Flashback: The Ultimate Garage Find

Ultimate garage find

Update 1/16/2019 – I was recently looking back at some of my past features and it was a fantastic blast from the past, so I thought everyone might enjoy taking a look back at some of the super interesting finds we’ve featured over the years! The story of this Ford GT40 seemed like a fun place to start.

From 2/12/2014 – If you haven’t heard the buzz on the internet, we wanted to let you know about the recent discovery that Barn Find extraordinaire Tom Shaughnessy and his son John recently made. Tom typically focuses on hunting down Ferraris, but he isn’t picky when it comes to amazing cars, Italian or not, and even more amazing finds. His most recent find isn’t a barn find, but a garage find of mythical proportions. He caught wind of this find while at The Friends of Steve McQueen Car Show back in June and has just finally been able to get it pulled out. If you haven’t already figured out what he found, find out after the break.

Ford GT40 MKI

Like we stated earlier Tom typically hunts Ferraris, but this one isn’t a Ferrari. However, it did beat the best Ferrari had to offer at Le Mans. If you know your 24 Hours of Le Mans history, you might recall the 1966 race. If you don’t, it was the year that Henry Ford II showed Enzo Ferrari and the entire world that Ford could build a high-performance endurance racer that could be Ferrari. The car that Ford dominated the best Europe had to offer was the GT40. If you know much about the GT40 you know they are extremely rare and highly sought after. Somehow this car (chassis 1067), was forgotten after the previous owner parked it in his garage.

Buried GT40

Given the desirability of the GT40, we assumed all of them were accounted for and in the hands of serious collectors. It seems this isn’t exactly the case. Apparently, the previous owner purchased it in 1975, but in ’77 engine problems forced it to be parked. Health issues kept it from ever being repaired and slowly it was buried under a mountain of junk. We are sure it took the better part of a day to carefully dig it out. Given the fiberglass construction, any serious impact could seriously damage that beautiful body.

Toms Ferrari

We had the pleasure of meeting Tom’s son John at the 2011 Concorso Italiano with their barn find Ferrari (pictured above) and we can say this father-son duo are serious hunters. They have tracked down a number of amazing barn finds together and we are sure they will keep digging up more. We have reached out to Tom and with any luck, he will get back to us and answer a few questions about it. We wish Tom and John the best of luck with this GT40 and we will be sure to keep an eye out for it and their next find! We can’t think of many cars we would want to find more than a GT40, what about you?

Sources: TheGentlemanRacer.com and Tom’s Facebook wall

If you have an interesting Barn Find story, we sure would love to hear about it! You can send your sightings and stories to mail@barnfinds.com.


  1. paul

    You have got to be kidding a GT40 buried under sh*t ! Yes I do know about the top 3 finish of the GT’s I even have the Road & Track magazine with the three cars pictured crossing the finish line……Nice 275 GTB, needs work, but looks all there.

    Like 5
    • Don Andreina

      Why would someone have a problem with Paul’s statement?

      Like 2
      • paul

        Go figure, D.

    • Don Andreina

      Why would someone have a problem with this statement? Unless it was a mistake, F off and get a life.

      Like 1
      • Don Andreina

        Hmmm, sorry bout the repetition. My end is a little glitchy.

        Like 1
      • Don Andreina

        Hehehe. Now I’m copping the naughty stick. Apologies for the gutter mouth; as Paul just mentioned, this is a laid back site.

        Like 1
  2. Jim

    WOWEEEE !!! Now that is truly a find and right under my nose. I’d love to know what he had to give for it. I have a friend who happens to be a fellow enthusiast and also my neighbor that thinks he saw this car screaming past him and his father back in the early 70’s on a Hwy in the valley. He stated the exterior was the same color green as the frame back then and him and his father was traveling about 90 in an old pick coming back from dirt bike riding as the GT40 screamed past them at about 160. They got a real kick out of it as once it passed and was much further ahead, they could see flames popping out of the exhaust as it slowed down for the end of the fwy.

    Like 4
  3. Quinton B

    I’ll take it!

    Like 2
  4. Marc

    The new owners just posted about his dad bringing this home the other day on purist Facebook page

    Like 2
  5. Dolphin Member

    Amazing story. Who would have thought that even one of the three GT40s that beat Ferrari at Le Mans would have been unaccounted for and buried under a sea of junk? And that 275 GTB that Tom Shaugnessy and his son John found is the dream car of a lot of people, me included. I tried to buy one back decades ago but unfortunately I was missing something essential: money.

    It seems that Tom Shaugnessy got the tip on the GT40 at a recent Friends of Steve McQueen car show. Steve McQueen was a genuine self-made man. I have a bunch of biographies of him. He was unwanted by his parents and got into trouble a lot when young. He was sent to what was basically a reform school—The Boys Republic, in California. He benefitted a lot from that and the rest is history. But what isn’t well known is that he kept in contact with it and contributed to it also. He would sometimes go back there and just hang out with some of the buys, talking to them and giving them some gentle fatherly advice. He didn’t trade on his fame because he was just trying to help kids who were like himself to make something of their life, like The Boys Republic helped him to do. It’s an amazing story. I didn’t even know that they held car shows, but I’m sure that Steve would liked that.

    Like 2
    • FiremanDan

      McQueen was a man’s man…a bad boy that went to the beat of his own drum….lived a life most only dream of…..he also chose the Marine Corps never a combat Marine…but a hero none the less….saving several drowning Marines risking his own life…..and smoking didn’t help but brig duty in the bowels of Naval vessels probably contributed greatly to his lungs demise…
      Semper fi McQueen

      Like 2
  6. Rich G

    With the name of Dayton Ohio’s Salt Walther on the door!

    • jim s

      i wonder why his name is on the door.

    • LAB3

      Personally I’m not a big fan of high priced cars with limited usability, the name Salt Walther seemed very familiar for some reason which is why I checked this one out. Can you give us a $2 run down on who he is/was?

      • Mark

        Salt Walther was an Indy Car driver. His father George owned Dayton Steel Foundry here in Dayton and fielded many an Indy car. Salt was also a Nascar driver and was more popular here as he was a pretty successful hydroplane racer. Sadly his claim to fame was being caught up in the 73 Indy crash at the start of the race (it killed Swede Savage). I can recall seeing Salt when I was in high school….he was driving a RR and wearing a glove (think it was due to the crash). Later on he ran into trouble with drugs and the law. Died at a fairly young age. His brother was killed racing.

  7. rancho bella

    A buddy in “smell A” invited me to go to friends of SM………….I had something to do.
    Could that have been me that got the tip on th GT…………naw……….but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming.

    It is so hard to imagine getting the tip, the tip pans out and you buy the car……….my gawd I couldn’t sleep for month. For those that don’t know…….there is a odd connection between the Ford GT and Lotus Europa’s…………..no, I’m not making it up.

    Like 1
    • paul

      Yeah I’m with you on the tip deal & not sleeping for a year. Now what is the odd connection between the Loti & the GT other then they have a roof height of just over my ankles?

      • rancho bella

        Nothing to exciting…..now you guys have put me on the spot…dang it.
        I need to go to my Lotus History Design Books and make sure I’m not making something up. Crap……..I can’t, they are packed away for the move…………Dolphin……….help me out.

        Was it Ford wanted Lotus to design the GT but was to busy so off to Lola.
        Chapman, knowing few could afford a GT. built the Europa, the Ford GT for the common man. A Ron Hickman team design. Hickman is the guy that designed the WorkMate……..

        Gawd……….if I have lied about any of this from my old feeble brain…….have mercy on me.

        Like 1
      • Don Andreina

        Interesting little nugget from Ludvigsen’s recent Chapman book. At the start of the book, there’s a timeline. 1964 reads: ‘Shunned by Ford for its Le Mans programme, Chapman envisages retaliation with Type 30 family of mid-engined backbone-framed cars.’

      • paul

        Relax r b, this is laid back BF, & we already know you know what your talking about..

    • jim s

      what is the connection? thanks

    • Don Andreina

      All I can find is the Lotus 29 Indy car and early GT40s shared the same Colotti transaxle. Might the connection between the Europa and GT40 be the same height from road to roof?

    • Dolphin Member

      Sorry Rancho, I can’t remember a link between the Lotus Europa and GT40, other than the general layout and look, which were very similar.

      What I can remember is that Eric Broadley and his Lola GT were more or less bought out by Ford and became the basis of the GT40 after some more development, so that Ford could compete with (i.e., BEAT) Ferrari at Le Mans. I think Broadley left fairly soon, and things were carried on by Ford Advanced Vehicles, so the important development work of making the Lola into a fast and reliable racer were done by Ford.

      • mbell666

        Happened to watch a documentary about the history of Lotus last week, it said something very similar to what Rancho said about the Europa design.

      • Dolphin Member

        Rancho and mbell666 are right.
        See the quote on this question below.

  8. John

    How do you forget about a GT40?!?

    Like 1
  9. Don Andreina

    Holy frigging Schmoley! That junk sitting on that car certainly doesn’t look like a put-on. Even if this is a garage, that is one genyoowine Barnfind.

  10. Alan

    Born in Dayton, hung around there off and on after I was independent… Have “Salt” stories to tell, even though I never met the man. One of my buds worked for Walther Marina in West Carrollton, and helped with the Indy cars. OH man, I must be old, that was a long time ago!

    Like 1
  11. davew833

    If you look carefully, most of the junk isn’t ON the GT40- there’s some kind of structure built over it that supports most of the junk load. I just see some pillows and soft stuff and some cardboard boxes on the car itself. Still, it’s definitely well surrounded with junk!

    Like 1
  12. mtshootist1

    tell you what, this is the work of women. The old man died, got senile, etc. and the women piled junk in around and on top of his car. if you look carefully it is probably his stuff that they got out of the house, and a bunch of their garage sale stuff as well. I have the same problem, my wife is constantly piling junk around my motorcycle collection. It is a constant battle. Good thing they didn’t have the strength to push it outside, or it would have wound up in the alley by the dumpster.

    Like 2
  13. Dirty Dingus McGee

    I gotta find better garages/barns to hunt in. I have dug out a couple decent finds over the years( ’60 Biscayne 2 door 283/3 speed, 66 Dart GT 225/TorqueFlite) , so hope springs eternal.

  14. Doug

    @mtshootist, got my barnfind on the way from Jesse (VW GTI) evicting the g/f over the past week to make room, enuf of her taking over my garage:)

    Like 1
    • Doug

      As much as the GT makes me drool an old 911 now on the shortlist
      BF’s NOT g/f’s forever!

  15. julian gould

    When Ford wanted a GT, Eric Broadley was already exhibiting his Lola GT at the London Racing Car Show.. Thus he was commissioned to develop the GT40 as most of the books agree.
    No link to the Europa which was a rear engined Elan built on the same principles with a back bone chassis.

  16. julian gould

    Not sure about that GT40.
    Are the tail lights correct?
    And I don’t see any mention of a chassis number.
    i certainly can’t see enough detail to believ in this one.

  17. skibum2

    Check out the private showplace in Squim Wa. for the inspiration for the GT 40…What a treat to see.. along with a real cobra and Daytona coupe too..

  18. Dolphin Member


    You and mbell666 had it right. Chapman did submit a design for the GT40 project, but a problem arose, so the design ended up being used for the Europa instead:

    “The [Lotus Europa] concept originated during 1963 with drawings by Ron Hickman, director of Lotus Engineering…, for a bid on the Ford GT40 project. That contract went to Lola Cars as Colin Chapman wanted to call the car a Lotus and Henry Ford II insisted it would be called Ford. Chapman chose to use Hickman’s aerodynamic design…as the basis for the Europa production model…” –from the Wikipedia entry for the Lotus Europa, ‘History’ section

    Wikipedia saves the day (and us old guys) again.

    Like 2
  19. Fred W

    Recently I scored 40 out of 40 on on of those “Identify these ’60’s cars” quizzes you see online. And yet, I’m (almost) a complete outsider in this conversation. At least I know what a GT40 is!

  20. Jack Quantrill

    This is a motivator! I’m going out now, to get rid of that garage junk. Hoarding is an illness! It grows, like a cancer.

    Like 3
  21. Redwagon

    An update on this car would be nice. Anyone know anything?

    Like 1
    • Klfulop

      This car is currently being restored in California. It may be completed this year.

      Like 1
  22. Bubba5

    Grandpas 1948 International KB 2 with 55,000 miles all driven in a 300 mile radius of the house is in there.

    Like 4
    • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

      Dig it out!
      Drive it!
      You’ll never be sorry for that.

      Like 1
  23. PDXBryan

    These kind of stories just kill me! How, why, who, when did they…oh, it’s just nuts!
    Thanks for reposting this!

    Like 3

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