A secret “barn find” hoard of some 230 classic cars uncovered in Holland will cross the auction block in Europe in mid-May, and likely fetch millions of euros, according to the firm coordinating the sale. The cars belonged to 82-year-old businessman Ad Palmen of Dordrecht, who started collecting them 40 years ago, Gallery Aaldering and Classic Car Auctions told CNN.
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Palmen decided to let the collection go, to car dealers Nico and Nick Aaldering, when his health began to deteriorate recently, says the report. The cars had been stored across a number of warehouses as well as in an empty church, and were generally a well-kept secret until last year, when a fire broke out at Palmen’s largest warehouse. The quick response of local firefighters kept the cars from damage.
The cars are all in different condition, with some needing some dusting off and tuning up, as evidenced by some photos released by Gallery Aaldering; and others in nearly pristine shape.
“This collection includes cars that are very special,” said Gallery Aaldering’s head or marketing, Carlo Te Lintelo. “Like the Lancia B4 Spider America. Just to give you an idea, that car alone will sell for €600,000 to €700,000 [CDN$881,000 to CDN$1 million). They are very rare, only a couple of them were made.”
The CNN report also highlighted blue-chip collector cars like a white Mercedes-Benz 300S convertible; a blue Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona; as well as Maseratis, Aston Martins, and Facel-Vegas. While this paints Palmen as someone who appreciates European classics specifically, the lot list also reveals several interesting American cars, including a 1950s Mercury, Ford, and Packard; as well as a number of obscure, weird cars, like a Studebaker Avanti, NSU Ro80, and even a Tatra.
The “Palmen Barnfind Collection” will cross the block in the Netherlands on May 19, though bidders will able to participate in the auction online.