You’d never guess where Tom Cotter found these old Harleys


When it comes to new challenges for the Barn Find Hunter, it’s no longer about what he can find, but where. The latest episode of Barn Find Hunter is a prime example of just how good Tom Cotter is at finding interesting stuff. After all, few people would have expected this humble house to hold a collection of motorcycles. Especially not on Staten Island in New York City.

This whole adventure started when Tom started talking with his friends about the most difficult area to find something cool hidden in a barn. New York was at the top of the list. However, we all know Tom is a pro. To stack the deck in his favor he called a local friend, hot rodder, and car restoration master Rob Ida to see what might be hiding in plain sight. Rob led Tom through a maze of surface streets before stopping in front of a very unsuspecting house—that, it turns out, holds a surprising amount of American motorcycle history.

The home of Cathy and her late husband Walter might be unassuming, but you won’t make it beyond the front door without being captivated by some piece of two-wheel machinery. Inside and just to your left, in the room where you’d eat Thanksgiving dinner, is a 1911 Harley Davidson police bike. It’s a typical early Harley bike with a vertical single-cylinder engine that requires the rider to pedal-start the machine. Behind that is a 1926 Harley Davidson board-track racer. We haven’t even left the dining room.

Literally everything on the property has a story. As Tom and Cathy walk into the garage, she shares a story about how the garage wouldn’t exist if it were not for the sale of a motorcycle that was previously owned by Steve McQueen. That motorcycle now lives in the Petersen Automotive Museum in California, but the garage built by Walter with the money from the bike’s sale is full of just about everything a gearhead could want: A 1959 Cadillac, a 1948 Cadillac, along with a small but heavy hitting fleet of motorcycles.

Barn Find Hunter ep 149 screen grab 2
Kyle Smith

Then it’s off to the basement. A 1950 Mercury convertible greets you right away, sitting next to an Indian four-cylinder motorcycle. Down the side is a whole range of two-wheeled history spanning from the 1920s all the way into the 1980s. One that caught Tom’s eye was a woodie in disguise—an Indian Dispatch. The rear of the bright yellow trike is all constructed of wood and Cathy says that, prior to the coats of paint and clearcoat, it looked like a piece of furniture. Her story proves there is art in everything…

… Even in the act of finding hidden cars. Tom shows that once again he can find something interesting no matter what situation you try and fence him into. Where will he go next and what will he find? We don’t know, but we bet it’ll be worth the watch.

Barn Find Hunter ep 149 screen grab
Kyle Smith




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