• This Month's Issue

    Brass Era Strikes Gold: $825k 1905 Fiat 60HP

    $183k 356B "Super" 90 With a Clark Kent Engine

    Is McLaren's MP4-12C a Future Collectible?

    The Horror of a Frankenstein 280SL

    The First Range Rover Climbs to $217k

    Read More
  • SCM Platinum

    Over 200 cars that sold at auction covered in every issue of SCM. Our market reports include detailed information about the vehicle, including VIN, condition, options, and expert analysis from SCM's auction reporters.

    SCM Platinum is the largest database of collector cars sold at auction. Over 150,000 vehicles, including over 59,000 with detailed write-ups from our auction reporters.

    Now optimized for your mobile devices!

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  • Glovebox Notes

    SCM doesn't just cover collector cars. Every week, SCM reviews a brand new car online and in our newsletters, and there are new reviews every month in the magazine. Thinking of buying a new car? Check out our reviews!

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  • Insider’s Guide to Concours d’Elegance

    The 2014 guide includes a calendar of events and detailed descriptions of 21 featured concours.

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Collector Car News

  • Italian Sports Cars Lead the Charge in Paris +

    The collector car world will turn its attention to Paris in early February. Here are some consignments that are sure to make headlines: A 1954 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America (pictured) will come to market at RM's Paris sale on February 4. View all the RM consignments here. Bonhams will offer a 1960 Read More
  • Arizona Auction House Highlights +

    Arizona Auction Week is just around the corner. Here is our star car roundup with links to all the online catalogs: Barrett-Jackson will offer a 1949 Talbot-Lago T-26 Grande Sport Coupe (pictured) at their week-long Scottsdale sale. The auction takes place January 10-18. View all the Barrett-Jackson consignments here. A 1956 Maserati A6G/2000 Read More
  • First Glimpse — Amelia Island Auction Headliners +

      Collectors will once again flock to Amelia Island in mid-March for the Concours d'Elegance and four classic car auctions. The first star consignments have just been announced: Gooding & Company have consigned a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet (pictured above). The Gooding auction takes place March 13. Read More
  • Ex-Giuseppi Campari 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Supercharged Gran Sport Spider at Bonhams Grand Palais +

    Early consignments at Bonhams' February 5 Paris sale include the ex-Giuseppi Campari 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Supercharged Gran Sport Spider (Bonhams estimate: $2.2m-$2.9m); a 1904 Panhard et Levassor 35HP ($860k-$1.1m); and a 1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 ($610k-$740k). View all the current consignments here. Read More
  • RM Brings "Mussolini's Mistress" to Paris — a 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport Berlinetta +

    Early headliners at RM's February 3-4 sale in Paris include a 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport Berlinetta gifted from Benito Mussolini to his lover, Claretta Petacci (RM estimate: $2.3m–$3m); a 1935 Delahaye 135 S once owned by Jean-Hilippe Peugeot of the Peugeot Motor Company ($1.5m–$2m); a 1969 Porsche 911 S Factory Rally Read More
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Portuguese barn houses 180 cars, all covered with decades of dust

Huge collections like the one in Portugal don't just happen. Cars are accumulated by someone with a purpose



By Tom Cotter

One day this January, I received at least ten forwarded email attachments to a web site that featured photos of an eclectic collection of old cars in a decaying building. For the next week it seemed the web was literally blanketed with these images, each giving a similar story:

“Imagine moving into an old farmhouse in the Portuguese countryside, and, while walking around “the lower 40” of your new investment, you come across an old building. Curious as to what may be inside, you pry open the rusted door and for the first time in decades, one of the largest hordes of old cars ever discovered is exposed to sunlight.”

I didn’t believe that story for a moment.

Huge collections of cars don’t just happen. Cars are accumulated—sometimes lovingly, sometimes not—by someone with a purpose. I was sure this collection was not assembled by accident; nobody would simply sell an old farm and fail to mention to the new owners the stash of old cars in the barn.

I decided to investigate. I searched the web and ultimately came to an English language dead end at the Mazda Miata Club Norway web site. But I kept going, sending emails in English and hoping that some kind recipient would take a few moments to answer some questions. All indications were that the cars were hidden somewhere in Portugal, so that’s where I focused my investigation.

Through a Cobra buddy, Don Silawski of Washington, DC, I contracted with a Portuguese translator, Clara Dixon. Clara would be my tour guide and try to unearth some of the naked truth regarding this huge stash. Clara also checked the Internet for news stories that may have been written in Portuguese newspapers about the cars. I was beginning to feel like a CIA sleuth…

I must admit that for me, a lifelong barn-finder, a collection this large would be the discovery of a lifetime. My 15-year-old son, Brian, even tried to convince me to hop a flight to Portugal to see if I could actually find the collection myself.

I was eventually able to contact the photographer who was contracted by the cars’ owner to shoot the photographs that would ultimately appear on millions of car-guy computer monitors beginning on January 20.

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY

Manuel Menezes Morais shot the photos, but he was sworn to secrecy about the cars’ location and the owner’s name. However, he was able to obtain permission from the elusive owner to give me the following information:

The owner of the cars was a car dealer in the 1970s and 1980s, and decided to save the more interesting cars that came through his doors. When the barn was full, he padlocked and “soldered” the doors shut. (Perhaps welding was too permanent.)

Web sites varied on the number of cars: 58, 100, and 180 were speculated. According to Morais, there are 180 cars in the barn.

And, aw shucks, none of the cars is for sale.

Clara was able to determine that the cars are located somewhere in the area of Sintra, near Lisbon.
I asked Morais if he could ask the owner if he had a favorite car. “He has lots of good cars in very good condition,” he says, “but he loves the Lancia Aurelia B24. He has two.”

I would ask that a European-based SCM subscriber pick this story up and help fill in the blanks. And let me know what you find ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). I’d like to include the true story in a future In the Barn book, as well as in SCM.

So, what's in there?

TOM COTTER is a contributing editor to Road & Track. The sequel to Cotter’s book Cobra in the Barn, to be called The Hemi in the Barn, will be published by Motorbooks this fall.

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