Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Looking For A Barn...

...Like the one in the story that Formynder sent me...

Man bought a property with a few acres with a welded shut old barn – Jackpot!!
A man retired. He wanted to use his retirement money wisely, so it would last, and decided to buy a home and a few acres in. The modest farmhouse had been vacant for 15yrs.; the owner and wife both had died, and there were no heirs. The house was sold to pay taxes. There had been several lookers, but the large barn had steel doors, and they had been welded shut. Nobody wanted to go to the extra expense to see what was in the barn, and it wasn’t complimentary to the property anyway….. so, nobody made an offer on the place.
Just look at some of the pictures:

Group shot

Abarth Scorpion


Sadly, the story as described above is not true: Barnfind.
What Cotter found out by tracking down the photographer was that the owner of the barn (and the 180 or so vintage cars contained within) was not a lucky buyer who had just purchased the property and was astonished to find a treasure trove in one of the farm buildings. The owner was an automobile dealer in the 1970s and 1980s who had built up an assemblage of cars over the years and stashed it in the barn (locking and soldering the doors shut when the structure was full) and who simply hired a photographer to document his collection.
It's still pretty damned neat, don't get me wrong. It touches on pretty much every one of a true car nut's dreams: finding that unmolested gem, the getting way more than you bargained for, the classic cars buried for years just waiting for restoration... The truth is more pedestrian, of course; no one "forgets" about an industrial warehouse full of cars.

Even the revised story doesn't sound complete. Why on earth would a dealer just walk away from literally millions of dollars in inventory (180 cars, some quite rare, some in original condition? That's pretty much the definition of fortune right there)? I would wager there's a not-inconsequential amount of tax dollars involved with keeping a property this size; has someone just been paying this all along and one day changed their mind?

It would be interesting to know the full story behind this "barn find"...

That is all.


Ted said...

Tom Cotter has written a whole series of barn find books. A great compilation of barn find stories. And the truth behind the story.

Well worth reading.

just don't get the barn find bug. Most barn finds are money pits......... That's why they are still in the bar in the fist place

libertyman said...

Yes Tom Cotters Cobra in the Barn book is fun.

Now if I told you guys I know of a Cobra in a barn, a 289 that belongs to someone I know, would you believe it?

Geodkyt said...

First thought that came to mind was "hiding assets". Such as, in case of a divorce.

Will said...

IIRC, that "barn" was in Italy. Owner was an odd duck, wouldn't sell anything.

My dad was the subject of a "found in a chicken coop" story in the mid-90's. He was buying/selling Fiat Spiders of 70's-80's vintage. He traveled around CA, AZ, NV, and UT buying ones with little or no rust, cleaning them up, and selling them to dealers outside the US. Rusty ones stayed here. He had buyers from Germany, Holland, Australia, and a couple others I can't recall. These guys would stuff as many as 5 in a shipping container. No idea what it cost to ship them. He might get as much as $5k for a really clean car, and they were selling for as much as $20k overseas. They rusted really badly in winter areas, so Europe didn't have many left, and I think they never were exported to AU new.

He gave up on them at some point, and a guy who restored them and sells parts came down to his place in So NJ and bought everything he still had. Dad stored his parts in a large former chicken coop, and a couple garages. He still had some of his Turbo Spiders, and a large amount of body parts. The buyer wrote a story for his customers about this cache of Fiat goodies. Can't recall if it was a newsletter, or a web page.