Written by Paul Sweeney.
Many of you will know I was a friend of the late Ian Hope and helped him with his amazing collection of British cars here in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
The last I heard after Ian sadly passed away was that his museum was closed and for sale. After hearing some rumours recently, I stopped by there today to see if anything was happening. I found the real estate agent's sign now says, "Sold" and a few vehicles have been moved outside and were marked, "For Sale" (see photos).
There was a contact number written on the vehicles for sale - well, it would be rude not to, wouldn't it? So I called the number hoping to find out what was happening to the collection.
I was in luck - I got through to Mark, one of Ian's nephews. He told me he had taken on the challenge of disposing of the property including the car collection and that he was working on tidying up the inside of the buildings. He is also gradually disposing of many of the cars either for restoration or as parts donors and says his goal is to end up with approximately 50 of the best to keep.
The new owner will take over in approximately a year's time and hopes to reopen the reduced collection to the public if possible - but Mark did stress there are many obstacles needing to be overcome before that can happen - not least the Health & Safety issues.
Anyone interested in possibly buying from Ian's collection should keep an eye on www.trademe.co.nz - meanwhile I will check back in a year from now and report how things have gone.
Yes I did ask Mark if I could get inside to film, but he told me it's now designated as a hazardous work site so public access will not be possible until further notice.