• This Month's Issue

    Racer for the Road: $1.6m 1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS

    M-B 230SL: $141k Sale May Enshrine the Pagoda as a Collectible

    Baillon Collection: French Pride, 60 Rusted Hulks and $29m

    Affordable Classic: Supra Turbo - An Out-of-the-Box Rocket

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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

  • Help SCM Buy a Japanese Car +

    It's time for SCM to consider adding a Next Gen Japanese car to its collection. Japanese cars from the '80s and '90s have been popping up on my collector-car radar screen for the past couple of years. When I go to an auction and post pictures of the cars on Read More
  • Comedians Make Seat Belts Funny +

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  • Perfect Sunday — 291 Miles in a 50-Year-Old Alfa +

    Sometimes all the pieces just fit together. Each year, the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon (AROO) begin the spring touring season with the "The Old Spider Tour." The event originated as a tribute to club founder and longtime newsletter editor Bob McGill and his wife Margaret, and it always takes Read More
  • The Road to Monte Carlo +

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  • June 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
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Collector Car News

  • 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Cabriolet Leads No-Reserve Andrews Collection Sale +

    RM Sotheby's expects a 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB cabriolet by Pininfarina to bring $7m-$8.5m when it sells without reserve on May 2 in Fort Worth, TX. Other big-money star cars from the Andrews Collection include a 1963 Ferrari 400 Superamierca LWB coupe aerodinamico by Pininfarina ($3.5m-$4.5m), a 1935 Duesenberg Model Read More
  • 1955 Moretti 1200S Offered at Worldwide's Houston Classic +

    Big-money headliners at Worldwide Auctioneers' Houston Classic Auction on April 25 include a 1955 Moretti 1200S (Worldwide estimate: $750,000–$950,000), a 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition ($400,000–$500,000) and a 1959 Porsche 356A 1600S Convertible D ($210,000–$230,000). The sale takes place alongside the Concours d'Elegance of Texas. View all the consignments here. Read More
  • Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Breaks $22m +

    A 2006 Ford GT with only 19 miles led the charge at Barrett-Jackson's Palm Beach, FL auction this past weekend, selling at $319,000. More than 60,000 auction-goers flooded the Barrett turnstiles April 17-19, sending auction totals beyond $22m with a 98.3% sell-through rate. A total of 526 vehicles crossed the block. World-record sales included Read More
  • Meet Keith Martin at Keels & Wheels +

    Publisher Martin returns as emcee of the Keels & Wheels Concours d'Elegance, running May 2-3 in Seabrook, TX. Martin will announce both the car awards and the wooden boat awards. This is his seventh year as emcee of this event. For more details, visit keels-wheels.com. Read More
  • Bonhams Announces New Chantilly Concours Sale in France +

    Bonhams brings black ties and collector cars to an evening auction at the Chantilly Arts & Elegance on September 5 in Chantilly, France. The Arts & Elegance event debuted in 2014 on the grounds of Château de Chantilly. A crowd of around 10,000 took in the delights of the Concours d'Elegance competition for 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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