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Barn Finds Rally 2015: Fun Was Had By All!

Barn Finds Rally 2015

It seems like it came too fast and didn’t last long enough! That’s right guys, the first Barn Finds Rally has been completed and boy was it a good time! Yes, we didn’t have the kind of turnout we would have liked, but that’s alright because we had a blast anyways. In true Barn Finds fashion, the day was filled with laughter, good conversation, and some mechanical issues (sorry about that guys). For all the work, energy, headaches, and oil that went into this event, it was well worth it and we are already looking forward to the next one!

Starting point

So as you can see, we only had four cars in attendance. By the end of the drive, I was thinking that number should have been three to start with, but more on that later! We had a great group of people and some fun cars, and that’s really all that matter! For Jesse and myself, the day started early. We had last minute preparations to do, donuts to be purchased, and fluid levels to be checked. The other participants began arriving shortly after 9am. Nick and his lovely wife Sue brought out their beautiful Porsche 914, which I had the joy of following for most of the day. Nathan brought his son and one of their Mini Coopers, which was a hoot to watch hustle through the corners. With all the cars lined up in the Barn Finds parking lot, we had a nice little car show. A few passerbyers even stopped to take a look at the cars!

Once everyone had had their fill of donuts and the spectators had moved along, we got the event underway! Jesse led the way in his MGB, followed by Nathan, then Nick, with Me and the Spitfire running last. The drive out of Boise was nice and relaxed. It gave everyone a chance to warm their engines back up and get settled in. Within a few minutes we were out of town and headed up Idaho 21 towards Idaho City. All the cars ran beautifully for this first stretch, which mostly consisted of fast sweepers and some big hills.

Once we passed Idaho City, the roads changed pretty quickly. There were some serious corners and plenty of switchbacks that tested each driver’s nerves, their brakes, and their passenger’s stomachs. I guess these intense roads didn’t like how smoothly everything was going, as they showed their might and attempted to take their first causality! Thankfully it wasn’t on any of the cars, but on our GoPro camera. I had mounted it on the door of my car, in hopes of catching some of the action for all those who had wanted to join us but couldn’t. As I went through a particularly tricky turn that ended with a nice big bump, the camera popped loose and went flying across the road. I didn’t realize what had happened until I got through the next turn. I radioed ahead on the CB radio to let Jesse know what happened and that I’d catch up. I spun around and headed back down with gusto. It didn’t take long to spot it, I slowed down and grabbed it without even stopping! Amazingly it was intact and only slightly dinged up. I tossed it in the passenger seat and started hunting for a turn around. Once I found one, I put the pedal to the metal and tried to make up for lost time, but I think that may have been a bad idea!

Since I disappeared, it didn’t take the rest of the group long to realize I was gone, so they pulled over. Jesse knew where I was going, but no one else did. Nick and his wife even came back to look for me! Right before I spotted the Porsche, I heard something ping off the bottom of my car, but I didn’t give it much thought as there were lots of rocks scattered across this section of road. Now that we were all back together, the group pushed on and soon we found ourselves at Mores Creek Summit. This was our first planned stop.

Mores Creek Summit

It was a cold and cloudy morning, but the view from the summit was great and was only enhanced by the cars. This was a good chance to let the cars cool a bit from the climb and we were all needing to stretch our legs. We all shut off our engines to let them cool, but that proved to not be a great decision. The Porsche and the Spitfire both struggled to start at the high altitude, but after a few attempts both cars fired up and were ready to hit the road again. The road that laid ahead was some of the finest I’ve been on in a few years. As we descended into Lowman, we carved our way down the mountain. On the way down, I was glad I’d spent most of last night installing all new brake components!

Lunch stop

With the most intense roads behind us and Lowman before us, everyone was feeling a bit tired and hungry, so we made our way to our lunch stop at the Mountain View Campground. We found ourselves a lovely spot by the Payette River and unloaded the food. As everyone ate their lunches, we were already reminiscing over the drive up the mountain. Once we had all had our fill, we decided to line the cars up for a photo shoot. And this is when I realized what the day might have in store. I had a small puddle of coolant forming under my car. It wasn’t anything too serious for an old British sports car, but enough to make me take notice. As everyone climbed into their cars, I attempted to start mine, but the battery just didn’t have enough juice to start it up. Thankfully I had my jumper pack in the truck, so I clipped it on and she fired right up. I didn’t give it any thought, as I’d forgotten to turn off my CB radio and interior lights. We got the cars lined up for a few photos and then set off for Garden Valley.

This section of road was perfect for an after lunch cruise. It had a few tight turns, but for the most part was made up of wide bends and long straights. The road follows the river all the way into Garden Valley, so the scenery was fantastic. As we made our way into town, my car began to make an some odd noises, but thankfully the gas station was only a short distance away and I was able to coast in. And this is the point where my day took a turn for the worse. As I hunted for what could be the cause of the noise, I noticed oil around the engine mounts. That couldn’t be good, but it looked like the oil had come from the dipstick tube. I checked the oil level and it looked good, so I decided to push on and just keep an eye on the oil pressure and engine temperature. With everyone else fueled up was and ready to go, Nick was kind enough to give me a jump start and we headed out again!

Checking the thermostat

We made our way for Emmett, where we had planned on venturing to Freezeout Hill to experience the old hill climb, but before reaching our turn off at Horseshoe bend, I decided I’d better check my oil. And it was a good thing that I did, because I wasn’t just leaking a little oil, it was gushing out! I had lost one of the oil pan bolts and I assume that was the pinging noise I’d heard earlier. With everyone circled around my Spitfire, it was decided that we needed to head home before the problem grew any worse. So we gave up on our plans to race up the hill and headed for Boise. Every so often we had to stop so I could top off my oil and with each stop the leak grew worse. I was torn, should I accept defeat and call a tow truck or continue on? I decided to check the bolts and noticed that the other bolts in the front were a bit loose, so I grabbed a wrench and tightened them down. It didn’t solve my leak, but it slowed it enough to keep pushing on!

We finally reached the bottom of the mountain and with home only a few miles away, we parted ways with the other participants. They headed home and I topped off my oil! I was able to limp home, but I’m not sure what damage the Spitfire may have endured from this experience. I realize now, 20 miles of shake down just wasn’t enough for a drive like this, but these issues would have appeared at some point anyways! I’m just glad she drove into my carport under her own power. Soon we will find out if anything was damaged other than the oil pan gasket and my pride.

Down by the river

It was a brilliant day overall, even with my mechanical woes. I can honestly say, I wouldn’t have it any other way! We put our cars and our driving skills to the test! I think it’s safe to say that everyone passed with an A, well except for me and my Spitfire. I am already excited for next year and I can’t wait to tear back into my car so that I can have it ready. I want to thank our participants for their patience and kindness. I also want to thank everyone that showed us support via comments and emails. If you couldn’t make it this year, be sure to mark your calendar now! We look forward to seeing you all for Barn Finds Rally 2016!


  1. Dave Wright

    Sounds like fun……..we would have been there but our Alfa is still in the paint shop. I think the altitude at Mores Summit is a poor excuse for hard starting though……it is only 6000 feet or so. What would have you guys done at Estes Park? And who was the mechanic that left the pan bolts loose……..you should write him up on Yelp!!!!!!

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    • Josh Staff

      Haha I would, except it was my roommate that put the pan on. I told him to be careful with those front bolts, but I guess he didn’t listen to me! Actually, it could have been a previous owner that caused the problem. Those front bolts thread into a saddle that’s made out of aluminum and it strips out quite easily. Thankfully, I have all the replacement parts, except for the gasket, on my extra engine! Once we are caught up here at BarnFind’s HQ, I will be getting back into the shop to get it running.

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      • Dave Wright

        So……why not do one in the fall…..the Tamaracks are incredible surrounded by the green conifers up that way in the fall. We will be in Europe all fall but if we were here we could have a huge BBQ here at the ranch. We will be home next year………..

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      • John

        One word, “Loctite”

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  2. cory

    Awesome guys. Makes me homesick.

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  3. Jose

    What a great description of the event. Made me almost feel like I was there. Thanks, guys. And I loved that “barn finds” logo on the hood. (smile) Great job.

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    • Josh Staff

      Thanks Jose! I thought the logos turned out awesome and everytime I look at my Spitfire with the bonnet up where you can see the logo, it makes me chuckle a bit!

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  4. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Wish I could have been there! Glad you had fun despite the oil pan issues :-)

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    • Josh Staff

      You were missed Jamie, but I’m sure we will see you at a future BF Event! It really was a good time and while I was stressed like none other coming down the mountain, I don’t think anything was seriously damaged! Of course I will be checking the crank and bearings pretty closely to make sure they didn’t suffer any extra wear. Since I have an extra motor sitting next to the car right now, I should have most of the parts I need for any repairs, so hopefully I’ll have it fixed and back on the road in no time!

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  5. Bob

    Next time, would you give us a longer heads up.

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    • Josh Staff

      Definitely Bob! It really was short notice. We are already trying to get plans in place for next year so that everyone has closer to a year to prepare for it! Hopefully we will see you at the next one!

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  6. jim s

    great story. the photos could have been from back in the 70’s thru today. looks like bikes like the route also. what is the story on the VW thing in the second photo? no rain! sounds like everyone had fun on the first of many BF events. your car was acting up this time, next event it will be someone elses that need some tlc.

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  7. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    I love the last picture…funny when the MGB is the largest car in the group.

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  8. Jimmy

    Still waiting on the rally in north Georgia/north Carolina mountains!

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  9. RickyM

    Looked good fun – very envious as I am on the wrong side of the Atlantic to join in ! Love the classic Mini. Similar to my godson’s, which he was using at the weekend in the Crystal Palace to Brighton Mini Run.

    Well done for organising it guys and looking forward to reading about 2016 rally next year.

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  10. Bryan Cohn

    Glad to hear the rally was a success. Plan it for June, July or August when school is out and more of us can make the rally part of our vacation. We’ll do our best to be there from Lawrence, KS!

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  11. chris

    Wish I could have been there! Damn ocean…………..

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  12. Mr. Ed

    Would love to have a BarnFinds bumper sticker for my 1970 Ford Ranger pickup. Are they available?

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  13. VIKING

    Your logo looks just like the midnight sun rally in Sweden, a professional rally held every year.

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  14. angliagt

    Will this be running again?

    Like 0

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