Searching for automotive gold during a pandemic can be problematic, even for Barn Find Hunter Tom Cotter. So he’s getting by with a little help from his friends.

In episode 96, Tom visits Tim Herman in Hickory, North Carolina, a city that’s famous for two things: furniture and Porsches. Seriously. As Herman explains, Hickory is so Porsche-crazy that at one time all six Porsche 959s in North America were located right here, 56 miles northwest of Charlotte.

Herman, 72, has been restoring high-end Porsches for nearly 50 years, so he has plenty of Porsche barn-find stories. And although we’re here to focus on a machine that resulted in not one but two rare 1955 Porsche 356 Continentals, Tom has to get a lay of the land first. So he starts by showing us a clean SC engine and then mentions that Herman is looking to hire two experienced body guys, or he’ll never finish all of the cars on his list. (You can inquire at carerramotorsport.com.)

The first car we see is a stunning blue-over-red 356 (Pre-A) that was once part of Herman’s collection but is now headed elsewhere. Then we step into another room and check out the progress of a 1952 356 body, which is currently in primer, that Herman and his staff have been working on “five days a week for a year.” When completed, it will be Asher Blue over light beige.

Finally, Herman shows us the reason we’re here. He explains that he once stopped to look at a Volkswagen inside a barn and saw a rusted-out 356 cabriolet. As he started to negotiate a deal, the owner said that Herman would also have to take a 356 roadster in similar condition. Done.

Work on the cabriolet “Continental,” one of fewer than 50 made and 6–8 known to exist, came first and seems to be progressing well. The roadster provides Tom an example of what the cab once looked like.

“It’s a little crispy,” Herman admits as Tom examines some rusted-out metal.

“It would scare the willies out of me,” Tom says.

Herman is nonchalant. “That’s just all in a day’s work.”

Tom and the crew step outside of Herman’s shop (Herman & Walker, LLC) and point out some newer—and less expensive—Porsches sitting outside Herman’s neighbor, JTS Motorsports, which is a Porsche service shop. First, Tom shows us a 924 “that’s trashed, but I’m told it runs.” It can be had for $500. “If you only have $500 to spend on an entry-level project car, these are out there,” Tom says, then jokes, “If you want to own the ugliest Porsche in the world, then here’s your opportunity to do that.”

One thing is for sure: A 924 will cost you a lot less than the cars on which Herman spends most of his time and labor.

Until next time, happy hunting.

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Since the introduction of the Barn Find Hunter series, the tips and leads have never slowed down. Tom has mentioned in the past that he simply can’t get to all of them—there is just too many. The information coming to us is worth talking about though, so we put out a call in the Hagerty Community for folks to share their best barn finds. Of course, the photos and videos rolled in. With limited travel time, Tom sat down and perused the posts to give his take on the best that have been submitted thus far.

Range Rover Triplet

Dougscars must be a special kind of masochist because he found and acquired not just one Range Rover Classic, but three. They were in sad shape when they came home, but within a day he had them running and even got them driving. The power plant in these Range Rovers is a variation of the Buick 215 V-8, which is stout and durable, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised they came to life so easily. Then again, looking at the photo of a pair in the field where they were sitting makes them look pretty rough.

GTI, Hearse, and Beetle, oh my!

This next group of find comes from kfolk‘s front yard. It’s an eclectic grouping for sure, led by a what Tom believes is an eight-valve 1986 Volkswagen GTI. It’s a car Tom knows a good bit about because he has one in his home garage right now. He bought his new and it served as a family car for many years. The next car in this group is a rusty but seemingly complete Cadillac hearse. Tom recounts when these used hearses were cheap and he would watch the surf guys strip out the interior to make them into surf wagons.

The MG and Jaguar in the… Lean to?

There isn’t much information for Tom to go off with the photos AJS sent, but the images make Tom want to know more. What appears to be an MG TD and Jaguar XK140 are under some type of shelter roof, but there are no walls to protect these two Brits from getting absolutely covered in dust. We can’t even be sure what the paint color is on either car, but they each look complete and worth saving. A really neat find.

FJ40 rescue

The Toyota FJ40 has been riding the value roller coaster, and as it has continued to climb the likelihood of finding a good one in the sticks seems to shrink. User dhaayer didn’t let that discourage him, and he got lucky enough to come across a nice FJ40 in southern British Columbia that was worth saving. He has documented his journey to bring it back to roadworthy condition in a video series that is worth a watch.

Not Indiana—India

Tom has been luck enough to travel coast to coast in the U.S., and even the U.K. on the hunt for vintage iron. One country he hasn’t been lucky enough to visit yet is India. Tom likes the thought of uncovering interesting cars in other countries, and TheDoc68 only reinforces Tom’s interest by posting a group of cars from India. It’s an interesting mix of English and American cars and includes a first-generation Camaro. That must have been difficult to import, and it looks like the current owner is taking care of it as such.

That is just a taste of the submissions that Tom and the team have received, and we will continue highlighting the best that come in via the Hagerty Community. If you would like to share yours, be sure to add some photos and include a brief description. You never know, Tom Cotter might be knocking on your door.

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There are a few things Tom Cotter like to do the old-fashioned way, and finding vintage iron by doing his own footwork is one of them. However, the occasional tip comes through that he can’t ignore. In this case, it’s a call from Steve Davis who has a 365-foot long chicken coop that is no longer used for poultry. Instead, the structure packs all manner of vintage horsepower, of both the two- and the four-wheeled variety.

The property might look familiar to long-time Barn Find Hunter viewers, because Tom first visited back in 2017. There weren’t enough hours in the day to investigate the vehicles in all 12 of Steve’s buildings, so Tom decided to return and take a more focused approach. This hunt is all about two-wheeled vehicles, and the stash is epic.

The starting point is a lineup of 1960s Hondas, which for Steve represents the literal starting point of his collection. In his youth, he borrowed some money from his father and fixed up a few Honda 50s. Soon, Steve realized he was never going to get rid of anything, and the proverbial snowball started rolling. Today, he owns a full-on avalanche of timeless machines.

A couple highlights include a fleet of unrestored Yamaha motocross bikes from the late-’70s, a Wankel rotary-powered Hercules, and a Czechoslovakian-built CZ whose odd starting method is its claim to fame. The shift lever on the bike’s left side pushes in and flips over to become the kickstart—one lever to do it all. In the end, though, Steve’s hoard is merely the appetizer to the main course that exists just down the road.

The second collection is owned by Robin and, despite being just 10 miles from Steve’s well-known property, was entirely unknown to Steve until recently. Robin is a U.K. transplant who loves the motorcycles of his homeland and has acquired and stashed a multitude of vintage machines.

The cornerstone is a Vincent “Red” Rapide that he purchased in 1964. Robin has done a lot of work to the bike over the years to upgrade it to Black Shadow specification. Interestingly, just 26 Vincents like Robin’s made it stateside, and the red paint is said to have been sourced from the U.S. Post Office fleet. Sitting right next to the red Rapide is a black Rapide that has been a part of this collection for 50 years as well. When Robin buys, he buys what he likes and holds onto it.

Tom jokes at the outset of this episode that the nice thing about motorcycles is their compact size; you can store 10 bikes in one car’s worth of space. A motorcycle collector can easily amass a decent collection in a small garage or storage space, but that also makes bikes a bit tougher to find out in the wild. Tom loves a challenge, though, and that’s why we love him.

Be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel and tune in each Friday for new Barn Find Hunter episodes. These motorcycles are just the start of the new season, and you won’t want to miss the great finds just around the corner.

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