Hidden Treasure of Classic Cars Found in an Abandoned Warehouse that will Make Car Enthusiasts Green with Jealousy

By: Kate Row | Published: Nov 12, 2023

Who doesn’t like finding treasures? And it’s even more fun finding them in unsuspecting places! People flock to estate sales looking for a piece of yesteryear or rummage through their grandparents’ garages and attics, dreaming about finding a key to their past or their ticket to a financially secure future.

Television shows such as Antiques Roadshow have been popular for years. A person finds a dusty treasure in their attic or basement, cleans it up, and ends up with a piece worth nothing or thousands of dollars. 

A Treasure Hunter’s Dream

Not long ago, in a remote countryside in Portugal, a photographer stumbled upon a treasure-hunter’s dream. The photographer had no business being in that field and shouldn’t even have peeked into the window, but his curiosity got the best of him. 


Source: Imgur

But once he saw what was in the window, he couldn’t turn back. He had to have a closer look. He had to make sure his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him.


What was Behind the Doors?

You see, the warehouse was full of classic cars, and they’d been there for a long time. In fact, the doors were sealed and had been for decades. The reason why has not been revealed to the public. 


Source: Imgur

Speculation has run rampant ever since the details of the warehouse were revealed, but some things just remain a mystery.

The Doors Open

The photographer’s heart beating with anticipation, he tracked down the owner of the property. The farmer agreed to open the doors under one condition. 


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The photographer could not reveal the location of the vehicles. However, he could take photographs as long as he didn’t disturb the condition of anything in the warehouse. 

So Many Questions

This photographer was also a fan of classic cars so he couldn’t contain his excitement as he peeked into the warehouse at saw dozens of cars covered in dust. He was intrigued – questions ran through his head. 


Source: sliptalk/Pinterest

Who was the collector of these cars? How did the cars get parked here? Why did the owner of them want to remain anonymous? Those questions still remain, years after the discovery.

Clues About the Owner

Turns out, a few details have been revealed. This warehouse was owned by a dealer who started bringing home unique cars over the years. His identity has never been discovered even though many would love to talk to him.

Source: autohistorian/Reddit

The fact that the collector was a car dealer might explain the diversity of cars in the lot and how some of them are one of a kind.


A Car Collector’s Privacy

But not everyone wants publicity. Many value their privacy and do not want to answer questions. Not everyone collects cars or other pieces of memorabilia for the value they might have in the future. 

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Many car collectors enjoy the acquisition and the feeling of owning something rare. Some take them home as fixer-uppers. Some just end up with a few cars, then a few more…


The Condition of the Cars

The cars are in pretty good shape for sitting there for 30 years. Some of them are rusted and there is a thick layer of dust covering the entire lot. Most have flat tires, which is to be expected. Housed in a warehouse away from the elements keeps them protected from some environmental phenomena, but not all.

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Cars do deteriorate over time. In order to get them running again, they’d need new gasoline, seals, and wires.


A World of Possibilities

Depending on how well they were protected in that warehouse, mice love to chew on old car wires and make nests in seating. What a shame that would be. 

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There are only a few photographs of the inside of some of the cars, but they look to be in pretty good shape. Still, I’d imagine that each one would be a project in itself. One that car lovers would clamor to take on.


Vintage Treasures

Turns out these cars were owned by a vintage car dealership which closed in the late 70’s or early 80’s. Then the cars were parked and left to sit. That is sad and intriguing all at the same time. 

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If this photographer hadn’t been so curious, when would these treasures have been revealed? If the owner is not the farmer who owns the land, he is trustworthy caretaker.


The Collection

The collection includes 180 cars from the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, and the cars are from American, Europe, and Japan. There are also pre-war classics. 

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Since no one is allowed into the barn for an extensive period of time to inventory the makes and models, it’s hard to determine what gems are hidden. However, the photographs have been studied extensively with curious investigators identifying quite a few.


Rare Models

From the photographs, we can surmise some of the cars including a Formula 1 racing car and several roadsters. 

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Some of the models that have been identified include two Alfa Romeo Giulietta Springs from 1959 and 1960, a 1960’s Lancia Appia Coupe, a 1958 Opel Kapitan, a 1974 Citroen, 1971 Ford Cortina, Mercedes Benz, Austin A35, 1939 BMW, and a 1931 Ford.  There are also Porsches and VWs.


A Piece of History

The years that the owner was collecting cars were interesting times in Portugal. There was an economic upturn in the 60’s, but by the mid-70s, the country was upended in a military coup. 

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The now peaceful country might have been difficult during these times. This only adds intrigue as to why the warehouse was sealed. 


What are they Worth?

If the owner of these cars wanted to sell any of them, they would fetch quite a bit of money. First for their rarity and second for their condition. 

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For example, a good condition 1939 BMW 328 Roadster has sold for up to $825,000 in the past five years. The 1974 Citroen fetches just under $30,000. A 1931 Ford Model A sells somewhere between $25,000 and $50,000. The value of the cars would easily reach several million dollars. 


Unique Cars

Other cars belong in museums. Some of the car manufacturers have faded into the past. Some of the cars in these photos might be the only ones left of certain models left on the planet. 

Source: gamer.ru

The Formula 1 racing car would be coveted by racing enthusiasts as well as those fascinated with its historical significance. Any fan of car racing would love to get a glimpse of this one up close.


These Photos Continue to Intrigue

Ever since the pictures were published, there has been questions about their authenticity and a curiosity that has not faded. A video on YouTube which labeled some of the cars has over 5 million views, cementing the fascination with this find. 

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Like an archaeological dig, collectors have identified over half of the vehicles makes and models. Car forums still chat about these pictures – 15 years after the find.


The World of Car Collecting

Collecting cars isn’t just for the wealthy. There are countless gentlemen (and some ladies) that have kept or collected cars through the years. It starts with one or two cars and then you are renting warehouse space, building garages, and even acquiring land on which to store them all.

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Car collecting is limited by budget and space, but both of these can be worked around if you love this hobby.


Some Just Like to Tinker

Some of these collectors grow up tinkering with cars in their garage. They want to get the cars running and see how they feel on the road. Some fix them up to show off to car communities, but some just like the process. 

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Some car collectors focus on a specific model or manufacturer. The collector in this warehouse had diverse tastes judging by the variety of cars.


The Challenge of Fixing Up a Classic

Some car enthusiasts acquire several of the same model for viable parts to get one running. If a car was manufactured for just one or two years, it might be difficult to obtain authentic parts. 

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Just getting a car running is one thing but keeping it original is a whole new ballgame. This may take years of searching far and wide, or historical research and customization of parts by craftsman.


Everyone has a Story to Tell

Car collectors have stories about each car in their possession. You’ll hear them reminisce about their first car, the one they took their wife on a date with, a car that commemorates the birth of their first child, or the car that just caught their eye and they couldn’t forget it until it was theirs. 

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The search for the perfect car becomes a treasure hunt. But once they find that needle in a haystack, it’s amazing.


Where Does One Find Classic Cars?

Cars can come to people in all sorts of ways. Wandering through a junkyard, one might spot a shell of a car and a dream forms. Next, they are looking at engine rebuilds and fabric restorations. 

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Car collecting is a huge business with artists and craftsman specializing in bringing cars to their original glory. It’s also a passion passed on from one generation to another. A car collector might have fond memories of working on cars with their dad or grandpa.


Not Just for Collectors

And for all of the people who like to restore them, there are millions of others who live vicariously through them, drooling over the chance to get a glimpse of classic models. 

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For them, it’s not about fixing, it’s just about being in the same building or parking lot as the car. Hey, wasn’t that the model car James Bond drove? No wonder auto shows, and car museums are so popular.


It’s All in the Details

Others are fascinated with the engine styles, hydraulics, or trim. Some had a lot of ornamentation and flair. Can you imagine getting them into a modern downtown parking garage?

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Some cars were compact models while some were large sedans the size of today’s limousines. For their time, they were stylish and chic – cars you had to have to be cool. Just look at how different the steering wheels and dashboards are from today’s modern cars. 


The Fate of Many Old Cars

Today, when cars have outlived their natural life, they are sent to the dump or crusher. The cars we drive today come off the assembly line with cheaper materials. They are meant to be replaced. 

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Classic cars are made with heavier metals with robust engines. Today’s cars are built for capacity and gas mileage. They are almost all made with computers and if they need to be fixed, the mechanics need special diagnostic tools and training.


If Only Cars Could Talk

The warehouse is a tour of automotive history. Imagine the stories these cars could tell if they could talk. From before the great war to the cars of the baby boomers, there are decades of manufacturing history to understand. 

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For example, the 1958 Opel Kapitan is a German car that was inspired by the larger American cars of its time. It was built for only one year with only just over 34,000 coming off of the assembly line.


We May Never Know

What made the owner choose these models? Were they rare? Did they catch his eye? Were they cars that didn’t sell at the lot? Only the purchaser of a car knows that.

Source: gamer.ru

It’s clear that some were acquired in mint condition, and some were meant to be fixed up. As with a lot of hobbyists, one often acquires more than they can possible complete in their lifetime.


What’s Your Guess?

Thirty years ago, when the doors were closed and sealed, what was the owner’s plans? Can’t you just picture a Hollywood movie focused on these cars? 

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Just like your imagination, the story of these cars and the original pictures have resulted in a lot of speculation on the internet. Everyone wants to know the story behind this warehouse of cars.


The Search Continues

One can only speculate why the owner of these cars wants to remain anonymous. Are the cars treasured possessions that the collector hopes to revisit someday? 

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Did they belong to someone’s grandparents with no plans for the future. For a car enthusiast, it seems a shame to not share them with the world.


Best Kept Secrets

But everyone has their reasons, and this remains one of the best kept secrets in the car world. One thing is for certain, these cars are not for sale, and they are not moving anytime soon. 

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If you want to try to pinpoint the location yourself, it’s rumored to the in the area of Sintra, which is near Lisbon. But with all of the speculation about these cars, that might be a wild goose chase as well.


Stay Curious

So as you are driving down the road and see an old barn, you never know what is behind those walls. Some people are notoriously private and own treasures handed down to them or acquired throughout the years. 

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Stay curious, and you never know what mysteries will be revealed.