Saturday, January 10, 2009

A must read! Sleeping Beauties -- Great Barn Finds

Tantalizing tales of barn finds have been circulating for as long as people have been collecting old cars. Enthusiasts still talk about Barney Pollard, a mysterious 1950s-era Chicago collector who amassed hundreds of old crocks from the teens and '20s. He removed front bumpers, drained fluids and then stored them vertically so he could cram still more cars in his warehouses. When he died, his collection was sold and the cars dispersed. Alexander K. Miller, an eccentric miser, and his wife Imogene, owned some 50 rare cars, primarily Stutzes (his nickname was "Stutzee"), along with stacks of parts. The Millers moved to Vermont and began filling barns and garages with many once-fine cars. A.K. and his wife lived frugally, dressed in ragged clothing, had no central heat, paid no taxes, bought old cars and parts as cheaply as they could and eventually secreted nearly $1 million in gold and silver bullion, coins and valuables on their property. In 1996 Sotheby's auctioned off the Miller estate.
1927 Model X Duesenberg sedan It had been parked since 1947.
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. 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. One of 4 known to exist, one of 14 made,2021,DIY_13680_5548073,00.html

1937 Horch Model 853 Cabriolet imported by an American GI after the war, then sold to a New York enthusiast who decided he didn't like the car and tucked it away for 50 years

Duesenberg sedan Jay Leno also managed to free this Duesenberg sedan that was left in a New York City parking structure 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. The Duesy was stuck.
 1931 Duesenberg Model J,  — the only Model J with a town car body by F.R. Wood and Sons of New York — was built for a department store owner, who locked it away in a parking garage off Park Avenue in New York City in 1931, perhaps out of fear of appearing too ostentatious during the Great Depression. The owner’s son removed it briefly in the 1950s to get it running again, then returned it to the garage, where it fell into disrepair. When Leno learned the car would be available for sale, he negotiated a fair price and turned it over to Duesenberg expert Randy Ema, who completed a comprehensive restoration. 
Delahaye Type 135 M Roadster now in the Peterson collection, was found in 1992 under an olive tree in the Algerian mountains virtually complete and purchased for the sum of just 60 British pounds!

1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante Coupe. Left to rot in a garage in Pound Ridge, New York, for 45 years
Rolls-Royce Phantom I Hibbard & Darrin-bodied convertible sedan had been a "Welcome to Hollywood" gift to actress Marlene Dietrich from producer Josef von Sternberg. This opulent car co-starred with Dietrich and Gregory Peck in the film classic, Morocco. It was in Golden Colorado from the mid 40's, and used until the late 60's. In 1974 the owner died, the inheritors started a restoration, dissassembled it, and for the next 20 years is remained in parts... til 1994 "the Cobra In The Barn"

1934 Ford custom speedster originally built for Edsel B. Ford. After Ford's passing in 1943, this car found its way from Michigan to California and then to Florida where it was stored for 40 years, and dug out of obscurity by the head of the Amelia Island Concours

1953 Ferrari 375M Sypder Began its life as the winner of the 1953 Nürburgring 1,000 Kilometers. It was purchased by amateur racer racer Lou Brero in Oct 1955 for $3500, raced for 3 months, the heads cracked. Lou died, his son disassembled the powertrain fromt he body, and stores it in 2 padlocked tractor-trailers for 39 years in Arcarta California.

The roof rusted away on the trailer and the car felt the elements. It had been driven by the great European racers, Villoresi, Ascari, Farina, Chinetti, de Portago, and then by the great American racers Phil Hill, Ken Miles and even Carroll Shelby.

1937 Packard Model 120-C Convertible Sedan, owned by Nicola Bulgari, this dusty Packard had been stored in a dilapidated Pennsylvania building since 1969.

1951 So-Cal Speed Shop Special bellytanker now owned by Bruce Meyer, this was built and raced by Alex Xydias, proprieter of he So-Cal Speedshop

1940 Coachcraft Mercury Speedster, bought by Derby, a 12 yr old, from the Brucker "Cars of the Stars" museum, and his parents garaged the car for 20 years until Derby had enough money to restore it.

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