Expert Says Scale Of Baillon Classic Car Find Rare

Dec 29 2014 | 4:40am ET

Forget about hedge funds, buying rare, classic cars could be called the ultimate alternative investment.

The founder of The Classic Car Fund says the discovery of 60 vintage automobiles in a barn near Poitiers, France is unusual for its scale.

Filippo Pignatti Morano told FINalternatives such 'barn finds' “happen fairly regularly but this scale is rare, along with some of the vehicles' importance.”

The cars—roughly 60 in number—are from the collection of Roger Baillon, a French transport company owner. Financial problems forced Baillon to sell about 50 cars in the 1970s, but the rest of the collection remained housed in makeshift shelters on his property near Poitiers. Baillon's grandchildren, the current owners of the collection, have decided to sell.

Matthieu Lamoure, managing director at Artcurial Motorcars, and one of those who discovered the cars, which have an estimated value of $18 million, compared the discovery to that of “Tutankhamun's tomb.”

The collection, to be auctioned on February 6 at the Retromobile Salon in Paris, includes a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider formerly owned by the French actor Alain Delon and worth an estimated $12 million to $15 million; and a 1956 Maserati A6G Gran Sport Frua, with an estimated value of $982,000 to $1.5 million.

Morano will “closely” watch the auction, but said his fund is unlikely to bid on any of the cars:

“From my perspective, the fund is not likely to invest in cars that require restoration due to the costs this can accumulate and large finds like this tend to be overvalued in the market due to the extra publicity attached. Of course, as with all classic auctions, the fund will follow this very closely and will be in Paris to view the sale first hand.”

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