It’s a classic car enthusiast’s dream come true. An abandoned, eerie-looking property in the middle of nowhere and, almost hidden in the undergrowth, some amazing vintage vehicles – including a Lotus Eclat and a Lancia Aurelia Spider. When the counting is done by the experts, there are more than 200 classic cars on the property.
There’s even a helicopter in a nearby barn.
We love a good classic car story here at White’s Bodyworks and this one certainly got us talking. Over the years, we’ve handled the repairs and renovations of many vintage vehicles like the ones found in Holland.
What is amazing is how the cars have been preserved over time, despite many being found in the undergrowth surrounding the property. The owner didn’t seem to be worried about driving the vehicles but simply collecting and storing them.
The Palmen Barnfind Collection
Some 230 vehicles are due to go under the hammer at a car auction in the middle of May and all of them were discovered on abandoned farmland.
Ad Palmen is a businessman from the Dordrecht region of Holland and for 40 years he had a big passion for collecting classic cars and storing them at the site which included a couple of old barns and a forgotten church. Now 82, Palmen’s health began to fade recently and the collection was bought by a motor vehicle dealer because he was no longer able to look after the cars.
A lot of mystery surrounds the collection of more than 200 vehicles – it seems that Mr Palmen lived a very basic life and had a passion for cars of all types. We don’t know much more than that.
Indeed, the collection was only discovered when a fire broke out in the barn on the property and was put out by firefighters. Despite the remote location, many of the vehicles were in near pristine condition and had been well looked after over the 40 years that Palmen had been collecting them. Another interesting feature of the collection was the diversity of the vehicles – Palmen seemed to love cars and wasn’t particularly worried about the make or model.
The cars are now due to go under auction on 17th May and the entire collection is expected to go for a few million. One car alone, an iconic Lancia B4 Spider, is expected to fetch more than half a million.
While some are pristine and highly valued vintage cars, many were bought for just a few thousand at the time. Many more in the collection are in good condition but need some form of restoration.
Buyers will need to weigh up the amount of work that might be needed, for example, in getting the engine on a particular model to work or the fuel system operating again. That’s why it’s such a dream opportunity for those who love restoring classic cars. All in all, however, most of the cars have been remarkably well preserved considering they cover a lifetime of collecting that spans some 40 years.
Just to give you a taste of the range of different cars that Dalmen collected over the years, the haul has practically everything a classic car enthusiast could dream of, including an Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati, Ferrari, Facel Vega, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Ford. There are some more obscure vehicles too, including a Tatra, Monica, Moretti, Matra, Alvis, Imperia, and Villard.
Who Was Ad Palmen?
Not much is known about Ad Palmen. Neighbours knew that he collected cars and some had even asked to see the collection but were refused access. It is known that Palmen was an entrepreneur – not a hugely successful one but not a failure either.
He did work as a car dealer in the mid-60s in Holland and seemingly started the collection with a Lancia B20 at the time. That no doubt began his love affair with cars, some of which he bought for trade prices at the time and which later became classics. The most curious thing is that the cars were stored away from prying eyes at three main locations on the site – two barns and an old church.
In his 80s, Palmen became more and more frail and began to suffer from dementia and his estate was finally put in the hands of executors who discovered the haul of classic cars. The company that bought the collection also had to buy the land on which the vehicles were found which made potential buyers thin on the ground. Local car dealers Nico and Nick Aaderling eventually bought it for an undisclosed sum.
Some of the Classics Discovered at the Palmen Farm:
- Mercedes-Benz 300S Roadster: A 1953 Model of this amazing classic recently sold for more than £400,000 and is considered a brand icon.
- Alfa Romeo 2600 SZ: Produced from the early 60s onwards, this vintage limited edition is extremely rare and is expected to fetch a high price at the auction in May.
- Lancia B4 Spider: As American cars go, you can’t find something more amazing than the Spider. A 1955 model in pristine condition sold for more than $800,000 at Sotheby’s in 2022.
White’s Bodyworks and Classic Cars
You can bet your bottom dollar that many of the team at White’s Bodyworks would love to be at the auction bidding on those amazing cars from the Palmen Barnfind Collection. The auction starts on the 17th of May and is expected to last until the beginning of June. If the Lancia B4 Spider is beyond your price range, the good news is some classic cars are going for much less which could make a great investment if you’ve got a bit of money to spare.
At White’s Bodyworks, we’ve worked on many different classic cars over the years, including this amazing 1964 Mercedes 300SE Fintail. Our team is both experienced and passionate about vintage vehicles which is why we’re often the first port of call for classic car enthusiasts around the UK.
If you need to restore a classic or want repairs or servicing, contact White’s Bodyworks to find out how we can help and the range of services we offer.