Bugatti barn find could fetch more than $1 million at auction

The cars had been sitting untouched for more than 60 years

A Belgian barn find of three classic Bugattis, as well as a rare vintage Citroen, could fetch as much as $1 million at Artcurial Motorcars auction at the upcoming Salon Retromobile in France.

“There are wonderful surprises every year at Retromobile and I must say this time it’s a big one,” Mattieu Lamoure, the managing director of Artcurial Motorcars, said in a YouTube video.

Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff, his partner at Artcurial, found the cars – a 1930 Bugatti Type 49 limousine, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet per Graber, a Bugatti Type 40 and a Citroen C3 Torpedo from the 1920s – in a barn where they had been stored for more than 60 years.

“Clearly, this is the stuff of dreams, and because it’s Bugatti, it’s even more magical,” Lamoure said in the video.

Artcurial will offer four cars from a Belgian barn find at the Salon Retromobile, including some great Bugatti examples. | Screenshot

Artcurial will offer four cars from a Belgian barn find at the Salon Retromobile, including some great Bugatti examples. | Screenshot

It was apparently rather difficult to get to the cars. About 200 sandbags weighing more than 50 pounds each were stacked in front of the barn doors.

“The entrance was completely barricaded and a more-modern car had been there for over 15 years, blocking the two entrances to the garage,” Lamoure said. “This is the magic of the barn find, you just don’t know what you’re going to get and it is always exhilarating.”

Lamoure said the cars looked to be in great condition, considering they had sat for more than six decades.

“When I was a young adolescent, I never imagined finding such sleeping beauties hidden for years in incredibly well-conserved conditions,” he said. “This is the thrill of the treasure hunt.”

Artcurial Motorcars will hold the annual Salon Retromobile auction February 8-10 at the Parc des Expositions de la Porte de Versailles in Paris. For more information, go to Artcurial’s website.

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Carter Nacke
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  • robert Hershgeer
    January 8, 2019, 9:22 AM

    Who in their right mind would pay such outrageous prices for any car? NO car is worth that much money, and I dont care what you say otherwise. It seems this "Hobby" is becoming no longer a "Hobby"! The little guy who buys an older car, fixes it up , and enjoys driving it is going by the wayside. Such a shame the few rich B*****’s out there are destroying the hobby for the rest of us. I can barely afford a part any more for some of the lower priced cars let alone buy one. The hobby is on the way out and only investors who buy and sell to each other are remaining. Tisk tisk tisk.

    REPLY
    • Mark Schroer@robert Hershgeer
      January 8, 2019, 1:28 PM

      I disagree with you Robert. There is a large selection of affordable cars out there for us "little guys". You don’t have to buy a Bugatti to be in this hobby. No need to be hard on the guys who can afford these cars, there has to be room for all of us including the collector/investor.

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    • Kurt Mcfall@robert Hershgeer
      January 8, 2019, 3:45 PM

      What happens if you are the one who finds the barn burner ? You get to decide if you want to fix it up or sell it and retire. Don’t be mad because someone else found it. It gives all of us hope that there are more barn finds out there.

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  • Andy Fuhrman
    January 8, 2019, 10:08 AM

    Very cool – but I don’t know that I would have smashed with windshield of the "more modern car" before I towed that out of the way. There are other ways to move things. I’ve seen people walk past other valuable items just to take the "big prize." MHO check over the building and it’s surroundings for additional finds. (You never know.)

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  • Toby H
    January 8, 2019, 10:16 AM

    This is pretty amazing. Also well documented as one always wonders about the validity of such stories.
    Thanks for sharing this!

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