Incredible hidden collection of rare classics set to go under the hammer later this year

Words: Simon Jackson

A collection of more than 230 ‘barn find’ classic cars described as “one of the best kept secret car collections in Europe” will form part of a unique auction next month. The Palmen Barn Find Collection was unearthed in the Netherlands and includes diverse classics such as a Lancia Aurelia Spider, a Mercedes-Benz 300S Roadster, an Alfa Romeo 2600 SZ and various Facel Vegas.

Originally belonging to one private owner, Mr Palmen, the gigantic collection was amassed over a 40-year period and began with a yellow Lancia B20. The cars are mostly unrestored, original examples, and have been kept in two different buildings and a church in Dordrecht, near Rotterdam. Mr Palmen, who worked as a car dealer in the’60s, has reportedly started them all on a regular basis to avoid their engines seizing, but he has rarely shown the collection to anyone, meaning its existence was almost completely secret. Even many locals were unaware of its presence.  

The list of lots reveals Mr Palmen’s strong passion for Italian cars, but alongside the Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati and Ferrari offerings come German cars from BMW, Mercedes, and NSU. British brands are also well represented by Jaguar, Alvis, Aston Martin, and Rolls-Royce, alongside American models from Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Ford. More obscure brands include Tatra, Monica, Moretti, Matra, Imperia and Villard.  

All of the cars are reportedly in good condition, but due to personal circumstances and his advancing years,  Mr Palmen has passed his collection onto Gallery Aaldering, which in cooperation with Dutch firm Classic Car Auctions, will offer the cars for sale online between May 19 and June 7.

The full mind-blowing catalogue can be viewed here.