Barn Find Hunter Uncovers Rare Mothballed Cars You’ve Probably Never Heard Of


In the latest, extra-long episode of Barn Find Hunter, Tom Cotter gets a tour of a Detroit Historical Society warehouse. Dave Marchioni, the Industrial & Automotive Curator of the collection, serves as Tom’s tour guide. We get to follow along as they stroll through the space that houses dozens of vehicles in sealed bubbles. Marchioni explains that the purpose of the Detroit Historical Society is to preserve all of the city’s history, from its primitive past to the present. As such, hundreds of thousands of artifacts are preserved while only a small fraction can be displayed. This warehouse, like most museum archives, is not usually open to the public. Thankfully, Tom made the most of this behind-the-scenes look.

The tour begins with several rare and early-production models. Marchioni introduced one of the first 50 Fieros to leave the assembly line, a one-off Cadillac wagon built off the books, and a 1925 Rickenbacker, which was designed by WWI fighter ace and race driver Eddie Rickenbacker.

Our first detailed look at a car outside of its protective bubble is a Packard Pan-American. Based on a Packard Clipper, the car was sectioned 4 inches to give it a sleek look. Filled with custom touches, it was updated over the years to reflect Packard’s current styling trends.

An incredibly rare and bizarre car, or perhaps motorcycle, grabs Tom’s attention next. Despite being equipped with a pair of outriggers, the 1913 Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo was meant to be driven on two wheels. Its water-cooled V-8 engine was the first of its kind to be manufactured in Detroit.

Ford Cougar II Cobra-based coupe
Barn Find Hunter

Some of our favorite cars uncovered during this lengthy episode are a pair of Cobra-based sports cars featuring sleek bodywork. Tom’s friend Jim Maxwell, got to poke around them to compare to a slightly later production Cobra. It’s fascinating how much of the underlying Cobra remained in the sleek, modern-looking—by comparison—Ford Cougar II coupe and Ford Bordinat Cobra. It’s a shame these beautiful cars, which resemble an Italian take on a C2 Sting Ray, never went into production.

This episode contains many more interesting vehicles than just the few we’ve mentioned. Grab a beverage, put your feet up, and take in the rare and significant examples that Tom, Dave, and Jim explore. There won’t be a test later, but for those watching from Florida, Tom does have some homework. Until next time, happy hunting.


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    What a dream Job! Please hire me, I will sweep, dust, anything. Just to be around cool cars, historical cars all that. Love history and cars. I am an addiction counselor, but I would quit in a second to work with you guys. Even if it meant taking a pay cut. plus, my 4-year-old daughter loves car. She would think I was a superhero if I had a job like this.

    We all probably have a different idea of what a barn find is, but in my mind it is a car stashed in a barn or garage that miraculously survived largely intact

    This is more of a museum find

    Saw this a while back. It amazes me how many significant cars are just never or seldom displayed..

    I know it cost money but I wish they could be seen more often.

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