• This Month's Issue

    Crank Up the AC: Acecas Are Getting Hot

    Ferrari Profile: The Days of Bargain 308s Appear to Be Over

    $291k 911 Euro Carrera: Huge Money, But a Smart Buy

    Miata: 25 Years of Affordable, Wind-in-Your-Hair Driving

    Zzzzzzz No More: Once a Sleeper, Datsun's 240Z Wakes Up to $41k

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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.

    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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Recent Blog Posts

  • The Alfa, Viper, Volvo, Méhari and Me +

    A Gearhead's Trip Through A Vintage-Car Theme Park You can tell the weather is getting better because I'm spending more time in the SCM/ACC garage. It all started last week when seven-year-old Bradley asked if I would take him to school in the Viper. I asked why that car, and Read More
  • Old Cars: More Reliable Now Than Ever +

    I was giving a talk at the local MG club meeting last Friday evening. We were discussing road trips, and the SCM “Road to Reno” adventure came up. In 2011, we bought three 1972-73 MGBs (two convertibles and a GT), refurbished them and drove to Reno for the All-MG Register Read More
  • April 2015 Cover Poll +

    Our Art Director, David Tomaro, has created three possible cover concepts, and we'd like to know which one is your favorite. Click here to cast your vote! In addition, please take a few moments and answer some questions about collector cars. It should all take less than a minute, and Read More
  • Wild Double-Outside Pass +

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  • A Badass Volvo 1800S Joins the SCM Fleet +

    "It's black, and it's slammed." That was my first thought when I set eyes on the '64 Volvo 1800S. My daughter Alex and I had just arrived at iRoll Motors in San Martin, CA. I purchased the car in July, but it took this long for the shop to address a Read More
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Collector Car News

  • SVRA and Motostalgia Partner for June 12 Auction at Indianapolis Motor Speedway +

    Motostalgia is now the Official Auction Company of the SVRA. The partnership kicks off with an exclusive collector car auction at the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational on June 12. This joint venture will provide the true enthusiast the opportunity to enjoy two of the most exciting experiences in motorsports: auctions and Read More
  • Sotheby’s Acquires 25% Ownership Interest in RM Auctions +

    Sotheby's has acquired a 25% ownership interest in RM Auctions, which will now be known as RM Sotheby's. This long-term investment comes as the more than $2 billion market for the finest automobiles continues to grow, presenting increasing opportunities for both companies. Sotheby's and RM have previously collaborated on successful sales in Read More
  • 1966 Jaguar XKE Series I 4.2 Roadster at AA Fort Lauderdale +

    Auctions America has consigned a 1966 Jaguar XKE Series I 4.2 roadster for their Fort Lauderdale auction. The sale takes place March 27–29. This car has been fully restored and features some upgrades for an improved driving experience on modern roads (Auctions America estimate: $250k–$290k). Read more here. Read More
  • Meet the SCM Gang at Amelia Island +

    We hope to see you at Amelia Island! Stop by any of our booths, meet the gang and check out our special renewal rates! The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance takes place March 13–15. Cars and Coffee at the Concours is on Saturday, March 14. Publisher Keith Martin returns to serve Read More
  • $18.5m 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder Leads Paris Sales +

    Three collector car auctions took place this past weekend in Paris. The most expensive lot was a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder (pictured above). Artcurial sold the car for a record $18.5m. Artcurial reported an 89% sell-through rate and $52m in total sales. View the Artcurial results here. A 1963 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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