Sometimes, for whatever reason, people abandon cars others can only dream of owning in the first place. That was the case with this 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/2 and 1967 Shelby Cobra 427, left to become nothing more than housing for nearby mice after the only mechanic the owner trusted to work on them died.
Tom Cotter, who runs the Barn Find Hunter series on YouTube, found those two cars in an abandoned North Carolina house recently. Barn finds are incredible no matter the car, a lot of the time, but this one had a particularly perplexing story.
The house was in a wealthy neighborhood and set to be torn down to build a new one, and its garage hadn’t been touched in so long that leaves built up in front of the doors. A friend of the home’s owner, Warren Cramer, met Cotter to show him the Ferrari and the Cobra, which have apparently sat since 1991.
Cramer said before they succumbed to such a sad fate, the cars’ owner only trusted one mechanic to work on them. Cramer said the mechanic died in an accident, and his friend figured he would eventually find someone else to work on the cars. If not, Cramer said, the owner decided he’d just park them.
He never found anyone, and the two cars—estimated by classic-car insurance company Hagerty to be worth about $4 million—haven’t moved in 27 years.
Despite being covered in dust and filled with nests, the cars were and still are special: This particular Cobra was a rare Carroll Shelby build, as Cotter said it didn’t have the 427 engine in its name. Some Cobras of the era got a 427 racing engine that made 425 horsepower, while others got a 428 Police Interceptor motor with 390 HP. This was due to supply issues, according to Hemmings. The Cobra had just 19,000 miles on it.
The Ferrari 275 GTB/2 somehow had fewer, with original blue vinyl seats and the odometer at just over 13,000 miles. Cramer said his friend bought the car from the original owner for about $47,000 in the early ‘80s, and Cotter said it looked like a new car.
The cars are so valuable that a follow-up Hagerty video’s description said no local towing companies were willing to take on the risk of moving them, so Cotter came back a few weeks later to do it himself. It’s kind of like watching a rescue, with a willing Cobra rolling out of the garage and a stubborn Ferrari with stuck wheels unable to move on its own:
The Ferrari and Cobra will go to a Gooding & Company auction next month, while the owner decided to keep the Morgan and Triumph that were in the garage. Neither the Ferrari nor the Cobra will be cleaned up or tampered with before going to the block, but Cotter’s story on the Hagerty website said they started at a pre-auction servicing. From Cotter’s blog:
I was told their engines started right up, although scattered mouse droppings in the exhaust pipes of both cars spewed across the shop floor once the engines fired. A small price to pay.
The Ferrari was recently displayed at Cavallino, which is among the most prestigious Ferrari events in the world, held annually in Palm Beach, Florida. Like Cinderella, the long-nose GTB was the belle of the ball; attendees could not get enough of the dusty, musty Ferrari and its sensational story.
It’s almost certain that under new ownership, the cars will be cleaned, recommissioned and become part of a collection. After sitting for so many years, both cars deserve some fresh air and a few miles added to their odometers.
And that they do.