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West Somerset man bids farewell to classic collection
ONE man’s incredible classic car collection is going under the hammer as he looks forward to a second retirement.
Stephen Johns, 78, has been collecting for more than 50 years and opened the Exmoor Classic Car Museum, now in Porlock, to display them when he retired to the area 12 years ago.
Ten cars, 13 motorbikes and assorted ‘automobilia’ will be auctioned off at the Bonhams Beaulieu Sale, in Hampshire, on September 8, with the entire lot estimated to fetch between £360,000 and £420,000.
Highlights include a 1972 Ferrari 246GTS Dino Spider, which could sell for up to £120,000, a 1930 Singer Porlock Sports Junior, which Mr Stephens bought because of its name’s connection to the village.
Also up for sale is a 1948 DOT 125cc AA motorbike truck, which is the only one of its kind, but Mr Johns is holding on to his favourite item – a Bentley.
Mr Johns said: “Collecting these things has been a lifelong interest. When I sold my business, someone said why didn’t I open a museum, so I did.
“It has been absolutely smashing – the thing I will miss most is the people.
“I have lots of other hobbies I just haven’t had time to do – gardening, painting and golf – so I’m looking forward to having the chance to enjoy those now.”
Tim Schofield, director of Bonhams motor car department, said: “The museum could be described as every motoring enthusiast’s dream. It was a lovely little step back in time and the beauty of it was that it was all on display, not covered up.
“Although we do sell collections of this nature, it is very unusual to find a museum consisting of one man’s hobby which he opened in retirement.
“I have known Stephen for more than ten years as he bought some of the items from us.
“He has been a pleasure to deal with and it is great to be able to have the collection secured for this annual sale – we see it doing pretty well.”