Barn car stories

Discussion in 'Classic Cars' started by 944turb0, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. #1 944turb0, Jul 18, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
    These are so #$%#ing awesome. And most are from my state. I just wanna drive around peaking into peoples barns and shit. Feel free to post more barn car stories
  2. Not a barnfind, but the guy down the road from me has a 70 or 71 Challenger rotting in his front yard with "Don't ask" on the windshield. What a #$%#head, I want to steal it.
  3. I've got some saved on my pc, including an article about someone finding a couple dozen of Ferrari's.

    Barnyard Dreams
    Leno lives every collector's dream by finding a Duesenberg in a garage.

    I love hearing a rumor about some old car and tracking it down. When I was a kid, there was always that World War II Harley, still packed in Cosmoline, waiting to be gotten for $35. Of course, the holy grail was the Corvette that a guy died in. But its owner couldn't get rid of the smell and it was just sitting in a barn somewhere until he could sell it for $300.

    Every now and then, however, a story turns out to be true.

    For years, I heard about a Duesenberg in a parking garage in New York City. Supposedly, it was parked there back in the 1930s and hadn't been touched since. So one day while I'm in New York with my wife, I decide to see if I can find this Duesenberg.

    At about the ninth or 10th garage, I ask the attendant, "Do you have any really old cars here?"

    And this guy says, "Oh yes, up on the fourth floor."

    So I go up and there's a Duesenberg. It had been parked there in 1933, but the garage was remodeled in the mid-'60s and got a new elevator that's about a foot and a half shorter than the old one. So the Duesenberg can't get out. As far as I know, that Model J Duesenberg is still sitting there--when I offered to buy it, I was told it was not for sale.

    You see, real car guys hold onto their cars forever. If you want to buy one, you contact the wife, or the widow, and be polite. It took me 10 years to get my Doble Steamer.

    Hey, there are guys calling my wife right now. "If anything ever happens to Jay, I'd love to have first dibs on the whatever."

    Around Los Angeles there are lots of guys with lots of interesting old cars and motorcycles tucked away in old barns, sheds and locked garages. In fact, not far from me is a garage that was owned by an old fellow who was an enthusiast. I'd heard he had something in that garage. So I would go visit him in my Stanley Steamer. He'd come out and chat, and I'd ask if I could look in the garage. And he always replied in that old man sort of way, "Oh, no, not today. Not today."

    This went on for maybe 20 years. But I'd go see him and keep in touch. Then I heard that at age 93 or so his children sent him off to a home. So I went to see his daughter. She was now in her 60s but she grew up in the house. I asked her when she was last in the garage. She said, "I guess when I was about 4 years old." That would have been around 1950. I asked her what was in there and she said, "Some old car."

    I told her I wanted to buy whatever was in the garage. I didn't even care what it was at this point. So after some negotiations, she spoke with her father. He remembered me, and he said okay.

    When we opened the door there was a 1927 Model X Duesenberg sedan. It had been parked there in 1947.

    And the inside of the garage looked like 1947. There were empty cans of oleomargarine, newspapers with headlines like "JAPS ATTACK AGAIN!" There were a couple of porcelain signs and other neat things in there with the car.

    I wouldn't say the car was perfect. But it was pretty close. Because it was just sort of parked, and everything was oily when it was parked, everything moved and everything was free. The windows were left rolled up so nothing got in there. The paint was obviously faded and there was tons of dust. But I'm not even going to repaint it. Two of its tires still held air, and the other two were rock solid.

    The old fellow bought the car in Chicago, had it shipped out here by train, and towed it with a chain to his garage. And then he never ran it. Model X Duesenbergs are very rare. According to my friend Randy Ema, the country's top Duesenberg authority, only 13 Model X's were built. They fit in between the Duesenberg Model A and the famous Models J and SJ, which were built from 1929 to 1937. He says that only four X's survive.

    It has an overhead-cam engine--the original cam gear was made of phenolic plastic. Those gears broke on a lot of the cars, so there was a factory upgrade of a bronze gear. We figured that must be the reason it didn't run. But when we pulled the cam cover off, everything was oily and shiny, and it had the factory replacement gear in it.

    To me, the really interesting thing about this car is that after all those years in storage, all the little bits and pieces move freely. Like all the Bakelite advance and retard switches--they move perfectly. The big question remains: Why was it put away? The old man must have lost interest for some reason. The inside of his house has little pathways through all the stuff he'd saved over the years. There must be 10,000 old car magazines, shop manuals and memorabilia in there.

    Every couple of days, I spray the entire undercarriage with WD-40, letting everything soak. I still haven't tried to start it. I'm also putting penetrating oil onto the spark plugs, so that'll seep down into the cylinders and free the piston rings if they're stuck. Then, I'll rebuild the wheel cylinders, replace the brake hoses, change the water hoses, drop the pan and check the bearings. Don't forget, it was a 20-year-old car when it was put away in '47. But it's pretty much a perfect time capsule.

    The body on this car was built by Locke & Co. Locke built several custom Model X Duesenberg bodies. Ema says this model was built so Duesenberg dealers would have something to sell in 1927. We're checking on the people who owned this particular car. The Model X was Fred Duesenberg's last design before the company was purchased by E.L. Cord.

    Duesenberg Inc. sold off the few X's and then began on the Model J.

    I always tell people, "Talk to the old guys. They like company." But it's funny about these old guys. In 1988, I bought a LeBaron-bodied "barrel side" Duesenberg J phaeton that had been sitting in a barn since 1951. I told the old guy, "When I get it done, I'll bring it out and take you for a ride." So I brought it over, and when I hit the brakes it stopped perfectly. And he said, "It should, you know. I did those brakes in '50 or '51, so they're fine." I didn't have the heart to tell him that I had taken every nut and bolt off the car when I restored it. I just said, "You did a helluva job."

    By the way, if you want to see more about my Model X, it'll be featured on an upcoming episode of "Rides" on the TLC channel.
  4. Hmm, I can't find that article I was talking about. It's about three scanned pages from a magazine with pictures of a barn filled with old Ferrari's. I can only remind one pic of an old F1 car with about 8 other Ferrari's on the background.

    Does someone else has this article I'm talking about?
  5. #5 smokeydonut, Jul 20, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
  6. #6 adhweorniatweege3532323, Jul 20, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
  7. I wonder one day a Mclaren F1 will be found in a barn.
  8. I wouldn't be surprised if one is found stored away. Probably won't be in a barn though since those cars will always be worth bundles of money. You have to remember, barn cars weren't worth much when they were put in the barn. Even a multi-million dollar car today, like a Cobra Daytona Coupe, Jaguar D-Type, or Mercedes Benz 540K Special Roadster (all three of which have been found in barns) were just old, obsolete used cars worth around the cost of a new Chevy. When they broke, they were worth even less. That is unlikely to ever happen to a McLaren.
  9. heres one I thought was... well... not fair. ^^^ heh, kind of fitting I post a D-Type farm barn

  10. I dunno about that. Ferraris, Dueseys and whatnot were rare and valuable cars within their lifetimes. I think people have a little more realisation that cars will actually become collectible now though. Back then who'd have imagined people would pay tons of money for some old, outdated, inferior car? People know they will now. So I think barn finds are way less likely, but might still happen.
  11. #11 basman007, Jul 22, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
    <A BORDER="0" HREF=""><IMG BORDER="0" SRC="pitlane/emoticons/amazed.gif"></A>
    I wish I was a far away family member of him.
  12. Find it NOW!!
  13. Dirk?
    This article we're talking about (the Ferrari barn find) was once posted on ferrariforum. I know you post(ed) there too, did you happen too safe it?
  14. eurh
    i'm trying to remember
    and normally i would have safed it yes, just
    finding it back
    i'm kinda lazy when it come down to sorting everything
  15. I've found that article I was talking about. It isn't really a barn find, but it's still an entertaining article.

    That first picture makes me go crazy.
  16. oh my god...thank you for uploading that article....
  17. same barn, after a hurricane past through...
    btw: cars are still covered in dust, a P4 is confiscated by IRS and has been close to getting auctioned a few times

    intriguing collection
  18. <A BORDER="0" HREF=""><IMG BORDER="0" SRC="pitlane/emoticons/amazed.gif"></A> correction; THIS is the biggest barnfind of my time... holy crap! So the Feds are still in possesion of a P4??
  19. just every now and then
    feds take it and offer it for auction
    then it the last moment the owner pays some taxes and reclaims the car, it's been like that for a couple of times now
  20. So, it;s locked up somewhere?

    And what do you know about the other cars?
  21. see three posts above, similar condition but with a new roof

    kinda sad, but at least he keeps them in mechanical good order.
  22. That is sad. It's sad that there is no progress in this story: they're still locked away in a shitty building in poor condition.
  23. I found a car myself, which still is in the barn (in this case an old home-garage).

    I know the owner, because it was my teacher in school. After I finished school and he retired because he is old, my class had a party in his garden and I had a nice talk with him about nearly everything. After some hours we came to "cars" and he told me, that he still owns the old car of his father. I asked him, if I can see it and we walked to an old part of his house, where he had an old garage, which we had to free from plants.
    Finally open, I thought we should close it again and I should forget what I have seen :D
    It is a Mercedes-Benz 170 S Cabriolet A which is worth around 100.000,- Euros in good conditions. This car wasn't in good conditions, but it could be restored. The bodywork is in good condition, nearly no rust, good chrome and every part is there, nothing missing. But the chassis is rusty and many parts have to be replaced. But also there every part is there, nothing missing.

    The car is still in there, but if I got the money I will buy it.
  24. Buy it asap! I have something under a tarp down the street but I just can't figure out what it is (and I'm really good at that) It's got a chunky ass and it seems to be a cabrio. Hoping for a 50's SL or Cobra or something sweet.

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