This wild 230-car barn find hoard is up for grabs

Classic Car Auctions

We’ve all been there. You buy a yellow Lancia B20, then, 40 years later, you find yourself with a collection of 230 cars. It’s like popping into a supermarket for a pint of milk, only to leave with enough groceries to feed a family of four for a week.

Granted, Ad Palmen’s story isn’t typical—the Dutchman’s collection even manages to overshadow Paul Cowland’s—but many of us of dream of owning an assemblage of classics. It’s like owning a grown-up version of the box of toy cars you had as a kid.

For four decades, Palmen lived the dream, introducing new cars to his fleet, slowly amassing one of the largest private collections in Europe.

Palmen maintained the cars, but rarely showed the collection to anyone beyond a circle of trusted friends and family. Due to his age and what the auction house calls “various circumstances,” the collection will now be sold, with the cars going under the hammer in May.

In chronological terms, the collection spans everything from a 1912 Singer to a 2006 Opel Movano pickup, but the list warrants close scrutiny. Take a look at the list on the Classic Car Auctions website and let us know what you’d like to take home from the Netherlands.

It’s an eclectic mix, featuring the likes of a Simca Aronde Oceane, Alfa Romeo Zagato 2600 SZ, Lancia Aurelia B50 Cabriolet Pininfarina, Delahaye 135M, Tatra T87, Rolls-Royce Camargue, AC Bristol Aceca, Studebaker President and no fewer than seven Facel Vegas.

Fancy a modern classic? The collection includes a Renault 19 Cabriolet, Land Rover Discovery, Jaguar XJS 4.0 Convertible, Mazda RX-7 (FC3C), Volvo 480 and Lancia Thema.

Add several motorcycles, mopeds, items of furniture, a tractor and a Hymer motorhome, and the collection hits 280 lots.

According to the Classic Car Auctions website, “It is unlikely that anyone will ever see a collection of this calibre and condition again in their lifetime.”

The team in the Netherlands now has the unenviable task of documenting and photographing every car, listing them on the website and dealing with the hundreds, if not thousands, of requests for more info.

We’ll bring you details of the star lots in due course, but in the meantime, just revel in the pics and raise a glass of Advocaat to a chap who had the Dutch courage to amass such a wonderful collection.




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Via Hagerty UK

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    What’s the point of collecting them if you don’t take care of them and show them off once in a while? He might as well be hoarding cats like my crazy neighbor. Although, I have to say, I wouldn’t mind a wander-thru before the auction….

    The difference between collector and hoarder is the difference between Jay Leno and this guy. At least they were under cover and not out in some field with the “I’m going to restore it” attitude.

    Exactly! Maybe this guy doesn’t have the millions it takes to restore and just bought as retirement income? They will sell for more than he ever paid for them, it’s called patina! Big auction houses are now accepting rare finds ‘as is’ not even washing off the years of dirt and they are selling! Partly because buyers imagine they just found it too! I would trade my 401K for the lot.

    Because you can it’s a collection
    Some people collect fine china they never use or books that sit on shelves
    Paul Cowland collected cars cool ones ,ones he was happy to own
    He’s a lot like Lemay and his amazing collection in Tacoma

    Absolutely. He was in his “Purpose” and I would say very, very fortunate to live and thrive in his “purpose” during his life.

    They seem to be maintained in the very condition he bought them in, which is good enough; he kept them indoors and safe; were it not for him most of these cars would be gone. Now they will fall under the auctioneers hammer and their fate is in the hands of others. They served their purpose, to satisft the collector, which one would hope they will continue to do.

    I think maybe “Maintained” means “Kept dry and free from the elements” (Preserved) What ever it means, I’m so glad when people do this. It may be for their own personal (possibly selfish) reasons, but without consciously recognising it, they have been custodian to theses pieces of history that future generations can take in and enjoy. It’s my feeling that any car that makes it past it’s best before date ( the point in time when you just don’t see those cars on the road anymore… varies by region) should be cared for in a special way. Even a brown 78 four door Ford Granada should be cared for in 2023 if there’s enough left of it. No offence intended to Granada owners… it was just an example. I actually quite like the body style of the 2 door Granada.

    I had a ‘79 Granada 4 door, 6cyl. I beat the balls off it and sold it to my neighbors kid. He beat the balls off it. I loved that car.

    I don’t know what you had, but if you had a V6 Granada, then it was the only one made. They had inline 6 cylinder motors.
    Lincoln had a version of the Granada, called a Versailles. The Lincoln had 4 wheel disc brakes and a V8, Leather seats, otherwise the same car for thousands more $$$$.

    Amazing what kind of a “sleeper” can be built from a Granada. LOTS of “Fox” platform Mustang parts fit & work on them. Start with a baby Lincoln 8.8″ rear end w/disc brakes & go crazy !

    The article states they were maintained but due to his age etc… I would guess he got too old and unable to maintain them properly but hated to sell them.

    If you throw 230 broken plastic kids toys into a barn you’re a hoarder. If you put 230 classic european cars in a barn… I think you’re still a hoarder but people talk nicer to you

    By my rough count from the auction list, there are more than 20 U.S. brand vehicles included.

    Seeing as the collection is in Europe that would make American Cars the “Foreign” cars. Glad to help you out on that.

    It was a wonderful collection Hagerty. Who can afford to go to Europe and buy one of these? Why don’t you have hair to get on the bandwagon fighting for gasoline in this country? That was voice recognition but it works for me.
    Please consider the people in the United States bitch more than you do in the world.. The people in the United States are the ones that built your business Hagerty. What actually are you doing to keep gasoline flowing and obviously we need lower prices. It’s going to kill your collector car market more than you know. Please quit evaluating muscle cars without much education. Keep the gas flowing I would like to hear more about what the Haggerty company is doing about fuel prices versus their own pocketbook?

    In the second photo there are two Mustangs, a gold fastback and a white coupe. There are also two Corvair first generation convertibles in the same photo. Several other less notable American cars, like Ramblers, in other shots.

    And a couple of ’61 > ’63 T-Birds from what I can tell; and one has a Continental Kit type spare on the back?? Never seen that before.

    Only foreign cars I saw are an early Corvair convertible & maybe a Mustang or two the rest are domestic.

    Why would 99.9 percent of us care about a “barn find” in Europe? We wouldn’t go there to buy, there is anything domestic, parts availability and costs would be prohibitive and the shipping costs would probably be more than the car is worth. Isn’t there anything in this country interesting enough to earn ink space?

    Because a lot of us enjoy these stories. The articles aren’t written with one person in mind ! I seriously doubt if 99.9 % of the people feel the same as you. There is a saying that is getting quite popular today. If you don’t like something scroll on. 99.9% of us aren’t interested in negative opinions 🙂

    I agree as well 99.99 % interested in this article no matter what country we hail from or for that matter what culture we may have been exposed to ( if any culture at all !) 🇨🇦

    Oh please. I can just as easily say, “If you don’t like a negative comment scroll on rather than take the time to negatively comment on James’s comment.” I enjoy a spicy comment occasionally. Keeps me tuned in.

    Well stated. I’m a bleed red,white,blue American but I choose to collect drive German or British…. If the article or inventory not your liking why not just keep it moving as are plenty of Americana minded collectibles and auctions out there. Positivity rules.

    Absolutely agree! I have a dear friend who’s a Europe native and collects cars, so I sent him the article. He was very excited, grateful and is interested in participating in the auction. Additionally, to my surprise there are a few American made vehicles on the auction listing as well😊.

    I am that .01% er It is just a good thing I live in the U.S.A. or I would be buying up all those Triumph TR-3As.

    Dave My step son has three Triumph for sale in Hagerstown Maryland due to health reason ? interested ,Email me

    A barn find is a barn find. Like water on Jupitor’s moons. We will never drink it, but it’s meaningful.

    I feel special being the .1%… even after owning 30+ American classics. How can you not love the Maseratti 3500GT, the Facel Vega grand tourer, or the AC Aceca? At least for the other “99.9%” there is a 1958 Corvette, a 1965 Mustang fastback, and other misc American classics. I am disappointed though, I was hoping to see a “lost” Lamborghini Miura on the list. 😉

    I own exactly one classic car and don’t have any intention of buying another, but the cars are interesting as cars and they say something interesting about the man. I’d love to read an interview with him or his family to talk about what he was doing.

    That is actually not true. It’s not expensive or as expensive as you would think to ship cars / bikes. I have done it. Also w a strong dollar and the fact that few Europeans want American iron you might get an interesting deal!

    When you buy a 20 year old car and save it for 20 years, you have something of great value. You don’t need to restore them, just keep them from rusting.
    I bet he paid 5% of current value for some of those.
    He could sell them all and spend the money or share it with his inheritors, even give it to charity, either way he has increased his investment 20 fold.
    I would really like to see the actual dollar spent to final sale amount. That would tell you if it was worth it.

    Yes very true. I would like to enjoy them before I die though. I love stories about barnfinds. At least they are put away in a manner to be easily maintained.

    I guess the whole point is that there is no point, No one can take it with them and in the end they are going to be sold to the highest bidder, sort of sad, 230 others could have been enjoying them for the past 40 years.

    Indeed. How should we assess this sort of collection? Is there a set of principles or criteria we could all agree on? Maybe dusty preservation trumps junkyard, but mild restoration trumps dusty preservation, and show-quality restoration trumps that, and so on into the night…? Perhaps every form of “care” has some merit. Cheers!

    Actually, if one Googles “Trailer hitches on a Hearse”, there are plenty of examples of hearses pulling all types of trailers, including U-Haul trailers, camping trailers, etc. This would imply that “some” hearses do indeed have trailer hitches! Pretty funny stuff indeed!

    What a great collection! I appreciate articles like this, even though I’m not a buyer. Here’s a guy who collected cars, similar to others who collect coins, stamps, or whatever. Rarely do you see guys showing you their cool stamp collection. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to see them now.

    the original collection consisted of 197 cars , the new owner has most probably put 33 cars from his own collection there.
    he is a well known classiccar dealer in holland
    the old guy who owned the collection has Alzheimer, so he doesn`t know that his collection has been sold


    I guess it’s trendy these days to be negative about everything. I sent an email to a car friend last week about this collection, and he immediately wrote back pontificating that these were all junk, that none of them would ever be restored, and that the whole thing was a giant money pit. Call me crazy, but this has to be one of the most remarkable assemblages of automobiles I’ve ever seen. Inside storage with dust included at no charge. I’ll be looking at the auction results next month to see how many millions of dollars change hands here.

    Take a flight. Nothing is unrealistic or unreachable. Sometimes it’s better to see in person. This collection will only look like this once! Went to the Elmers peddle car museum auction in Wisconsin for the last time in history. mecum put it on. Paid to much for everything, the Man the history, and was able to see where he lived. He was a credit to humanity. So you never quite know until you fully embrace. Whoever collected all of these vehicle’s in a lifetime loved every one of them. Wish I could see them in person.

    So many commenters are saying “WHY” I say “Why Not” if you have the money and it makes you happy. I always wonder if jealousy has a lot to do with how they feel ???

    This doesn’t bother me. Most the cars probably would have been long recycled by now. They are dry and in the dark for the most part. Like a time capsule ready to be opened. I would love to be at the auction

    This guy had amazing taste! I see a Hans Ledwinka designed Tatra, A Renault Alpine, Daimler Dart and even a Kaiser Darrin!! I could keep going!! So many other cool and unusual specimens. Call this guy what you want, but in my opinion he is a hero as he got these cars off of the street and stored them for posterity that others will get a chance to restore or re-condition as needed! Then many will be shared with people who have never seen them! Don’t call him a hoarder, he’s a wealthy guy who is a keeper of automotive history!!

    You Get it!!! Many awesome collections will be started or added to because of this guy’s obsession! dirt comes off.. rust from sitting in a field for 30 years is much harder to deal with!

    Very sensible answer and one I totally agree with !! There are definitely different types of automobile collectors or any collector, this owner was a preserver instead of restorer.

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