I love classic cars since I was a young boy. Back than I used to attend local classical car meetings, which were quite rare on the North German countryside around 1980. The walls of my room were decorated with press clippings and calendars showing historic cars. My favourite was a calendar photo of a Duesenberg SJ Speedster, looking shiny and new. Tastes can change but passions survive. Among others I still love the Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg cars, but classical cars looking better then new, don't intrigue me anymore. In my opinion, many of these cars lost their identity and their history by receiving 120% restorations. To me these cars often look as ridiculous as an aging Hollywood movie star, trying to look like a teenager with the massive help of plastic surgery.
... with barnfind Bugatti Type 57 from another collection after 45 years of storage
(photo Uwe Hottendorff, 2008)
A classical car meant to fascinate me should show it's age and history and all the marks, scratches and rust stains, the past five, eight or more decades left on it. Patina is the magic word. But even a non restorable, rusty hulk can be highly interesting to me. Of course the barnfind of a long forgotten Bugatti, Alfa Romeo or Duesenberg does intrigue me, as it does intrigue most other classic car aficionados. But there's more to it than that. In contradiction to others, I wouldn't restore but preserve it. A technical restoration of course makes sense. But this is it. A car in running order with barnfind exterior and interior.
... at the wheel of the unrestored 1937 Cord 812 SC Custom Berline from Michel Dovaz' Sleeping Beauties collection (photo Kay Hottendorff, 2007)
In 1997 I received a birthday present from my later wife, which boosted my subliminal "barnfind" passion. A giant XXL poster of a dusty, rusty and obviously neglected 1930s Bugatti sitting between two other likewise aged and conditioned cars. The mysterious photo kept haunting me and soon I found out more via internet. I learned a lot about Bugatti cars in general, the specific cars on the poster (1935 Bugatti Type 57 Coach Ventoux lined by a 1937 Cord 812 SC Custom Berline and a 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Faux Cabriolet) and the photo series it came from. German photographer Herbert W. Hesselmann had published the 1983 photo series of more than 50 cars in a book titled "Schlafende Schönheiten" ("Sleeping Beauties") in 1986. I received this book, again from my later wife ... no wonder I married her soon after ;-)))
... with Sleeping Beauties poster and book, which founded my
(photo Kay Hottendorff, 2008)
By the way: Thanks a lot to you Andrea and to our kids. Without your support and understanding I wouldn't find the time for this wonderful hobby. I love you so much!
... together with my wife Andrea on a holiday trip in a
1963 Mercedes Benz 190 SL Roadster
(photo Kay Hottendorff 2004)
Back in the late 1990s, I never would have thought that an own book on the fate of the Sleeping Beauties would result from my passion, about ten years later. But in late 2006 I got to know Dutchman Ard op de Weegh and his son Arnoud, which were likewise addicted to the "Sleeping Beauties". An idea arose. Fortunately the true story of the Sleeping Beauties and their current whereabouts never had been told before. Things went on and now the result of our cross-border and generation spanning treasure hunt can be seen in a new and thrilling book: "The Fate of the Sleeping Beauties".
PS: Please don't hesitate to send me an email if you happen to know about any single car or collection in barnfind condition, no matter where it is located. Discretion goes without saying. No names or locations are published without the owner's consent.
... taking photos outside the famous "Sleeping Beauties" garden south of Paris, France
(photo A. op de Weegh, 2007)
... together with father and son op de Weegh (left) visting with former "Sleeping Beauties" owner Michel Dovaz
(photo Kay Hottendorff, 2007)
... about me - Kay Hottendorff
The Fate of the Sleeping Beauties