Tom Cotter loves driving his woody wagon, but sometimes the driving enjoyment takes a backseat to the doors it opens and conversations it starts. Case in point: the latest Barn Find Hunter in Utah. Starting the day with no leads and looking a bit like it might be a bust, one conversation in a gas station sparks a chain reaction of finds.
While hunting for a place called Washington, Tom finds himself aimlessly wandering Utah. A stop for gas shines a light in the dark tunnel, however, as the woody wagon sparks a conversation that results in Tom following the gentleman home to talk about his 1964 Volkswagen Squareback. An off-and-on project, the VW has been driven only 300 miles or so since 1988.
From there, Tom follows a chain of cars spotted in driveways, each having its own interesting story. Showing why he is the Barn Find Hunter, Tom backs out of a driveway and spots a VW bus on a hill in the distance. He finds his way there and is lucky enough that the owner, Mont, is pulling into the driveway at the same time.
Mont shows Tom around his property, noting that the green pop-top VW is owned by his son. Driven while his son was stationed at Yellowstone, the van shows at least one trip to Mount Rushmore. The garage hides a five-window 1948 Chevy pickup and a Buick Skylark packing a high-compression, 350-cubic-inch engine.
These were all the easy finds. By looking around and chatting with people, Tom turned a day that was looking like a bust into a day talking about great vintage iron. Just goes to show that sometimes what you’re looking for is right under your nose—or on a hill.