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Barn Finds – Genuinely Fake Barn Finds

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.

See?

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?

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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

Porsche 911 Turbo [930]

1988 Porsche 911 Turbo

“Hello, I’m Edford Classic Cars and I’ve got an unnatural obsession with 1980’s Porsche 911 Turbos.”

There – I’ve come clean. I do my very best to make sure my Social Media ‘car spotted’ feeds don’t have too much of a bias towards classic Porches. But it’s hard to restrain when I’ve spotted such icons. I think it might be because I have a very vague memory of being shown a friend’s dad’s one in a garage shortly before being driven up to the National Motor Show at the NEC when I must have been about 11. Or it could just be the whopping great whale tail that I want to stretch out and lie on. Or the Fuchs alloys. Or the swollen rear arches. Or the iconic ‘wide eyed’ round headlamps. Oh come on… it’s just everything about them, isn’t it?

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My wife asks if these Porsches are “the ones that look like a frog?” OK, I can sort of see what she means. From the front, the round headlamps could be seen to resemble a round-eyed and alert amphibian. An alertness that, con-incidentally is hugely required if you actually drive one of these 80’s classics. They’re super fun, yet twitchy, yet ultimately a complete hoot to drive. My Lord though, you need to pay close attention that it doesn’t try to stuff you into the nearest tree. Pure 1980’s ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ yuppiness.

Internally coded as the ‘930’ model– I’m particularly interested in these Porsches that basically spawned the simple ‘911 Turbo’ moniker in the mid 80’s. It is a development of such a classic shape that, as is the running Petrolhead / Jeremy Clarkson joke; the 911 actually doesn’t look that different today that it did in the 70’s and 80’s. Newer ones just have more airbags, are less frog-like and cost more, naturally.

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Spoiler Alert

Let’s start from the back of the 930 Turbo. From the red light bar that extends all the way across the bootlid, to that humungous, ridiculous and brilliant “could lie down on it” whale tail spoiler (don’t lie down on one, please – you’ll get smacked, unless you own it ☺) that I believe is the second greatest spoiler in all of humankind (what – you don’t have a favourite car spoiler? GET OUT!) – the Escort Cosworth holding the closely-contested number 1 spot. Comment below if you disagree.

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Bring your eyes down to the flared rear arches, which were extended 12cm from the previous 911, and which ensure that when chasing one of these down the road or on a track… all you’re going to see is a squat, purposeful stance. Phat, as the yoof might say (I’m getting too old for this term so you won’t hear it come from my lips again).

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The interior was ‘functional’, as it’s noticeably missing any major comforts we’ve come to expect over the last 20-odd years such as power steering. The essential dials read-out just how close to light-speed you’re currently nearing, as well as a couple of sensors (that it has to be said with these older supercars) you’re only ever one drive away from financial catastrophe and you being your local Porsche garage new favourite victim, I mean, uh…customer.

I’ve seen several of these across London over the years and I have to say there are very few cars that still own such a road presence as much as these old Porsches do. I remember, there was one behind a private gate that I used to regularly divert 5 minutes out of my way on my walking commute, just to stroll by and admire on the off-chance I’d see it driving. How many cars can you say that about? I think it’s the car that has an appeal to all types of people, who can all appreciate that these are classic, classy cars with a timeless design that just sits so ‘right’. A car that thankfully – as far as I’m aware – hasn’t dropped to a low enough price that any undesirables can afford it to ruin its sterling reputation. And by undesirables, I mean bankers. The original Yuppies ☺

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Top Tip! Find the Porsche models and year-versions hard to follow? Want to know what Targa means and you don’t know your 912 from your 911 Carrera S and your 914? I came across this super-handy category guide from the good people at Porsche themselves. A good browse to get yourself familiar!

https://www.porsche.com/international/accessoriesandservice/classic/models/

 

Project Car Restoration – 1988 Golf GTI 16v

I thought I would bring you a quick update of the current status of my Mk2 Golf GTI, of which I have posted a couple of pictures here and there, and will outline my general plan for this exciting project to kick off 2018!

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I bought this in the Summer from someone local, who actually dropped it at my house for me to have a nose round.

I took it up the road and back, with my mind already made up, and bought it there and then. I’ve actually only driven this ‘valver’ (that’s retro VW hipster speak for the 16v variant) for about a half a mile in total. It’s now in the garage with everything disconnected ready for its restoration project, whilst I parade up and down the country sourcing replacement or original parts.

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I’ve lusted after one of these for ages, looking at several but never quite committing. Then, one day I just woke up and decided that it was my life’s mission to find one. So I did some asking around locally (I’m fortunate to know several people in the restoration industry, one of which is a Classic Volkswagen specialist) – and before I knew it, I had been told of this one, sat unloved and undriven on a driveway. A few days later, it was tucked away in my garage and with my new V5 in the post.

I love it. I love the iconic look of the quad-light front grill. I love the squareness of the rear quarters. I love the simple boxy interior with the rainbow stripes upholstery. I love the windy windows. I’m a self-confessed 80’s geek; as an 80’s child I seem to only be interested in buying nostalgic things from my decade of birth. This fits the bill nicely, and I like the fact that you rarely see these around nowadays. I’m hoping it will actually be quite rare in a few years!

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So – the important stuff. What is it?

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It’s a 1988 GTI 16v 3-door on an E plate, in what I’m told is Atlas grey but looking around on the Interweb, I think it might a bit darker than even that. Who knew Volkswagen made more than 50 shades of Grey? Or, quite possibly it could just be in need of a massive clean (of which I’m absolutely itching to do, but I’m being patient).

It came with a full MOT and had just had some welding done… so that’s either a brilliant sign for the longevity of its life, or I’m awaiting some terrible news when I strip it down, meaning it may not be economical to go too much further with it.

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My first impressions of it are that:

  1. The brakes are beyond terrible. I’m not sure if that’s just how they are or whether these have got a serious ‘don’t do anything at all’ condition. Either way, I was shocked by how far up the road I had to plan ahead to actually even contemplate stopping in time.
  2. It’s dirty. Very dirty. All over and inside. My OCD levels will restore this to fine fettle but it’s missing a lot of interior parts.
  3. It felt low on power on my short test drive. I will be giving it a full service, replacing all filters and fluids etc. Thankfully, everything engine-wise is out-the-factory standard, great news for a 29-year old machine.
  4. It has some ridiculously bad-quality imitation big bumpers added to it at some point in its life. These horrid additions will be ditched in favour of original small, red-stripe bumpers (I have already purchased the rear bumper for a mere £10 off an owners forum!)
  5. It’s sporting some terrible aftermarket alloy wheels that will be replaced by some originals (I have already purchased some 14” originals – they just need a refurb and tyres)
  6. The list I’m keeping of ‘To-Do’s’ is growing larger every day, as I keep finding bits to replace, repair, clean, tidy, strip, glue, paint or remove!

What have I bought so far? Apart from the original 14” Wheels, some side indicators from an eBay breaker, a small rear bumper from an Owners Forum, an oil filter, and a spare key. I’ve started stripping some plastic panels off and the front grill is off. All is looking good so far… but have I mentioned that I CANNOT wait to start cleaning it? I actually wish I could buy shares in AutoGlym… I suspect it’s going to spruce up really nicely… the original panels and paint are in very good condition.

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I plan on getting it up on the stands, doing a full inspection all over, checking out all the known rust-spots (sills, bootlid, wipers) before spending huge amounts of money starting the restoration.

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If worse comes to worse, I’ll strip it and start using it for track-days. I’ve been asking Santa for a suitable project car to start motorsport for years now!

Look out for future Social Media posts outlining the small wins (and no doubt – large frustrations!) as I restore this awesome retro icon!

Happy New Year and good luck with all of your 2018 project cars from Edford Classic Cars 🙂

Auction House Madness

I am writing this having just read that a Ford Sierra sold at the Silverstone Classic Auctions for £112,500.

A Ford Sierra… Damn, my Dad had a Vauxhall Viva followed by a Peugeot 405 TDI; wish he’d kept hold of them.

Ok, so the auctioned Sierra in question was a 3 door RS Cosworth RS 500 (meaning this particular blue oval is 1 of 500 that were built) and has a super low mileage of 6,000 miles, a shade over 200 miles per year since it was first registered in 1988 – if you’re a deft hand with a calculator, as I am.

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Classic Cars have riden a rollercoaster of values that typically seem to rise and fall outside of the usual remit of traditional investments. Currencies, Property, Land, Property, Shares, Stocks, Gilts and Funds undulate based on the daily occurrences of business and the top economies. I would go into more analytic detail but I unfortunately don’t know much more than that. This isn’t the Economist! All I know is that savings accounts have plummeted leading to a rush for other investments. Bring on collectable cars…

The classic-car industry however appears to make its own rules, surprising industry insiders along the way, as the title of this blog may allude to. Asia, the US and the UK have all seen record-breaking values achieved in its auction houses, indicating that the wealthy are still willing to pay top-buck for the most unique, investment-grade special-edition vehicles to adorn their basements. I’m sure it almost becomes a game to them, of who can pay the most of money in order to keep them away from the mitts of the likes of you and I!

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I would however be a hypocrite if I said I wasn’t fascinated by private car collections. I love the feeling when you are invited to or stumble across a temperature and humidity controlled hanger of a garage (often with a bigger square footage than my house, sadly!) – and yet it’s incredibly sad that some of the iconic, brilliant cars have seen so little daylight. The amount of design, engineering and mechanical wizardry that goes into producing a road-going race car must be baffling. And that certainly wasn’t intended to be completely wasted by being covered by a sheet and forgotten about for the best part of 3 decades.

Cars are meant to be driven. That’s why they have tyres, steering wheels, engines and go-faster stripes.

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Will this Sierra ever be driven though? This is the question the Internet has asked and I can see both sides of the argument here. On one hand, our precious classics deserve to be seen by our future generations. Generations who will no-doubt grow up talking about the latest battery power output, the amount of torque generated by a green-electric motor, or how Lewis Hamilton’s yet-to-be-born son is leading in the Formula-E championships. They need to see how we used to do things, designing, owning and driving vehicles powered by this all-powerful liquid they used to call petroleum.

In the last 6 months I’ve seen reports of Escorts that sell for 100k plus, and have you seen the prices of classic Mini Coopers recently? I thought ‘d easily be able to afford one that wasn’t a complete shed… and just today on eBay there is a recently restored one up for £55,000. That’s a Nissan GTR or a Porsche Cayman R right there, with some change for the fuel you’ll so-often need.

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But £112,000 for a Sierra?  The old-school Ford boys that remember selling these to their mate Barry 10-15 years ago for a packet of Bensons and a Fish and Chip supper must surely be having a little weep somewhere. Probably behind the wheel of a Mondeo, which I’m sorry to report, does not look like it will be worth anywhere near the Sierra’s value in 30 years time. Sorry about that.

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Edford Classic Cars

Classic Car hire Start-Up

I am about to take a big jump into a venture that has been circulating in my head for a number of years that I finally feel I’m ready to ‘turn the key & start the engine’ on (sorry).

It forms the basis of my evolving business of classic car hire, car storage and the sheer enjoyment of a driving experience (the latter being almost impossible to monetise) which all stems from owning and maintaining a collection of classic cars (well specifically, for me; modern classic cars).

But how can my relatively modest plans of a warehouse full of cars I want to own be turned into a viable business? By this – I mean one that makes money and doesn’t send me to ruin within 2 years! As much as I’d like, I don’t currently have hundreds of thousands of pounds lying around to invest in Ferrari F40’s, Jaguar E-types or other associated vintage rarities.… so I need to be smart; by starting small, and snowballing this into something great.

I aim to do this by growing my own classic car collection and in turn offer them out for weddings and other event vehicle hire. Think proms, birthday or anniversary treats and magazine and film photoshoots.

I’ve done my research, identifying that the area I’m based (Somerset) is a very popular region for country weddings as well as having some beautiful countryside landscapes. An abundance of grand manor houses with sweeping driveways, pretty rural villages and breath-taking city vistas (Cheddar Gorge or The Crescent in Bath anyone?) means there’s no shortage of backdrops depending on your choice of location.

I’ve sort-of-sorted a first-draft of the website (part of which you’re visiting now) although this is, of course, an ever-evolving product that frankly right now, is missing content. But my view on this is hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Everyone has to start somewhere, yes?!

My current ‘fleet’ (two cars counts as a fleet, right?) consists of a 1988 Golf GTI 16v Mk2 in the garage for a ground-up restoration (when I can work on it at evenings and weekends) and a 1988 E30 BMW 320i convertible in the garage that only needs a few tiny bits sorted before it could be ready for hire.

As time allows (and I will not be rushing here as I want to ensure quality triumphs over quantity); I aspire to have a wider range of cars that appeals to both bride and groom tastes, but most importantly I want these to be cars I want to enjoy owning, and driving.

A long ‘limousine’ style for the bride. Something like a Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit or a Bentley Eight, or Mulsanne. A small ‘kitch’ iconic British car like a classic Mini Cooper. A fast Ford like an Escort RS Turbo to sit alongside my Mk2 GTI to appeal to the ‘boy-racer’ groom.  An executive powerhouse like a Daimler or Jaguar Super-Six / XJ6, in Long Wheelbase guise for the ‘limousine’ contingent. A fast Porsche 911 or 912 for that 1980’s ‘yuppie banker’ photoshoot. A novelty car such as a New York or London taxi-cab for something different outside of…well, New York or London… Many of these options above don’t potentially cost the earth to buy right now (compared to their launch price) but cars at the ‘project’ end of the purchasing scale come with the added risk of big bangs, rust, rot, past bodge repairs and therefore big bills. A risk I am prepared to take to kick-start this venture.

Cars, as you probably know are expensive. Expensive to buy, costly to maintain and keep on the road once you’ve taxed and insured it, once you’ve added fuel, tyres, oil, servicing. It soon mounts up, and when you’re multiplying this by 3-5 cars as I initially have planned… well… let’s just say I might be eating baked beans on toast for a few years to come…

And yet I still feel I’ve got a viable business here, and certainly the drive and passion to give this a go.

I’ve never worked for a wedding car hire or chauffeur company. I’ve never maintained a fleet of cars, classic or otherwise. I’ve never started a business before. And yet, you have to follow your passions and interests.

I have separated the ‘strands’ of this venture into several areas of interest, for me.

  1. Wedding car (and other notable event) hire
  2. Magazine, Film and Media hire
  3. Vehicle storage and maintenance
  4. Social Media, photography, website and blog posts (like this one!)

I am also fascinated by start-up businesses successes. I’m lucky enough to have grown up in the digital age, and with the way the internet and social media landscape lies at the moment, I believe it has never been easier to have an idea, gain a voice and be heard. I believe it takes dedication, passion, a smart idea and a keen business ethic that treats customers with the smaller, fine touches that leaves them smiling and thinking ‘yeah, that was a top-notch experience’. It’s so easy to do things right, and yet haven’t we all been on the receiving end of those memorable poor customer service moments in which you think ‘wow, they were rude’ or ‘man, that was crap!’.

So what do you think? Do you think this is a good idea and agree with me that ‘modern classic’ cars have a future? Have you had any experience in the car hire industry or have a passion for something similar yourself?

Get in touch via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook (or in the comments below) and I’d love to hear from you and discuss the finer points.

Edford Classic Cars