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    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

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  • 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.

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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

  • Meet Donald Osborne in Paris +

    Join Donald Osborne of Automotive Valuation Services and Ed Fallon of Cave Creek Classics for the annual SCM Rétromobile Reception. The reception will take place Wednesday, February 4, at 4:30 p.m. We'll enjoy wine and refreshments at the Café Le Jambon à la Broche. The reception will end at 6:00 Read More
  • First Look: Arizona Auction Week Breaks $270m +

    Auction houses have begun to report sales from Arizona Auction Week, and the cumulative $270m total has already eclipsed last year's record $253m. These numbers do not include post-block deals still in the works or sales figures from Russo and Steele or Silver Auctions. Barrett-Jackson sold more than 1,611 vehicles, Read More
  • Arizona Star Cars +

    Arizona Auction Week has arrived! Here is our star car roundup with links to all the online catalogs: At their Phoenix sale, RM will offer a 1955 Ferrari 250 GT Europa Boano "Low Roof" Alloy coupe (pictured above; RM estimate: $1.75m-$2.25m). RM's sale takes place January 14-16. View all the RM Read More
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  • BMW CCA Foundation Auctions 2015 BMW "30 Jahre M5" at Barrett-Jackson +

    The BMW Car Club of America Foundation will auction off the last unsold example of the new 30th Anniversary Edition 2015 BMW M5 "30 Jahre M5" at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, AZ on January 15. Broadcast live on Velocity at approximately 5:00 pm MT, the proceeds from the sale of the most 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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