A variety of barn finds, yard finds and ran-when-parked finds could be inspected and bid on at the Terry Bennett Collection auction held last weekend in Dover, New Hampshire. Although hard to believe, the large collection of vehicles was amassed by one man over the past twenty years. Walking the auction field revealed curiosity after curiosity, ranging from an assortment of Mini Coopers to a Nissan Skyline rolling chassis. Vintage signs, bicycles and shop manuals were all up for grabs and there were some bargains to be had.
The field was split into several plots: a barn contained a variety of motorcycles, Alfa Romeos, vintage racers, a 1930 Cadillac Victoria Coupe ($25,300), a Maserati with its roof lopped off ($3,910) and a Ferrari 308 that was well into the “project” stage ($8,050). Race cars included a Halibrand Shrike American Red Ball Indy car ($28,750) and a Swartley Osca Special – a one-off built by a California machinist in the 1950s ($11,500). The star of the race car crowd was a one-off BMW powered racer which ran at the Nürburgring back in the fifties. It went for $177, 100! The Alfas ranged from stripped-out track cars to a Giulietta shod in primer and awaiting restoration ($40,250).
A 1970 Lotus Elan ($8,850) was also parked nearby, looking perky in its shade of orange paint but needing some interior work. A 1929 Franklin ($16,963) was among the more well-preserved vehicles in the collection, and was parked near an equally handsome 1927 Dodge Depot Hack (11,500).
Moving outside, the field contained multiple Mini Coopers, including a limited edition ‘British Open Classic’ version with sliding Webasto roof, Minilite-style wheels and British Racing Green paintwork ($6,038). Two of the better examples of several Mazda 323 GTX Turbos were on hand, as was a ’74 Jensen Healey ($3,335), a handsome ’74 Peugeot 404 convertible ($14,375), a ’79 Mercedes-Benz G240 SUV ($15,813), and a tricked-out and turbocharged ’64 Austin Mini ($6,440).
A curiosity called a Foers Nomad ($6,670) caught many spectators by surprise, looking like a gussied-up version of a Mini Moke. A 1974 Lamborghini Urraco ($6,900) which was white just a few days before the auction. It was hastily – and poorly – repainted yellow, adding to the already immense work ahead of whomever took on this project.
However, a very straight 1977 Sunbeam Hillman Imp parked nearby only needed minimal brake work to get back to daily motoring. It went for just $2,500!
Other sightings included a wide collection of late 70s and early 80s Mercedes wagons and sedans, many of which were diesels. Two first-generation VW GTIs looked like ready-to-roll projects, and pallets containing the remains of a Porsche 356 made one wonder if the estate once housed a derelict coupe that succumbed to the brutal New Hampshire winters.
The horde of Mazda 323 GTXs was quite a sight, especially considering how few are on the road today. These all-wheel-drive, turbocharged hatchbacks are highly desirable, but chatter among spectators indicated most were in need of engine work and likely acquired as projects. Most went for a couple hundred to a few thousand bucks.
A final corner contained a few additional Mercedes-Benzes, including two of the Cosworth-equipped 2.3 16 valve 190E sedans, which went head-to-head with the BMW M3 of the late 80s. Not far away were three Audi Sport Quattros that looked salvageable but had definitely been exposed to the elements, and a first-generation Mazda Miata equipped with a rare BBR turbo kit ($6,440) looked like a fun weekend autocrosser.
Last but not least, an early 91 Lotus Elan ($1,652)was a sad site with ravaged paintwork and a trashed interior, parked near a 1960s Citroen AK2M, a plastic-bodied buggy that was purportedly marketed to rental car agencies in beach communities like Florida and Hawaii. Unfortunately, it was literally snapped in half either from being moved or outdoor storage, or likely a combination of both.
Overall, most buyers were taking home project in need of work, but the sheer variety of the field certainly offered something for everyone. Collections like these beg the question of the role of hoarders in the community, as they do capture vehicles that would otherwise be left in the hands of dollar-driven scrapyard owners. But hopefully, future collections like these will be sold off sooner rather than later to keep projects from turning into basketcases.
A special thank you goes out to Jeff for taking all the photos and documenting his experience at the auction. We wish we could have been there, but it is probably we weren’t because our wallets would have been a few bills lighter. We know some of you would rather not know about an auction that already happened, but there was some interesting stuff up for grabs and we didn’t want to be the only ones kicking ourselves for what we missed. Check out the full gallery below: