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Bidding fierce for UK 'barn finds'

Maseratis, Bentleys, DeTomasos, and a Jenson
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The Maseratis, Bentleys, DeTomasos and a Jenson were discovered last year when the widow of a businessman asked an auction company to come value her property. The vehicles were located in two barns.

One of two Bentleys that sold at the auction

The auction firm of Lacy Scott & Knight reported on their Web site earlier this week that the car auction was the main attraction of the Saturday's fine art sale, and described the scene:

"Those that couldn’t attend in person fought for limited telephone lines or followed the sale online. The atmosphere in the saleroom reached fever pitch as we approached the car section and hundreds of people tried to cram into our saleroom. Every member of staff was primed and in position, ready to dial bidders from all over Europe on each of the cars. As expected though, all except one of the cars sold in the room, and all sold well above estimate ..."

"Most desirable of the collection were the two Bentleys, with the Continental selling for £45,500 ($69,839 USD) and the Mulsanne Turbo making £39,000 ($59,862 USD).

"The other vehicles sold as follows: Maserati Quattroporte - £14,500 ($22,256 USD); Maserati Khamsin - £25,000 ($38,373 USD); DeTomaso Longchamp - £34,500 ($52,955 USD); DeTomaso Deauville - £16,000 ($24,559 USD); and Jensen Interceptor - £15,500 ($23,791 USD).

Total for the seven collectible cars reached £190,000 ($291,635 USD) on a pre-sale estimate of £160,000 ($245,587 USD).

Additional cars sold at the auction, bringing the total to £222,000 ($340,753 USD).

Prior to the sale, The Daily Telegraph reported that the owner of the cars had gotten bored with his collection and progressively purchased better cars. They were stashed away for some 20 years, and rarely driven. The millionaire, the owner of an engineering firm, died and his widow rather casually suggested to the auction appraiser that he look at some 'old cars in the barn'. The appraiser said what he found left him "absolutely staggered".

An expert restorer told The Daily Telegraph that despite being a desirable collection, all the cars would need some restoration due to inactivity. "Because the owner just parked them and walked away, there will almost certainly be things like seized brakes and leaking seals. The gearbox and engine may also have seized and it can cost up to £30,000 ($46,000 USD) to re-build one of those engines. The factory stopped production several years ago so many of the spare parts that would be needed would have to be made from scratch."

The discovery and subsequent sale of the collection may have started Lacy Scott & Knight on a new path. "Thanks to the success of this outing into the world of Classic Cars, several potential vendors have approached us about selling their vehicles in future sales," said their Web site.


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