10 sickest barn finds in America
Barn finds have almost become commonplace in the automotive world. It seems like every two weeks someone discover a vintage Ferrari or Lamborghini in their shed, which then sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars at classic car auctions.
Barn finds are more common in Europe and are usually the result of the war or the original owners of the vehicle hiding it to keep it safe, and some people had huge problems preventing the discovery of the cars. Thus, some of the best barn finds have been discovered in the United States, usually when a wealthy person moved to New York or rose to fame in sunny California. Often these rediscovered vehicles are restored by their original automakers – such as Dodge, Chevrolet and Jaguar – if the manufacturers still exist.
So while there have been many barn finds in countries like England, France, Belgium and Germany, the United States has also seen the discovery of equally important cars. With that, here are ten of the sickest barn finds discovered in the United States of America.
ten Ferrari Dino, California
The The Ferrari 246 Dino may not be the most popular Ferrari, but there is one that has quite an interesting story. In 1974, the owner of the two-month-old Dino reported it stolen in the Los Angeles area and the police really couldn’t find it, so the owner’s insurance company paid the claim.
Two years later, in 1977, children were playing in the backyard of a nearby house, when they dug a hole and hit something metallic. It turned out to be the Dino. The car was exhumed and sold to a collector who meticulously restored it to factory condition and now bears the vanity plate, ‘DUG UP’ as a nod to the car’s past.
9 Bullitt Mustang ‘hero car’, New York
The Mustang Bullitt is one of the most famous Mustangs to ever grace the big screen. It has an iconic chase scene through the streets of San Francisco, following an equally iconic Dodge Charger R/T. The “hero’s car” – the version used for close-ups and used outside of chase scenes – was sold to a man in New York. “Movie cars” weren’t that desirable back then, so it wasn’t exactly exciting to sell a car that had been in a movie.
The car’s owner kept it for decades and intended to restore it, but never had the time to do so. The owner’s son discovered the car’s huge value and got help keeping it a secret until she finally revealed the car at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show alongside the Ford Mustang Bullitt 2019. All the story is inspiring and is the story of a true car enthusiast.
8 Shelby Cobra Daytona, California
The original Shelby Cobra Daytona – the one that was used for testing and eventually used to race at Daytona and Le Mans – was sold to a businessman in the late 1960s. It was later bought by a another businessman in the 1970s, who had it modified for legal road use and drove it around Los Angeles.
The car disappeared in the 1970s and no one has been able to find any trace of it. Decades later, the vehicle was found in a storage box, buried in old newspapers and other trash. It was bought by a museum and is now a permanent exhibit for the whole world.
seven Ferrari 250 GTO, Ohio
The Ferrari 250 GTO was the most expensive vehicle on the planet for many years, before being overtaken by the recently sold Mercedes-Benz 300SLR race car. The 250 GTO was built in the 1960s, primarily for use in Ferrari’s 24 Hours of Le Mans races, which it dominated.
A model of the famous Ferrari ended up in the United States, where it was driven for a bit in the 1970s. It was then placed in a trailer and almost forgotten. The car was rediscovered, still parked on the trailer, planted in the middle of a random field, before being sold and restored. Today, it is on the road again and is among the most expensive cars ever made.
6 Lamborghini Miura, New York
The Lamborghini Miura was the beginning of the supercar as we know it today. It was the first car to have a big V12 in the middle, and it had no side mirrors because “Miura owners don’t need to look behind them” – a marketing ploy because the Miura was one fastest road cars of the time, far exceeding the Ferrari equivalent.
Many famous people have owned Miuras, some have been lost over time. This specific Miura was parked in a family garage with the intention of working on the brakes and clutch, but got stuck for various reasons, ultimately remaining in the same garage for decades. The Miura was eventually restored by the family and is now driving in and around the city as a show car.
5 Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’, California
The The Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ is one of the most iconic cars in history, being Mercedes’ first official attempt at a true sports car. This specific 300SL was purchased as a college graduation gift and was driven until the 1970s when the transmission broke.
The car was stored until it could be repaired – which never happened – and was rediscovered by some Canadians after rumors began to spread of its existence. When finally discovered, the 300SL was found to be a rare alloy version, one of only 28 ever made. The car was restored by the Canadian automotive workshop and is in the possession of the owner.
4 Ferrari 275GTB and Shelby Cobra 427, North Carolina
It’s a beautiful day when you come across a barn with not one, but two rare vehicles inside. That’s exactly what happened when Barn Find Hunters heard of a Ferrari and a Shelby sitting in a barn for the past 27 years. When they arrived the cars were a silver Ferrari 275 GTB and a Shelby Cobra 427 – both with less than 20,000 miles on the clock.
At first, the current owner didn’t want to sell, but when Hagerty arrived and appraised the cars at nearly $4 million, they decided to sell them in unrestored condition. It’s pretty amazing to see cars like these break down. Luckily, we car enthusiasts revel in stories and experiences like these.
3 Mercedes-Benz 500K, California
The Mercedes-Benz 500K is a beautiful piece of pre-war German metal which can easily fetch a few million at auction. One of these models was found a few years ago in Southern California and has since begun its restoration. The vehicle is far from finished, but it is already incredibly beautiful.
The 500K was fitted with a 5.0 liter straight-8 engine and was built between 1934 and 1936. It was one of the most luxurious and best-handling cars of its time, driven by the wealthy and famous of the time – often being imported to North America by movie stars and businessmen.
2 Dodge Charger Daytona, Alabama
The Dodge Charger Daytona was only built for the 1969 model year because it was not a very popular vehicle at the time. It has now become very valuable, with examples easily selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This one was bought by a judge in 1969 but was sold in 1974 before being left in a barn. The vehicle was rediscovered and auctioned in its discovered condition as its restoration would cost a lot of money as many parts need to be completely replaced. Still, it’s quite the barn find.
1 Ferrari 166MM, Arizona
The Ferrari 166MM is the car that initially put the Prancing Horse on the automotive map – so to speak. It was equipped with a 2.0 liter version of the Colombo V12 and was primarily used for racing, with the MM version specifically modified for the famous Mille Miglia.
A man named Reginald Lee allegedly bought a 166MM and had it shipped to California in the 1950s. He drove it for a while, but since it was a race car, something was wrong. is broken and Mr. Lee left it out in the elements of Arizona for decades. The car was eventually discovered and many people rushed to buy it, the winner being Mr. Del Arroz – who paid well over a million dollars for it in its pre-restored condition. He restored it to running condition but kept it lightly worn as a testament to its history.