When Tom Cotter saw a yard full of cars two years ago in Bozeman, Montana, he knew he wanted to check it out—unfortunately, he didn’t have time to do it right.
Now, Tom gets the chance to make good on his promise to do the yard justice. In this episode of Barn Find Hunter, he scours the property until he’s investigated as much metal as he (and the crew) can handle.
Even as Tom walks up the driveway and feasts his eyes on a few old rides, the sights prove quite eclectic. Big American cars, sporty British sedans, Japanese econoboxes, and pre-war iron lurk around Marty’s property in various conditions, and almost everything is drivable. After he and Tom discuss a Ford Model A pickup the first day, Marty proves it’s not just yard art. When Tom comes back the next day, Marty and his son are trundling the pickup around the yard, happy as clams.
Highlights from the yard include one of the first handful of BMW 2002s imported to the U.S. Though buried, Tom can easily spot the signs confirming its early import status: round taillights, slender bumpers, and solid steel wheels. Over 50 years later, the door closes nice and solid.
Rather than just talk about cars, though, Marty takes it one step further. He declares he could probably get a 26K-mile 1951 Nash Deliveryman running by the end of the afternoon. Bold, Marty. Once the hood is up, he and his son go to work. It’s not long before the flathead-six is cranking over, and before Tom can believe it, the flathead is puttering along smooth and quiet. Bozeman is indeed full of surprises.
Before Tom leaves, he answers a question he asked himself when first walking the expansive collection: How many cylinders could this guy own? Turns out the answer’s 842—not counting 69 rotors and one steam car.
Seeing the Nash come back to life reminds us that even some of the roughest-looking cars are worth saving. Sometimes they’re even better than we expect underneath the debris. You just have to get out there, find one, and put in the work.