Three months after I was born, I probably missed out on my only chance ever to buy a barnfind Bugatti. At least Sotheby’s thought so, when they took this beautiful T57 Atalante to auction in 1987.
The auction catalogue literally said: ‘This must surely be one of the last Bugatti barn discoveries’. Boy, were they wrong! And every time a new Bugatti opens up it’s eyes after a long sleep, the same is said. Should we all stop searching then? Of course not! Since 1987 history has proven that we can still find them. And I bet that the future will continue to prove this. So, go out and open barn doors! Here is a selection of barn find Bugattis we already missed out on since 1987:
Probably the best known barnfind Bugatti was this beautiful ex Earl-Howe Bugatti T57S Atalante (1937). It had been acquired by doctor Carr, who left it in his garage ever since 1960. After he passed away his family found the dusty goddess in his garage. What a find! Goosebumps!
The next Bugatti was found in 2007. It is a beautiful 1938 T57C Atalante. It was owned by New York resident Mr. Straus, who put the Bugatti in a long winter sleep in his garage in 1962. The Atalante body was put on chassis 57766 in the US in the 1940’s. It was originally a convertible, but it was changed into a prettier coupe body and a more powerful engine too. You could have been the one opening that garage door.
This dirty little biter is a T13 Bugatti from 1925 with Maron Pot et Cie coachwork. It is a barnfind pur sang, as it was really found a year ago in a French barn in between some stacks of hay.
The famous Swiss barnfind professional Christoph Grohe found this rusty 1930 T44 roadster, coachwork by Thietart. This car needed more than just a little TLC, as the hut it was hiding in had mostly rotted away. Almost an open air find!
Not really a barnfind, as it was found in a lake. It is/was a 1925 T22 Brescia Roadster, which was last owned by an architect, Marco Schmuklerski. The story goes that it was thrown into Lago Maggiore after the owner of the garage where Mr. Schmuklerski left the car, did not get paid. In two ways, this is not really a barnfind. Firstly there was no barn involved. Secondly, and most importantly, the car was already found in 1967 and used as a diving attraction. You can’t really find something that has already been found, can you? Nevertheless a great story.
A real barnfind was this T57 Series 3 Ventoux from 1938, found in Penssylvania in 2013. It was hiding in a barn for almost 30 years. The interesting thing was that it had suffered an engine fire. it was partly repaired, driven for some time, and was then parked in a barn. The patina you see was from its working life and not due to the long sleep.
I don’t know a lot about this car, but it is certainly a Bugatti T40 Grand Sport. Word has it that it was a halted restoration project, which was found some years ago in a dusty garage. It probably immediately won its first vintage hillclimb in the hands of its new owner.
Everybody has heard of the find of the century, the Baillon collection in France. The beautiful Ferrari with the dented ego and the Maserati, each already up and running, are well known. But less known is that there was also a beautiful T57 Ventoux in the find. Photographer Remi Dargegen shows us how beautiful a combination of rust and algae can be.
Number 9, 10 and 11
Arlette Schlumpf was the wife of Fritz, owner of the famous Schlumpf collection. Arlette was the owner of one of the reserve collections of the Schlumpf museum, the so called Malmerspach collection. But the French government had also taken possession of the cars, as part of a bankruptcy lawsuit against Fritz. It was not until 1999 that Arlette got the legal rights to the reserve collection and all 62 cars were sold, among them 15 Bugattis. Some of them can be seen dans their jus in the splendid Mullin Museum. The light blue roadster on the far right is an Amilcar.
So are you convinced? Every time a great Bugatti is found someone will tell you that it was probably the last time. But I may now have convinced you that they were all wrong, time after time. And I am have not even covered them all… more than these were found (please add any of your Bugatti finds in the comments). There is still a lot out there, so go and search the world. These goddesses deserve to see the daylight again!
Written by Dans Son Jus