by Chrisso Rheault
More and more we see cars being presented in scruffy, patinated condition. Whether because they were dragged out of cold storage that way or ‘restored’ that way. Regardless of the authenticity of the condition, these cars are being made ever more popular and more valuable, largely as a result of the auction companies selling them and the automotive press looking for the next big find.
This push for what I call authentic decay is reaching extreme levels. Case in point, the new owner of the Baillon/Delon Ferrari does not allow it to be driven more than 35 mph to keep the dust from flying off. Dust that accumulated in a Paris garage, not on the estate. The dent in the boot lid is from someone storing magazines, not from an incident during a great race. They currently have not replaced anything, not perished rubber hoses, or wiring.
Now we have news from England of a ‘hedge find’ e-type jaguar with claimed ties to the Beatles. The car wasn’t found, someone convinced its owner to chop down the hedge that had grown up around the car and drag it out to sell it. But both the auction house and the automotive media are hyping that it was ‘found in a hedge’ and that it has strong ties to the Beatles. This distortion of the truth makes it sound much more romantic, gets the story printed in mainstream media and makes bidders go higher then they normally would for a basket case FHC E type.
The Baillon collection was not discovered recently, people have known about it for decades. The family tried to reach out to different groups over the years about creating a museum, and many in France made approaches to buy cars before they were totally lost but the pater familias turned them away. I say that again, others tried to acquire cars before they disintegrated.
However, the presentation by the automotive media and the auction houses of these being unearthed gems, that have some extra paniche because they are in derelict condition guarantees attention and in theory higher prices. Proof was in the pudding with the international headlines and 100’s of people trying to get into the auction.
This is not to say genuine discoveries cannot be made, we know of many many cars that disappeared, and periodically they reappear, for example… Soon more!