It’s 2018, and Larry Schroll’s relatives are preparing to explore the barn that he left behind. Schroll has not long passed away, meaning his family members now have the bittersweet task of sorting out his belongings – combing through the remnants of a long and fruitful life. But as the group enter the building, they’re greeted not by trash but by treasure. Over the years, Schroll had hoarded a whole host of vintage items – and their sheer splendor may have completely stunned the veteran’s nearest and dearest.
Schroll hadn’t lived a flashy life, either, making the discovery even more of a jaw-dropper. He had grown up in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, alongside brothers Russell, Autry and Marvin, going to school like regular folk and earning his high-school diploma back in 1954. And as was the case with many of his generation, Schroll had joined the United States military for a spell.
Then, after being honorably discharged from service, Schroll returned to Spring Grove and took up a role at P.H. Glatfelter – a business that manufactures paper. The Pennsylvania native seemingly had a job for life, as he went on to stay at the company until his retirement in 2001.
Schroll’s personal life was pretty ordinary, too. He had married, of course, tying the knot with wife Helen in the mid-1960s. The pair had remained together until Schroll’s death. And when he wasn’t hard at work at P.H. Glatfelter, the veteran used his creative streak to paint and compose his own poems.
But Schroll had another hobby – one that few people had known about prior to his passing in July 2018. And that brings us back to the day when his relatives entered the barn he had left to them. Within moments of walking inside, the group realized that the 82-year-old had built up a mammoth stockpile of vintage treasures.
And as Schroll’s loved ones explored the old building, they realized the true value of its contents. The astonishing haul needed to be auctioned, then, if it was to fetch what it was really worth. But at first there was a snag. The auctioneer the family had contacted freely admitted that he lacked the necessary knowledge to properly price up Schroll’s collection.
So Schroll’s relatives got in touch with a YouTuber named Matt Murray. And as Murray’s channel on the video-sharing site is all to do with old automobiles, he seemed like the perfect guy for the job. Yep, Schroll’s mystery stockpile was made up of 50 classic cars.
Apparently, Schroll had snapped up the first few vehicles in 1961. He had then added to the stash over the following decades. And Murray emphasized the sheer variety of the collection when speaking to Business Insider in March 2020. He told the website, “Pretty much anybody [who] walks in there would find something they like – whether you’re a muscle car guy or a hot rod guy.”
Murray continued, “Everything [Schroll] bought is unique or interesting for one reason or another. You can actually tell why he bought it.” And once the expert was brought on board, he assisted Schroll’s relatives in sorting through the vehicles in the barn. These cars would then be split up into groups and auctioned off throughout 2020.
But Murray wasn’t just offering his assistance in selling the astounding collection. He was showcasing the cars, too, on his YouTube channel IronTrap Garage. And the first video in a series on Schroll’s vehicles was uploaded to the site in February 2020.
To date, Murray has produced 13 videos about Schroll’s cars, with each one taking a closer look at some of the more notable finds. To begin with, the YouTuber focused on a red vehicle that sat neglected and surrounded by cast-away plastic jugs. And despite the layer of dust that had accumulated on the car, it was clear that it was very special.
In the clip, Murray explains, “This is a ’65 Mustang that basically is loaded with every option. It has the 289 [engine] in it, obviously, which is great. [It’s got] factory a/c, factory-powered steering, [and] it has factory disc brakes. It even still has the original factory a/c blower inside of the car with the little Ford logo.”
Then we get a short glimpse of the vehicle’s bright-red interior before Murray shares a few other pieces of information. He continues, “[This is an] amazing untouched car that is basically as it was driven and then parked right here. Larry owned this car since about 1982, and [it’s] been sitting since about 1982!”
Schroll had photos of the car, too, with each snap showing how the Mustang had once looked before it was stashed away. But there’s a bombshell. Murray says that even though the vehicle has been gathering dust for close to 40 years, it’s apparently more than capable of returning to the road.
“This car is like prime [and] ready to go,” Murray explains. “I feel like you could throw some belts on it, pour some gas in, get the thing to fire and run.” He goes on, “This car is the real deal, and if you’re a Mustang guy, this is gonna make you go nuts, because I know it made me go crazy when I first saw it.”
Murray and his camera crew really dive into the collection, too, surveying the numerous classic cars that sit untouched around the barn. Then, eventually, the host sets his sights on a red 1973 Corvette. And much like the Mustang, he believes that the vintage vehicle could be driven again with no hassle.
But there’s another fascinating detail to be had. After Schroll purchased the Corvette, he put together a document that recorded all of his trips to the gas station. That’s right: every time the collector topped up his vehicle’s tank between 1977 and 1978, he noted down the date along with other bits of information. Talk about impressive attention to detail.
And Murray’s all about the specifics, too. Speaking on camera, he reveals that the Corvette has two different types of bumper. The one at the front is fitted with a plastic bar, while the example at the rear comes complete with a metal accessory attached. The vehicle is also sitting on “aftermarket wheels” – and, amazingly, a few of the tires still retain their shape.
Overall, the Corvette is a beautiful car that wouldn’t look out of place on the road right now. And after rummaging through the next batch of vehicles, Murray uncovers a couple more gems hiding away on the property. There’s a vintage Ranchero, for instance, which impresses the YouTuber for one very simple reason.
Murray says, “This car right here is insanely clean. Now, normally you wouldn’t think that a ’79 Ranchero would be something that people would jump up and down about in the classic car hobby. But this car is remarkably clean. It’s under 50,000 miles… and [it] literally smells like a new car when you get inside.”
“This car was used very minimally,” Murray notes. “We looked in the bed of the Ranchero, and there’s like almost no wear in the bed, which is really incredible. The paint’s really nice, the red interior is a nice contrast with the silver [body], and the fact that it’s the GT edition makes it just a little bit better.”
Murray also reveals that Schroll had detailed documents on the Ranchero. The collector had written down the names of the parts he’d changed after buying the car, for example. There were clear photos of the vehicle outside the barn, too. And thanks to Schroll’s meticulous record-keeping, we know that the Ranchero was placed into storage back in 1990.
Murray adds on camera, “Even though [this Ranchero is] not as desirable as some of the earlier models, I think this thing is a winner. If you’re into the Ford muscle car era, this car, because of how remarkably clean it is… is a very good buy.” Then he moves on to the second hidden gem.
This particular vehicle is a 1969 Mustang Grande, and it’s a similar color to the previous Mustang in the collection. But there are actually some notable differences between the cars. For one, the Grande’s interior doors, dashboard and steering wheel all boast a slick wooden design.
Schroll had also made sure to keep hold of the records he’d obtained when he picked the car up back in the 1990s. One of the documents was the original sale ticket, and this revealed that the previous motorist had swapped their ’57 Oldsmobile to get the Mustang Grande. Yet again, it was a fascinating extra to go with the vehicle.
But Murray couldn’t exactly leave without shedding light on two of the best in Schroll’s collection. Speaking about a truly extraordinary 1955 Thunderbird, the YouTuber says, “This is probably my favorite car on the whole entire property. This is as stylish of a car as it gets. [It] has a red and white interior [and] a red exterior.”
Murray adds, “This car is either all original, or it was restored very very well. You notice that there [are] the tags, all the Ford okay-check tags and everything on the engine bay. And the interior is extremely clean. It’s a car that I think will take very little work to get on the road.”
Then there’s a dusty 1954 Corvette, which Murray dubs the “coolest car” in Schroll’s barn. Apparently, just 100 of these vehicles were manufactured with a red paint job – making it a real collector’s item. Hopefully, then, the vintage stunner will fetch a pretty penny when it finally goes up for auction.
Mind you, some small alterations had been made to the Corvette. A new engine had been installed at some point in time, with a small-block Chevy V8 replacing the original straight-6. Murray also claims that a bit of the trim is gone, too. But despite all of this, the host can barely contain his joy when describing the Corvette’s condition.
Murray enthuses, “What’s amazing about this car is how complete it is. The car is pretty much all there, and it’s not smashed, it’s not banged up, it’s not deteriorated or anything like that. This car is extremely solid, extremely rare. And as far as Corvettes go – C1 Corvettes – a barn find like this is out of this world.”
So, Schroll’s stash was very exciting indeed – especially to classic car enthusiasts. And Murray couldn’t resist the haul himself. During his interview with Business Insider, the YouTuber revealed that he had been given the green light to snap up two of the cars: a 1932 Ford and a 1934 Ford Tudor.
Murray also touched upon the money that Schroll had dropped on some of the automobiles. The expert revealed, “He [was] buying cars that are worth $20,000 now, and he paid like $1,000.” The Pennsylvania man had been a savvy shopper, then – especially back in the 1970s.
Towards the end of the decade, you see, Schroll had nabbed no fewer than 21 different cars. And among this selection were some truly noteworthy vehicles. Reportedly, Schroll had picked up a 1936 Ford truck, a ’64 Chevrolet Corvair Convertible and a ’69 Thunderbird in that time.
The car lover had also shown real foresight in grabbing the motors while they were so cheap. Speaking to Business Insider, Murray praised Schroll’s skill at acquiring a deal, saying, “It was a great investment because he was buying stuff at a time when you could buy these cars for literally pennies on the dollar.”
Murray continued, “And now… they’re all good cars, but some of the cars [are] pretty good. [So they’re] definitely going to be a pretty good profit for [the family]. It would have taken a lifetime to sell all of this privately one by one.” And as it turns out, there was a reason why the hoard had gone undetected for so long.
Basically, Schroll had invested in extra storage space. That way, he could both shield his cars from the elements and keep the full extent of his buying under wraps. This may explain why his relatives were so shocked by what they found.
Murray added to Business Insider, “[Schroll] bought [the cars], put [them] in the building, closed the door and never touched them again. When I’m opening the hood on these cars or the doors on them, [it’s] like it’s the first time they’d been open since he opened them. These were all hidden, like his family didn’t really know what he had.”
Murray had no truck, either, with the assertion that Schroll had been a hoarder. He added, “He wasn’t keeping empty cat food. He was keeping collectible antique cars around and car parts, [and] now the family’s going to benefit from [these] very greatly.”
So, how much would the collection fetch? Well, Murray had an idea. In his opinion, many of the cars would eventually go for up to $10,000 each. And according to Murray, a few of the models may be worth even more than that – possibly selling for anything from $20,000 to $50,000 per car.
The YouTuber’s estimation turned out to be pretty much on the money, too. In summer 2020 15 of Schroll’s cars were put up for sale – with a 1950 Mercury lead sled earning the most at $19,000. And, overall, those lots reportedly brought in more than $107,000 for his family. That’s not bad, considering Schroll’s loved ones had no idea the cars existed in the first place.
The veteran’s relatives may have been pretty pleased with their finds, in fact – once they’d gotten over the shock of the discovery in the first place. And as it happens, Schroll definitely isn’t the only guy out there to have left behind an unexpected windfall.
When was the last time you had a real clear-out of your house? Well, if you can’t remember, then you may want to start digging, as you never know what forgotten treasures could be lurking among your belongings. Just ask the relatives of one Midwestern doctor, who dusted off his possessions after he passed away. You see, the late medic had seemingly been hoarding a very valuable item – something that had the potential to bring in a life-changing fortune, in fact.
Of course, while striking gold in your own home isn’t easy, it’s not completely out of the question. Simply put, it all depends on what you’ve got stashed away. Perhaps, then, you’ll get just as lucky as a family from Edinburgh, Scotland, did in 2019. Back in 1964, one of the clan had unknowingly purchased a long-lost historic chess piece for just $6.35. And the investment paid substantial dividends; now, the object is worth an eye-watering $1.27 million.
A year earlier, an anonymous Michigan man’s doorstop made for a similarly jaw-dropping story. That’s because the unassuming stone that had been keeping one of his doors open for three decades was actually a chunk of meteorite worth up to $100,000. The 22-pound space mineral apparently plummeted to Earth in the 1930s, and it weighs in as the state’s sixth-biggest rock of its kind.
However, neither of those finds can compare to the curious case of Cimabue’s long-lost “Christ Mocked” painting. At a 2019 auction, the Florentine artist’s masterpiece was snapped up for the incredible sum of $26.8 million, yet its owner – a woman from France – had previously had no idea of its true value. Up until that point, the 13th-century artwork had simply been hanging in her kitchen.
So, while these incredible discoveries have all been made largely by chance, they’re proof that there’s plenty of forgotten treasure out there just waiting to fall into the right hands. And if you’re so inclined, you may decide to make a business out of unearthing hidden gems – just like entrepreneur Peter Kumar.
Kumar has been involved in the motor industry since he was 15 years old, as back then he worked part-time at his father’s store in New Delhi, India. There, his family sold vehicle parts – despite not owning a car themselves. In 2018 Kumar told blogger Nancy Ruhling, “My father had a Vespa scooter. We were little better than poor. We were not on the road, and we had a house.”
Unfortunately, Kumar’s dad’s business struggled to turn a profit, leaving him to have to sell up. And while Kumar himself would ultimately head off to college, he dropped out of his program just two-thirds of the way through. By that point, you see, he had already set his sights on becoming a millionaire. And the first step of this plan involved flying to London, where Kumar resumed his journey in the motor industry at his uncle’s used Mercedes dealership.
After touching down in the English capital, the then 19-year-old Kumar spent the next four months cleaning the vehicle fleet. Following that, he jetted off to Miami, Florida, to check up on another of his uncle’s dealerships. And it was there that the youngster sold his first car – despite not being able to legally drive himself.
This business shuttered its doors in 1986, but Kumar remained undeterred. Using his newfound knowledge of the market, he began selling used cars from his apartment by day while working as a pizza delivery guy in the evenings. Then after his uncle advised him to move his enterprise to New York, Kumar headed to the east coast in 1988, ultimately securing a base of operations that still stands today.
Kumar’s company is Gullwing Motor Cars, which he founded in 1990 after specializing in used Mercedes-Benz models. Initially, the entrepreneur started off with just 20 cars in a warehouse in Great Neck; as business boomed, however, he relocated to Astoria, Queens. And in the decades since, he’s successfully plied his trade, buying and selling antique vehicles and developing his reputation in the industry in the process.
Today, Kumar’s firm is one of the biggest dealers of classic cars on the east coast. He’s also expanded beyond his initial Astoria warehouse and now maintains a constant inventory of around 100 vehicles. And while you’ll find models from iconic brands such as Bentley, Ferrari and Aston Martin on hand, Kumar’s most beloved is actually a 1955 Mercedes-Benz Gullwing.
A toy version of that car, taped together and splashed with maroon paint, now sits on Kumar’s desk. “I fell in love with a 1955 Mercedes Gullwing,” he said. “It was $80,000. I didn’t have that much money, but I did have the $20 for this toy, which I found the same week. I named my business after it.” As he’s owned the tiny replica for more than three decades, however, it’s understandably looking a little worse for wear.
But, of course, Kumar naturally has bigger issues to deal with. He maintains his inventory, for example, by journeying all over the United States, scouting out classic cars to ship back to his warehouse. If a seller contacts him from fewer than 200 miles away, he’ll drive out to them, but otherwise he’s happy to hop on a plane. The businessman also travels beyond the country’s borders to attend special events and shows in European countries such as Germany and France.
In fact, Kumar generally finds himself flying at least weekly, and he has surveyed cars in every single U.S. state except North Dakota. Typically, he also works with shipping companies for those vehicles that he needs to transport to his New York warehouse. Sometimes, though, they don’t even get that far, as Kumar has been known to instantly sell and transport his latest acquisitions directly from the original vendors.
And Kumar generally carries cars to suit every budget – from vehicles that are only good for parts to those that are road-ready. In 2018 he even told Classic Motorsports that he always keeps cash on hand – and for good reason. “I will buy virtually every car I am offered,” he said. “It just comes down to price.” That’s because it’s not just wealthy petrol-heads who buy, but also regular folks looking for restoration projects.
But as with any industry, the classic car market has fluctuated over the last 30 years – and that’s led to some unexpected consequences. For instance, in 2017 Kumar told Old Cars Weekly that the more expensive Ferraris were beginning to lose value. “That has surprised me a little, but I have seen it before,” he said. “They cycle up and down, but they have been going up for seven, eight years.” And, fortunately, the lows have never been enough to drive Kumar away from his passion.
Even today, Kumar still stumbles on previously undiscovered classic cars – often much to his own astonishment. “It seems like there should be less and less cars around, but they are still coming,” he told Old Cars Weekly. His more recent finds include a 1962 Porsche 356B Super 90 Coupe that had been owned by just one family and a 1984 Ferrari 512BBI Berlinetta Boxer with only 9,000 miles on the clock.
Now, Kumar regularly deals in seven-figure sums, with his most expensive sale coming in at a jaw-dropping $9.95 million. This particular transaction involved a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT – one of the historic Italian manufacturer’s most well-regarded vehicles. Following its immense success on the motorsport scene in the early 1960s, the 250 GT is now considered among the greatest cars ever built.
And over the years, Kumar has amassed a solid stable of stories to go with some of his most memorable purchases. Back in 2013, for example, he drove five hours to inspect an eyecatching black and silver Corvette. When the entrepreneur finally arrived on the scene, though, the Corvette’s then-98-year-old owner had rediscovered his own fondness for the car and opted to keep it – only choosing to finally sell up five years later.
Another customer was attempting to shift a cheap motorcycle alongside his classic 1975 Porsche. “He kept saying he needed $35,000 for them,” Kumar told Ruhling. “But the highest offer he was getting was $25,000. Finally, I asked him how he came up with $35,000. It turned out that [the family] didn’t have health insurance, and that was how much [the man’s] father needed for cancer surgery. I bought them for $35,000.”
In fact, Kumar loves the anecdotes behind his vehicles almost as much as the cars themselves. It’s fitting, then, that his latest discovery boasts its own incredible origin story. This particular treasure had sat forgotten for decades, and when its owners got in touch with Kumar, the businessman realized that the item was worth an absolute fortune.
Yes, while it may look like a worn-down old sports car, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster that Kumar found is actually an incredibly rare collectible. What’s more, despite being six decades old, the vehicle has fewer than 15,000 miles on the odometer, as it’s effectively been gathering dust in an Indiana garage for the past 40 years. That low mileage coupled with a traceable ownership makes the 300 SL unbelievably valuable to collectors.
The striking car hails from an era that saw Mercedes-Benz begin to export its vehicles to the United States, with the 300 SL’s Gullwing variant proving particularly in demand during the postwar period. The 1950s would also see the carmaker become a dominant power in motorsport, with its drivers winning prestigious competitions such as Le Mans.
In fact, the 300 SL – which stands for “Super Light” – actually made its debut as a race car in 1952. Then, two years later, at the suggestion of U.S. importer Maximilian Hoffman, Mercedes-Benz produced its first road-going version of the vehicle. The model’s iconic gullwing doors cemented its reputation stateside, with trade journalists naming it the “Sports Car of the Century” in 1999.
This success gave Mercedes-Benz a solid foothold from which to launch the Roadster in 1957. The new 300 SL variant was the manufacturer’s response to the enormous popularity of open-top two-seaters, and accordingly it lacked its predecessor’s gullwing doors. Ultimately, though, Mercedes-Benz created just 1,458 Roadsters in total from 1957 to 1963, with a solitary 249 produced in 1960.
That makes the example Kumar purchased incredibly rare and highly sought after. But as it happens, the car’s condition also adds to its value. The 300 SL Roadster in question still has its data card, you see, and this records the car’s original state upon leaving the factory. Through the card, moreover, Kumar – and by extension, any future owners – can trace the Roadster’s full history.
This particular vehicle also comes complete with its jack and both its factory soft top and hardtop. More importantly still, it’s totally “number matching” – a phrase used among car collectors that refers to a vehicle having its original parts. Indeed, the Roadster hasn’t been restored in any way, and – aside from a couple of cosmetic alterations – is therefore exactly as it left the factory.
Initially, the car came in a blue-gray color and boasted a leather interior to match. At some point over the decades, however, it was unfortunately repainted to the far more common silver, while its inside was dyed black. Restoring the Roadster to how it originally looked, then, could make it even more valuable.
This specific example was purchased as new by its most recent owner in around 1976, with the unnamed Midwesterner reportedly falling in love with the Roadster after driving his brother’s model. Yet even though the anonymous buyer was compelled to subsequently track down an unsold car in Chicago, he rarely drove his new acquisition. Then, in 1980, he parked it in his garage for good with just 14,558 miles on the clock.
But the 300 SL Roadster wasn’t the only classic car in the man’s garage. No, the German-born doctor was also the proud owner of a 1960s Ferrari 330 GT and multiple antique Porsches. Still, the Mercedes was undoubtedly the most spectacular part of the extensive collection, which was discovered in its entirety following the medic’s passing.
And while the car now looks a little worse for wear – both inside and out – after having been tucked away for so long, this hasn’t decreased the value. It helps, too, that the market for 300 SL Roadsters has been booming for years, with most bringing in seven-figure sums at auction. That was the price range Kumar aimed for when selling the historic item through Gullwing Motor Cars.
Yes, on his website, Kumar listed the vintage vehicle for the vast sum of $1,095,000. But while any potential buyer would need deep pockets, there’s no denying that the car was competitively priced. As recently as 2017, auction house RM Sotheby’s in Los Angeles sold another 1960 300 SL Roadster for $1.1 million.
Generally, “survivor” cars such as this particular Roadster, which comes with all its original parts, are even more sought after than restored vehicles, as they can entice Mercedes-Benz fans looking for their own restoration projects. It therefore probably won’t be a big shock to learn that Kumar managed to secure the full asking price for the Roadster in May 2020.
Nonetheless, while the new owner may have parted with a hefty chunk of change for the car, they’ll need to dig a little deeper to bring their purchase back to its best. One likely modification could be restoring the Roadster’s original color scheme, as painting the exterior in a suitable blue-gray hue and dyeing the interior to match would go some way to recreating the vehicle’s distinctive visual identity.
And while Kumar’s listing didn’t dwell on the condition of the engine, it’s likely that this will need to be rebuilt. The distinctive sand-cast aluminum intake manifold may even have made restoring the Roadster an appealing prospect to the buyer – although naturally that’ll take far more than the asking price to realize.
For those with the resources to do so, though, taking the plunge on the Roadster probably wasn’t a difficult decision. Like many classic cars, you see, the 300 SL Roadster has been described as “recession-proof.” In April 2020 a spokesperson for Kumar’s company went so far as to tell the Daily Mail, “We are a safer bet than the stock market.”
But, unbelievably, Kumar found what’s arguably an even rarer car after selling the Mercedes. Yes, his luck seemingly hasn’t run out just yet, as his company has since acquired and sold a 1952 Aston Martin DB2 Drophead Coupe. This vehicle is one of about 75 to have its steering wheel on the left-hand side; it’s also among just 98 models of its kind ever produced.
Admittedly, the convertible sports car, which can seat four people, isn’t in the greatest condition. The interior and exterior have both seen better days, for one, and there’s no original engine inside, either. Nonetheless, Gullwing Motor Cars advertised the DB2 as being in “restorable condition,” clueing any potential purchasers in to the extensive work that would need carrying out.
And while the listing didn’t include a price, a similar DB2 sold in 2017 for just under $350,000. It’s not quite as hefty a price tag as that given to the 300 SL Roadster, then, even if the Aston Martin is technically rarer. Why is this the case? Well, according to car website The Drive, any prospective purchaser of Kumar’s DB2 would need to spend a considerable amount on bringing it up to scratch.
But for Kumar, both the DB2 and 300 SL are simply another pair of incredible finds for his business, which now spans over three decades. And as he told Old Cars Weekly, he has no plans to stop any time soon. “[I plan to continue] as long as I can go – as long as I have energy and good health,” he said. “You’ve got to love what you do, otherwise it gets boring. I’m into old cars. It’s a passion.”