There’s so much more to be found in storage spaces than old furniture, clothes and moving boxes filled with knick-knacks. Vehicle storage is a common practice since a lot of people don’t have the necessary room at home and self storage is an affordable solution. Consequently, cars are often put in units and sometimes, valuable vehicles that would drive car buffs crazy gather dust and are simply forgotten in storage spaces.

Car restorations are a common hobby and while some people do it for the mere appreciation, curiosity or for the thrill of it, others tend to think about the financial value of an old car, for a collector, once it is properly restored. And it’s safe to say that these gems could bring a fortune to somebody lucky enough to stumble upon them and experienced enough to appreciate them.

Curious to see what the most extraordinary storage finds in terms of vehicles are? We’ve scoured the web for the coolest cars ever found in storage, and our list might make you feel like exploring storage auctions in your city right away.

Lamborghini Countach 5000S

A 1981 Lamborghini Countach was found in a storage unit after gathering dust for almost 30 years. It was locked in a leaky, non-climate controlled unit, so it did have a bit of rust but was in a decent condition overall. The Countach was produced until 1990 and was one of the most exotic designs developed by the Italian manufacturer. The United States is, in fact, Lamborghini’s biggest market and the largest market in the world for exotic sports cars.


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1955 Mercedes-Benz 300B Cabriolet D

This marvel was one of seven right-hand drive cars and was originally used by the German Embassy in London. It was recently found in an abandoned industrial building, but eventually, it was restored by the children of the owner. The Mercedes-Benz 300 “Adenauer” is one of the very few six-seater sedans that are capable of carrying speeds above 100mph. All in all, it’s a very sought-after collector car.


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Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

A 1969 white and blue Chevrolet Camaro was found in a storage unit after over 20 years. Unfortunately, the car was in pieces, and there were also duplicate parts, as Chevrolet dealerships still offered them back then. The Chevrolet Camaro was actually a part of one of the most fierce automotive feuds of all time, as it came out in 1967 as a direct competitor to Ford’s 1964 Mustang. The Camaro is set to be retired from the market by GM in 2024.


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1981 DeLorean DMC-12

Only 9K of these cars were produced and thanks to the huge fanbase gained with the help of Back to the Future, the original DeLorean became incredibly desirable and highly collectible at the same time. One such vehicle was recently found in a storage unit in St. Petersburg, Florida, with no damage except flat tires. Finding this beauty without a single rusty spot must have been like a dream come true. An estimated 6K DeLoreans are still on the roads around the world.

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster

This car, originally owned by a Swiss Baroness and later found in Connecticut, was found in 1992 and restored shortly thereafter. It was subsequently sold for almost $12M, establishing a world record. On the one hand, the historical events witnessed by this car arguably beat those of any human life. On the other hand, the vehicle itself is a carefully crafted masterpiece whose design is simply unparalleled.

Aston Martin DB2 Prototype

One of only three or four such prototypes ever built, this 1949 Aston Martin raced in the world-famous 24 Hours of LeMans, and since 1970, it has been sitting around, waiting for somebody to uncover it. It sold, eventually, for over 700K dollars at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Initially an unbelievable feat of engine work and a well-performing race car, the Aston Martin DB2 can be an integral part of any collection nowadays.


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1966 Shelby Mustang

Both vintage and rare, the 1966 Shelby Mustang was nicknamed ‘The Cobra’ due to its small size, light weight and ferocious power. Around a thousand Shelby Mustangs were made throughout history and one of those cars was found buried under junk and debris in a double-long storage unit in 2011. The car was in such good condition that the price was immediately estimated at around $2M.


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Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster

The Speedster was a very popular car that was only sold in the United States. One of them, manufactured in 1957, was recently found in Chicago, after sitting around untouched since the mid-seventies. The owner’s friend fought to take possession of the car and managed to sell it for over $600K after restoring it. The original model was initially released at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show, and it gained the status of a supercar thanks to its one-of-a-kind design.

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

Less than 1.5K of these cars were built in a three-year period, making this find even more important and rare. One of the first 50 models ever built was found lying around in self storage and was eventually sold on eBay, with the starting bid placed at $850K. This two-seat gullwinged coupe was capable of reaching a top speed of up to 160 mph and was a sports car racing champion before it became a highly collectible and desired car.


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Buick Regal Grand National

The Buick Grand National is a rare find, and it’s even rarer to find two of them, with consecutive VIN numbers, pertaining to the same owner. The two cars, built in 1987, have been together literally their entire life, being built, bought and then stored together for 30 years. Eventually, they were sold, restored and then sold again. The Grand National was initially designed to be a racing car, and it performed well, becoming a staple for the American manufacturer and for the 1980s.


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1953 Chevrolet Corvette

One of only 300 ‘53 Chevrolet Corvette cars ever built was found in Peter Max’s VH1 collection. While at the beginning, the cars in the collection were meant to be part of an art project, they sat in garages and storage units until the owner finally sold them. Before the car came out, Chevrolet had outsold Ford, and in creating the European-inspired Corvette, the company managed to change the sports-car world in a decisive manner.


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With just under 5K miles on its odometer, this rare beauty of a car was stored away for 34 years before being uncovered and restored. The M1 is a bit of an industry legend since it was the first mid-engine BMW automobile to be mass-produced. It represented a project of huge importance in the manufacturer’s engineering history, and it marked a transition to automotive art, not just larger engines and performance-oriented building.

1957 Bel Air

The Bel Air was introduced by Chevrolet in 1956 as an upscale version of the mid-range Two-Ten and the One-Fifty. The two-door wagon remained in history as an auto icon thanks to how frequently they were being used in graphics, movies, television and popular culture. It managed to remain a very popular and collectible classic car. A ‘57 Chevy was found in a storage unit in 2012 in a decent condition and was carefully restored. You don’t need to be a car buff to realize how cool this car is.

1927 Marmon Model L

This Marmon has been sitting for over half a century in a storage space in Illinois, and most likely, it’s the only one of its kind that’s still around today. Marmons used to be sold as rivals for Cadillacs, Packards and Duesenbergs and while the Marmon Group still exists today, they are past their boom. Despite being an entry-level Marmon in this case, this find is still extraordinary, as we’re talking about a truly super-rare car and the oldest on our list.


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James Bond’s 1976 Lotus Esprit

Sometimes, a $100 abandoned car found in a storage unit car turn into a $1M buyout by Elon Musk. This is what happened when a NY couple stumbled upon a 1976 Lotus Esprit sports car that was actually used in the filming of the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. Years later, after the vehicle was cosmetically restored, the man behind Tesla and SpaceX bought the rare find for no less than $1M.


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What to do with vehicles found in storage?

Blind auctions are a common way to stumble upon such gems and possibly restore them for a profit. However, there are a few things that you have to take care of first, and TV shows often don’t tell you the whole truth, so here it is. You might think you hit the jackpot finding a car in a storage unit, and indeed you may have, but just like in the case of ‘flipping’ a house, restoring the vehicle and selling it for the right price is a time sucker.

The first thing is to have a good look under the hood, check the condition or have somebody else do it, in case you don’t have the knowledge. The new owner usually has to take a trip to the DMV to verify the vehicle. Moreover, there is quite a bit of red tape that comes with repossessing a storage unit, and there are strict laws and procedures in place that new owners have to follow before auctioning off cars. The last thing you want is to run into legal trouble.

Finally, in the worst case scenario that the car doesn’t sell, the new owner is responsible for hauling it to a junkyard.


Why keep vehicles in self storage?

Whether they have sentimental value or financial value, people tend to hold on to vehicles. In other words, some people like to keep their first car, for example, but they don’t want to take up too much space in the garage or driveway. At the same time, finding, buying, restoring and then selling cars is a popular hobby and has created a large community of car enthusiasts. While sorting out paperwork, hunting down the next car or finding customers, you’ll find it hard to have your prized possession around the house all day – it simply takes up too much space. Additionally, until it is cosmetically reconditioned, an older car might not be a welcome sight in your driveway.

Consequently, plenty of people choose to keep their cars in self storage units and rightly so. You don’t have to worry about damaging it if you go for a climate-controlled space, and the additional security features that most facilities offer will ensure your car is safe and sound. Browse storage units in your city right now and see whether it can be a good investment for you.


Matei is a creative writer for StorageCafe and has an academic background in urban development, governance and linguistics. Making use of these disparate sources of expertise, Matei has now turned towards the real estate industry, after covering the latest trends and projects in urban planning, regeneration and green city initiatives all over Europe.

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