However, the term ‘barn find’ does indeed scream ‘buy me’ for many collectors of classic cars, as it proved at the Charterhouse auction in Sherborne, Dorset, on July 17 when a 1933 AC Ace close coupled fixed head coupe overshot an estimate of £12,000-15,000.
Believed to be the only surviving AC close coupled car made from a run of 13 vehicles, there was plenty of pre-sale interest in this car which had been stored in a Watford barn. With its Art Deco inspired sunburst interior, six-cylinder engine and long low sleek bodywork, it certainly had presence.
After spirited bidding, the hammer finally fell to a West Country car collector for £21,280 (including buyer’s premium).
Nigel Boothman, who edits the Barn Finds pages for Classic Cars magazine, told ATG: “The more expensive marques of the pre-war years offered many body styles but sold relatively few cars, so low-production rarities continue to come to light.
“If this is indeed the sole surviving AC 16/66 fixed-head coupe, it makes valuation a finger-in-the-air exercise, both in ‘barn-find’ form and for the finished article. What’s certain is that a total restoration is required, and the cost of that could dwarf the purchase price.
“But with a neat coupe body and one of the all-time classic British sporting engines to pull it along, it’s a desirable car.”
Another buyer who splashed out on a more modern car at the auction – albeit one stored in a garage since 1998 – described it as an “impulse purchase”. Charterhouse say that when the damage-repaired 2014 Jaguar F Type coupe was delivered, the buyer’s wife did apparently share the same enthusiasm for the car. At a £44,000 hammer price (£49,280 with premium), this is probably a good thing.
Antiquestradegazette.com covered another classic 1930s ’barn find’ recently. A bidder at Richard Edmonds Auctions in Chippenham bid £16,500 last month for a 1930 Austin 7 Boat Tail Tourer.