The Hunt For A Pair Of Gullwings

South Florida Bentley

Hello Barn Finds… Here’s a story for you. Similar to the trailer queens story. Please excuse my grammar, I’m a much better mechanic than a writer ;) A customer of mine stopped by the shop one day a few weeks ago and we got talking about the Barn Finds web site and the treasures revealed that may never have seen the light of day again, when he mentioned to me about a bunch of “garage finds” and a pair of Mercedes Gullwings in . He said it had been many years since he had actually seen them but they were owned by an acquaintance of his and he would call to see if they were still there. After many phone calls back and forth we took a trip down to see what he had. “Do I need my check book?” I asked. “Not this trip, just a handshake and we’ll sort the details out later.”

Upon arriving at the address I spotted the first car of many that needed a lot of love and attention, a Jaguar XJ12 Series 2. Apparently running and driving when it was parked there but now due to the nature of outside storage in Florida, the rust worm has firmly made it home. In her white with dark blue interior, I bet this early V12 jag was glorious in her years past, and is right on the cusp of being unsaveable. Another year out here and it will be curtains for sure. Sitting alongside the sorry series 2 is a late 70’s (exact year to be determined) Porsche 911 Targa that looked like it caught a dose of the tin worm from the XJ12. Also apparently running when parked this car still bears the factory dark blue paint and the interior, be it original, is worse for wear. She’s sporting the later 944 5 spoke wheels and the targa top needs “a little attention”.

Also in the covered parking area is a 73 Jaguar E-Type V12 OTS, that was running not to long ago and has numerous spare parts already purchased in mind of a full restoration, including a new bonnet. Along side the E is a cobra replica that looked a little, let’s say, tired. And on the other side was the rarest car I’d seen so far on this trip, a 76 Jensen Interceptor Cabriolet. One of the last if not the last built so I’m told. Looked ok from what I could see, a little rust around the hood edges but nothing super scary, but it was 15 foot away (as close as I could get). And at this point the heavens opened so we searched for cars better covered. (No pictures of these cars outside yet. Weather was not photo friendly). We go into the house and the first signs of Gullwing begin to appear, a giant poster on the wall which I point out, and I’m told “that is a picture of my car”. I wonder how long ago it was taken because it looks to be in mint show condition.

South Florida Ford

To the first garage area, where when the door opened I was greeted by a Model A Ford. Not my cup of tea not my realm of expertise but a very early car so I’m told being built with the last of the model T parts. In WAY better condition than the previous group, thanks to some weather shelter I can only imagine. Complete with its fold away gear lever and Color coded steering wheel, a cool old car. In the next garage space is a grand old 65 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III. Same as the XJ12, she was sporting the Wedding White exterior and looked like she was in fair condition. Needed some tidying up and a few blister repairs in the usual Cloud places but could be back on her feet in no time, or is a prime candidate for a full restoration or resto-mod. All the class of this lovely lady with the heart and pace of a more youthful example. Ahead of the Model A is a gaggle of Brits of the two wheeled variety… A few BSA’s, a pair of Norton twins and a Triumph to mix things up a little. I’m not a two wheel kind of guy but if you have interest give me a shout and I’ll find out more about them. A quick look around some crates and boxes but no sign of any mercedes anywhere.

South Florida Porsche

So onward and upward as my host says. The next set of garages is 7 wide, as we walk in another Porsche Targa, this one a soft window 67 but alas it’s a 912. Apparently had new floor pans 20 years ago and doesn’t look as bad as some I have seen before but still needs a lot work before she’s even road worthy let alone show worthy. To her left is a Model A replica which I didn’t give much time and next to it another Jensen Interceptor, this time a coupe. On the other side of the 912 all the way at the other end is a Mercedes… I get a little excited only to be told it’s a 220S Coupe, a cool car but a far cry from the 300SL Gullwing I’m looking for. One car closer, a third Jensen Interceptor, this one also a coupe (at this point I’m guessing this guys got a thing for Interceptors). Another car closer a big Mercedes, apparently a 1959 300 Sedan but not sure. Dotted in between all these cars are more British motorcycles… And right in front of me is what first appeared to be just another Bentley Mk VI, but there’s something a miss. A split front window? New to me. Then after further inspection it has an alloy body, and “cloud” lines. It turns out to be a 1952 Mulliner bodied saloon car. Still trying to find out more on these cars but I don’t think there are too many of them. Suicide rear doors and a thick coat of dust are all I notice from where I’m standing but very grand in her presence.

South Florida Finds

Outside under another covered parking area are yet another pair of majestic mistresses of old. Both from 1961 so I’m told by the owner, an S2 Bentley and the monstrous Rolls Royce Phantom. BIG car. Still no Gullwings… :( at this point wondering if they were a tall tail or a case of mistaken identity?? Then I’m told “let’s take a ride, I own an old gas station around the corner”… And my faith is returned…

South Florida MG TC

So with the rain pouring down, a few flooded roads and a couple of blocks later we pull up to an old garage. Looks to have been the first thing built in this neighborhood. The door opens and my heart rate rises… I spy a 50’s British sports car, could it be an SS90? I wish. It’s a 49 MG TC, apparently only having 33000 miles on it and in remarkably good shape for a car of this vintage after being stored where she sat. In the back a large stately antique, I assume to be a Rolls Royce as its right hand drive. Upon closer inspection it’s a Silver Ghost Landaulette limousine. “1925” a voice yells at me from behind. I would love to bring her back to life and take her for a ride down memory lane. But still no Mercedes… At this point I have to ask… “So a little birdie says you have a Mercedes Gullwing or two?”, I ask. “Oh yeah, I sold one a few years back…” my heart sank’ “but I kept one. It’s up north though. If I can sell some of these cars and make some space then I’ll bring it down” and I’m trying so hard to hide my disappointed face. Not that I should be disappointed after seeing some real beauties but I had my heart set on coming away with a handshake on at least one Gullwing if not a pair so when your expectations are that high nothin else really comes close.

South Florida Jense

One last stop before we part ways to take a look at, can you guess? Yep, another Jensen Interceptor, this time really only a parts car for the others, tin worm in the Jag and Porsche I think originated here and ran out of tin to eat I guess. A “thank you for your time” with a handshake and we’re headed home. A quiet ride home, with just thoughts of what if… What if there were a pair of Gullwings sitting there? What did he sell the first one for a few years ago? How late to the party was I? What if that was an SS90 in that condition? Amongst my trying to keep the car on the road in the worst rain storm I had seen in years. My friend that told me about the cars initially, pipes up and says “sorry for the wasted trip” my reply, “no such thing when you open a treasure trove like that mate, who knows where this introduction will lead? I remain hopeful that I’ll find the “opportunity of a life time” be it the holy grail Gullwing, an SS90, the first real British sports car in my opinion, or some other piece of motoring art that time forgot. Some one once told me “Adam, you can’t save every puppy in the pound mate” but I’m gonna try. They all deserve another chance.

All the vehicles I saw are for sale, two and four wheel, and he has many more in other parts of the country. The owner has ideas of what he wants but is obviously open to offers and really only wants them to go to a good home. No trades, he needs the space and doesn’t need the head aches of restoring this many cars. We may restore one or two for him down the road but he would rather send them to a new owner that can enjoy them as much as he once did. He’s getting me vin numbers for cars I couldn’t get to while it was raining and I plan to return in a week or two so I can look again at the cars we didn’t have time for. For more information please send me an email here.

I want to thank Adam for sharing this find with us and I hope all of these cars can find good homes! I know I’m interested in giving one of the Jensen’s a good home, but we will see what it would cost to get one from Florida to Boise! So do you see any cars here you’d be interested in having?

WANT ADS

WANTED 1964 Pontiac GTO Looking for rust free post GTO. running gear optional. For resto mod Contact

WANTED 1968 Dodge Charger running or not Contact

WANTED 1984 -1985 Ford EXP Ideally rust free, solid running car with manual trans. Prefer ’84, ’85 Turbo model. Will consider 8 Contact

WANTED 1964 Ford Fairlane 500 2 dr HT I need both rear quarters Contact

WANTED 1970 Dodge Super Bee 4 speed, coupe preferred but nego., 383 or 440. Willing to pick up in lower 48. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Don Andreina

    Great story, shame about the ending. The white M-B in the cover pic is a post-1956 300 saloon. Thanks for sharing.

    • Don Andreina

      Also interested in knowing more about the Bentley in the cover pic. I know James Young made some R-type bodies from 1952-55 that looked a lot like the 1955 onwards Silver Cloud. Didn’t know Mulliner made them as well.

      • Adam T

        Here’s a picture of one in a little better condition. Still trying to find out how many were built but the one I found is a Mulliner aluminum bodied 1952 Bentley MK VI.

      • Don Andreina

        Thanks for replying Adam. I’m trying to figure out whether any of these James Young Sporting Saloons were actually built.

  2. Tony

    Great story. I would like some more info about the cars. I live in central Florida. Thanks

  3. A.J.

    Eh, if the author found a 300Sl was he willing to pay market or I assume “barn find” is a euphemism for “stole it”.

    What is behind the 912?

    • Adam T

      If I had found a 300SL I had already sold it and the value depended on its condition.

      Behind the 912 in the garage is a Model A replica, and the one parked outside is some sort of Corvette I assume. I didn’t even ask about the Vette. Not my kind of car… But if you want to know more I’ll find out.

  4. Rich

    Sooooo, I may be interested in the Interceptors. Can you please email me more pics and let me know what he’s asking on these? They are NOTORIOUS for rot so I’m wondering if the Florida salt did a number on them.

    • Adam T

      Send me an email and I’ll get you what I can on the Jensens. There is some rot for sure.

      • bill

        hello adam, i would be interested in the british bikes as a job lot and also the MGTC. please let me know if you get any offers and i will try to better them. i am from the u.k. cheers. bill.

  5. Ian

    Dropped an email, just interested in location in Florida.

    Also maybe tell the admins of barnfinds.com to change the hyperlink to your email as they forgot the m at the end of .com

    Thanks!

    – Ian

    • Adam T

      Hi Ian, email has been fixed. It was never .com but in fact a .co address. Thanks

  6. marc

    I’d be interested in buying all motorcycles as a lot. I’d love to have an approxination of what is there and the price. Not sure how to personally email you.

  7. Marc

    Email link doesn’t work even when corrected.

  8. mart schonberg

    i would like details on the 912 targa

  9. That Guy

    Wow, great story. There are definitely a lot of potential treasures there. Don’t be so quick to dismiss the 912. Like the 911 they have been skyrocketing in price recently, especially the soft-window Targas, and there have always been people who prefer the lighter 912 over the 911. Interceptors are also on the up, though as you noted, they can rust like nothing I’ve ever seen. And the Mercedes 300 Adenauer sedan has a lot of potential too, if it’s not a rusty wreck. Maybe you didn’t catch the Gullwing this time, but this is still a terrific find.

  10. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    The email link should work correctly now. Thanks guys.

    • marc

      Thanks but appears to still not work – emails bouncing back. I will risk posting my email here so that Adam can contact me regarding motorcycles as a whole lot.

      Regards…marc
      santacaferacer@excite.com

  11. jim s

    great story and finds, even without the Gullwings there are a lot of interesting vehicles in the photos. please keep us updated. thanks

  12. RoughDiamond

    @Adam T-Thanks for sharing such a great story and a treasure trove of vehicles. It still amazes me to this day what is still out there in hiding.

  13. Doug Towsley

    Geez, this is worse than click bait on the yahoo home page. Talk about getting people all excited. I bet right now theres people running around the countryside trying to find this treasure horde. Perhaps theses some grizzled old guy holding a Mossberg 12 gauge combo with alternating rounds of Rock Salt and Double O Buckshot yellin’ “Get offa mah lawn!”
    But I too am intrigued by the mention of British motorcycles. I have a weakness for them. I emailed, I hope to hear back from you. I also have 2 reliable friends in Florida who have been known to go check things out on my behalf (as i have done for them as well)
    so, please, please, let me know about these bikes.
    Im also a member of the Norton Club, BSA Club, VME, OVM, AMCA and NWVCMM. Cheers. cool stuff!!

    • Doug Towsley

      emails are bouncing, if you can, post a valid email or phone number. Interested in the bikes.

  14. Tara P

    Such a host of beautiful cars all turning to rust when’st they came.

  15. Ken

    I’m a So Cal transplant to SW Florida and have been into Porsches and VWs for many years. Would love to get a look at these Targas.

  16. josh

    Sounds like the seller would do a lot better selling the british bikes at auction.

  17. bill

    i would be interested in buying the british bikes as a job lot. cheers. bill.

  18. Dedicated reader

    I have sent two emails to the link shown above. Is there an expected delay in recieving a response? I have an interest in possibly a purchase but would like to discuss my interest with somebody.
    Thanks!

  19. Adam T

    Hello all. My apologies if we haven’t returned your email, it’s been pretty crazy. In response to everyone’s questions we are still compiling a list of what’s there. The gentleman has a lot more cars than we saw and are in the process of cataloging what he has and all relevant data to price them. As you can see the cars are buried so it’s taking a lot longer than previously thought. The response to the article has far far exceeded my expectations and in hindsight I probably should of held off until we had finished the list. Too boot the weather down here hasn’t been very helpful the last couple of weeks either. So hang tight and I will forward all the information to the interested parties and to barnfinds.com for a follow up once we have done our homework. Thanks everyone for your patience and interest.

Leave a Reply to Ken Cancel reply

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.