Barn Find in Norfolk, England, Reveals More Than 30 Vintage Cars

BY Scott C. Benjamin / POSTED March 16, 2009
Hammerbrook - City can this really be true?
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The idea of a barn find excites me. Can you imagine the rush of excitement that comes with opening the door of a dilapidated old barn, shed or warehouse and discovering a vintage car or truck — or even better, a collection of vintage cars and trucks — that someone squirreled away decades ago? Of course, it doesn’t happen very often, and when a barn find reveals something rare, valuable or rich in automotive history, news of the find spreads fast.

With that said, did you happen to read about the latest reported barn find in England? More than 30 vintage cars discovered all at once. Actually, in this case, it may be more accurate to call this a barnyard find, as the cars were found outside — hidden by more than 50 years of undergrowth and even trees that had grown since the cars were parked there decades ago. According to a Telegraph article, the recently discovered collection includes a 1930s Morris Minor convertible that’s said to be rare along with several other marques, including “Austins, Rileys and Singers. A vintage Daimler, a Lea Francis, and a Sunbeam were also recovered.”

Car recovery required a team of eight men working for two weeks to clear the brush and the use of a forklift to dig the cars out of the tangled mess.

How did the vehicles get there in the first place? Well, the owner of this unusual (and not very well cared for) collection was Jimmy Blanche of Long Stratton, Norfolk, a former mechanic and body repairman who passed away last January at the age of 80. He had slowly collected the cars throughout his lifetime. The Telegraph article says that, “According to locals, Mr. Blanche moved to the village 40 years ago with his elderly parents to open the business in the local forge. But after his parents died 25 years ago he is said to have become a recluse, venturing out only to shop and go to church every Sunday.”

Of course the cars are in pretty bad shape after being exposed to the elements for so long (not to mention being hauled out of the underbrush by a forklift), but anyone who’s looking for a restoration project will get their chance to bid on the vintage cars when they go on the auction block on April 4.

I’m always a bit skeptical when I hear about barn finds; however, I really do hope this find is for real, like the recently sold Bugatti Type 57S Atalante, and not a hoax, like the Portuguese barn find of 2007.

More related stuff:

HowStuffWorks Videos – “Prototype This: Forklift Ballet”
Classic Cars
Why are barns usually painted red?
History of England

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