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June 18, 2019
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The Fate of the Sleeping Beauties

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Kay Hottendorff Photographer
Sleeping Beauties USA

The Fate of the Sleeping Beauties

By Ard op de Weegh, Kay Hottendorff & Arnoud op de Weegh
About the Author

Hardback • 20.7x25cm • 160 pages • 297 pictures

ISBN: 978-1-845840-70-9

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• The true and complete story of the Sleeping Beauties
• Foreword by former Sleeping Beauties owner Michel Dovaz
• All known locations of each car since 1948
• Features a French Chateau where ten unrestored Sleeping Beauties are still on display
• All the important details are covered – relocation, barnfind museum, sale and restoration
• Detailed description of every one of the 55 Sleeping Beauties
• More than 250 colour photos
• Includes each car's current restoration status and whereabouts
• Map of the Sleeping Beauties garden in 1983, showing placement of cars


The ‘Sleeping Beauties’ – an array of neglected Bugattis, Lancias, Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, Cords and Aston Martins on a rural French estate – have fascinated car lovers worldwide since 1983, when they were immortalised in a sequence of photographs taken by Herbert W Hesselmann. For 25 years, the full story behind the collection and its fate has remained untold ... until now.


Say ‘Sleeping Beauties’ to committed car enthusiasts and they will immediately know what you’re talking about: a world famous 1980s photo series, showing an extraordinary collection of classical automobiles rusting away in a French barn, neglected by their owner. Famous brands like Bugatti, Lancia, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Cord and Aston Martin, laying under thick layers of dust, spending their remaining days falling apart in isolation.
Many have tried to find out what happened to these cars over the last twenty-five years – decayed? destroyed? sold? – but all leads fizzled out ... until two Dutchmen and a German hung on where others had given up. In true Boy’s Own style, their book tells of the three-year-long search for the fate of the cars from that French barn. It tells the story behind the collection’s origins in 1948, through the moment in 1983 when the famous photos were published, up to the day in 2007 when the authors talked to the current 79 year old owner – a man who finally broke his silence about the fate of his collection for the first time in 25 years.

Independent Reviews

"The discovery of the automotive hoard of Michel Dovaz in 1983 is legend, but the subsequent history of the barn-find exotics found in Villemaréchal is less well known. Now Dutch enthusiast Ard op de Weegh, son Arnoud and researcher Kay Hottendorf have brought the gripping saga up to date." – Classic & Sports Car

"... an incredible piece of automotive detective work ... deserves a place on the shelf of every car hobbyist." - Automobile Quarterly

"The lovingly researched tale of one of France's most mysterious automotive collections." – Telegraph Motoring

"The author carefully charts the story of the eventual transformation of the Sleeping Beauties from wrecks to show cars. Enjoy this book containing an equally gripping and tall tale, which runs to 160 pages and has 277 fabulous before and after photographs of just the kind of sleeping beauties we'd love to awaken with a kiss." – Gay Classic Car Group

"This sympathetically written, beautifully illustrated and engaging hardback tells the story of how the collection came to exist and how many of the models were restored and have become impressive showpieces." – Hull Daily Mail

"Painstakingly researched, with detailed descriptions of each of the 55 cars, their histories, their current locations and their physical states – and that's everything from a Bugatti T55 to a VW K70." – Octane

"For anyone who was left dreaming about those beat-up Bugattis and corroded Cords, 'The Fate of the Sleeping Beauties' is heavenly reading." – Old Cars Weekly

"All the important details are covered – relocation, barn find museum, sale and restoration. There are detailed descriptions of every one of the 55 Sleeping Beauties, with more than 250 colour photos." – Old Stager

"If you like the drama of finds and discoveries, this one will be for you." – The Automobile

"Interviews with the owner of the collection and great 'before and after' pictures makes this the ultimate bible for classic fans." – Auto Express

"Really fascinating stuff." – Classic Motor Monthly

"It's a great story … the research is impressive … there's a great amount of detail here." – Classics Monthly

"The book is workmanlike and straightforward in its presentation as it introduces us to Monsieur Dovaz and then, car by car, to the various vehicles heretofore known merely as photos of well-worn sleeping beauties. This is truly a book of provenance." – SAH Journal


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