ARTCURIAL DISCOVERS – A FORGOTTEN TREASURE IN FRANCE

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– SALE FRIDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2015 –

The Collectors’ Car Department at Artcurial has discovered 60 collectors’ automobiles, all major brands dating from the early days of the motor car through to the 1970s. Found following fifty years of lying dormant, the Baillon collection will be sold by Artcurial Motorcars in the first part of the traditional sale at Retromobile Salon, on 6 February 2015, in Paris.

These motor cars have been tucked away in a property in the West of France, under makeshift corrugated iron shelters and in
various outbuildings.

Matthieu Lamoure, Managing Director at Artcurial Motorcars, declared: “Not since the revelation of the Schlumpf Collection in Mulhouse, of which Maître Hervé Poulain was the expert, has such a group of emblematic automobiles been disclosed and what is more, in such original condition! Visitors to the Retromobile Salon will be able to share in our emotion, much like that experienced by Lord Carrington and Howard Carter entering Tutankhamun’s tomb. Artcurial will put on show the magic of these sixty mysterious mechanical creatures, like a giant work of art: the unrealised dream of its owner brought back to life…”

Bugatti, Hispano-Suiza, Talbot-Lago, Panhard-Levassor, Maserati, Ferrari, Delahaye, Delage…these legendary brands make up the extraordinary cache discovered by the Artcurial car department team.

Many of these cars were built by highly celebrated coachbuilders such as Million-Guiet, Chapron and Saoutchik, with a number of Talbot Lago T26s including a very rare Grand Sport Aérodynamique and a rather extravagant Cabriolet once owned by King Farouk.

Sheltered in a garage, conserved in good condition, the two specialists came across one of just three Maserati A6G Gran Sports with coachwork by Frua, dating from 1956. Beneath piles of newspapers, they discovered a Ferrari 250GT SWB California Spider, with covered headlights. It had been bought new by the actor Gérard Blain, then sold to fellow actor Alain Delon, who was photographed several times at the wheel of this machine, including in 1964 with Jane Fonda during the filming of ‘Les Félins’ and on the Côte d’Azur with Shirley MacLaine. One of 37 examples, this Pininfarina-designed cabriolet, its whereabouts unknown to historians until now, is bound to attract the attention of collectors of important historic Ferrari.

This collection was assembled during the 1950s by Roger Baillon, an entrepreneur who ran a transport company based in the west of France. As enthusiast from the early days, he exhibited, at the Paris Motor Show during the 1950s, a roadster that he had built. His dream was to conserve the heritage of pre-war automobiles in museum surroundings. During the 1970s, before he could carry out the necessary restoration work, his dream was shattered when his business suffered a setback. He was forced to sell some fifty cars, and since that time, the rest of the collection did not move until this discovery.

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