7 December 2010

Portuguese Barn Find

Remember the urban legend of the Portuguese Barn Find? It’s been flying around the world like an Internet fairy tale for almost four years. As a reminder, here’s the basic fable, which originally took the form of a viral PowerPoint presentation:

“A New York man retired. He wanted to use his retirement money wisely, so it would last, and decided to buy a home and a few acres in Portugal. The modest farmhouse had been vacant for 15 years; the owner and wife both had died, and there were no heirs. The house was sold to pay taxes. There had been several lookers, but the large barn had steel doors, and they had been welded shut. Nobody wanted to go to the extra expense to see what was in the barn, and it wasn’t complimentary to the property anyway ... so, nobody made an offer on the place.

“The New York guy bought it at just over half of the property’s worth; moved in, and set about to tear in to the barn – curiosity was killing him. So, he and his wife bought a generator and a couple of grinders ... and cut through the welds. What was in the barn?”

The answer, in the presentation, was hundreds of classic cars. But the owner, it turned out, was not a New York senior but a Portuguese collector, who had amassed his collection in the 1970s after the Carnation Revolution. Many Portuguese collectors were stashing their cars in Spain, or letting them go for bargain prices. In a labor of love for old cars, Antonio Ferreira de Almeida snatched up every offer. Cars from every manufacturer, from every country and year made, in every condition.

By the end of the 1970s and not even 30 years old, António owned some 100 cars, and by the mid-1980s he had more than 300. When his buying binge ebbed around 1996, almost 400 old cars were in his possession, around a quarter of those in good or excellent condition.

German journalist Wolfgang Blaube set out to learn more about the legend. He travelled to Portugal in 2009 with his camera, and met with Antonio. Wolfgang’s complete account of his Portugal barn find investigation is published in Tom Cotter’s book, “The Corvette in the Barn.”

This is the list of cars as of Spring 2009, at the time of the Blaube's visit. Some of these cars may have been sold, while other cars that were seen and photographed were not listed. Still more cars on the list were in other storage places in Lisbon and not photographed.

 • Abarth 1300 Scorpione 1971
• Abarth-Fiat 1600 Allemano 1960
• Alfa Romeo 1600 GT 1966
• Alfa Romeo 1900 SS 1954
• Alfa Romeo 1900 SS 1956
• Alfa Romeo 1900 SS 1957
• Alfa Romeo 1900 SS 1957
• Alfa Romeo 1900 Super 1955
• Alfa Romeo 1900 Cabriolet 1952
• Alfa Romeo 1900 S 1954
• Alfa Romeo 1900 S 1955
• Alfa Romeo 1900
• Alfa Romeo 1900
• Alfa Romeo 2600 Berlina 1967
• Alfa Romeo 2600 Coupé 1964
• Alfa Romeo 2600 Coupé 1965
• Alfa Romeo 2000 Berlina 1958
• Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV 1974
• Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider 1959
• Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider 1959
• Alfa Romeo 2600 Zagato 1966
• Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint 1957
• Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint 1959
• Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint 1960
• Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1959
• Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS 1961
• Alfa Romeo Giulietta TI 1962
• Alfa Romeo Giulietta TI 1961
• Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint 1959
• Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV 1972
• Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV 1973
• Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV 1974
• Alfa Romeo 1600 GT 1979
• Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV 1970
• Alfa Romeo Giulia Nuova 1975
• Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina 1968
• Alfa Romeo Montreal 1974
• Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.8 1974
• Alfasud 1.5 1981
• Auburn 654 Four Door Convertible 1935
• Audi quattro 1981
• Audi quattro 1982
• Austin Mini Cooper S 1969
• Austin Mini Cooper 1967
• Austin Westminster 1961
• Austin Healey Sprite MKI 1957
• Austin Delivery Van 1932
• Austin A 30 1956
• Austin Seven 1936
• Austin Seven 1933
• Austin Cooper S 1968
• Austin Healey Sprite Mk II 1961
• Austin A 35 1959
• Austin A35 1958
• Austin London Taxi 1972
• Auto Union 1000 SP 1958
• BMW 3.0 CS 1973
• BMW 3.0 CS 1972
• BMW 3.0 Si 1971
• BMW 3.0 Si 1973
• BMW 3.0 S 1972
• BMW 2800 1970
• BMW 502 V8 3.2 1960
• BMW Isetta 300 1957
• BMW 502 V8 1959
• BMW 501 V8
• BMW 503 Cabriolet 1956
• BMW 503 Coupé 1957
• BMW 327/28 Cabriolet 1939
• BMW 326 1939
• BMW 2002 1970
• BMW 1602 1971
• BMW 1800 1969
• Bentley R Type 1952
• Borgward Isabella Combi 1955
• Bristol 405 Saloon 1956
• Buick Super 8 1935
• Buick Century Hardtop 1954
• Buick Skyhawk 1980
• Buick Skylark 1966
• Buick Special 1961
• Buick Special 1962
• Cadillac Coupé DeVille 1956
• Cadillac 62 1954
• Cadillac Convertible 1958
• Cadillac Limousine 7-Sitzer 1947
• Cadillac Fleetwood 1955
• Cadillac Eldorado Convertible 1976
• Chevrolet Fleetline Coupé 1949
• Chevrolet Fleetline 1947
• Chevrolet Convertible 1928
• Chevrolet Impala Station 1967
• Chevrolet Bel Air 1955
• Chevrolet Coupé 1947
• Chrysler CD Roadster 1932
• Citroën 2 CV 1968
• Citroën DS 19 Cabriolet Chapron 1961
• Citroën DS 19 Cabriolet Chapron 1961
• Citroën B14 Cabriolet 4S 1928
• Citroën 11 BL 1948
• Citroën 15 CV 1949
• Citroën SM 1973
• Citroën SM 1972
• Citroën 11 CV 1940
• Citroën 11 CV 1956
• Citroën DS 23 IE 1974
• Citroën GS Break 1974
• Datsun 240 Z 1973
• Datsun Laurel 1979
• DB Cabriolet 1952
• Dino 246 GT 1974
• DKW Cabriolet 1952
• DKW 2=4 1951
• DKW 3=6 1956
• DKW Munga 1962
• Dodge 1937
• Facel Vega HK 500 1956
• Facel Vega HK 500 1956
• Facel Vega HK 500 1957
• Fiat 508 Balilla 1938
• Fiat 600 1967
• Fiat 600 Multipla 1960
• Fiat 600 Jolly 1958
• Fiat 500 Gardiniera 1960
• Fiat 1900 Granluce 1955
• Fiat 1100 Familiale 1954
• Fiat 500 C Topolino 1951
• Fiat 1500 Cabriolet 1965
• Ford Consul 205 E 1958
• Ford Cortina Lotus 1966
• Ford Cortina 1968
• Ford Escort 1976
• Ford Taunus 17M Turnier 1960
• Ford Cortina 1971
• Ford 15M Coupé 1968
• Ford Y 1936
• Ford 100 HS Coupé 1947
• Ford 100 H8 Coupé 1947
• Ford 100 H8 Coupé 1946
• Ford Mustang 1968
• Ford A 28 1931
• Ford Fairlane Victoria 1955
• Ford V8 1932
• Glas Goggomobil 1963
• Glas Isar 1965
• Hillman Minx Saloon 1954
• Honda S 800 Coupé 1968
• Honda N 600 1968
• Hotchkiss Paris-Nice 1939
• International Van 1946
• Jaguar XK 140 Roadster 1955
• Jensen-Healey 1973
• Jensen-Healey 1974
• Kaiser Custom 1947
• Lancia Flavia Coupé 1.5 1963
• Lancia Fulvia Coupé 1970
• Lancia Aurelia B12 1954
• Lancia Flaminia Zagato 1960
• Lancia Aurelia B20 GT 1954
• Lancia Aurelia B20 GT 1957
• Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider 1955
• Lancia Appia I 1955
• Lancia Appia III
• Lancia Appia II
• Lancia Appia Coupé
• Lancia Appia Coupé
• Lancia Flaminia Coupé Farina
• Lancia Flaminia
• Lancia Flaminia Touring
• Lancia Aurelia Coupé 1952
• Lancia Aurelia Coupé 1951

• Lancia Aurelia Coupé 1954
• Lancia Aurelia Coupé 1957
• Lancia Aurelia Coupé 1955
• Lancia Ardea 1938
• Lancia Thema 8.32 1988
• Lancia Appia Coupé 1959
• Lancia Flavia 2000 Coupé 1970
• Lancia Fulvia Coupé 1973
• Lancia Flavia Cabriolet 1966
• Lancia Flavia Coupé 1.8 1968
• Lincoln Continental Convertible 1966
• Lotus Elan +2S 1973
• Lotus Elan +2S 1972
• Lotus Europa 1970
• Lotus Elan DHC
• Lotus Elan FHC
• Lotus Super Seven IV 1970
• Matra-Bonnet Djet 1965
• Maserati Quattroporte 1966
• Mercedes Benz 190 1956
• Mercedes-Benz 170 S-D
• Mercedes Benz 180 1960
• Mercedes Benz 250 S 1967
• Mercedes Benz 280 SE 1971
• Mercedes Benz 300c 1955
• Mercedes-Benz 300c 1955
• Mercedes-Benz 300c 1956
• Lincoln Continental Convertible 1966
• Lotus Elan +2S 1973
• Lotus Elan +2S 1972
• Lotus Europa 1970
• Lotus Elan DHC
• Lotus Elan FHC
• Lotus Super Seven IV 1970
• Matra-Bonnet Djet 1965
• Maserati Quattroporte 1966
• Mercedes Benz 190 1956
• Mercedes-Benz 170 S-D
• Mercedes Benz 180 1960
• Mercedes Benz 250 S 1967
• Mercedes Benz 280 SE 1971
• Mercedes Benz 300c 1955
• Mercedes-Benz 300c 1955
• Mercedes-Benz 300c 1956
• Mercedes Benz 220 SE b Coupé 1962
• Mercedes Benz 250 SE 1967
• Mercedes Benz 300d 1958
• Mercedes Benz 300d 1958
• Mercedes Benz 230S 1965
• Mercedes Benz 219 1957
• Mercedes Benz 300 SEL 3.5 1970
• Mercedes Benz 190 1964
• Mercedes Benz 190 E 2.3-16 1986
• Mercedes 220 SE b Automatic 1963
• Mercedes 180 1954
• Mercedes 450 SE 1977
• MG Magnette 1955
• MG Magnette 1955
• MG Midget 1962
• MGB 1966
• MG YA 1948
• Mini Moke 1967
• Mini Moke 1970
• Moretti 850 Special 1970
• Morris Eight 1946
• Morris Cooper MK II 1968
• Morris Cooper 1967
• Morris Cooper 1970
• Nash Metropolitan Hardtop 1958
• Nash 600 Custom 1948
• Oldsmobile Super 88 Holiday 1959
• Oldsmobile Cutlass 1970
• Opel Olympia Rekord 1953
• Opel Ascona 1971
• Opel Kadett Caravan 1970
• Opel GT 1900 1971
• Opel Kapitän 1951
• Opel Kapitän 1958
• Opel Kapitän 1958
• Opel Kapitän 1957
• Opel Kapitän 1954
• Opel Kapitän 1960
• Packard Mayfair Hardtop 1953
• Packard 1937
• Packard Patrician 1953
• Panhard PL 17 Tigre 1963
• Peugeot 404 Cabriolet 1965
• Peugeot 404 Cabriolet 1965
• Peugeot 404 Cabriolet 1967
• Peugeot 203 Cabriolet 1955
• Peugeot 403 Cabriolet – 1957
• Peugeot 202 1939
• Peugeot 504 V6 Coupé 1976
• Peugeot 404 Coupé 1964
• Peugeot 504 Cabriolet 1972
• Peugeot 504 Cabriolet 1970
• Peugeot 403 1956
• Plymouth 1939
• Plymouth Barracuda Convertible 1967
• Plymouth 1946
• Plymouth Valiant V-200 1964
• Porsche 356 B Cabriolet 1962
• Porsche 356 Super 90 Roadster 1960
• Porsche 356 Super 90 Coupé 1962
• Porsche 356 A Coupé 1957
• Porsche 356 C Coupé 1964
• Porsche 912 1966
• Porsche 356 A Carrera 1500 1956
• Pontiac Chieftain 1952
• Pontiac Star Chief 1958
• Renault 8 Gordini 1968
• Renault 8 Gordini 1967 azul
• Riley Elf Mk III 1968
• Rover 60 1961
• Rover 90 1956
• Rover 105 1962
• Rover 60 1952
• Rover 3500 V8 1972
• Rover 100 1961
• Rover 3500 S Vanden Plas 1986
• Rover 3.5 Litre 1967
• Saab 92 B 1953
• Saab 96 1962
• Saab 96 1965
• Simca Aronde 1956
• Simca 9 Sport 1952
• Singer Gazelle 1963
• Skoda Roadster 1937
• Skoda Octavia Combi 1964
• Steyr-Puch 650 TR 1967
• Studebaker 1930
• Studebaker 4 S 1940
• Studebaker Commander 1948
• Studebaker Champion Coupé 1954
• Studebaker Commander Starline 1954
• Subaru 360 1960
• Sunbeam Alpine 1963
• Talbot 1937
• Triumph Mayflower 1950
• Triumph TR4 1962
• Triumph 1300 TC 1968
• Vauxhall 1949
• Volvo 445 Duett 1954
• Volvo PV 444 1952
• Volvo PV 444 1954
• Volvo PV 444 1956
• VW Karmann-Ghia 1958
• VW 1300 1960
• VW 1302 1971
• VW 1302 S 1971
• VW 1303 1973
• VW Golf GTI 1983
• VW 1953
• VW Standard 1953
• VW Export 1953
• Wolseley 15/50 1957
• Wolseley 15/50 1958
• Wartburg 311 1964
• Willys Jeep 1946
• Willys Station

35 Reader Comments

  • 1
    john uschak jr. kingwood , texas December 22, 2010 at 23:22
    like very much, poor man like me would love one just to polish up daily.
  • 2
    ACE Earth December 23, 2010 at 13:38
    OH!! MOST VROOMISH!! Start em ALL up at the same time!! Oh, let me in there!!!!
  • 3
    lindsay usa December 23, 2010 at 16:08
    im a volvo man, older to newer
  • 4
    Char New York December 23, 2010 at 12:27
    I am amazed. What a find. It's a shame he left it all there to rot. If I had all these cars I would have kept them covered at least, I wonder what the estimated value of all this came to. This guy won the classic car lottery!
  • 5
    George Florida December 28, 2010 at 16:34
    I'm a Stude guy/ I imagine that it would cost a bundle to get the '54 Stude Commander Starliner here stateside.
  • 6
    joe carlomagno mill valley ca December 28, 2010 at 17:09
    yes, but is the story about not knowing what he was buying true?
  • 7
    alexx mccann niagara falls canada December 28, 2010 at 18:51
    wow !! this is a real find what more can i say . im car crazy . the history will tell the story of of the cars . thank you . alexx
  • 8
    Richard Hansen Corning Ca December 28, 2010 at 19:17
    Thank you for researching the internet gossip
  • 9
    Robert B. Wright So Cal. December 28, 2010 at 19:46
    Quite Amazing!
  • 10
    Fred Motz USA December 28, 2010 at 19:53
    sure wish I had the money to buy some of these cars.
  • 11
    Edward Peabody Wakefield, Ma December 28, 2010 at 20:01
    What a gold mine, i would be happy with any one car, just pick one. I was in the navy and in the Azores near where this place is but did not know it existed or i would have found it to explore. Thanks for the pictures.
  • 12
    larry clark castle rock, colorado December 28, 2010 at 20:20
    are any of the fords for sale? I have a 1988 turbo cp t-bird, in pristine condition,for sale or trade. only 85k miles.
  • 13
    Stan Pierce California December 28, 2010 at 20:22
    Wow! what a collection.
  • 14
    Mark Hildreth Raymond OH December 28, 2010 at 21:23
    Amazing! To find so many different cars in one area.
  • 15
    Shirley Mesa, Az December 28, 2010 at 23:29
    How sad, it makes me cry to think of what were once beautiful automobiles just left in a barn to rot. It's nothing more than an indoor scrap yard.
  • 16
    Art Wegweiser Allison Park, PA December 29, 2010 at 13:01
    These are terrific, but very sad, photos. But why does the caption identifying each fly by before it can be fully read? Slow down a bit, please. And how about an index to see the photos of any or all of those listed? Art - 1972 BMW 3.0 CSi - not excellent but very good and it does get driven often weather permitting so it is not a museum piece or Concours Queen any longer. Too much hard, sweaty work with Q-Tips and tooth brushes.
  • 17
    NVitarisi Mass. December 29, 2010 at 17:40
    Great cars and whoever collected them great work in keeping them under cover.
  • 18
    Victor C. Dahl Lake Oswego OR 97034 December 29, 2010 at 18:39
    I am curious to know whether the Fiat 1500 Cabriolet 1965 is actually the model after 1960 using a Mazeratti motor with overhead twin cams and both front and rear disc brakes. Some models built for export used either a 1200 or 1500 Fiat motor with push rods for the valves and featured disc and or drum brakes. My 1961 Cabriolet was not an export model and I imported it in 1974.
  • 19
    Ed Santiago Bronx, NY December 29, 2010 at 08:51
    I am interested in buying one of these cars. I don't know which. So many great ones to choose from.
  • 20
    Hans Gottwald Alvin Texas December 29, 2010 at 11:22
    Thank you Haggerty what a pleasant suprise just before the New Year. I started my apprenticeship as a mechanic in 1959 in Germany and I remember most of these cars very well. I have worked on many of them. Remember the comedian Bobe Hope, THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES and a Happy New Year. Best Regards, Hans Gottwald
  • 21
    Tom Avon December 29, 2010 at 12:36
    Take a look. The barn find of all time.
  • 22
    Denis Murphy USA/Florida December 30, 2010 at 21:17
    Are any of this car for sale at this time? Do you have contact information?
  • 23
    garry jochum lincoln, ne December 30, 2010 at 10:27
    Some one had done a excellent job in keeping them out of the car crusher. I'm all smiles.
  • 24
    Jim Bartley Canada December 30, 2010 at 11:13
    That is NOT a 49 Kaiser, it is a 47 (I think) or possibly a 48, but looks like 47 guards. If it is a 47 Kaiser Custom it is a rare model indeed
  • 25
    leonard kite clinton, indiana December 30, 2010 at 11:39
    fantastic array of fine automobiles. some people have all the luck.
  • 26
    Tim Robinette ohio./ junk yard capitol January 4, 2011 at 07:49
    Great to see all of these beautiful rides .I hope most of them get restored. They deserve it !!!!!!
  • 27
    Mike Vasilove California January 5, 2011 at 12:09
    It appears the purchaser is doing the correct thing by detailing the cars that will clean up well. I would imagine there will be a large auction at some point after all the parts and cars are sorted, mated, inventoried, etc.. What a find. The auto enthusiasts of the world will benefit from this.
  • 28
    GDC OKLAHOMA/ USA January 7, 2011 at 17:33
    Such a shame for no regard for automobiles.
  • 29
    Ely Bay Area January 10, 2011 at 19:02
    Just goes to show that you can not take your toys with you when you die. It's better to store your treasures up in heaven than here on earth.
  • 30
    George New Jersey USA February 20, 2011 at 23:31
    I want the 54 Studebaker, & the 56 Ford Fairlane, How do I get the info & details on them?
  • 31
    Jalene Holy Toledo, so glad I cilcked on this site first! October 1, 2011 at 08:00
    Holy Toledo, so glad I cilcked on this site first!
  • 32
    BrentF Toronto January 31, 2012 at 20:27
    The 1980 Buick Skylark carries a dealership sticker from Hogan GM, here in Toronto. I wonder how that car ended up in this Portugal collection? http://www.hoganchev.com/ [IMG]http://i41.tinypic.com/2925uzc.png[/IMG]
  • 33
    Jerry Chandler Memphis, Tennessee, USA February 8, 2012 at 16:28
    Could/would someone provide me contact information for the owner of these cars? Please forward to me whatever you can as I may be interested in pursuing a purchase. Appreciatively, Jerry Chandler
  • 34
    chris gardner Switzerland May 16, 2013 at 08:28
    I heard about this, thought it was a fake deal. I heard of a Porsche 356 Carrera. Figure it was just a 356, with an emblem. Nope, it was real and now in my garage ! great deal.
  • 35
    Martin Poznan, Poland March 7, 2014 at 06:37
    I would love to see it with my own eyes. If I could choose a while one of them then I would be the happiest man in the world. Dreams do not come true to anyone, unfortunately.

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