Barn Find Hunter uncovers time-capsule Pantera, R-Code Galaxie 500

Tom Cotter stops by a friend’s property on the latest episode of Barn Find Hunter, hoping to catch a glimpse of something new.

When the opening shot reveals a clearing filled with at least 80 classic cars, you know this is going to be a good find, but that’s not the half of it. The vehicles outside, which include a late-production C3 Corvette, an early second-generation K5 Blazer, and a whole lot of ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s American iron, are in various states of rot and disrepair. Tom has already braced us for this, warning earlier in the episode that, “They’ve kind of deteriorated down to a point where I’d call them sculpture.”

It's a rainy day, and the big field behind the shop where this stash is located is more or less a marsh. As the mud and wet grass squishes under his feet, Tom walks past a ’69 Camaro, a ’69 Impala, and a ’57 Ford two-door wagon on the way to his first talking point, a ’63 Ford fastback with a 390 that seems to be a good candidate for a restoration. Next up is a ’72 two-wheel-drive Chevy K5 Blazer and right next to it, a 3/4-ton ’72 Suburban.

The sheer number of cars keeps Tom from seeing everything at once, which means he skips right over a wood-grained Vega wagon to scope out a big-block Impala and a trio of Corvairs. We’ll forgive him for that, as there’s much cooler metal ahead. For example, as he opens the hood to discover a ’66 Impala’s big-block V-8 is not entirely intact but still in place, he’s standing by a different 1969 Camaro.

Out in the back of the field, in more the mud, the remains of a 1963 Ford Galaxie represent an automotive tragedy for Tom. What was once an R-code 427 four-speed car has been cut up and cannibalized for parts. Hopefully its powertrain is back on the road in another R-code somewhere. 

We’re able to spot a ’60 Impala, a Kaiser Henry J, a ’66 or ’67 Pontiac Tempest, and an early ’70s Pontiac Ventura Custom as the Barn Find Hunter film crew heads toward a car that was stored in slightly better conditions, an early De Tomaso Pantera. A little bit of cover and some breathing room between it and the damp ground didn’t save this mid-engine Italian marvel from a fate that often claimed cars of that era: rust. Still, the inside of the car is a time warp to the late ’70s, complete with an 8-track player and massive car phone. Still, the car's yellow paint and lovely shape are a sight for sore eyes on this rainy day.

Just so you’re not too sad about the derelict R-code, this episode concludes with a nicely-preserved 1963 R-code Galaxie 500 XL nestled among a ’69 Mustang and early Thunderbird. Located way in the back of a large storage unit, the R-code Galaxie looks like it might have been the first car stored there before dozens of others boxed it into a corner. In recent years it looks like it's been used more as a shelf for junk, than anything else. Tom pops the hood to reveal the dual-quad 427 that was used by many of NASCAR and drag racing’s most notable teams in the early ’60s.

Most of these cars weren’t visible from the road, but to a savvy car spotter willing to ask a few questions they weren’t totally hidden, either. As Tom reminds us, keep an eye open, because finds like these could just be a backroad drive away.