Cars In A Barn
Vintage Automobiles Found In Barn In Portugal
How's this for hitting the jackpot?

A New York retiree decided he could use his money more wisely if he could buy a home and a few acres in Portugal. He soon found a modest farmhouse that had been vacant for 15 years. The owners had died and left no heirs. The house, on sale to pay taxes, had had many lookers but a large ugly barn on the premises had steel doors that had been welded shut. Nobody wanted to go to the extra expense to see what was inside and the barn wasn't complimentary to the property anyway so there nad been no offers on the place. The retiree bought it at just over half of the property's worth, moved in, and set about to tear in to the barn. His curiosity was killing him so he bought a generator and a couple of grinders to cut thru the welds.
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I posted the story above on 3/26/2009 unedited. Its just as I received it by chain email. I thought about adding my disbelief about a retiree from NY and the surprise in the barn but I was sure the cars were real and they might be in the building pictured. It didn't take long for an alert visitor to direct me to the "Sports Car Market" Web site where I found the real story.

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY
By TOM COTTER @ Sports Car Market

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 (tomgcotter@roadrunner.com). I'd like to include the true story in a future In the Barn book, as well as in SCM.

More at Sports Car Market



The barn.


Close-up of the welded doors.

Voila! A barn full of vintage Automobiles!


Fiat Cabriolet (1200 or 1500), Ford Cortina MKII, Mercedes Benz 180/190.


Aston Martin


Opel GT, Lotus Elan FHC, Lotus Super Seven Series IV, Lotus Elan DHC


Porsche 356, Austin Healey Sprite MkII, Volvo PV 544, Ford Y


Giulietta Sprint, Giulia Sprint Speciale (SS), Nash Metropolitan.


Alfa Giulietta, Lotus Europa, another Lotus Elan FHC, Matra Djet.


Lancia Flaminia Coup


Abarth 1300 Scorpione


American (inspired) design.


Interior of Alfa Romeo.


Lancia Flaminia Coup, Peugeot 504 cabriolet & 404 cabriolet.


Mini, Alfa 1900 Super Sprint, Balilla.


Fiat Topolino II, Triumph TR4, Peugeot 202.


BMW V8, Formula racers, Chryslers, Mercedes, Austin A30.


BMW V8, Formula racers, Chryslers, Mercedes, Austin A30.

That's over US$21 million in cars!

So, what's in there?


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