1937 Bugatti Classic Found Sitting in Barn

This is the kind of news that makes most boomer men sad and then pissed off. It most boomer men’s dream to find a very collectible car sitting in a barn someplace and be able to scarf it up from the owner for a mere pittance.

NEWCASTLE, England, Jan. 2 (UPI) — A 1937 Bugatti that an eccentric English doctor kept locked in a garage for half a century could bring his heirs millions of dollars.

Dr. Harold Carr owned a number of classic cars, including a Jaguar and an Aston Martin, The Times of London reported. But the Bugatti Type 57S Atalante, one of only 17 known to exist, is the pick of the collection.


People knew the car existed, people came from far and wide and tried to convince the now dead guy to sell the car. Surely many were motivated by pure greed, looking to snatch the car and resell it. Thats the sad part, they would have made a bundle and I didn’t.

The “mad” part is as many, if not more, wanted to get the car out of the barn before it was destroyed by vermin or disaster. But yet the old coot kept it to himself. He hoarded this great car. I hate it when people have classic cars and keep them locked up. A car is meant to be driven.

I scored some minor victories in my “barn finds”…

  • 1937 Pontiac – resembled a 1940 Ford, which is a hot rodders classic. It really was behind a barn up on blocks. I pumped up the tires, added a battery, dumped some gas in the carbuerator an drove it home. It had a timing chain problem so it required a lot of nursing to run for more than a couple hundred yards at a time. I thought I would be cool and rather fix the flathead six, I jerked it out with plans to install a V8.  Mother had the junk guy haul it away after I went to college.
  • 1949 Studebaker – Land Cruiser. Not really a barn find because my Grandpa gave it to me in 1961. And it wasn’t a Studebaker Champion, the preferred “Studey” of the hot rodders. I literally ran it in circles in a field behind the house in the dirt, with no air cleaner (loved that sound) until it blew a head gasket.
  • 1931 Plymouth three window coupe – another goodie that just never quite made it. Very classy, about in the same shape as this car, except I had the hood and full fenders. It ran, but poorly.  I sold it for $600.
  • 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air. Now this is a car I at least had some fun with. The only thing wrong with the car was a stuck brake pad, which came unstuck the first time I jammed on the brakes. I took off what little chrome there was, sanded and primed the body for a summer. In the fall, I took it to Earl Scheib for a $60 Air Force Blue paint job. Because my daughter was going to drive it to high school, and because it was just so plain-jane, I made it into a “Security Car.” I had a two big Mickey Mouse Club stickers for each door panel, and put some vinyl letters on the car with “Security” over Mickey, and my Social Security number on the front fenders. I sold that car for $500.

Part of the reason I love road trips is to get off the beaten path and rubber neck while I’m driving and look for barn finds.

In retrospect, I should have taken Nancy up when she told me to take some retirement money and get “an old car.” But that ship has sailed, the retirement fund is all but kaput. If only…

But in order to have “an old car” you should have 1. unlimited funds, or 2. mechanical knowledge, both of which I lack.

But I’m still looking behind those barns.

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1937 Bugatti Classic Found Sitting in Barn — 2 Comments

  1. My, but that’s an awful pretty car.

    We’ve a bright yellow LDV van gathering rust outside our house if you’re interested 😉