring the vehicles to put them on display at a museum one day. His plans were halted as his business struggled, which forced Baillon to sell nearly 50 of the cars.

Since then the collection sat in makeshift corrugated iron shelters and outbuildings on a farm. Baillon died in 2004, and his son died last year. His grandchildren had no idea the collection existed, but soon after discovering some of the cars they called car specialists Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff of Artcurial to estimate its value.

"This will go down in history as an extraordinary sale!" said Novikoff, a specialist in the Artcurial Motorcars department, according to Fox Sports. "The Baillon discovery has been an incredible adventure. In addition to the passion it has aroused in enthusiasts, it is the unique story of one man's dream, carried on by an entire family. The successful sale of the 59 cars in the Baillon Collection reflects the international response by collectors who have been touched by these phantom-like automobiles."

 

The Ferrari, which has appeared 13 times on a list of the 100 most expensive vehicles ever sold, was considered the crown jewel of the lot. Besides being extremely rare, the Ferrari has been photographed carrying stars like Alain Delon, Shirley MacLaine and Jane Fonda during shooting of the 1964 film Les Felins.

The rare GT SWB sold on Friday at the Artcurial auction house in Paris. Managing director of the auction house Matthieu Lamoure compared the discovery to finding King Tut's tomb.

"We were overcome with emotion. Probably much like Lord Carrington and Howard Carter, on being the first for centuries to enter Tutankhamun's tomb," he said to AFP.

A 1956 Maserati that was found next to the Ferrari on the farm was sold the same day for nearly $2 million.

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