Nashville is a popular destination spot for music fans from around the world, but Barn Find Hunter Tom Cotter isn’t visiting central Tennessee for its country music. He’s there in search of hidden automotive treasure, and there’s plenty to be found in Music City.
First stop is Anderson Auto Repair, which is closing down after decades in business. Lee Anderson and Stanley Jones opened the shop together, and the two specialized in hot rods. Anderson passed away in November 2021, so Tom meets Jones to check out the place. After inspecting some flood-damaged cars sitting outside, Tom goes inside and is fascinated with an old Frazer, built between 1946–51 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The car hasn’t moved in a while; the oil change sticker inside the door reads 11-8-64.
Just when it appears this stop will be a short one, Jones mentions that he recently purchased a couple of classics—a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette convertible and a ’39 Chevy hot rod—in case Tom wants to take a look. Of course he does. Jones explains that he originally bought Sting Ray in the mid-1970s for $1750. He added a 350-cubic-inch truck engine and a five-speed transmission, then sold the ’Vette to his brother-in-law. It’s been sitting for 35 years, Jones says, and when his brother-in-law passed away, he ended up with it again.
“Did you buy it back for $1700?” Tom asks.
“No. No,” Jones says with a grin. “It cost a bit more than that.”
Back on the road again, Tom stops outside a fenced-in area that contains several classics—a Crosley chassis, Studebaker wagon, Pontiac Bonneville, and Pontiac Star Chief—but there’s no sign of anyone on the property.
“This is the bane of my existence,” he says. “You drive past a place … and you find some cars … and there’s nobody here. It’s locked up. In barn-find hunting, (you) can’t win sometimes.”
He finds a sure thing, however, when he stops to visit motorcycle expert Somer Hooker, who starts things off by showing a trio of sweet Italian sports cars: a 1964 Alfa Romeo Sprint, a 1964 Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale, and a 1961 Giulietta Spider 1300 with 19,000 original miles. Then it’s on to the motorcycles.
Hooker is especially fond of Honda S90 bikes, of which he has several, and then uncovers a first-year 1969 Honda 750, which is all original and features a four-cylinder engines and disc brakes. “People still say it’s one of the most significant motorcycles,” he says. “It pivoted the whole world of motorcycling right there.”
And with that, Tom asks us to come back soon for another Barn Find Hunter episode from Nashville before he sings this familiar tune: Happy hunting.
— Jeff Peek