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What You Missed: Terry Bennett Auction

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:


  1. Barn Finds

    I was very tempted to place an online bid on that Imp. Any that you guys would have tried to pick up?

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  2. Horse Radish

    For once, I appreciate the report AFTERWARDS.
    THIS ONE (auction) I knew about ahead of time, AND I don’t regret not being there.
    Although Dr. Bennett’s cause is noble, I would not go as far as some people dug into THEIR pockets.
    Looks like a few of the Mercedes diesels would have been worth the trip, but I have quite a selection of them even out here in California.

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    • Barn Finds

      Glad you liked this one Horse Radish. It does make for some interesting conversation.

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  3. Horse Radish

    oooh, what ended up happening to the Citroen Mehari ?

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  4. TVC15

    Does anyone remember the good Doctors sale in the mid nineties and the firey aftermath ??

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  5. Charles Gould

    I was there, and it was interesting to say the least. The collection was wide and varied, with a few real gems hidden amonst the rest of the pack, which was comprised mostly of mundane and curious examples, which led one to wonder what was the theme or driving force behind the collection. Lot of bargains on cars that you would not really lust after, like mid 80’s Mercedes wagons, but good deals for those that like them. Stuff that was desirable seemed to fetch fair values, as evidenced by the large assortment of Minis, which were sold at very reasonable prices, but they were all “pigs in pokes” which would require some feddling and expense to make them run properly, so a fair price for a fair gamble.
    I do remember the last ordeal when the doctor sold the majority of his collection for the benefit of Harvard Medical School, and that there was a huge fiasco associated with that sale. However, I do not know the details of the fiasco, except that the Doctor was unhappy with how Harvard spent the rather huge bequest which was made.
    The Citroen Mahari sold for $200.00, well worth it for the parts, but not restorable in my opinion. The Imp was probably the deal of the day. several boats, motors and trailers sold as a package for between $10.00 and $25.00!
    That Alfa in primer was a spectacular car, and probably well worth the 40K hammer price, though there was still lots of work to do on that car.

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  6. Dolphin Member

    This was a sale that truly fit the description “From the sublime to the ridiculous”.
    Sublime: ’50s BMW racer; Alfa Sprint Speciale; a few others (relative to the prices). Ridiculous: most of the rest.

    Well, I am sure there were some bargains in there if you wanted to pick up a cheap project, or a parts car, or a M-B diesel commuter. But once again here was a large and varied collection that inevitably brought to mind only one word: “Why?”.

    The only answer I can come up with is: “Because it’s a free country”, and maybe also “In the US doctors make a lot of money”.

    That said, I would definitely have wanted to be there, if only to look or pick up a parts car or a boat for about $10 to $25.

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  7. n.kroon

    just checked the website, what a bargains in the lists.

    I saw some boat for really really really low prices and some cars for bargains! looked like a great bargain auction!

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  8. Dolphin Member

    OK, I just looked thru all 50+ pages of auction lots—serious comment here—and I really wish I had been there. Certainly there were some great bargains in vehicles, car parts, boats, and especially antiques and useable junk (which made up most of the lots by far).

    Apart from the interesting classic and sports cars that stood out as buys or true bargains, were the little things like Nardi steering wheels, Campognolo mag wheels for Alfas that are actually made of magnesium, and car literature lots, especially for Porsche. And if you didn’t already know how much vintage Alfas are increasing in value month by month, all you had to do is scan the Alfa parts lots and see how many thousands of $$ the piles of unidentified, corroding Alfa parts sold for.

    But the question “Why?” still stands. You could not justify this collection of treasures and junk on financial grounds, because for the number of lots that sold from $12 to $29 you could not make any money, or even get your money back, when you took all of the expenses of acquiring/storing/selling the stuff into account. And so much of the rest sold for such bargain prices that there was little to be made there either. No, the answer has to be elsewhere……but that would be guesswork and amateur psychology.

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  9. scot c

    ~ guesswork and amateur psychology. OCD is an equal-opportunity affliction.

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  10. Horse Radish

    IN THIS CASE. ‘the doctors make money’-jab really was inappropriate. Of all people,
    Knowing what I know about Dr Bennett, who became a Doctor to help people, and who is auctioning off HIS property to help kids through medical school so they could do the same, only begins to describe the man behind all this…………

    Like 1
  11. Steve

    How about tagging the photos so we can understand and link the names of the cars in the text with the photos? Thanks!

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  12. kevin

    Would any one happen to know who bought the “tricked-out and turbocharged ’64 Austin Mini” ???

    Like 0

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