• This Month's Issue

    Air-Cooled, White-Hot: $730k 1993 911 RSR

    $2k a Century Ago, $2.5m Today: 1911 Mercer Type 35R Raceabout

    At What Point Does a Collector Become a Dealer

    Miles Collier on Abarth's Nickel Rockets

    Five Classics That Are No Longer Affordable

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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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Collector Car News

  • Bonhams Offers Longnose Alloy 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB at London Sale +

    A 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Alloy-bodied Berlinetta is to star in Bonhams'  New Bond Street auction, carrying an estimate of £1.5m-£2m ($2.3m-$3.1m). The sale takes place November 30. James Knight, Bonhams International Motoring Director, said: "This is a wonderfully original, long-term preserved, Ferrari 275 'Longnose' Berlinetta offered from the Maranello Read More
  • Sam Pack Collection Surpasses $11.5 million +

    Total sales for this weekend's Sam Pack Collection auction surpassed $11.5 million with 100% of all lots sold and numerous lots exceeding expectations. RM Auctions with Auctions America presented the sale in Dallas, TX. The top 20 sales were as follows: 1967 Shelby 427 Cobra - $1,292,500.00 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra - $880,000.00 Read More
  • Arizona Concours d’Elegance Adds Two New Events +

    The Arizona Concours d’Elegance has added two new featured events: an insider’s look at Arizona’s famous collector-car auction week and a panel discussion with acclaimed race car designers. Both forums happen on Saturday, January 10, 2015, in the Arizona Biltmore's Grand Ballroom. The concours itself takes place Sunday, January 11, Read More
  • First AZ Highlights From Gooding and RM +

    The countdown to Arizona Car Week has already begun. Gooding has consigned a 1956 Maserati A6G/2000 coupe, recently discovered and last road-registered in 1969 (pictured above; Gooding estimate: $750k-$900k). Gooding's sale takes place January 16-17 in Scottsdale. View all the Gooding consignments here. A trio of iconic supercars leads RM's Read More
  • Artcurial Paris Totals $7.9m +

    The high sale at Artcurial's seventh Sur Les Champs sale on November 2 was a 1964 Aston Martin DB5, sold at $1.26m. Sales totaled $7,709,598, with 80% of all lots sold. This brings Artcurial's 2014 motorcar totals close to $66m, representing an increase of 67% over the previous year. Note: a previous Artcurial 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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