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Best Barn Find Story Of 2013?


Back in April we announced a collaboration between Tom Cotter and Barn Finds through the end of the year. Since then we have featured an In the Barn story every Sunday and have given away a free book every week. We also mentioned that the best reader submitted story would get published in Tom’s upcoming book. Well, the deadline is upon us so we wanted to give everyone a chance to vote on their favorite.

Even though every discovery is exciting for the person who makes it, the best barn find tales include some human connection. We received so many good submissions this last year that we were not even able to get to them all. So, if you sent in a story that you think was “In the Barn” worthy, but didn’t make it on the site, please let us know. Otherwise, use the list of stories below to pick the discovery that you think most deserves to be published (don’t base your decision purely on the writing as we will doll the winner up before printing). If there is another one on the site that is not listed below please feel free to mention it too. After choosing your top pick, please leave a remark in the comments section. We will announce the winner on Monday!


  1. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    We had so many good find stories this year that it is hard to pick just one. That said, one that stands out to me was “Dad’s Adler Roadster Found”. We didn’t present the story very well here on the site, but the whole thing started with a post Bryan S. made on Linkedin asking for assistance with identifying and locating his Father’s old car. He had two photos and very little information. Other people had suggested that he contact some antique car clubs. I figured it was a long shot, but I told him he could send the photos in and we would post them on the site…

    Well, within a matter of minutes after posting the photos, the car was identified and after a week the current owner of the car commented on the site. Bryan was then able to make contact with them and is now planning a trip to Slovakia to view his Father’s car. It was an interesting journey and I think with some work the story would be worth printing. I’m not trying to sway anyone, I just wanted to share the whole story on that one. I also think “Dream Come True: 1959 Corvette” deserves honorable mention. I’m excited to hear which ones you guys pick!

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    • paul

      While I like my find of the Corvair for obvious reasons, the Adler story stands out for me as a great story & shows what an important tool the internet is.

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      • paul

        Also like to mention what fun the Barn Find site is, Thanks to you all.

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  2. Mark E

    I like The Thorndyke Special as it tells the story about how the writer bought a car he liked and then found that it was THE car from The Love Bug!

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    • Darren

      I also think that The Thorndyke Special should be the one chosen! Loved that story!!!

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  3. Bryan Cohn

    My favorite is the Thorndyke Special for the same reasons Mark E noted. Buyer buys car he likes then after doing research finds out its something special, the car from the Herbie movie.

    It follows the car guy mantra’s: Buy a car you love, not an investment. He bought a car he loved and hit the jackpot!

    Barn Find Story of the Year, for my 2 cents worth.

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  4. David Reeves

    I like the 1937 Plymouth PB Seven Passenger.

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  5. Andrew Minney

    I like nearly all ot those on the list but if I have to choose it has to be the Silver Hawk.
    I have a soft spot for these cars!
    Twickenham, England

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  6. scot

    ~ i’m going to have to choose ‘The Thorndyke Special’ over ‘1970 Porsche 914-6, Unfinished Dream’, and ‘Grandpa’s 1957 Silver Hawk’, although you gentlemen have not made the decision an easy one… and sincere thanks for that!
    . drat. i wrote my comment before reading the others. now i’m thinking ‘Dad’s Adler’ was also one of the strongest contenders!
    . it’s like asking Mom which is her favorite child.

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  7. jim s

    i pick the BF project GTI and the volvo that got away writen as 1 story. thanks

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  8. KE100

    I like the reader find ford mustang Mach 1. It’s got a great story to it.

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  9. Albert

    I may be a bit biased, but there are three that I like. The Thorndyke Special, The Love Bug Reunion, and Another Herbie Uncovered. And that’s not because I own the car in Another Herbie Uncovered. And it’s not because of the investment. It’s because of the fact that here’s three. Well, two cars that were literally thrown away when the film studio was done with them. Along with what the cars went through during filming, the odds were just stacked against them to not survive. Yet they did. And now here we are 45 years later with 3 cars that have ended up with 3 great owners who truly have a passion for what they have.

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  10. Connor

    I would say the last mini to leave the factory or the thorndyke special

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  11. Jeremiah

    Tough one. Love Bug Reunion, Thorndyke, and dream 59 Corvette!

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    • scot

      ~ i had nearly forgotten the ‘Dream Come True: 1959 Corvette’ story. that was a simply great series of coincidences.

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  12. Dave

    I like the ’32 Plymouth PB and the ’59 Lincoln Continental.

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  13. Pete Member

    1959 Austin Healey 100-6

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  14. Dolphin Member

    Lots of very worthy nominations have been made already, but I’m going to nominate ‘Massive UK Barn Find’, not because it ended happily, but because:

    – it involved a large number of cars that deserved saving from further decay or the crusher
    – it involved a dedicated barn finder (Liam) who spent time and effort cultivating a relationship with the owner
    – Liam saved a few of the cars, but wanted to save more and was willing to work hard to save them
    – the owner had a very unhelpful reaction when his cars were featured on BF, and cut all ties with Liam—a very odd, very unfriendly reaction at best
    – unfortunately this outcome is all too common with people who own cars that are decaying under the elements

    This story reminds me of aspects of the Pikeville Purgatory chapter in Tom Cotter’s ‘Corvette In The Barn’ book. Sometimes you can find a large stash of cars that are worthy of saving, but in spite of good intentions and your best efforts you’re not always successful when an owner is just not……helpful, lets say.

    The best thing to come out of this story is that there are dedicated people like Liam who will go beyond what most people would do under very difficult circumstances.

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  15. jean lecointe

    Beeing french, I would consider the Mochet “velocar” as very unlikely ” Barn find ” in the US.
    Even in France it is an extremely difficult find, I was flabergasted when it was shown on our favorite web site. It would be my choice.

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  16. Don Andreina

    Thorndyke and its Herbie sequels. Love the Adler story (and its an absolutely beautiful car), but it was great fun following the evolving Disney stories.

    Dolphin’s right about Liam and his efforts, what a shame the owner has been scared off. If the owner proves to be utterly and permanently intractable, there is nothing preventing publication of the images already taken. It just makes for bad karma when other hoarders come to peruse this site.

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  17. Dave R.

    I really liked the ’32 Plymouth PB story. A ’32 Plymouth in India. Unreal!

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  18. Alan

    Sign me on as a fan of the 1968 Firebird story.
    A bud of mine had a ’68 400, in a light metallic green color. It was fast…. He sold it to his brother and bought a TR-4… Different ride entirely! And the brother blew the motor with an errant downshift for a highway roll-on.

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  19. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    It looks like the Thorndyke Special is the winner! Congratulations to John and thanks to everyone who voiced their opinion. We will get the story sent over to Tom. Don’t worry though, the stories aren’t stopping. We will still be featuring In the Barn stories every week through the end of the year and of course, reader submitted discoveries for as long as you guys keep sending them in!

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  20. Chris A.

    Another vote for the Thorndyke Special. Second Place to the RR Wraith. They’re still out there waiting for us. As for unmentioned, I could look at the restored Vincent Rapide for hours and just be captivated.

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  21. Brian Member

    The Shelby container find is pretty wild, if the whole story is true. However my first place is the THorndyke Special

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