The Barn Find Hunter Visits the AMC Dealership That Time Forgot


For those among you who hate the idea of perfectly good cars being left to sit and rot, this episode of Barn Find Hunter may be a tough watch.

Tom Cotter travels to Pikeville, North Carolina, to visit the remains of Collier AMC, a dealership that opened in 1955 selling Nashes, then closed up shop in the early 1980s, with much of its inventory still in place. Tom is joined on the lot by its current owners, brothers Rob and Doug Collier. “Everything we see today is for sale,” Tom says.


About 200 cars sit in disrepair on the property, including a 1974 Javelin with a 360 V-8 and about 63,000 miles, which was gifted to Rob when he was 13. There’s a ’68 Ambassador V-8 that the service department converted to run on four cylinders; now it sits camouflaged in vegetation. There’s an Eagle SX4 with an Iron Duke 4-cylinder, dead paint, and a bush growing between the front seats—yours for under $1500. There’s a Chevy S-10, a Volvo 544, and a 1950 Nash, which you can identify by its covered fuel cap, different from the ’49, Rob explains.

Collier AMC dealership window decal

Every car shown is covered in some combination of flaking paint, mildew, and pine needles. On one car, Rob shows off the inner rocker, which he explains was perforated at the factory to increase strength; the irony, however, is that the entire piece is now rusted away.

The men soon arrive at a 1976 Pacer wearing fiberglass fender flares and Team Highball livery, as raced in IMSA RS by Amos Johnson. It won’t see a track again. Perhaps rarest of all is a prototype Vignale AMX. “They sent two Rambler Americans to Vignale Coachworks in Italy,” Rob says, and they came back with an unusual rear-end treatment. Tom asks if a car like that will be restored, but Rob suspects it will instead be used as yard art.

Soon Tom and the brothers leave the lot to see a one-owner Ambassador tucked away in a barn for decades. Despite the dust and decay, the precision of the car’s opening/shutting passenger door is impressive. “Here’s a car that has been here for 61 years,” Tom says, “and it opens and slams like a fresh car.” Rob hints that the local mayor might include the car in the town museum.

“A collection of this many cars that are complete and haven’t been picked over, I think it’s really special,” says Rob Collier. “My daddy was soft-hearted toward cars. He didn’t like to see them torn up.” There is real honesty in the statement, but it’s also hard to imagine how he might have felt about seeing them this way.

Collier AMC dealership rotted cars
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    their used to be a Studebaker / Packard dealer in St. Paul MN (Rauschknot…..spelling?) and in 1972 they were still in business. they had a beautiful 1956 Packard Caribbean in blue and white convertible back then.

    I read about this place a few years ago and was disheartened that no one seemed to care about preserving these vehicles. What a shame.

    You’re right, what a waste. Id love to have one myself, wouldn’t matter which one, just for the challenge of putting it back together.

    This is something a car nut dreams of! Kinda like a Heaven of some kind and you have all eternity to thinker and restore.

    I can’t believe this place is still getting attention. From what I’ve read on some forums, most of the stuff left needs bailed. The old man was a hoarder and wouldn’t sell anything and the son said he was going to sell stuff “reasonable” so it would find a good home, but it turns out he wasn’t as reasonable after all. It’s a publicity stunt to get more money IMO.

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