Home » This ‘Barn-Find’ In An Old Church In The Netherlands Is Going Up For Auction And The Cars Are Incredible

This ‘Barn-Find’ In An Old Church In The Netherlands Is Going Up For Auction And The Cars Are Incredible

Dutch Barn Find Car Collection Topshot
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If you’re looking for a European barn find, you’re in luck. A few cars owned by an 82-year-old Dutch man named Ad Palmen are coming up for auction next month. When I say a few, I mean a lot. No fewer than 230 cars to shift, to be precise. That’s as impressive a collection as any we’ve seen.

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[Ed Note: Someone sent me this CNN link about this barn find, and we figured The Autopian should share the cars with you, dear fellow car-cultists. -DT]. 

Dutch Barn Find Car Collection 4

So how on earth does someone amass this many cars? Well, 230 cars over 40 years of collecting works out to roughly 5.75 cars per year. It’s a high number, but it doesn’t seem obscene when broken down like that. Of course, it also helps that Palmen made a career as a businessman and likely had enough disposable income to spend on all sorts of four-wheeled fascinations. Here’s the full story of the collection from classiccar-auctions.com:

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Mr. Palmen started collecting cars approximately 40 years ago with a yellow Lancia B20 being the first car. Over the years his collection grew substantially. The variety is more than eclectic. He had a refined taste and extensive knowledge of rare and special cars as he was professionally dealing in similar cars from the mid 60’s before he started collecting.

The collection was stored in a church and two dry but dusty warehouses. Mr. Palmen was starting the cars on a regular basis to keep the engines from being seized. Most of the collection is in an unrestored and original condition. He kept the cars how they were when entering his warehouses and he almost did not sell anything after it was added to his collection. He rarely showed the collection to anyone, so very few people knew of its existence. The maintenance was mostly done by himself. You can definitely call it one of the best kept secret car collections of Europe.

Mr. Palmen loved Italian cars like Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati and Ferrari. Plus, French Facel Vega’s and German BMW’s, Mercedes, and NSU’s. The British are well represented with Jaguars, Aston Martins, and Rolls-Royces, while American classics include Chevrolets, Cadillacs, and Fords. The collection also features Tatra, Monica, Moretti, Matra, Alvis, Imperia, and Villard.

In total there are more than 230 cars brought together in the main warehouse.

Due to the age of Mr. Palmen and various circumstances the collection will now be sold.
We hope the new owners will cherish them as much as he did.

It is unlikely that anyone will ever see a collection of this caliber and condition again in their lifetime.

Dutch Barn Find Car Collection 5

It probably helped that the entire collection was allegedly a secret for a long time. Housed in a disused church and a two other buildings in Dordrecht, this collection embodies one man’s fascination with everything four-wheeled. Unfortunately, Palmen reportedly isn’t able to keep his astonishing fleet of vehicles anymore. So, a dealer called Gallery Aaldering run by father-and-son duo Nico and Nick Aaldering managed to buy up the lot for resale.

Dutch Barn Find Car Collection 6

There’s a Lancia B4 Spider America and a Ferrari 365 somewhere in there, but the vast majority of the collection appears to be more attainable yet still lovely stuff. A quick perusal of several photographs turns up a second-generation Mazda RX-7 convertible, a Jaguar XJS, a Triumph TR3, an MG Midget, a Chevy Corvair, and a Mercedes-Benz C107 SLC. All great cars for enthusiasts on a reasonable budget today.

Dutch Barn Find Car Collection 1

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To say the Barnfind Collection is eclectic would be an understatement. How about a Messerschmitt bubble car, or a Studebaker Avanti? Perhaps a Matra Djet, a strange French sports car from the same people that brought us the Dassault missile, would catch your fancy? If you like your unusual cars forged from Detroit iron, there are two Corvairs in the collection, and there’s a Citroen SM if you want a spaceship for the road. There’s even an NSU Ro80, a gloriously weird rotary-engined sedan.

Dutch Barn Find Car Collection 2

Of course, if it’s the deeply-pedigreed stuff you’re after, you don’t have to look far. In addition to the rare Lancia B4 Spider America and Ferrari 365, I spot several Facel Vegas, a Maserati Bora, a Mercedes-Benz W111 Coupe, and a Jaguar E-Type among many other rarities.

Dutch Barn Find Car Collection 3

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While some might say it’s a shame that these vehicles have been left to rot, I’m not actually sure how much rot has taken place. Sure, they’re all dustier than the top of your fridge, but the majority of them look quite tidy aside from some tire and textile degradation that just happens over time. Nothing’s rotting up top or bowing like a banana, they all just look like good candidates to clean up and drive. In some strange way, this hoarding of classic cars may have saved several from early deaths.

Dutch Barn Find Car Collection 7

If you fancy having a piece of this unusual collection, it’s all up for grabs at auction through online auction house Classic Car Auctions (see more images at that link) starting on May 19. Of course, there’s a chance you might need to be in The Netherlands to actually remove your vehicle from the property, but the U.S. dollar to Euro exchange rate is still pretty good so consider this a solid excuse for a trip overseas. In the meantime, just take a look at the variety of metal here. I’d love to know what you want to drag home.

(Photo credits: Gallery Aaldering/classiccar-auction.com)

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OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
10 months ago

What is rather interesting is that while not every car in it is some sort of rare exotic I don’t think I saw a single “boring” car in there. The guy had good taste. (Disclaimer: please don’t take this as car snobbery – if someone had a fully restored Plymouth Volare at a car show I’d be much more likely to hang out with that person than someone with a more traditional collectible.)

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
10 months ago

Jeeves, please enter bids for the 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner, the 1954 Mercury Monterey coupe, and either or both of the 1962 and 1963 Thunderbirds, and do not lose. Have the Thunderbird fully restored and deliver it to my father’s house, please. And bring the 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible directly to my beach house.

Ron888
Ron888
10 months ago

Autopian field trip!! Imagine letting us lot in there for a day.
I wonder if he needs help sorting and cleaning them?Or simply an appreciative audience to talk to about why he likes each one

LuzifersLicht
LuzifersLicht
10 months ago

“Due to circumstances” hmmm, 5 bucks says this is the result of some estranged kid/ distant relative having “Crazy Uncle Ad” declared mentally unfit and now selling off his collection.

Last edited 10 months ago by LuzifersLicht
MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
10 months ago
Reply to  LuzifersLicht

The “estranged kid/ distant relative” is doing the right thing. These cars are being neglected and allowing them the chance at freedom with someone who might actually drive them is a benefit for both car and new owner. Sure, the rare stuff will probably be shoved into an air-conditioned garage, but they will probably at least get an occasional wash and spin around the block. Maybe even shown at a car show every couple of years.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
10 months ago

There’s a 1958 Studebaker President in there, some real weirdo stuff for sure

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
10 months ago

Oh shit I am going to turn 82 in not extremely many decades, I wonder when the “don’t drive them, let them rot in a barn” craziness sets in? I bet it’s crawling in on you so slowly you dont even see it. Like everything else..

So I am going to the workshop tomorrow to try and get at least one of my cars, in risk of ending up as a barn find, maybe ready this year.

With my speed, I might have them all out and driving before I’m 82.

But DO buy a Mercedes W111 Coupe if you get the chance! Just such a nice quality car, and prices aren’t EXTREMELY crazy on those yet. Just normal crazy.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
10 months ago

LOL, there’s even a Winnebago LeSharo between the many cars. So the guy did have a bit of taste after all! 😎

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
10 months ago

Fortunately since most of those cars were apparently at least started on the reg in order to keep them from seizing up they should be in at least halfway decent condition unlike so unfortunately many of the cars in the Roger Baillon collection that was auctioned off a few years ago. Here’s a particularly eye-popping example with a coffee-spittake-worthy auction result: https://www.artcurial.com/en/lot-talbot-lago-t26-grand-sport-swb-par-saoutchik-1949-2651-46

Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
10 months ago

Fortunately I was not drinking anything when I saw the price, but my eyes did widen considerably.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
10 months ago

They guy’s in his 80s, people that age often seriously lose track of time “oh, I just started that one recently, got it up to temp and blew the cobwebs out of the exhaust” = he actually did it in 1998, and just thinks of that as recent

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
10 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

I’m 51. Can confirm. 1998 was, like, a half hour ago.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
10 months ago

When the coach builder only made 4 and there’s near-zero chance of getting one of the others, such things happen.

A million for the restoration cost was probably already factored into buying it. Still a better long term investment than crypto.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago

48 – Volvo 1800ES 1973
128 – Datsun 280ZX Turbo 1982
Now that is good taste.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago

Matra Djet!

Renault Alpine!

Tatra!

This man shared some of my tastes.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
10 months ago

Seen this story all over. But they all play like a not quite ready to be released new car. A headlite, a door, a hood ornament, a flat tire. Frankly how anyone can tell what is in it and the condition is beyond me.

RustFreeDreams
RustFreeDreams
10 months ago

Can we focus on “The collection also features Tatra, Monica, Moretti, Matra, Alvis, Imperia, and Villard.

I’d kindly like Jason to write (dictate? I saw that finger) some features on Monica, Imperia, and Villard.

47 – Villard Type 27 (3 freakin wheels!!)
Lot 132 – Monica 560 1972 (which looks lovely – https://bringatrailer.com/2015/10/27/one-of-eight-1975-monica-560/)
Lot 264 – Imperia TA-8 Sport Hotchkiss 1949

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
10 months ago
Reply to  RustFreeDreams

That 1st line sounds like some eastern european version of friends.

Ron888
Ron888
10 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Now i want to hear the theme song,in russian

RustFreeDreams
RustFreeDreams
10 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Ha! Wonder if it aged better?

Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
10 months ago
Reply to  RustFreeDreams

I’d never heard of the Monica before and I’m already in love.

RustFreeDreams
RustFreeDreams
10 months ago
Reply to  Tim Cougar

We all need some Monica in our life.

What me?
What me?
10 months ago

The most affordable object is probably #280 Master MTD grasmaaier which is a *drum roll* a lawnmower!
But if you buy it you can brag that you own a piece of the Palmen Barn Find Collection. (something of this grandeur calls for capital letters, right?)

What me?
What me?
10 months ago

If anybody overseas buys these, I’m more than happy to take delivery of it for you. But no promises on that I will actually pass the car over to you.

Data
Data
10 months ago

This is Mercedes in 40 years.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
10 months ago
Reply to  Data

4* years

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
10 months ago

Every so often, I WISH I WAS FILTHY RICH!

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
10 months ago

I’ll take the Renault Alpine; that thing is one of the prettiest cars ever made. Photographer went a bit much with the HDR tho.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
10 months ago

Stored in a church? Man, that’s my kind of church.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

He was a very devout man.
He went to church every day of the week.

Last edited 10 months ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
10 months ago

Can I get an “Aaaaaamen” up in here?

Myk El
Myk El
10 months ago

Amen!

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Church of Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration

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