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An incredible collection (was "For sale in the UK")

To: wls <wls@btconnect.com>, healeys@autox.team.net, spridgets@autox.team.net
Subject: An incredible collection (was "For sale in the UK")
From: b-evans@ix.netcom.com
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 1999 21:57:33 -0700
References: <009501becf6e$a62a6120$1eb371c1@comp2>
Reply-to: b-evans@ix.netcom.com
Sender: owner-spridgets@autox.team.net
wls wrote:

> I thought you may be interested in an auction sale that is coming up
> in the UK in September 1999. It hascome about following the death
> of a multiple collector Tony Elsoff who was a Healey fanatic
> specialising in rallying. Everything has to be sold and no reserves
> have been set.

I was saddened to learn of Tony Elshof's passing in Bungay, England, and that
his collection is to be auctioned off in September.  Very few Americans knew of
Tony, but no one was more passionate or more knowledgeable about the nuts and
bolts of the cars of the Healey marque.  Those of you who have been on this list
may remember the post I made about the anonymous Brit who had this massive
collection of big and little Healeys in his field, as well as a barn and
storerooms filled with cars and both NOS and used parts.  Well, that was Tony.
I had wanted to write an article for some automotive publications, but he would
have none of it.

I first met Tony several years ago while visiting dear friends in Bungay, a
delightful little town in rural Suffolk.  Their son, Marcus Niblett,
enthusiastically told me of a friend's father who had "a hundred" Sprites in his
field.  That night, Marcus and I went down to the local pub, The Green Dragon,
where we had a pint and he introduced me to Andy Elshof.  He was a great kid who
realized his dad had a real passion for the cars, but like so many of our
teenagers, had a hard time understanding why his dad was so passionate and why
he had so MANY.

The next day, Andy took me to meet his dad who at first was reserved, but then
began proudly showing me around and telling me about many of the cars, where
they had come from, and what at one time he had planned to do with them.  After
seeing the treasure trove of big and little Healeys, I realized that Marcus was
wrong, and that there were probably no more than 75 of them!!!!  They were
everywhere, and in every condition imaginable.  Some were overgrown with weeds,
some had been cannibalized, and some looked as if they were ready to put on the
road.  The barn, too,  was chockablock full of cars and parts.  And sheds were
loaded with engines, transmissions, and other parts.  Actually, as it turned
out, Tony apparently did not have room for everything at his house, and had more
stored elsewhere, including the 100S.  In his house and in his house trailer, he
had tons of literature.

Tony was a bear of a man;  what we Yanks would call "a good old boy".  As I got
to know him, I realized that Tony would have been more at home in the early days
at Talledaga than at Lime Rock.  He reveled in recounting the "good old days" of
racing and and rallying in England.  Although he had been both active and
successful in racing and rallying campaigns, Tony also marched to the tune of a
different drummer, and fell out with many of the powers-that-be.  While he
basically dropped out of the Healey scene, he continued to add to his passion
until his interests went off in another direction.  At that time, he was
enthusiastically marketing a gizmo that attached to the fuel lines and was
supposed to increase gas mileage.  Still, he held on to all of the cars and

By the time I met him, Tony no longer had an active interest in the cars.  I
would have given my eye teeth to buy everything he had.  I would have taken it
lock, stock, barrel and put it all into a cargo container bound for Southern
California, then some of it on to Japan.  Tony, however, had no interest in
getting rid of anything.  He was content to know that HE had it, and no one else
did.  When I was last in Bungay two years ago, nothing had changed.  Oh, the
weeds may be growing a little higher, and hiding some of the cars better, but
there was no real change.

Andy is now tending bar at The Green Dragon, and although I have talked to him a
couple of times in recent months, I didn't realize that his dad had had a heart
attack at Christmastime.  When I talked with Marcus today, he said that Andy is
in the process of clearing up Tony's estate and trying to make sure that his
mother is provided for.  If I didn't have commitments then, I would certainly be
at the auction.  For me, it would be well worth the trip.  Anyone who has the
opportunity should not miss it!  (If anyone is interested, I can get more

Bob Evans
Anaheim, California

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