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A 1957 Mercedes 300SL, similar to one saved by the business owner.
Credit: Wikipedia

This story is one to make a car lover keel over.

A massive mill fire in Charlton, Mass., last week destroyed 17 classic cars — a whopping $2 million in rare vehicles. The five-alarm fire actually ravaged six businesses including Werke Classic Coach, which housed the vintage cars.

OK, take a deep breath.

Werke Classic Coach owner Gary Cove told the Boston Globe that the 17 classic cars he lost on that dreadful night included:

  • a $750,000 Mercedes
  • several Porsche 356s and 911s
  • two Jaguar E-Types aaaaaaand
  • a 1933 Rolls Royce

Before you fall over weeping with grief, the businessman DID save several classic vehicles including: an Alfa Romeo Giulia SS worth $165,00; an $800,000 1957 Mercedes 300SL; a $700,000 1964 Shelby Cobra.

Cove has owned Werke Classic Coach for 38 years, 22 of which were spent at Old Woolen Mill, making him the mill’s longest running tenant.

Did an Illegal Chop Shop Cause the Blaze?

The web site has learned some exclusive details about the blaze.

A friend of Cove, Nick Schiappa, told the site that several tenants in the complex repeatedly reported to local officials that immigrants from Ghana had been operating an illegal chop shop there.

Schiappa told Jalopnik that Cove “and his dad and a couple of other people in the complex made numerous calls to the Fire Department because these dudes from Ghana were cutting gas tanks out with torches.”

As if that report wasn’t bad enough, Cove also said that he actually would have saved more of the cars if the town of Charlton had more fire hydrants.

If you can still stomach it, check out the before and after photo of two of the Porches that Jalopnik got their hands on.