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Massive Firehouse Find!

Every red-blooded enthusiast dreams of the moment when they open the door of a barn or shed to find a classic staring at them. Finding two cars would be better, and the excitement would grow if the figure went higher. Imagine opening the door of a disused firehouse to be confronted with sixty-nine of the most desirable classics to grace our streets. They have been one man’s passion for seven decades, but all good things end. The collection recently went under the hammer, but it’s worth examining some of the vehicles to grasp the diversity of this enthusiast’s taste. Barn Finder Larry D has a reputation for spotting amazing cars, but I believe this group surpasses everything he’s previously referred. Thank you so much, Larry, for providing me with the privilege to write about these magnificent machines.

The owner purchased his first car at fourteen, and he neglected to stop for the next seven decades! We’ve seen extensive collections previously at Barn Finds, but they’re usually scattered around buildings offering limited protection from moisture and rodents. This owner was serious about preservation because this group occupied two floors of a disused firehouse. It is dry and clean, allowing excellent conservation. He preferred Thunderbirds, and the building contains several examples covering the 1950s and 1960s. They include this tidy 1955 model featuring a factory hardtop. Its exterior wears Torch Red paint, while the interior is upholstered in matching Code XB Red and White. Tilting the hood reveals a 292ci V8. Its 193hp feeds to the rear wheels via a three-speed manual transmission. The overall condition is difficult to fault. As with most of his cars, the paint wears a light dust coating. The interior is spotless, making it no surprise that this classic sold at auction for $29,700. Each of the classics I cover offers much to appreciate and consider. Therefore, I have included a large gallery at the bottom of this article containing some extra shots of the cars I’ve featured.

What would any good collection be without a stunning Nomad? This one delivers with several, including this beautiful 1956 model. Finished in Code 711 India Ivory and Matador Red, it continues the theme of dusty but solid. The paint shines impressively, and it shows no evidence of corrosion or rust. The interior features Red and Ivory trim, with a factory AM radio and clock occupying their rightful places in the spotless dash. The engine bay houses a 265ci V8, and although the details are vague, it looks like it wears a 4-barrel carburetor. That means it should produce around 205hp. The driving experience should be relaxed courtesy of the original owner’s decision to include a two-speed Powerglide transmission and power steering. It is unclear when this Nomad last saw active service, but the overall condition suggests returning it to a roadworthy state may not be difficult. Considering the popularity of ’56 Nomads, its sale price of $55,000 is unsurprising.

This collection offered something for everyone, and C1 Corvette enthusiasts received something special. This Roman Red ‘Vette is from the final production year and features a matching and spotless interior. The overall condition is impressive, but its desirability climbs significantly when you open the hood. This car is 1-of-1,918 which rolled off the line with the 327ci fuelie V8 under the hood. Able to produce 360hp, it became a genuine jet because the original owner coupled that stunning V8 with a four-speed manual transmission. This car cemented the Corvette’s reputation for high performance and could scorch the ¼ mile in 14.1 seconds. It is headed to a new home after the buyer handed over $68,200 for that privilege.

The First Generation Buick Riviera is often considered the most beautiful personal luxury car from the 1960s. Although the Arctic White paint on this 1965 model shows age, I believe it would respond well to some careful polishing. Its Dark Green leather interior exhibits no flaws beyond minor wear on the driver’s seat outer edge piping and slightly faded carpet. Buick cemented its luxury credentials with lashings of timber trim, power windows, and an AM/FM radio. It features the larger 425ci V8, giving the driver at least 360hp to send to the road via a three-speed automatic transmission. This Riviera may focus on luxury, but its ability to produce a sub-16-second ¼-mile ET would have satisfied most enthusiasts. With a sale price of $18,700, it was one of the bargain buys of this auction.

I would typically avoid playing favorites in a collection like this, but if I could take one of these cars home, it would undoubtedly be this Wimbledon White 1966 Mustang Convertible. It is almost my perfect car because the slight styling changes made by Ford for that year hit a sweet spot with me. The original owner selected a Red and White Pony interior, and the only flaw worthy of note is the missing wheel center. The Rally Pac gauges further enhance its desirability, and there are no aftermarket additions. However, its ace is the K-Code 289ci V8 producing 271hp. The power feeds to the wheels via a three-speed automatic transmission, and the desirability of this classic makes the sale price of $62,700 no surprise.

Most Bow-Tie enthusiasts would probably get as far as this 1969 Camaro and decide it’s the one they would take home. This Hugger Orange RS/SS presents beautifully. Its interior features stunning Orange and Black houndstooth upholstery, a console, the usual collection of gauges, air conditioning, power windows, a power top, and a tilt wheel. This car is about more than good looks, with its engine bay housing the fire-breathing L78 version of the legendary 396ci V8. That big-block churned out 375hp, which fed to the road via a four-speed manual transmission. With the ability to storm the ¼-mile in 14.4 seconds, it represents rapid drop-top motoring. Its specifications and equipment levels make the sale price of $110,000 unsurprising.

The owner didn’t restrict the age of classics that took his fancy, as demonstrated by this 1989 Mustang GT Convertible. Its panels wear Code 1C Black paint with a matching power top. It is dusty, but I think it would respond well to professional detailing. There is no physical damage or rust, while its Red cloth interior trim shows some minor wear on the outer driver’s seat bolster. The owner receives the usual comfort features like air conditioning, power windows, power locks, and cruise control. Its engine bay houses a 5.0-liter fuel-injected V8 that produced 225hp. Coupled with a four-speed automatic transmission, its ability to cover the ¼-mile in 15.4 seconds told the world that Ford had rediscovered its performance roots. This Mustang proved one of the auction bargains, reaching $9,900 when the hammer fell.

By the time proceedings ended on this auction, the owner’s bank account had swelled by more than $1.9 million. However, he probably viewed that figure as irrelevant because you can never place a value on a genuine passion and a lifetime of memories. One of the difficulties with writing an article of this type is selecting which cars to feature. When a collection has less than a dozen cars, that’s usually easy. A collection this extensive and diverse is challenging. Please don’t take my word for it. Examining the recent collection auction here at Mecum Auctions will provide a graphic insight. Once you have checked the entire collection, it will be fascinating to read which car (or cars)  you would park in your garage.


  1. Avatar photo Mikefromthehammer

    Adam, I’ve got to go with your choice – 1966 Mustang. Some people might be turned off by the 3-spd auto, but the engine is stout and my wife cannot drive a manual transmission so this would be a perfect car for us both to enjoy. I just wish it was silver blue – as was the first 65/66 Mustang I ever drove. Although it was a rust bucket it was a goer.

    Like 4
  2. Avatar photo AndyinMA

    To own a big old building and fill it with old cars – yes that is my dream.

    Like 25
  3. Avatar photo sakingsbury20

    I’m Buick/chevy thru an thru, but if the mustang was a 4spd it would be that….nothing like a high revving solid lifter small block….as far as the Camaro goes, although the writeup doesn’t say about numbers matching, I’ve never seen or heard of an AC equipped L78……

    Like 5
  4. Avatar photo Michelle Rand Staff

    Oh, the ’89 Mustang, automatic and all. Easy, fast, fun.

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Steve

    I’ll take any of them! I’ll even pay for shipping.

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Fran

    WOW. Nice! That’s all to say!

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Solosolo Member

    I would have the 1956 Ford Sunliner in a heartbeat.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Larry D

    @Adam Clarke

    Thank you profusely, Adam. I’ll keep digging. Thanks again.

    Larry D

    Like 4

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