by: Editor , 20-03-2018

With a large majority of working barns now converted into desirable and stylish accomodation in the UK....just where are all these 'barnfind' classic cars that are appearing at classic car auctions coming from? It used to be that owners needing cheap storage space for their slowly rusting and probably MOT failed Aston DB5 or Jaguar E-type would turn to their local farmer who would store it for them for a few quid. Alot of this machinery was worth very little back then, think rusty XJS today. If the farmer was a car collector himself, cheap summer runners would be parked up in a barn and left for a rainy day. Well you would, wouldn't you if you had the space. The term 'barnfind' however seems to cover all manner of storage spaces these days and for anyone who spends their time hunting for classic cars for restoration, you'll know that the majority of barnfinds are actually poly-tunnel finds. Poly-tunnels make the perfect storage solution, if a little humid. As I write I can think of at least eight separate poly-tunnel locations in our corner of Sussex with everything from series 1 Landy's to wooden speedboats in them....all squirrelled away for that elusive retirement. What is most intriguing however is just how much that rational buyers are willing to spend to purchase the hallowed 'barn find' and for added prestige and buyer fervor, vendors need only tag the word 'genuine' infront. We spend a large portion of our days visiting the classic car auction catalogues and classic cars fixed listings and as such are possibly exposed more than most to the current trend for vehicles that quite clearly need more spending on them than is economically viable. Yet artfully photographed and gilded with a subtle sprinkling of purple prose they become just that bit more desirable, enough to sway even the seasoned purchaser. A case in point being the 'garage find' Alfa 1300GT junior from a deceased estate that was auctioned this week by Clevedon Salerooms. Ok, so one owner from new with the original sales invoice, but the information pack showed a car that was last used 23 years ago and certainly required a full ground up restoration. Yes, only 51k miles with all the trim there but for those who know these cars a full engine and body rebuild on a 105 Alfa is an expensive proposition that for the skilled DIYer would cost 20k and wouldn't leave change from 45k with a specialist restorer. Now Clevedon Salerooms are canny and marketed this desirable stepnose GT junior with a guide estimate of just £2,500 to £3,500 ensuring that with extensive social media marketing, every classic 'RHD market' Alfa Romeo owner who has ever lusted after a stepnose would be placing a bid. And the outcome? With the hefty 25% buyer's fee the new owner paid almost £18,000. With the proposition of a time consuming and costly restoration ahead of them, was it a good buy at £18k? A quick recap of mint RHD late 1300 GTjunior stepnoses (the entry level stepnose model as this one was) showed that £40k is absolutely upper limits and that at time of writing we knew of several beautifully restored earlier RHD Giulia Sprint stepnoses available for less. The old adage still holds true - buy the best available and let someone else shoulder the bill. Eclectic rationale.


Category: News

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