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Rusted-out ‘barn-find’ Ferrari Dino breaks bank

Nearly four decades under a leaky garage roof decimated this low-mileage Ferrari Dino | Silverstone Auctions

Nearly four decades under a leaky garage roof decimated this low-mileage Ferrari Dino | Silverstone Auctions

The British auction house that offered a derelict “barn-find” 1973 Ferrari Dino had described the sports car as “rotten as a pear” after decades of neglect in a soggy garage with a leaky roof.

But despite being impossibly rusted out, the Dino 246GT with just 13,492 miles on its odometer sold for a surprisingly impressive £132,250 ($222,000), including auction fees, at the Silverstone Auction sale Saturday at the Silverstone Circuit in Towcester, England. Thus continues the power of the barn-find classic car, or in this case garage-find, which has become something of a romantic ideal at auctions in recent years, gaining high interest and top values. Rare gems that were stashed away are being rediscovered and hauled out of their hiding places, then presented at auction in their as-found musty, dusty conditions. Original dirt has become a selling point, and a wash can damage a barn-find car’s value.

The restored ’71 Dino was the auction’s top seller | Silverstone

A restored ’71 Dino was the auction’s top seller | Silverstone

Often a special car’s rarity in unrestored condition boosts the value. Other times, it’s just the charmingly tarnished patina, like some archeological treasure unearthed from an ancient tomb. No such beauty here. Despite the ultra-low mileage, this poor Dino with its gaping rust damage looks good only for parts, such as the nearly unused drive train. The sad story goes that its English owner stuck the Ferrari in the garage after outrunning police, and then was fearful of getting caught if he ever drove it again. So there it sat, while the drip, drip of destruction in the damp climate did its worst over the course of nearly 40 years. The sale also bolsters the current strength of Ferrari’s V6-powered mid-engine Dino, which had languished for years with modest values. Another, more-polished 1971 Dino 246GT was the top seller at the same Silverstone auction, reaching £250,700, ($421,000) more than £70,000 ($117,000) above its low estimate. Earlier this month, a 1972 Dino that was originally owned by Rolling Stones rock-star Keith Richards sold at Coys’ auction in Monaco for £294,200 ($494,000), gaining just a slight bump from its celebrity status. Saturday’s auction at Silverstone achieved a 71 percent sell-through rate with total sales of more than £1.7million ($2.86 million). For complete results, see www.silverstoneauctions.com.

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Posted in: News

About the Author:

Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

8 Comments on "Rusted-out ‘barn-find’ Ferrari Dino breaks bank"

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  1. Gullwing Guy says:

    I can’t help but wonder how much this car’s “outlaw” back story might have driven the hammer price?

  2. Al Sautner says:

    I love old cars but how much would it cost to bring this car back to life…..Why can’t a person buy a nice car and fix it up….? I could buy a nice Mustang 65 in good condition and put in a new Motor, Transmission, and rear end and take it across the country without worry of breaking down….! I hate rust….!@

  3. John O says:

    I got my first car in1962 it was a 1951 Plymouth Crane Brook salesman coop.I paid 25.00 cash for it and drove it off and on for the next 25 yrs.and everything was still Original. One day I was driving it in Phoenix Az.and was stopped at a stop light.A guy pulled up next to me and asked if my car was for sale.I said it wasn’t and he asked would I take 10,000.00 cash for it.Needless to say I sold my car for the money offered and never regretted it.

  4. Brian A says:

    Like the out-of-line salaries paid to some CEO’s and athletes, this is just another example of how twisted some peoples priorities have become, to my mind. To buy a rusted hulk and value it more as a piece of junk–worth a quarter of a million dollars, so long as you don’t touch it–is absurd, to my mind, especially when the goal is to leave it the way it is. Kind of like the old “it’s only original once” mantra used by some ‘restorers’ to justify why they haven’t spent any effort to fix or renew things on their cars…

  5. Bob Golfen says:

    Much of what’s driving this barn-find trend are big-time classic car collectors who want to add interesting dingy originals as centerpieces/conversation starters to their stables of restored cars. Some of those sold recently are picturesque relics with their patinas of dirt and dust, with the goal being to preserve them as found, though others will most likely be restored. This Dino looks too awful for restoration and too expensive to be a parts car. As noted here by Gullwing Guy, the back story of the police chase and the hidden-away Ferrari is undoubtedly much of the charm. The Dino is most-likely destined to rest in some vast collection with an owner who can regale his garage guests with the tale of how it came to be.

  6. neil k says:

    I just don’t get the value of these things over 4000 were made, so they aren’t rare. And this car is a massive task to get back on the road.

  7. By looking at the comments above, I can see some people just don’t understand the love for cars. Whether its rusted out or brand new, there are always going to be a certain following for certain cars, which is what happened in this case. The history behind the car is also what makes it great.

  8. Brian A says:

    So, the other question might be– If, in reality he hid it away from the cops after a hit and run where a six-year-old girl on a bicycle was knocked down and killed, what effect would that have had on the price? Come on, it’s just another ‘fleecing’ by the big auction houses…

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