Abandoned Muscle Car: 1969 Plymouth GTX

Can you imagine finding a hugely valuable muscle car in a storage lock-up – and then discovering it’s legally abandoned? That’s the story of this 1969 Plymouth GTX, which is being auctioned off by the LeeLanau County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan, apparently after it was found in storage with no living owner. If this is a case of the longtime owner not assigning any heirs and his property going back to the state, let’s all take a moment to draft our wills. Find the GTX here on the auction website for the Leelanau County Sheriff’s Office where bidding is over $58,000.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader DayDreamBeliever for the find. That’s an ironic username considering this seems to be the stuff of urban legend, finding a valuable hot rod like this GTX in an abandoned storage locker. Of course, we’ve seen this story before, where an elderly owner either without living heirs or no relationship with his family chooses not to leave the car in anyone’s name, instead letting the local government cash in and the car go home with a new owner. That’s not to say it should languish in storage, but the family of the owner should at least benefit financially.

Of course, if the relationship was fraught or non-existent, then the owner would likely have preferred to see the proceeds go to the state, especially if he had buddies in the local sheriff’s office. The GTX presents incredibly well, with a stock engine bay in great shape; decent, driver-quality paint; sharp chrome; and what looks like a rust-free exterior. I wouldn’t say this GTX has been restored, but it’s definitely been loved. The patina is just right, in my opinion, with no one part of the car excessively refreshed. Details are scarce on whether GTX remains numbers matching, but it’s not deterring bidders.

I suppose this could be a drug seizure car, too, but I don’t think those get labeled abandoned by the sheriff’s office. The interior of the GTX isn’t perfect but it’s absolutely driver quality, or maybe slightly better – especially if it’s original. The GTX has stirred up a lot of comments on Facebook, where no one is sure who last owned this car. I would personally love to know the ownership history, which may help solve the puzzle as to why this GTX ended up abandoned. Regardless, if the Michigan winters haven’t ravaged the undersides, this is an awesome car to add to any muscle car collection.


  1. NotSure

    Check out the Hagerty website! They found the owner and are waiting for proof of ownership

    Like 12
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member


      They’ve found a potential owners name but no one has stepped up to claim it yet!

      Like 7
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member
      • local_sheriff

        I bet any owner would be happy to find his long gone GTX. Question is will he be able to pay several years storage fee without having to sell it…?

        Like 1
      • Mountainwoodie

        You know.a couple of things stand out to me.

        How could a storage facility be so incompetent and have no record of who owned the locker?

        How could a sale of the facility be completed without a rigorous examination of the outstanding bills on unpaid lockers?

        How could the new owners have no clue that just about any old ( sixties) “hot rod” is potentially worth 5 figures high and low?
        According to Hagerty’s website they popped the trunk and found the address of a guy who had materiel sent to him about fifteen years ago.

        How is it in the internet age they couldn’t even come up with a death certificate in gubmint offices in all of Michigan?

        Isn’t there a build sheet that might lead back to where it was shipped to and sold initially?

        But..at the end of the day…( I can the yowls now) its a slushbox………but it is a vert!

        Like 7
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        After reading the article that Mike (leinie) linked, my theory is: the owner is not a car guy, he just happens to own a desirable muscle car that probably didn’t cost him much when he bought it. The issues he was going through in his life probably came before the car, which to us car heads may sound terrible.

        His buddy was the car guy who did his best to keep the car up to par. He did what he could to get the owner interested in doing the right thing with it, but obviously the guy was just not that interested.

        Personally, I hope the owner finally steps up and straightens this mess out. If not, let the highest bidder take home the prize.

        Like 4
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Thanks for the kudos, leiniedude, however the credit should go to NotSure for finding the initial article by Hagerty. All I did was some follow up based on his discovery of the article.
        What a great story!

        Like 4
    • Walter

      I spent many years of my L.E. Career in auto crimes in the Northeast. It very much appears to me that there is much more investigation to be done here before this vehicle was put up for auction.

      Like 5
  2. TimM

    Nice ride someone might be turning over in his grave!!!

    Like 3
  3. Superdessucke

    Jeeeez! If Illinois could find five of these we could resolve the pension crisis!

    Like 12
    • Steve S

      To superdessucke if the Illinois government was to find some cars like this they would debate about it for 5 or 6 years before doing anything with them.

      Like 6
  4. Sandy Claws

    Something fishy about this story. Leinie linked a story, but I don’t buy what it says. If this “friend” was so friendly, why did he let her sit in storage for years without paying anything? Why would a storage locker let someone not pay for years? Leinies article never mentions the “friend” he was “helping out” by name or what he was “going through”. How many years do you have to be “going through” stuff in your life to neglect a very valuable and interesting asset? I suspect the owner is old and senile, but maybe he was of the criminal element. I hope BF keeps track of this and we stay updated!

    Like 2
  5. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    I submit a few of the cars which come to my attention, and figure that the BF guys will choose which ones might be of the most interest to the readers.

    This one I really thought had a chance at being featured, if for no other reason than the murky story about ownership and abandonment. Success!

    I don’t live too close to the auction location, or I’d have already planned a trip to get a look if there were days scheduled to view the car. What I find fascinating is the height of the $ amounts bid, for a car which has potential title/legal possession concerns. Are the seat cushions stuffed with $100 bills?

    Like 4
    • Steve R

      If the auction goes to completion, there will be no ownership issues. The highest bidder will own it. If there truly are issues, then the auction will be cancelled prior to it’s advertised ending. Even if a verifiable owner comes into the picture, they will still have to pay back storage fees, for a length that of time that wasn’t mentioned in the story. This isn’t like the Wild Cherry van, this car is being dealt with according to the local laws.

      As for the high price, it’s a desirable car that is becoming “internet famous”. That has a way of driving prices higher in the short term.

      Like 7
      • Walter

        I do not believe you are correct in your assessment that there will be ” no ownership issues” from the information presented. If you believe that vehicles purchased from police auctions have not later been removed from their “new” owners, you are mistaken.

        Like 4
      • Mountainwoodie

        On the other hand, depending on the Civil forfeiture laws in Michigan, and the state statutes concerning bona fide purchaser for value, a stolen car would not be the property of the high bidder no matter what…………but I assume the Sheriffs department there is more competent than the owner of the storage facility

        Like 3
  6. Steve H.

    Amazing story. Anyone know what the engine is? 440?

    Like 2
    • Troy s

      Yes, 440 cubic inch “super commando”-375 horsepower.

      Like 3
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member


  7. GTO MAN 455

    automatic on the column kills this car,

    Like 5
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      It doesn’t kill Superbirds. Many of them were built that way. Mopar muscle, no matter the transmission configuration, will always bring the big $$.

      Like 4
  8. Todd Priest

    My father had a beautiful 69 GTX. I’d post a picture but it looks like we aren’t allowed to do that any longer.

    Like 2
  9. ken Member

    hagerty and the police found the owner. he will be getting his car back..

  10. Del

    This whole story is a load if crap fron start to finish.

    The actual car is not much more than a parts car.

    Another DUD posting

    Like 1
  11. Chris M

    What? Where’s Cool Joe Machado? Surely he owned a ragtop GTX? Maybe he owned 4? Or was it he traded a GTX in on a Hemi, which would’ve been his 8th Hemi…then later sold to fund a Superbird…

    Like 4
  12. bruce baker

    Holy Mopar Batman, (me batman) i bet this ends up in the Courts. The bidders should bid the crap out of this car just to make Judge Judy sweat, he, he. Shouldn’t there be reminders on the walls of all storage offices, Car dealerships, Real Estate offices, & DMV’s to get a Will Kit no matter how young of adult you are? If you don’t have no family or friends, then please leave your home, cars, & stuff to a Homeless person/family that was foreclosed on. I wonder if any million + dollar car in this same mess would/could ever get a presidential decision, he, he?

  13. bruce baker

    I love the 440 GTX. The new or old owner should put a 4 speed stick in it.

  14. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    According to the auction site, bids are still being accepted. Currently at $58,600!

    Murky waters, not clearing up yet…

    Like 1

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