I want to talk to you about Barn Finds. The good and the bad.
Instructions: Browse eBay now. Now I tell you! Search for the simple term ‘barn find’ and scroll through for a couple of minutes.
Rather than end the blog there, I’ll carry on and tell you my view.
A crappy ‘never has been or ever will be popular’ 2005 1.6 Ford Focus, with rusted wheel arches and a chewed up interior that has been stood on your drive for 6 months whilst you’re too lazy to fix it is NOT a barn find.
A shed of a 1.4 in ‘poo-beige’ 1994 Vauxhall Astra that’s been in your garage for 7 years because it went bang and took you that long to realise it wasn’t worth restoring… is NOT a barn find.
Even if it’s covered in dust. Even if you’ve put some dirty old curtains over it and haven’t washed it for the advert pictures to enhance the ‘old but forgotten’ look. This doth not maketh a barn find.
Are we all clear?
2006 Polo GTI in immaculate condition – a classic barn find? Me thinks not
I first heard the term ‘barn find’ a number of years ago now. It was probably a story from 2007 that was one many of you may also remember. A New York business man retired and bought an old farm in Portugal. When he discovers a large barn on the land, with the doors all welded shut, he opens it and discovers hundreds of ‘forgotten’ classics and rarities, later valued at around $35,000,000 parked up and left to rot, tucked away when the owner died with no will and no heirs. [https://www.intuh.net/barnfinds/index.htm]
Unfortunately – as we discovered years later after much skepticism, this was all a massive lie, as the actual collection was a legitimate one from an Automotive dealer who invited a photographer to document his prized collection (which admittedly -had been neglected and not exactly stored in the finest condition). These images ultimately made their way to a hugely successful viral ‘barn find – you’ll never guess what lay behind these doors’ type stories, that seems to be taking over the internet of late, invented to collect shares, likes, retweets and what-nots. Not cool, basically – you viral hungry monsters. You’re ruining fascinating content!
The story behind this FAKE NEWS is actually is a barn find. The thing is, they do exist in real life. Amazing. I can remember now the ‘fizz’ of excitement I felt when you think of how people must have been when they are let in through the doors of a barn or old garage for the first time in years. A treasure trove of exotica, filled to the brim by eccentric, eclectic (and let’s face it, often hugely wealthy) car collectors. It must be not far off the feeling that Howard Carter felt when he discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the valley of the Kings in 1922. Oh the riches! But hopefully – without the curses.
Rare, collectable, desirable, fun, unique or painfully expensive models that have been parked up years ago, forgotten about, where the owner has sadly died or become ill, passed on to relatives or friends, who then bring the story to the internet via news content sites or the classifieds. Vehicles that are so superbly absurd or entire collections where you think “who the hell just parks up a Ferrari Dino or GTO and leaves it like that” – THESE are genuine barn finds.
And it seems it’s not just classic vehicles either that the general public bandwagon-jumpers have, er, jumped on. When looking through eBay, I found someone advertising old furniture, children’s toys, even an old jet ski as a ‘genuine barn find! Heck, even old pennies are listed as being found in a barn. Are these barn finds? How many barns does the UK have? I’ve been questioning what even constitutes a barn. What is a shed? What is a garage? What is an attic? Or a cupboard? Or is all this junk simply old crap that’s been in people houses and who just want to make a couple of quid by playing with our ‘long lost forgotten nostalgia’ pressure points in our brains. An online car-boot sale for the gullible, easily led or easily mugged of their cash.
Creepy Mannequin in a Christmas jumper – ahh that true classic barn find
Now don’t get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE the idea of having relative or a friend (or someone down the pub, whatever) who pipes up one day and leads me to the location of an old, unloved classic car in an outhouse or garage; tucked away, forgotten, parked up and unknown to only a handful of people, who – let’s face it – are probably not car nuts such as us. A Renault 5 GT Turbo with 10 miles on the clock. Or perhaps a Ford Escort RS Turbo or Mexico. An ex-rally Metro 4R4. Well, keep away Internet – this one’s mine! Low miles, special edition, maybe needing a touch of work but largely protected from the elements and a throwback to a simpler time. I love to think you might be privileged enough to view something lost, something forgotten from a time where you could park up a relatively worthless car needing a little bit of maintenance, and not realise 25 years later that that very same worthless car is now super-desirable, super rare and therefore worth an absolute ton of money.
I’ve read stories about people buying large numbers of disused and derelict lock-up garages, only to open them up and find an E-Type Jaguar from the 60’s, buried under a mountain of old tape cassettes, VHS recordings of the Bill and the entire contents of someone’s brother’s mates sisters Grandma’s old fridge. Come on man – how does this happen!? You’re telling me that no-one realised that it contained a sleek, good looking two seater sports car with a premium badge or the bonnet and thought that might be interesting to someone?
My own barn find Porsche 911 – my own note on the spoiler – that sadly didn’t go anywhere 😦
Now – on to the matter in hand. Does anyone have a ‘genuine barn find’ leads or stories for me? Someone must have a Grandma that rocked up her Porsche 912 in the seventies into a lock up garage, and is just waiting for a cheeky young chappy to find out about it to restore it to its former glory and use it as intended.
Well, I’m here. Hello! Pick me! Please! I’m genuine too!
More genuine than a poo beige Astra anyway.
Until next time
Edford Classic Cars