Northern Michigan barn find reveals a trove of 1934 Fords
Matt Murray runs Iron Trap Garage, a YouTube channel dedicated to preserving classic cars, hot rods, and speed parts. His newest video details how he recently found a fabulous stash of ’34 Fords and spare parts. Well, technically the cars found Murray, as an email from the owner tipped him off about the score and offered them up for sale. Of course, he jumped at the chance and headed off to northern Michigan to collect his prize.
The big, wood-framed barn held five ’34 Fords, including a five-window coupe that appears shockingly original and has been untouched since the 1960s. By some miracle, the tires still hold air. There’s also an incomplete four-door sedan in the barn and most of a roadster that’s curiously right-hand-drive. This car was repatriated from Argentina some time in the ’70s. Argentina has been driving on the right side of the road since 1945, but before that, cars in that country would have been right-hand-drive to facilitate driving on the left. That’s not the only right-hand-drive Argentinian, as a phaeton is also among the collection.
A separate building hides a ’34 three-window coupe and some Ford dealership signs, plus quite a store of ’34 Ford body panels, including hoods, doors, decklids, and brackets. Additional buildings reveal more vintage trucks, floorpans, chassis, and more vintage signage. Murray and his crew spent most of a day extricating the cars from their storage spots, sometimes easier said than done. Some rolled out easily, others, without wheels, had to be dragged. They had quite a haul, and it took three trucks and trailers to get it all back to Iron Trap Garage’s home base in Pennsylvania.
We spoke with Murray, who told us that the car that got him interested in the collection was the nicely preserved five-window, but the collection’s owner wanted to sell the entire haul. “He wanted to have his heart broken once, not 10 times,” Murray explained. He also told us that plenty of these cars are already spoken for. A few of them are going to guys who have been searching for quite a while for original steel to build a proper car. So while Murray has a sizable collection of his own and plans on keeping the five-window and getting it on the road, he doesn’t want to be in a similar place in 50 years and have to get rid of a ton of cars. There’s clearly demand for the parts, too; one pair of ’33 five-window doors has already been sold to a buyer in Tennessee, who drove hours to get the panels so that his stalled project can make some progress.
Murray’s plans are to get the three-window drivable and on the road, albeit as-is and unrestored. And while most of the other solid projects from this collection have been scooped up by other builders, one more car will be pieced together from this collection by a fellow Iron Trap Garage regular. Consequently, there should be lots of restoration work in Murray’s orbit in the future, as some of those mismatched panels and hardware are assembled into a road-going car. Murray suggested an optimistic timeline: “Hopefully this time next year, that car will be on the road.”