The car find worth $4 million

The 1937 Bugatti found in an English garage (AP photo)

The 1937 Bugatti found in an English garage (AP photo)

Sometimes amazing stories like this surface:

A guy is driving an old country road and spots the backend of a 1963 Corvette split window poking out from a partially collapsed barn. He stops to take a closer look and ends up buying the “old wreck” from an 83-year-old widow for a thousand bucks. He restores it, sells it, and has a hefty $100,000 in profit.

That certainly has never happened to me, or even anyone I know. But if you think finding a ’63 Vette is amazing, here’s a story that’ll leave your jaw on the floor.

A 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante was found in the garage of an English grandfather, who died at age 89. His grandchildren called him an eccentric hoarder who never threw anything away.

Well, looks like ol’ grampa had the last laugh, because his grandkids have now realized what they’ve found.   

This car was purchased new by British race-car driver Earl Howe. Only 17 were ever made. It was capable of up to 130 mph (when other cars of the era maybe managed 50). Each of the 17 cars was made by hand. A quarter of all Atalantes ever built are housed in a French museum.

To call this a rare find is a gross understatement; a find like this simply doesn’t happen. This Bugatti retains all of its original parts and has only 26,000 miles on the odometer. It hasn’t been driven (or hardly touched) since 1960.

The eight people who inherited the estate of Dr. Harold Carr were simply going through his belongings, surely not expecting to strike gold. Imagine the feeling of shock, disbelief, and excitement when one of the most significant automobiles in the world was uncovered from its nearly 50-year-old hideaway.

Thank goodness someone there knew what they were looking at, or this Bugatti could’ve ended up in the hands of a very lucky passerby!

Now, on February 7, 2009, this treasure will be auctioned at Bonham’s Retromobile Sale in Paris. The expected going price? Nothing less than $4 million.

Maybe Grandpa wasn’t that crazy after all.

What’s the greatest story of a car find you’ve experienced or heard? 


1 Comment

  1. Hey,

    Just curious if you got your idea for this post from the tv series chasing classic cars with wayne carini? I saw an episode that was very similar to this…..

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