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The Scottsdale auctions are right around the corner, and it seems that the collector car world’s fascination with barn finds remains unabated. In most cases, these “ran when parked” rolling archeological finds are just an invitation to spend the equivalent of a suburban ranch house in restoration costs. Nevertheless, we just can’t seem to resist them. Here are five that will be pushed across the block next week:
- 1965 Jaguar E-type Series I Coupe (Bonhams): This sad cat had been sitting under a tarp in Portland, Ore., since Jimmy Carter was in the White House. Parked sometime after taking a hit on left side that left it with a fiberglass bonnet instead of the steel piece fitted by Jaguar, it only has about 48,000 miles on the odometer, but they appear to have been hard ones indeed. The pre-sale estimate is $40,000 to $60,000 but this cat will swallow at least another $100,000 to make it presentable again.
- 1962 Maserati 3500 GTi Vignale Spider (Gooding): The history on this exceedingly rare convertible Maserati is a bit sparse. If only cars could talk. It was sold new in Italy and then migrated to the UK before finding its way to, of all places, a garage in Enid, Okla., where it sat for 20 years. It’s like finding Catherine Deneuve working at a Tractor Supply in Midland, Texas. This one looks faded and dusty but complete and rather original, still wearing its 1960s vintage UK number plates. It’s also still fitted with its original Lucas petrol injection system, the failure of which is the most likely candidate for the car’s prolonged hibernation. Happily, Bosch now makes a high-pressure pump that should make the system work again for the lucky buyer.
- 1974 Dino 246 GTS (Gooding): The Dino was the small Ferrari back when Il Commendatore decreed that only 12-cylinder cars would carry the prancing horse badge. What they lacked in cylinders, they made up for in achingly good looks. After just 10 years and two owners, the little Dino was laid up in a carport in Antioch, California. It now sports numerous bruises, a bent front bumper and a dirty, moldy red leather interior. This car makes the case for having the automotive equivalent of the division of family services —“Knock, knock. We’re here for the Dino, sir. You’re clearly an unfit parent.”
- 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster (Gooding): This gorgeous silver roadster was the property of a Los Angeles gentleman who used it as a daily driver in the 1970s and 1980s. As frequently happens, the owner got too old to drive the car but couldn’t bear to part with it. He at least stored it carefully in his garage and as a result, it’s quite well preserved and should be fairly straightforward to restore. Among the deceased owner’s personal effects were a slide rule and a pair of unused Disney Land tickets.
- 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190SL (Gooding): This black roadster, the junior stable mate to the 300SL, has a captivating story. It was owned by the longtime girlfriend of the 300SL owner. She tracked him down by leaving a note on the 300SL. They started dating and she decided that she also needed a classic Mercedes roadster. The couple stayed together and parked the two classic Benzes side by side in the same garage when they got too old to drive them. They being offered in the same condition in which they were parked over 20 years ago.