What it’s like to discover 100 amazing cars hidden in Chicago

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vintage cars found in chicago area barn youtube / Jeremy Cliff

We can easily imagine serene countryside road trips, peeking into dilapidated barns in hopes of spotting a grime-covered split-window roofline or evocative Italian sheetmetal peeking from underneath a tarp.

Ever wonder what it would be like to discover more than 100 uncommon, fascinating rides in an old warehouse… in the middle of Chicago? Watch this video to relive the discovery of the Petrozzini collection.

The video is shot by automotive photographer Jeremy Cliff, who shot the collection on behalf of Mecum Auctions, the auction house that oversaw the sale of the real-estate mogul’s fantastic collection.

Given the logistical hurdles of handling more than 100 cars, it makes sense that Mecum chose to auction off most of the collection at its Chicago sale in October of last year, but six crossed the block at Monterey a few months earlier, including several prewar beauties—a 1930 Cord L29 Cabriolet, a 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III, and a 1929 Stutz Model M—Elvis’ 1967 Lincoln limo ($165,000), and a 1947 Delahaye 135MS Narval that went unsold at $2.6M.

Though Petrozzini had an eye for dramatic coachwork and celebrity cars, he also had solid taste in American muscle (the notable lack of Corvettes does cast a shadow on his judgement). His collection included a 1969 Shelby GT350 convertible, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, and both a 1968 Shelby GT500 KR convertible and Fastback.

There’s also some stranger rides, like this 1937 Western Clipper motorhome, which looks like a cross between a jelly bean and a Wonka-styled zeppelin. Petrozzini carried on the convertible theme with… a custom 1989 Dodge Dakota? We haven’t figured that one out yet. Imports definitely fall into the minority, but do include a 1989 Maserati Biturbo Spyder, a 1964 Sunbeam Tiger Roadster, and a 2003 Lexus GX470. Oh, and a 1966 Ford Mustang limousine. The front half is a hardtop, the back half is a convertible.

Did we mention the guy wrote and recorded his rock ’n’ roll albums? Maybe that helps explain his flair for show-stopping cars.

For bonus content, here’s the teaser video Mecum released at the time.

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