Example: [Collected via e-mail, January 2007]
A NY 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 15yrs.; 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 NY 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 thru the welds.
What was in the barn...............?
Origins: One of the many "fortunate discovery" scenarios people sometimes fantasize about involves taking possession of a dwelling and turning up something of great value
The referenced pictures (the full set is viewable here) were indeed taken in a barn somewhere in Portugal, but the "lucky find" aspect of the story doesn't quite ring true. As Tom Cotter of Sports Car Market magazine noted when he looked into this story:
Manuel Menezes Morais shot the photos, but he was sworn to secrecy about the cars' location and the owner's name. However, he was able to obtain permission from the elusive owner to give me the following information:
The owner of the cars was a car dealer in the 1970s and 1980s, and decided to save the more interesting cars that came through his doors. When the barn was full, he padlocked and "soldered" the doors shut. (Perhaps welding was too permanent.)
Web sites varied on the number of cars: 58, 100, and 180 were speculated. According to Morais, there are
And, aw shucks, none of the cars is for sale.
Last updated: 30 July 2014
Cotter, Tom. "Portuguese Barn Find: Fact or Fiction?" Sports Car Market. May 2007.