By Andrew Woodger
The Bentley Continental has 21,000 miles on the clock
A collection of seven modern classic cars has been found in a barn near Bury St Edmunds.
The widow of a businessman asked local auctioneers to come and value her property and the vehicles, which were covered in dust.
The Maseratis, Bentleys, DeTomasos and a Jensen are expected to fetch £160,000 when they go under the hammer.
"When I opened the door to the barn I just burst out laughing," said Edward Crichton, Lacy, Scott & Knight valuer.
The collection of cars had been stored away by the late owner, who owned an engineering firm, but his identity isn't being revealed by the auction house.
The Maserati Khamsin is listed at £10-15,000 by Lacy, Scott & Knight
His widow called in Lacy, Scott & Knight of Bury St Edmunds to look a the house.
"I was asked to value the contents of the estate," said Edward Crichton.
"We were sent to look at the cars in the barn, and you could say we were somewhat surprised!
"We do find bits and pieces - normally paintings or old bits of silver. But this is exactly how car collectors like to find things - just covered in a bit of dust."
This is exactly what they found:
- Bentley Continental R Mulliner, c.1999, valued at £25-35,000
- Bentley Mulsanne Turbo, 1996, £20-25,000
- Maserati Khamsin, c.1982, £10-15,000
- Maserati Quattroporte III, 1989, £7-9,000
- DeTomaso Longchamp GTSE, 1988, £8-12,000
- DeTomaso Deauville, 1983, £7-10,000
- Jensen Interceptor, 1976, £2,500-4,000
- Nissan Patrol GR, 2001, £3-4,000
(Find out what the cars went for in the postscript at the bottom of this feature.)
The Jensen Interceptor is expected to fetch up to £4,000
Love at first sight
"The first thing I saw was the rear of the Jensen," said Edward. "Which is an iconic view because it has that wonderful tailgate.
"And then I saw a DeTomaso with only 700 miles on the clock and cellophane covers on the seats and I thought we've probably got something here!
"The remarkable thing about all the cars is their condition. The barns they were in were built to house the cars and they were very much weather-proof, modern barns."
While not expected to fetch the most at auction, Edward said the Maserati Khansin could provoke the most interest:
"It's just a beautiful car, it's iconic with typically sharp lines from the 1980s. If you were to drive any of these cars down the high street, this one would really capture the eyes of the onlooking public.
"This one is about 25 years old but has only done 12,000 miles. This and the Jensen are the ones that have attracted the most phone calls."
One of those interested in the collection is Terry Duck who's driven up from Bromley, Kent.
He describes himself as a small collector with around four cars he chops and changes and he's got his eye on the Bentley Continental.
The Mulliner is estimated to have cost around £200,000 when bought new at the turn of the century and 10 years later it's got 20,000 miles on the clock.
"It's a fantastic vehicle," said Terry. "The colour's a bit garish but it's beautiful - a fantastic car to drive."
Asked whether his head or his heart would rule when it came to bidding, he said: "Hopefully my head, but you never know when the heart starts ticking!"
The interior of the Maserati Quattroporte which sold for £14,500
Auction results update
The cars went under the hammer (not literally) on Saturday, 13 March, 2010.
The sale exceeded expectations with the eight cars from the barn going for £195,000.
The most expensive was the Bentley Continental which went for £45,000 - £10,000 more that its peak guide price.
The other sale prices were the Maserati Quattroporte (£14,500), Maserati Khamsin (£25,000), DeTomaso Longchamp (£34,500), Detomaso Deauville (£16,000), Jensen Interceptor (£15,500), Bentley Mulsanne Turbo (£39,000) and Nissan Patrol (£5,800).