After almost 50 years of searching, in early 2018, the famous Shelby Lil Red was located in Texas. Known to only a handful of car enthusiasts, the Lil Red was the long-lost Shelby prototype and a missing piece of the Shelby puzzle. Technically it wasn’t a barn find since the car was sitting out in the open, but still (via Auto Evolution).
So what makes this old Mustang so essential and this barn find so significant? Well, it was a special 1967 notchback model, loaned to Shelby American and fitted with numerous experimental parts and a supercharged 428 engine. The car was the development car of the famous California Special package. However, in the late ’60s, the car was gone, and everybody thought it was long gone. Thankfully, it wasn’t.
Colloquially called Daytona, the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 was an immensely important model for the factory. And it was also one of the most memorable Pininfarina designs from the ’60s. The car feature a race-bred 4.4-liter V12 engine with four camshafts, multiple carburetors, an independent rear suspension, and 352 HP. It also had a rear-mounted transaxle gearbox. Its combination of Ferrari technology and timeless Pininfarina styling resulted in the best-selling Ferrari to date. There were over 1,400 examples sold in its five-year production run (via CNN).
As one of the most accomplished classic Ferraris, it is unbelievable that one example had been sitting quietly for 40 years in Japan. The owner was very quiet about it. After his death, the car resurfaced in amazing condition but covered in decades worth of dust.
The Chevelle was always a very popular muscle car. Its combination of affordability, excellent design, and powerful engines was a hit with buyers. In 1970, Chevrolet offered an expanded line of engines, including the famous 454 V8 big blocks. The regular version was called the LS5. It was very powerful, but there was an even stronger LS6 variant. This was in just 3,700 cars. And only about 25 were convertibles (via Motor Trend).
This is the car to mention when you talk about the holy grail of muscle car culture. It is even more surprising that such an icon would spend decades in a barn under a heavy coat of dust. The original owner parked it in 1978 and forgot about it until recently when a muscle car enthusiast discovered it and got it running in no time.
A story about the 1937 Bugatti T57 S Atalante is crazy. This car was part of a private collection in England. The owner had numerous cars and was a prominent member of the classic car community. But this Bugatti was in hiding and no one knew it existed. Even his family had no clue that he owned the cars. However, after his death, they found one of the 17 Bugattis made in a shack in amazing original condition (via Auto Blog).
As one of the finest pre-war brands, Bugattis always fetch high prices at auctions. But the 57S Atalante, a gorgeous coupe powered by a straight-eight engine and covered with a beautiful body, is a true collector’s dream. This one found a new buyer for over $8.5 million. It could probably fetch a bit more if sold again. The wealthy customers held Bugatti’s exclusivity, performance, and unique engineering aspect in high regard, hence its extreme prices.
This Mercedes was arguably the first supercar in the world. It transcended the limits of the sports car class and went beyond design, power, and technology. Using space frame chassis, a fuel-injected straight-six engine, a host of components, and race-proven parts, Mercedes created a masterpiece with unusual opening doors and fantastic performance (via Hemmings).
A car like this one belongs in museums or even art galleries. However, one example spent days and years in a suburban garage in Santa Monica, under a pile of junk. The car was a graduation present and was purchased second-hand in 1971. It is one of only 29 made with an alloy body and semi-racing components. The owner drove it for a few years and parked it in the id-’70s. It was discovered 40 years later.