The search for classic cars has taken Tom Cotter all over the country in the course of the Barn Find Hunter series. That said, going back to a previous location can yield new results. Tom knows his way around Traverse City, Michigan, by now (it’s home to Hagerty HQ), but evidently there are still plenty of sweet cars waiting to be discovered. Every time he opens up a garage or barn door, he hopes its a Jaguar XK roadster. Is today his lucky day?
On Barn Find Hunter’s first trip through town, Tom was chasing leads left, right, and center. Despite his success, he had to head home before he could investigate them all. It’s time for some payback. In his words, “We left some meat on the bone last trip.”
The first stop on this second lap of Northern Michigan is a fifth-generation farmer, Denny Hoxie. When Denny leads Tom to a mystery car in a cinder block building, naturally, Tom engages in his favorite game—guessing the car hidden under the cover. Lo and behold, it’s a Jaguar XK120—a car Tom has been hoping to find for years.
Tom and Denny regale each other with stories of their love for the XK-series Jags. The Old English White roadster has been in Denny’s ownership since 1977; the engine was pulled for some repairs that never happened, and now the car sits awaiting a rescue that will hopefully one day return it to the road.
From the cinder block garage, Denny leads Tom to some other buildings on the property. The range of vehicles is wide, but the pair focus on a collection of work trucks, including a Ford AA pickup and twin International flatbeds. It’s a solid reminder that even 50 years ago, humble agricultural tools could still have lasting style.
As Tom admires his XK120 find one last time, Denny takes a phone call. Serendipity. Jim, a friend of Denny’s is right around the corner with another classic Jaguar. Field trip!
Not a quarter-mile from Denny’s, deep in the back of a small warehouse is a Jaguar XK150 that has been under cover since 1985. The yellow coupe was bought from a local auction and was a plaything for some years before being placed under cover. And then, life, we guess, just moved on without it.
As the three men are closing the door on the Jaguar coupe, Tom mentions that they can head back to work now. “I don’t work too hard these days,” says Jim. “I don’t work too hard either,” Tom agrees. It might not be hard work, but it’s a labor of love I think a lot of us out there love to see unfold. Naturally, Tom is happy to give Denny a ride home in the woody, complete with tire-roasting enthusiasm. Because when you love cars, they make you feel like a kid all over again.