Success Story: Step Van Sold To Gas Monkey Garage!


From David B – Most of us who visit here, subscribe to the Barn Finds emails and love the idea of a barn find, realize that finding that hidden treasure or lost soul is only part of the fun. The other part is the story that goes with that automobile. Why is that car in that garage, under that tarp, sitting in the weeds next to the house? What caused the family to park the car? Operational issues? Emotional/Sentimental reasons? Is the current owner the first owner, the third… tenth? What other stories are attached to that car? To me, those stories are the car’s soul, and I have set out to find those lost souls and hopefully get them into the hands of those who can/will save them and continue their stories.


This is a success story in more ways than one and I’ll start with the owner of these vehicles, 1956 Ford F250 Stake Bed, a ‘73 Chevy Step Van and a ‘73 Chevy 1 ton pickup. The owner started a vending machine company back in the 50’s and needed a sturdy truck to deliver the machines with. He purchased, brand new, the ‘56 Ford and had a lift gate installed so he could move the machines to wherever they needed to go. As his business grew and the ‘56 stake bed was starting to get a little long in the tooth, he purchased, again brand new, two 1973 Chevrolet trucks; a P30 Step Van and a C30 1 ton pickup truck. The step van would become his repair truck, filled with parts and the pickup truck, also fitted with a lift gate, would become the delivery truck.


The fellow who owned these trucks was a car guy and all around tinkerer; his warehouse full of odd mechanical contraptions to help him be more efficient in some way or another. He did all the work to the vehicles himself and started taking the ‘56 Ford to car and truck shows as early as the mid 60’s, there are dash plaques showing it, from ‘63 to current, 2015. Around the time he bought the 73’s, he disassembled the ‘56 and rebuilt the motor, repainted the truck and refinished the bed/stakes, with the assistance of his wife. By the late 80’s, he was nearing 70 years old and decided to slowly step away from the vending machine business, but keep the now fairly classic trucks. At 70 he replaced the motor in the ‘73 pickup with a Targetmaster 350 and repainted the entire truck, again, with the help of his wife and several buddies.


Unfortunately, as life would have it, we do have to leave here someday and he parted with this world a couple of months back at the still chipper age of 94, having recently (2015) taken the ‘56 Ford to a local car show. I work with the attorney for the estate and she asked me to assist in getting the trucks sold. I scheduled time to get in and get all three photographed, which, with several older family members and some friends of his milling about, made it a little hard to get all the shots I would have hoped for. I fired all of them up and shifted them to see if the mechanicals moved OK and then got to setting them up on my web site.


I knew right off the bat that as warehouse/storage finds, I wanted to have them featured here on Barn Finds. I love the whole idea of the site, I like the community and of course, I love old cars and trucks. I filled in all the information, sent off the links, etc to the Barn Finds admin folks and within a couple of days heard back that the ads would be featured. The first one to be featured was the ‘73 Step Van. Within hours, I had offers coming in. All reasonable but a bit lower than what we were hoping for, then, I rec’d a call from someone many of us probably know, Richard Rawlings of Gas Monkey Garage fame. He offered more than asking price… SOLD. That was within one day of it being featured on Barn Finds.


In the same time frame, traffic to my website doubled. Due to the increase in traffic, the ‘56 Ford F250 Stake Bed sold within another 5 days. I have had a couple of offers on the ‘73 Chevy 1 ton, not close enough to asking or where the family would like to be just yet. The ’65 T-Bird that was also featured has rec’d several interested emails but, as she is not a purist’s dream, hasn’t hit the right person yet. However, in terms of a success story.. This has got to be it. In just one week I was able to get two vehicles sold for their owners, traffic to my website more than tripled within a month’s time and still now, a month later, is at the same level as it was last month. My email list has increased by nearly 40%.


The ‘56 Ford was picked up and driven 60 miles home, as it was purchased locally here to CT. The new owner tells of an adventurous drive home as the brakes were a little sticky and at each step on the peddle; the truck would pull, in a different direction. He loves the truck, has already had it in for the needed service and tells me she has found her forever home.


The ‘73 Chevy Step Van was picked up today, a few weeks after selling, because, well, Gas Monkey is in TX and they simply don’t move at the same pace we do here in New England… LOL
Pictured is the new owner of the red ‘56 waving as he drives out of the lot, and the ‘73 P30, loaded up and ready to head west.
My Barn Finds experience has been truly remarkable and worth every penny invested.

I’d like to thank David for sharing his success story with us! It always feels good to know that we have helped a few classics find good homes. If you have a barn, garage or shed find that needs a new home, please consider listing it here on Barn Finds! You can find out more about listing with us here. And if you have a BF Success story, we would love to hear about it!


WANTED 1984 -1985 Ford EXP Ideally rust free, solid running car w/ man. trans. Prefer ’84, ’85 Turbo model. Or 86 Contact

WANTED 1959 Cadillac Seeking convertible Rust free Contact

WANTED 1967-1969 Pontiac Firebird Looking for an original 400 convertible, 3 or 4 speed preferred. No restomods. Contact

WANTED 1958 Chevrolet impala looking for cruzer fender skirts for 1958 impala Contact

WANTED 1961-1974 Jaguar E Type Contact me if you have an xke or XK Contact

Submit Your Want Ad


  1. roselandpete

    Whether a BF success story or not, I think a lot of these vehicles have fascinating backstories that should be told and documented.

    • AutoArcheologist

      That’s why I do it, why I started in the first place. my site has several pages dedicated to the stories.. the souls.. of these cars.

  2. roger

    Let me guess.
    Rawlings will paint it flat black with black wheels.
    Thats what they do to everything.
    And why do supposedly sold cars turn up in background of next seasons shows.
    A nice comedy show with a little car action thrown in.
    Glad you sold van.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      I think you mean green, not black.

    • Tommy

      why are all the “sold” cars still there I was wondering the same thing.

      • Hoos Member

        I believe they film episodes concurrently, so many of the story lines overlap. I’ve seen the same type of thing on some other Velocity/Discovery shows.

  3. AutoArcheologist

    Thanx Roger,
    Richard is actually rather subdued when dealing with him, person to person on the phone. In speaking with him and via email, I gained some respect for him as a person and a car lover… and also as a businessman… One can’t argue what he has done to promote himself, his brand, etc. He has set himself up to live the rest of his life (if he was smart) comfortably, doing what he really does love and that is finding these cars and bringing them back.. granted, they may not fit many of our tastes when done, but at least they’re still on the road.

    Like 1
    • Mr. TKD

      It’s not the first time we’ve heard of someone playing it up for “reality television.” Pleased to hear he didn’t beat you up on your asking price.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Hmmm interesting. I just read an epic thread regarding their behavior in the early days. I had always hoped his slimey persona was just that, but after reading that I’m not so sure.

      Glad your experience was a positive one.

  4. JW

    Great vehicles and a great story, Thanks for sharing with us !!!

    • AutoArcheologist

      Quite welcome JW.

  5. Curt

    Personally i wouldn’t sell anything to GMG, imho all they do is ruin the car.If you’ve seen the show you know what i’m talking about, maybe I’m just to old for the way resto mod the cars.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Maybe, but at least you’re aware of it, everyone has their own tastes.

  6. grant

    The link to the T-bird goes to an administrator login.

    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      Oops! I accidentally put the wrong link in. It’s all fixed now!

  7. Fogline

    Man – would have loved that 56. My dad had one that I learned to drive stick on. Longer and perhaps a little heavier duty. It could haul 2 1/2 tons all day long – not fast, but you didn’t really feel the weight.

  8. chad

    …the stories R the best, sometimes skip the vehicles just for them…
    nother goodun, everyone made out!

  9. CarNut from Winnipeg Member

    Wasn’t the blue pickup on the site a while ago? I seem to recall the vending machine backstory.

    • AutoArcheologist

      You are correct. The blue 73 was featured not too long ago and is part of the whole master back story having yo do with the vending machines. BTW… All those classic vending machines are available..including some juke boxes, soda and candy machines and vintage cigarette… Cheap .. They are on my site. Contact me if interested.

Leave a Reply to JW Cancel reply

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.