The world’s largest museum devoted to Austin cars will soon be auctioned in Denmark. Alongside 47 cars, it also features over 3,000 related items, including books, posters, signs, toy cars, die-casts and other rare automobilia.
Stefan Wolffbrandt began the collection in 1985 after he acquired his first car; an 1957 Austin A30, which he saved from the junkyard and restored on a shoestring. This ignited his passion for the brand and he went on to collect further Austin models, in particular A30’s and A35’s, while pursuing his career as a successful rock musician.
Wolffbrandt saw an opportunity to start a car museum when he became the harbour master on the idyllic island of Samsoe, which is popular with tourists. A believer in the term “everything is possible”, in 2005 he started building the museum himself, acquiring cars along the way. Two years later, the Samsoe Austin Museum opened with 14 cars and continued to grow from there.
Today the collection fills approximately 1.200 m2 of exhibition space and the whole shipment can be contained in 17 – 42″ containers.
Interestingly many cars and automobilia were donated to the museum on the basis of its status as the only Austin museum in the world; run out of love for the brand. As a result, Stefan Wolffbrandt knows the story of almost every car, and has tried to communicate these stories in the exhibitions. However, as the Danish tax authorities deemed the museum to be an enthusiast’s hobby rather than a business, Wollfbrandt was penalised so badly that he decided to sell the whole museum. All taxes have now been paid so the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Noergaard Wolff Brandt Foundation; an organization established to benefit Samsoe’s children and adolescents.
The majority of the cars have been preserved in their current condition, rather than being restored, and each has its own unique story. They include a range of models, from the well-known A30 and Sprite to the rare Allegro. The collection also features the “Half Crab”, an 1800 cut in half and used in the 1971 film Traffic. However, those hoping to buy a single car or piece of automobilia will be disappointed, as the museum is only available for sale in its entirety. If the buyer desires, Wollfbrandt is also offering his expertise to help re-establish the museum in its new location.
Both Wolffbrandt and Campen Auktioner are excited to see who will win this unusual auction. They expect it to appeal to other collectors, or perhaps theme parks seeking a brand new and unique attraction.
Note: Press release courtesy of Campen Auktioner.