The funny thing with miracles is, that they tend to happen at the moment you least expect them to happen. Only recently the –much hyped- Amphipolis tomb was unearthed in Greece and fabulous Karyatid statues, mosaics and puzzling human remains have been found from the age of Alexander the Great.
So what about cars I hear you ask? Well I was thinking the same thing and was seriously surprised when the word got out that a ton of classic cars had been found on the estate of a somewhat derelict French chateau.
In the 1950’s Roger Baillon ran a transport company of the same name in Western France. When his company blossomed, so did his passion for prewar cars and he started to amass quite a few of them on the grounds of his newly acquired estate and even designed a car himself –l’Oiseau bleu. His ultimate goal was to conserve these prime examples of industrial heritage in a suitable museum.
Until that time he thought that a few makeshift sheds of driftwood and hastily erected barns with sloppy masonry would reasonably protect the cars from the elements. Unfortunately his business dwindled in the seventies and his hopes for a museum with it. The cars –more than 200 at the zenith of the collection- were left idling and more and more forgotten each year. In the end some 114 cars were left truly forgotten after two auctions in 1979 and 1985 because of the bankruptcy of the transport company. 60 cars have been transported by Artcurial to Paris to be auctioned on request of the grandchildren of Roger Baillon.
As the Romans taught us, beauty will die and the world will keep turning as it has done for millions of years. But as with all great art, it can be forgotten a while, but will eventually get rediscovered and admired anew. The Baillon collection may be doomed to fall apart as a collection on the 6th of February 2015, it’s legacy will live on throughout the world.
Bastiaan van den Berg