Dozens of Rusty Old Classic Cars Were Auctioned As Crumbling Mansion Was Saved
The grounds of the now derelict Blackborough House is full of rusting classic cars that collectors dream of.

This absolute goldmine of abandoned and neglected classic cars, from complete models down to piles of nuts and bolts ended in a highly anticipated classic car auction.

The decaying property with its crumbling structure was surrounded by vehicles sitting for decades beneath growing foliage, Blackborough House is a goldmine of decaying car art.

But after years of slumber, Blackborough house must finally face change. The majestic 60-room mansion has been sold to a developer by owner and classic car collector Ralph Sanders.

Choice items from his private collection were auctioned off along with an assortment of rusting relics that had almost taken root around the ten acre grounds.

But, many rusting old vehicles that had not moved in decades were auctioned off, along with his expansive classic car collection.

Roger Malone

Just a rusty shell of its former glory, the surreal sale venue was home to over 1000-plus auction lots which included salvage, spares, stationary engines, tools enamel signs and rural bygones.

The rooms of its derelict quarters contained many surprises...

Old motor spares and bits and bobs litter the floorboards. A chrome grille shines out of place in a dark corner, whilst ivy flows through the broken windows and clings to the dusty glass panes.

Nature has taken upon itself to re-inhabit this once most grand of homes, and its thriving.

Built in 1838, the fourth and last Earl of Egremont initially had intentions of a vast Italianate palace, but financial restrictions limited those elaborate plans and the Earl of Egremont had to settle with just a mere mansion.

In its past, it has been a religious group's base, a school, a home for those wounded in the wars and an internment camp for conscientious objectors.

It had been a vehicle breakers yard since 1951. Ralph is from a local family and he used to spend time here as a child.

"I bought it when the owners got too old to run the business – now I have got too old, and we are moving on,” he states.

"They kept tyres in the cellars in the dark and the cool because that is the way to keep them. They were chalked up with their different sizes,” he recounts.

"The house was stocked full of old car bits from years ago and we have been steadily selling them since.”

During its heyday, lorries came every day – delivering up to a hundred cars a week.

“The spares were sold and the cars sold for metal. Each car was a ton.”

The Grade II listed house attained some fame as the setting for small-budget horror movie 'In Fear' three years ago.

There is a part of the grounds Ralph wistfully refers to as “the Jaguars’ graveyard” – a row of once prestige cars, mainly Jaguar's, hence the name, being slowly suffocated by waves of brambles.

There is a Morris Minor “minus most things”; a collection of motorbikes and a mobile car flattener – picked up brand-new by Pinewood Studios for a failed attempt at squishing Superman.

After its 5 minutes of fame, it carried on to be used in scrapyards from London to the Westcountry. It finally ended its journey at Blackborough House – a place it had visited some dozen times during its working life.

Hidden away in an outhouse is an Austin Seven trials car, with a pre-war chassis and later engine taken from an A30. Sat next to it, is a Standard Fordson tractor from the '40's.

And now, as the end of an era draws near and the curtain descneds on the grand life of Blackborough House, a brighter future beckons for these decaying relics, with them all destined to find new homes at auction.

But, there was most definitly something surreal about this grand graveyard of decay.

By vast contrast the rarities from Ralph’s private classic car collection, that werent sold at auction, are in a secure lockup in mid-Devon.


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