• This Month's Issue

    $38m GTO: All the Drama, Surprises and Head-Scratchers from Monterey's $464m Week

    Komforting Result for Porschephiles: 1988 Porsche 959 Approaches $1.5m

    Torpedos Away: Why the $467k Gap for Two Tucker 48s?

    GT40: Even at $6.9m, Ford Can't Beat Ferrari on the Block

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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

  • A Glimpse of Pure Passion +

    The SCM Monterey Insider’s Seminar is always a good experience, but this year it was a great deal better than good — it was fascinating, inspiring, and — of course — highly instructive. This year’s theme, “Preserve or Restore? The Three Tipping Points to Making the Decision” brought out principal Read More
  • Flying High Without Leaving the Ground +

      The Motorworks Revival — known simply as the Jet Center Party — has been hosted for the past 23 years by Gordon McCall and takes place on the Wednesday preceding the Pebble Beach Concours. In the beginning, it was a low-key, invitation-only party for concours entrants and select friends Read More
  • An E-Ticket Ride at the Best Place on Earth +

      If I had to sum up my trip to Monterey for the “big car week” in two words, they would be “exhilarating” and “exhausting.” And at most times, it really was a combination of the two. It’s not like I hadn’t been before. This was actually my fourth time Read More
  • Winter’s Coming – Store Your Car or Drive It? +

    We had an unseasonably hot summer in Portland. I went so far as to buy a vintage Volvo 122S with factory air-conditioning just to beat the heat. It’s been dry as well – the desiccated skeletons of the potted plants on my deck bear mute testimony to the futility of Read More
  • Behind the Scenes With Ferrari's "Art of Form" +

      Read More
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Collector Car News

  • Announcing the Barrett-Jackson Collection Showroom +

      Barrett-Jackson will officially launch the Barrett-Jackson Collection Showroom with an open house on November 14-15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The facility, located in Old Town Scottsdale, will bring the Barrett-Jackson experience to the community beyond the four auctions held across the country each year. The showroom will Read More
  • Le Mans Class-Winning Scuderia Filipinetti Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Joins Bonhams Scottsdale Auction +

    Bonhams has announced the consignment of a very special and historic competition Ferrari to its auction in Scottsdale, Arizona next January: the 1966 Ferrari 275 Gran Turismo Berlinetta Competizione Scaglietti – class winner of the 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours, 1969 Spa-Francorchamps 1000 Km and 1969 Imola 500 Km under Scuderia Read More
  • Keith Martin Onstage at the Hilton Head Island Concours +

    The Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing automotive and motorsports enthusiast event weeks, is ready to host a record number of special guests at the upcoming event. One of North America’s most respected collector car authorities will be on hand to steer Read More
  • Corrected Date for Leake Dallas: November 21-23 +

    Leake's recent advertisements showed incorrect dates for their Dallas auction. The correct dates are November 21-23. View all the consignments here, including a 1934 Bugatti Type 51. Read More
  • Countdown to Bonhams' London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Sale +

    Bonhams' October 31 sale in London takes place in conjunction with the world's longest-running motoring event: the London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run. To qualify, cars must be built before 1904. SCMers Monte Shelton and Bob Ames are attending and will provide a first-hand account of the event. This year a 1902/03 Panhard 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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