From time to time my classic car magazines feature so-called “barn finds” – recently discovered vintage cars that have been in storage for decades, sitting in barns and garages in the Midwest or other out of the way places—true automotive treasure trove. Hemmings magazine reports on these barn finds when a vehicle of special significance is found and offered for sale. Now I am proud to report on my own barn find right here in Palm Beach. My friend Chris Kellogg recently told me about two old cars he has had in his garage for decades—a 1956 Bentley and a 1966 Mercedes 230 SL. He recently made the decision to sell them and hopefully he will find a deep-pocketed restoration hero. The cars’ history makes this barn find all the more interesting. It begins when Chris’s father, the Honorable Francis Kellogg, served as an Ambassador and Head of the Department of Immigration and Refugees under Nixon, reporting to Henry Kissinger. While on a trip to New York City, he purchased the Bentley from an English couple returning to London. The Bentley had been given to them as a wedding gift. Kellogg brought the car back to D.C. where it logged many miles ferrying visiting dignitaries, including the queen of Thailand.
On a trip to Europe in 1966, Kellogg purchased the Mercedes at the company factory in Stuttgart, Germany. It was intended as a graduation gift for his son, but he loved the car so much he kept it—and since Chris already had a 1600 Alfa Romeo at the time. In 1968 Kellogg returned to New York City and for a period of time the two cars were housed at the United Nations on 34th street. After that they were moved to Kellogg’s farm in Bedford, New York, where, according to Chris, his father took great pleasure in driving the Mercedes through the curves and hills throughout the area. Eventually the cars were relocated to Palm Beach where they remain at the family compound. The Ambassador passed away in 2008, and the cars were left to Chris.
Both vintage autos rest peaceably in Palm Beach, dusty and in need of restoration. Unique in their heritage, both vehicles represent another era of auto history—the Bentley a classic touring car, the 230 Mercedes the early pagoda-style two-seater convertible made famous in the movie “Two for the Road” starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney. Treasure indeed.
One thought on “A Palm Beach Barn Find”
Cars are like our homes. They hold memories of times with friends and family and help us hold on to the legacy of past generations. Like homes, they need to be cared for, refurbished, enjoyed and then sadly eventually turned over to the next generation or someone who will hopefully nurture and cherish it into the future. In a digital book, I memorialized “Peter’s Cars & Boats” as a tribute to and an archive of his collection over the span of his life.