When Tom Cotter scours the country looking for hidden automotive gems, he’s not just looking for interesting stories and more fodder for his next book. He’s also always in the market for a new project. In the latest installment of Barn Find Hunter, Tom shows us the storage facility where he keeps many of his own vehicles and stops by a few to highlight their histories.
Early on, Tom introduces us to two Datsun 510s, including one that he has a long history with that’s got a fresh coat of paint and is nearly ready for assembly. Also in the fray is a 510 that’s showing a bit of rust and in need of a restoration of its own. Next up, a Morris Minor race car that Tom has owned for more than 30 years. Although it is currently without an engine and transmission, the stripped-down and caged racer has served Tom well on the track, including some endurance racing.
Tom’s family has had a long history with VWs, so it’s no surprise there’s a couple of Wolfsburg’s finest in his collection. He pulls back the cover on a mildly customized 1960 VW Beetle convertible that wears Porsche wheels and opens the hood to reveal a Judson supercharger that boosts power to a much more exciting 50 ponies. It may not seem like a lot, but the factory mill was only good for 35 horsepower.
Next up is another Morris Minor race car, but this one’s even more of an oddity than the first as it sports an early grille that relocates the headlights from their familiar fender-mounted location. This one’s topless for less drag and slotted all over with louvers. After brief stops at a couple more of his cars, including a fully stripped 1964 Comet convertible, it’s off to a new site.
The next venue is a property with a couple of the less-well-preserved projects. First off is a 1946 Ford car/pickup hybrid with a rare Marmon Harrington 4×4 drivetrain. Originally a woodie wagon, it was used as an alternative to a chair lift at a ski slope. When its wood body rotted, the body and bed of a Ford pickup were grafted on. Tom has an additional woodie for use as a parts car to help get that rare piece of history restored to its original condition.
There are even more cars in the video that we didn’t mention, but one of the final projects that get some screen time in this episode is one you may not have heard of. Only about 20 Standard/Triumph Vanguards were produced in left-hand-drive for North America and this one is about to be put back on the market.
As Tom points out, storage facilities such as the one he uses himself, with all the cars under the same roof and visible to any visitor, make a good place to scout for your next project. Remember, the cars are still out there.