Storage is an affordable option if you want to keep a car but don't necessarily have the room to store it at home, nor the money to get into one of those indoor heated vault storage facilities. But sometimes people lose track and subsequently lose the storage spot or the container. Most of the time when these things happen, the storage space is filled with nothing of significant value, but sometimes there is something really special in there that makes anyone who finds it sweat and jitter with excitement.
Though there are shows on the television that depict these stellar findings, it's been revealed that most of the things on reality TV are planted to keep things interesting. But you're not going to find a car from any reality show on this list, as these are real finds that every car buff dreams about coming across one day as they bid on storage spaces. We all want that one container that doesn't just have a random assortment of garbage, but rather an automotive gem tucked under the cover. I think we all dream of pulling the cover off of a barn-find that has been hiding from the world and have it be one of the most sought-after collector cars that have gone missing over the years until now.
I hope you enjoy the list I've compiled of some of the luckiest finds in the automotive world.
25 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4
Stored for over 50 years in Gloucester, England, this Aston Martin was an ideal find as it was stored in a dry, temperature-controlled building. These cars are extremely rare, with only a few hundred made, and only a handful are left-hand drive. The story has it that the car was used as a police car back in the day. How cool is that if it turns out to be true? An Aston Martin pulling over some speeder who thought he could outrun it might add an alternative angle to the Aston Martin history books as a crime fighter matching the likes of James Bond's DB5.
24 1968 Plymouth GTX Hemi
Discovered abandoned in a storage unit in Oregon, this extremely rare Hemi-powered GTX had been hidden away since the mid-80s. The new owner, Allen Schumacher—who is a huge Mopar enthusiast—wasn't sure of the Hemi's originality until a picture of the VIN number displaying the J-code led to a 500-mile trip to pick the car out of its storage unit along with spare pieces and parts from a Roadrunner. Alan preserved the solid body but kept the rusted look by clear-coating it and he threw in a 472 Hemi crate motor in between the fenders and had it running in nine months.
23 Lamborghini Countach 5000S
After almost 30 years of sitting, this beautiful 1981 Lamborghini was found along with a Ferrari 308. Both the classic cars belonged to the finder's grandparents, who ran an exotic car renting business until 1989 when they had to close the doors because it became too expensive to run, keeping only the two exotic sports cars that were then kept in a leaky garage. Though the cars are in decent condition, they do a have a little rust, as any car would acquire being locked up while moist.
22 Shelby Daytona Coupe
This is most likely the strangest story on this list. Only six of these famous Daytona Coupes were made, and only five were accounted for until this one was rumored to be owned by Donna O'Hara, who got the car from her father. She then hid the car in storage for years, even turning down a request by Carrol Shelby when he just wanted to see the car. After much convincing, Frederick Simeone bought the car from O'Hara for an unknown amount. O'Hara who may have not been in the right state of mind, and set herself on fire shortly after the purchase, causing a huge legal battle for the car.
21 1937 Bugatti 57S Atlante
A reclusive doctor in Newcastle hid this vintage Bugatti in his garage. Collectors worldwide knew about the car but any offers to buy it fell on deaf ears, leaving the valuable car entombed for almost half a century until the family unearthed it after the doctor's passing. Further research found that the car was bought brand new by Francis Curzon, the 5th Earl Howe and a former Naval officer. The Bugatti changed hands a couple times until Dr. Harold Carr bought the car in 1955 for the equivalent of around $23,000 today. He drove it until 1960, when he stored it until it was found by the family.
20 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300B Cabriolet D "Adenauer"
Believed to be one of only seven right-hand drive examples, this super-rare Mercedes was discovered in an abandoned industrial building along with several other cars scattered around. The car was originally used by the German Embassy in London until it was sold after its usefulness was over. Eventually, the last owner bought the car in 1978 with plans of restoring it. He brought it to his storage unit in northern Germany, just outside of Bremen. The dream of restoring it has been realized by the children of the owner and it has passed on to Hilton and Moss, who plan to enter it in Concours events across the United Kingdom.
19 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
After chasing this beautiful Camaro Z/28 for over 20 years, Ralph Bizzarro finally got the chance to purchase it. The previous owner's health had been declining and he had faith that Ralph would take meticulous care of his car. The car was in pieces, with the numbers-matching 302 c.i. motor sitting elsewhere in the storage unit along with duplicate parts that had been purchased back when Chevrolet still offered them from the dealership. Hopefully, the beautiful Camaro is back to running condition today.
18 1981 DeLorean DMC-12
Only 9,000 of these cars were produced between 1981 and 1983 and that rarity, along with the huge fanbase who hunt these cars because of their love for Back to the Future, have made the original cars extremely desirable. This wicked, low-mileage DeLorean was found in St. Petersburg, Florida, and, after sitting for just over 10 years, had four flat tires but not a spec of rust anywhere on the undercarriage. The car was bought by a man identified only as Jim O., who then had the car shipped to Connecticut to be fixed and placed into his collection.
17 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350
Found in a storage unit in June of 2016, this particular Shelby is especially special, as it's one of the “Carry-Over” models. These special cars are 1965 models that were sent to Shelby but fitted with the civilized upgrades that were installed on 1966 cars, creating a car that looks and performs like the original GT350, but is more comfortable. Only 252 cars with this combination were built, and not all of them have been found, but this one means one less is out there to be discovered.
16 2009 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
This 505-horsepower Z06 may be newer compared to some other cars on this list, but it's no less rare, as only 3,461 were made, according to Corvette Blogger. This Corvette was found with only 720 miles on it, and with no dents and only a few scratches, I'd say that's quite a good buy, considering it was found in an auctioned-off storage container. The car was sold on eBay after for $57,500, a serious bargain considering the car originally went for about $75,000 new.
15 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Fuel-Injected
This one is less of a discovery and more of a recovery, as this beautiful, black-on-black Corvette “Fuelie” was found in a storage unit and returned to its rightful owners after three months. This rare car was stolen from the Bloomington Gold show in Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 23 of this past year, and returned to the Paschs, who had purchased the car almost 50 years ago when they were newlyweds. Though it suffered a little fire damage under the hood, the “Fuelie” made it out practically unscathed and promptly returned into loving hands.
14 1972 Chevrolet Corvette 454
This one is a bittersweet, as the original owner still keeps the car and adores it, but dares not drive it, leaving a beautiful four-speed, 454 Corvette sitting in storage, collecting dust with less than 1,000 miles on the odometer. He had bought it brand new, but after buying the car realized that it came with a $1,200 insurance premium that he knew he couldn't afford. Since then, he drove it very little and then put it in a storage container with no intention of it staying there for over 40 years. But there it sits, as he doesn't want to add any mileage to the now-vintage 'Vette.
13 1973 Buick GS Sun Coupe Stage 1
This could very well be the only one of its kind still around today. The 1973 Sun Coupe was an option on the Buick Gran Sport for only a couple of years, and just over 3,000 were produced. Those figures make this car rare enough, but it's the 454 option with a four-speed transmission that makes this even more so, as only nine are said to have been produced. Currently, this is the only one known to still exist and after purchasing it, owner Michael Williams plans for a ground-up restoration.
12 1963 Jaguar XKE Lightweight
This story is an oldie but a goodie. The second Lightweight XKE—produced for the 12 Hours of Sebring race in March of 1963—was finally found in a barn after many years of being hidden away from the world by eccentric owner Howard Gidovlenko. The Jag was originally sold to Kjell Qvale and he entered in the race with Ed Leslie and Frank Morrill, who finished in 7th place after 195 laps completed, just 14 short of the Ferrari 250P that won that race. The car was then purchased by Gidovlenko, who had modified the car a little before putting it away until the car was found in 1998.
11 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
Another classic story of great discovery, this wicked and beautiful Mercedes 540K has an interesting history, as it was once owned by Baroness Gisela Josephine von Krieger of Switzerland, who owned the car through World War II and right up until her demise. The car was later found in Connecticut, where it was stored since 1959. In 1992, the car was uncovered once again and, after restoration by Gooding and Company, took the top spot as the most expensive car sold at auction at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance back in 2012.
10 1949 Aston Martin DB2 Prototype
An especially important find, this prototype DB2 is one of only three ever built and raced at the 24 Hours of LeMans where it placed seventh overall and was the only DB2 to finish the race. The car then competed in the 24 Hours of Spa race, where it took fifth. The all-original car has sat since the 1970s, along with another motor and three spare cylinder heads. The DB2 then went to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it fetched an outstanding 650,000 Pounds.
9 1957 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster
I love classic Porsches, and the Speedster has always been one of my favorite cars—whether it be the 356 or the brand new 991 Speedster set to come out next year. The Speedster only sold in the U.S. and this particular Porsche was bought by John Casper in Chicago, where he drove it for 18 years before storing it in 1975. After he passed away, it took five years for his longtime friend to take over possession of the car, and he then had it sold for over $600,000.
8 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
The 300SL is a rare beauty, as only about 1,400 were built in a three-year period. This one is one of the earliest, with the VIN tag showing to be one of the first 50 ever built. Nothing is known about the car before it was retired in 1962, but a little digging revealed that the car was originally white, then painted red, and finally painted in the black seen here sometime in the 1980s. This Mercedes was sold on eBay with a starting bid of $850,000!
7 Twin 1987 Buick Regal Grand Nationals
Coming across a Buick Grand National is pretty rare, even rarer are two of them, and even rarer than that would be two with consecutive VIN numbers. These two Buicks were built alongside each other, sent to the same dealership, and bought by the same man, who then stored them for 30 years until they were sold to Shawn Matthews and William Avila for an undisclosed amount. They were fixed up a bit and though not initially planned to be resold, they went up on eBay with a reserve and sold for over $200,000.
6 1968 Pontiac GTO 400 H.O.
This car could very well have been a one-of-a-kind find, as this beautiful GTO has the chrome front bumper which was installed on only 2,108 of model year 1968 GTOs, and the 400 ci High Output V-8 was only installed in 10,564 GTOs. The color, however, sets it apart further, as it was painted Windward Blue, an option that wasn't offered in 1968 but rather 1969. With the rare options this car has on top of the unique color, this could indeed be the only GTO of its kind.
5 1972 DeTomaso Pantera L
This DeTomaso Pantera was locked away for 35 years until it was uncovered by Tom Cotter in southern Maine. Before it was stored since the late 1980s, the Pantera competed in the 1980 Cannonball Run, where it was pulled over only once in Texas. The car was found beside an assortment of parts, including the original 351 Cleveland engine. The car is a beautiful example of a customized DeTomaso that hasn't been touched since the 1980s. Though it could probably use a little work nowadays to get back into proper form.
4 1953 Chevrolet Corvette
Part of the infamous Peter Max VH1 collection that was found after almost 25 years and featured 36 consecutive model year Corvettes, the 1953 model is perhaps the rarest of the bunch, as only 300 were made. Back in 1988, VH1 held a contest to win all of these cars, which was won by Dennis Amodeo. Before he could figure out how to get all of the cars, Peter Max purchased the cars for $250,000. Set to be a part of an art project that never became realized, the cars sat in a set of garages until he finally sold them, and they are currently being restored or reconditioned.
3 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta Alloy
This particularly long-named Ferrari is the only of its kind, as it's the only road-legal alloy-bodied 365 GTB ever made. The car was in Italy until its registration got canceled, after which it was then sent to Japan where it got into the hands of Makoto Takai, who stored it for 40 years. The car was sold at R.M. Sotheby's for over $2 million, the highest price ever fetched for a Ferrari Daytona, and a figure that, most likely, will remain the highest price for a while.
2 BMW M1
This super-rare BMW M1 supercar was found stored with assorted bits of junk all over it. With just 4,593 miles (7,392 km) on the odometer, the car was parked for 34 years before being discovered and restored by Mint Classics, a BMW specialty shop. This M1 looks to be clean and undamaged besides maybe a few scratches from its 34 years slumber under junk, but Mint Classics is looking to sell it for a good price to a lucky owner.
1 1927 Marmon Model L
Perhaps the only one still in existence, this Marmon has been sitting for over 50 years and easily takes the cake as the oldest car on this list. Just in case no one has ever heard about a Marmon, they were sold as a rival of Cadillac, Duesenberg, and Packard, which were three of the most prestigious car companies in the US at the time. This car, though, was more of an entry-level Marmon, costing around $2,000 ($27,000 today). Though the company does indeed live on today as the Marmon Group, they're nothing like they were in the roaring 20s.