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LIVE: In Conversation with Tom Cotter, The Barn Find Hunter

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Added by Mel in Automotive


Tom Cotter has traveled the country searching back yards, barns, and just about every kind of outbuilding you can imagine for forgotten automotive relics. Join us as Hagerty's Brad Phillips sits down with Tom for a discussion on cars you won't wont to miss!





Video Script::  

hey everybody Brad Phillips here with Haggerty welcome to our Monday edition of the in conversation series this is gonna be a really tough one to get through in our time allotted because I have our friend Tom Cotter the barn-find hunter and we have a real problem of holding our conversations to any real specific limited focus so we're gonna work on that together today right Tom oh we sure will yeah I think you can have to turn me off I yes I'll plug me basically this is super exciting not just because tom is our barn fine hunter from the youtube series that has millions upon millions of hits and is one of the most popular things that you can do on the Internet is watching Tom drive around the country and it's 39 woody wagon but I met Tom a decade ago or something and he didn't know until today what if fan boy was about it when I first got to go to his garage as a as a Haggerty employee under the auspices of just checking out his car collection right but I've got a book tucked under my arm for you to sign for my dad and that's how I got to know you is your your books how the heck did you become this go from world famous barn finding author to barn finding video guy oh that was uh that was not of my making that was I got a call from somebody from Haggerty Claire Walters at the time and and she said we like your books we think it would translate well to video would you consider it and I had actually spoken to Discovery Channel prior that and they they met me to interviewed me we liked the idea but you're just not a character enough you just you don't exhume excitement and I said well what do I have to get like a bunch of tattoos and curse a lot and throw wrenches and they said well we'll call you and they never call me so when Claire called me I said well this is probably another false alarm and I was getting ready to do a trip across the United States on route 66 from Chicago to LA it was a book and and clear said can we follow you for a few days and it snapped and it worked and there's the book and bada-bing bada-boom here we are five years later well in these these odyssey's because you've not you indeed not only did the barn flying across there you still you did a New York across and a Model T auto key online you can highway from from Manhattan to the Golden Gate Bridge yeah that was called Ford Model T coast-to-coast a slow drive across a fast country and I I do most of my books with a great photographer friend Michael Allen Ross you know so he's always there with the camera bag and he's you know everything that you see in those books he's he's documenting well we've all enjoyed this so much to not only read the books but see the show we get so many questions every time we do one of these interviews people keep saying talk to Tom Connor we want to know more about Tom Connor so Tom this is your chance you're gonna tell everybody in the audience the details about you that they don't know right now are you ready for like a deep dive into your personality this is almost like confessional you know it could be so before you were an author before you were a YouTube star you were also a public figure in automotive in your home state of North Carolina right you had a pretty good job at Charlotte Motor Speedway you know what being in the car world is something it's all I've ever done that's all I've done I've sold parts of sold cars I repaired cars then I got involved in racing and and so yeah I have another life prior to this Here I am in this picture interviewing while some of the people I worked with over the years this is Neil Bonnett he was a great NASCAR driver a great friend and this is a press conference when I worked at Charlotte Motor Speedway I don't know there's Bob Roy hilly and Butch Mach in the background and you off of Ray Mach racing so that was probably during one of our media tours in probably 87 88 something like that yeah so I've I've been you know I was a PR director at the Speedway and then open they aged and people thought well just because we're you know what our people were in the south so it must be on the NASCAR well then we started to Formula 1 PR tennis the golf sports car racing motorcycle racing drag racing road racing you know Formula One stuff it was it was uh the world was my oyster for a little while so here I am with Sebastian Vettel for a brief moment in time in 99 in 2012 I was the president of the New York - New Jersey Grand Prix effort to try to bring out Formula One race to the shores of the Hudson River not on the New York side but on the New Jersey side and it was perfect three and a half mile road course huge elevation street course up into the town down to the waterfront and and the skyline of New York was in the background it was perfect it just it didn't pan out but it was an amazing year I got to live in Manhattan 50 floors up for a year and work in the Chrysler Building it was pretty cool so in between all these things you've managed to put together your own car collection and do a bunch of cool cart or some you're actually in your personal garage right now with some you're when you're very famous cars kind of over your shoulder if I'm looking at this correctly is that you're 29 Cobra back there that one yeah yes yeah you know I just want to like people know that I didn't start collecting cars you know when I get out of PR I've I've got cars that I bought but the woody wagon which will be featured this week on one fine hunter I'm gonna do a full biography on that car I bought that 1969 when I was 15 years old I didn't have driver's license and I saw that car and a barn that car I saw that car at a barn in 1969 it was off a school yard field and you know like a baseball field of school yard I want to buying it I have a car in 1953 Ford Tudor station wagon I bought in 1972 and I was a high school senior I still have that I have a Volkswagen Beetle convertible really cool 1960 with the Jets the supercharger on about that 40 years ago this year so you know I've always my Datsun 510 which you'll get to eventually I bought that 1978 and that was my race car and my commuter car so I yeah I mean it didn't just happen from when I got out of racing to now there's my 510 that's been a part of my life I it's cool story just just imagine today a helmet cost a thousand dollars right - bug go racing I bought that car for 250 bucks it had some damage in the back put a roll bar in it I rebuilt the motor cheated a little bit put larger Pistons in racing tires which were like you know BF Goodrich ta radials harness fire suit helmet gloves shoes towed it or drove it to Bridgehampton Lime Rock Pocono Brier some point maybe a couple times those tracks I raced that car for a whole year my wife and I never stayed in hotel room we camped out plus our fuel bills everything meals it cost twenty five hundred dollars to buy the car prepare it and race it all season $2,500 now I spend that four tires in one weekend I look back like people say the good old days I think this is exactly what you're referring to so that car just that was painted this week that car which I it was always painted baby shit brown I've changed it recently to a Porsche color which I really fell in love with and I'm building the car that I always wanted to build when I had did you know when I had it but didn't have the money but the Cobra in the background that's a car that I aspired to one day on when I was in fifth grade it came out I was ten I fell in love with this car was on the book cover of a book that I had a book book jacket and I didn't really what it was but it looked cool it was there was Healy's and lotuses Jaguars but that Cobra spoke to me and I said you know one day I'm gonna owner of those and I never thought it would come to be because you know when they were ten thousand I had $500 when there were twenty thousand I had a thousand miles you know I just never the math didn't work and then when I sold an agency I had the our racing agency I said to my wife its corporate time and and I bought that car in Walnut Creek California and drove it with Peter Regan a good friend of mine from Road & Track magazine across the United States over nine days just took our time back roads hills mountains an amazing journey and so that car has been with me all over the United States including that picture right there if you wanna if your viewers are interested they can Google bear attacks Cobra and you'll see all the news coverage that got when I brought that to Alaska last year my buddy woody left his Fig Newtons behind the seat and I woke up in the morning and found out the bear it sniffed out the Fig Newtons and ripped the top off thankfully rip the top off because he could have ripped the doors off you know at eighteen hundred pound bear just ripped that thing apart and thankfully I had Haggerty insurance then I have a new top now well you've covered a lot of ground there okay you really have so this is what we knew we're gonna do we're gonna we're gonna let you get it we're gonna put place some rope out and then pull you back in a little bit all right so one of the things I want to talk about around the Cobra people look at these now and they say oh there's another one for sale at RM Sotheby's and it's a million dollars and you know they're they're incredibly prized they're rare they're exceptional sports cars but people that I see out there like you and other good friends of yours you guys love driving these cars and you put on the specific series of tours for cobras and GT 350s and things to prove to people that these are cars meant for the road so you plant all these great adventures to go to do this stuff with with your friends I do and that was brought to light I drove the car across United States with Peter Regan and then in the January 2002 issue of Road on track it was a feature story in there called cross country Cobra and soon thereafter after so I guess with that that appeared in January 2002 probably in May I was at a Shelby meet at Charlotte Motor Speedway that's where the national meet was that year and Carroll Shelby sought me out and he said this is the car you drove cross-country I said yeah he said that's what I'm talking about I didn't build a damn trailer Queens I build these cars to drive and I talked to my friend Jim Maxwell who listen Greensboro just a couple hours from here I said wow you know what let's and I love driving my car he loves driving his I said you know if we can find one or two other people let's just go out and have some fun we'll get a hotel and we'll get good food and eat and drink and be merry and you know I think maybe twelve people showed up well since then you know I was 20 tours ago it's you know it's blossomed into we've had tours with as many as 30 covers east meets west we met drew serbs west coast group and our group we met at the Grand Tetons and we tore it up through Yellowstone and we've been on the Beartooth pass in Montana it's just you know or even just New England Virginia you know we don't have to go anywhere exotic to enjoy any sports car and in Monaco bruh but we don't we don't tell people we're coming we don't tell people were there we just kind of come in in the in you know the dark of night have fun for a few days in the leave so the police don't know a friend of mine was a state trooper and I said to him what days can I Drive fast and feel you know feel somewhat confident he said well every state trooper works Friday Saturday and Sunday the most traffic's on the road he said so troopers have days off either Monday Tuesday or Wednesday Thursday and the two days they don't have off they have to appear in court he said so I never told you this but if you're gonna drive fast Monday through Thursday so our tours are always Monday through Thursday we arrive on Sunday and depart on Friday this is the kind of golden information that you can only get from one of our live streams how to avoid meeting the constabulary I'm Connor we're gonna rename it well and Tom you're when I see with a lot of these owners you along with a lot of these other folks have had these cars a long time you're really familiar with them so the values in them they may be something that's sort of out there but again to you their sports car they're meant to be driven you share them I mean we did a tour together and yours you let me I'm probably drove it for a couple of hours around Plymouth Michigan or something and it was absolute absolute heaven it's a day I'll never forget it was so cool yeah I love sharing the car with people because most people there's 998 Cobras that were built period 60,000 replicas so most people go their whole lives only seeing replicas and assume that everyone they see is uh you know it's a rep they're not a real one I love sharing the fact that it's a real car I love giving kids rides in it but you know what you said about owning the car for a long time I still consider myself a relative newcomer to Cobra ownership 20 years I know people a friend of mine Dennis green in Georgia who bought his Cobra when he was 18 years old for $1,000 and still has it Wow has that but the problem is the people have bought them for low money to drive and enjoy them as sports cars they're going way selling the cars or that they Justice I didn't want to drive it that much anymore you know because I mean I should send you a picture huh I will send you a picture and you can post it while we're talking but it's the said the man I said to Matt so what I was a little so we drive these cars in 26 3 temperatures in snowstorms over mountain passes Montana with no heat no side curtains in no top you know so we drive these cars and the people will buying them now are buying them for investments and they put them in the garage and they become damn trailer queens as opposed to what Carol would like they become trailer queens and they're just not driven very much because they're too valuable a drive they paid a million dollars for it okay all right well well tom is I'm typing madly Tom sent a photo to our back sir this is a good point to segue to we're getting a lot of questions about the barn find hunter lifestyle so I'm curious tom have you seen many cars parked in these barns that that were just gonna be put there for just a little while and and somehow they never emerged again do you get those stories a lot from it I think that happens all the time you know when you read an ad or some copy in a auction catalog and says you know has been stored for 40 years that wasn't stored it broke down which pushed in the garage and didn't know what else to do with it I think most people have the the right intentions and yeah we're gonna get to it one day but you know first you know first we got our key together kids through college and then we have to add in addition to the house and and before you know what a couple of decades have passed and maybe it doesn't mean as much anymore so I think most people have good intentions but it's when it goes from the carport or the garage or the barn into the backyard or the field that's when things go downhill rapidly so you know the easier cars to find are the ones that are sitting outside because you can see them through the road but unless you're in New Mexico or Arizona Nevada it's probably a pretty rough shape the harder cars to find but ultimately the more rewarding ones are the ones that are still in buildings you you know I don't have x-ray glasses but you know if you ask around somebody knows somebody who knows somebody and he turns you on to that car you're knocking on a door and he's looking out in the driveway and I could there's a 39 woody in the driveway this guy must be interested and suddenly my car is the icebreaker yeah and he lets me in look at his car and tells me things that maybe he's never saw anybody before pretty cool yeah and you've mentioned that in the show before I remember there was there were a couple of times where logistical you just you really just had to be kind of in a more rental thing or one of the company Ford Explorers or something and you make a note that you're like you know it's harder to get people to open the door when they don't look out and see that woody parked out there right now so this is a picture of the Cobra was taken by penny sharp in the car behind us we had 28 cobras on a tour through Idaho Montana I think it was this was two years ago this was in September we're going over a mountain pass and if you know started as rain and freezing rain snow and and the black you see there s hope that that's got a half an inch of ice on it so it's going up and up and up and it's getting colder and colder my wife is sitting in there I'm still married um that car has no heat well the heat didn't work that top was in the trunk because we're all like he meant there's no side curtains and it was really something we had 28 cars probably 20 small-block 289 and then eight big blocks and the big blocks have tires that are really wide and and they mostly have no tread on and so the big blocks are like spinning their wheels so we had to get out of small blocks spin those cars around we couldn't turn him around or so I see you know ten of us got on one side turn on the other side and literally swung the car like it was on a turntable and they had to head back down the mountain and take the three-hour drive around the base of the mountain but the 289 s sold it up over the top and we were at the bar before they were now see I get this very very much it's my disability or bust rally I do every year I take my tiger which is you know our you know the sort of step-cousin we're over there somewhere over in in Cobra land you know we're wannabes I have one right now that's right but I always do the top down in now I haven't been in snow quite that deep on a big trip and that was our Christmas card that years and we put copy across up dashing through the snow it's pretty cool well we're not here just to talk about cobras all the time although they are fantastic one of your other cars that you famously found on the show is another big favorite of mine and it is a 67 Country Squire wagon that you have also driven all over the country and somehow you found a one of one wagon this happen how does that happen well you know you ask questions and you keep your eyes open I just happen to I don't like to get leads I like to describe and find cars but I just happen to put on facebook you know I'm gonna go to the Detroit area if anybody knows of any interesting cars let me know but I might don't be offended if I don't follow it up and a friend of mine Zak straight that's not it that's not the car that's a Fairlane ah a friend of mine Zak straight in Virginia I said you know I know of a really interesting for Speed Country Squire up near an arborist oh really that I could be into I'm wagging down a Ford guy and so I called up the owner Adrian Clements and he was in the process of moving to New York City Manhattan from Michigan for a job and so he said I can't be there to join you but my friend can be there and he'll meet you at the storage building you see the car and it just blew me away I mean I love patina I love you know unusual cars big blocks for speeds but it's not to like it's a it's a it's a it's a Mach 1 must at no it's a cobra jet Mustang with a wagon body so we met you know his his friend he let me drive it around their little storage complex I did a great story I did a a book and it was featured in the book it was called Motor City born fines which is a good book to read and a month later I said to him I got a hole in this car I have to own this car he said well I'm selling it so I went to buying it and it's been great so there it is there's the video of it when that's in the storage complex when I found it and now understand I didn't find it I just followed lead up and spoke to the owner of it who Adrian is the founder and coordinator coordinator I guess for the full-size Ford 67 registry and so he he owns a number of 6-7 Ford's convertibles all big-block 427 428 for Speed cars this is the only wagon and he reluctantly sold me his baby and I you know I have 21 cars I just need to start selling some off so this one went on bring a trailer today so if people go on bring a trailer it's actually this car is out there right now yeah it's actually there right now I mean III really have mixed feelings about it but you know I want to get down to about 10 cars you know I just don't need 21 cars well this is this is perfect because we had a question here how the heck does Tom Cotter thin the herd like what's your criteria how are you figuring out what you keep and what you get rid of it and how can that translate to other collectors you know I'm not a very disciplined collector I buy easy and sell hard I fall in love with cars easy and and then it's so hard for you do you let them go because they become my friends like you know I have a 60 Volkswagen vertol what's the big deal but it's been part of my life for 40 years I just can't get rid of it knows it that car should I talk about that car you know this is a great great one cuz you and you're associated with a lot of really great marks and sure Shelby but Cunningham offs it was a really big deal to you big personal collection connection so talk to us about this this is pretty amazing well there's our Cunningham which is sitting 20 feet from where I'm sitting right now that's me racing in Lime Rock but Briggs Cunningham was an American sportsman not only did it build his own cars but he raced his own cars he won the America's Cup race with Columbia sailboat in 1958 well to homologate his race cars forelimb ah the 20 problem ah which was always his kind of the Holy Grail he had to build street cars he had to be like Aston Martin or Jaguar Ferrari he had to build certain number of street cars to be considered for racing at Lamar so this is the second of 25 street cars that he built they were built in West Palm Beach Florida at a factory that he owned I was a racing chassis with a 331 Chrysler Hemi engine Chrysler Hemi engine just had been introduced you couldn't get a four-barrel carburetor in 52 there was no such thing so he built his own Cunningham for single-barrel intake manifold for single barrels which equal one four-barrel cadillac transmission mostly chrysler or mercury suspension and then he took this running chassis incentive to Turin Italy and Vinnie Olli built the body out of aluminum and you know there are what we're all 25 still exist here we are you know 67 68 years later and they still all exist this is the obvious one and it's the one that everybody gravitates towards an event because everybody else that got this concours cars and I and I got this rush well it's got rusty chrome trim on it and I race at night he'll climb it and I rally it and I drag race it got a rat rod meets I got a concours d'elegance it's the perfect all-around car so yeah we're already getting mixed up because you asked me about the other thing about how do I call the herd so let me just say we knew this is how it's gonna go I know calling the hurt how does Tom Cotter do it you know it's really really hard it's hard to me to get rid of cars the last car I would get rid of is the Cobra the second-last car get rid of is the Cunningham the third-to-last car get rid of his is the woody and then you know I've got a nice Shelby Mustang here that would be probably fourth or so but I'm not a discipline the collector and that I don't click in themes I collect things I just love things I once heard an interview on NPR of a guy that was turning a hundred old man who was turning 100 any and they said you know tell us about your life now compared to when you were young he says the same things excite me as a hundred year old man as excited me when I was 14 and I said oh my god this guy is speaking my language because the same thing for me you know like I had a Meyers Manx dune buggy until recently they excited me when I was 14 years old and and finally at 50 I built one you know so the same thing as me is that hundred year old man that it has nothing to do with the value of the car to me it has to do with the what it means in my heart now here's a here's another passion of mine which is vintage Road racing that's me driving the Corvette and I'm putting a slide inside past a big bend at Lime Rock on a good buddy of mine cliff Ryan who lives in the UK and cliff I apologize for banging your Jaguar we used his I use his Jaguar XJS 12 when we were in the UK for Bourne 500 which you don't know about yet I pranked it in a hedge yeah but that's him racing in the states in a Mustang and I'm always slightly faster than he is I hope he's watching right now everyone likes to be insulted by a good friend because of the turret and that's me in a Morris Minor I built this car from a street car I bought in the Sears Point Raceway it was just a little old street car that ran on three cylinders and jumped out of first gear and they wanted 1,400 for it and I offered 900 they took it so then I had somebody ship it back to cross night estates I made a race card of it and that's me with new tires at vir doing the the quick little right-hand jaw going downhill and the new tire stuck like glue and I thought I was going over and I can't believe photographers gonna catch it so that's called yeehaw and it's quite the racing line that you're you're exhibiting there I'm throwing my helmet damn boy you can't see but that's all I can do is throw my helmet that way to try to influence the car to go back down again well so you've got lots of pictures and lots of cars about you doing vintage sports car racing and you've done hill climbs and road courses and all this sort of stuff I think we'd all like to know are you any good at it like are you or you are you killing it out there are you the guy to be you know what winning means nothing to me I say and I mean that 100% I could care less I love racing and there's nothing I want to do then race like that Mustang side-by-side gonna return but if we're racing for 14th and 15th place I'm just as happy I don't care about wings I was at a road Atlanta a year ago racing an event and my Corvette I'm a Ford guy so of course I raced this thing race 64 Corvette was on the pole and I it was a Saturday race and I just took off from the field so what the heck is this all about man about myself driving fast what fun is that so the next day they it was the same starting order on Sunday well I fell back from the pole I fell back a full straightaway and we did the pace lap and I just murdered around back there behind all the other cars and the green flag falls and I just motored around one more lap and then I after everybody else had done one lap I got on it and I still want to finish in third but at least I was racing so placing means nothing to me you need NASCAR guys I have to win and they feel if they take a second there the first loser you know what all I'm out there to have fun it's it's about the community it's about the cars the people I meet the food I eat the the the beer I drink it's it's a it's you're part of this world a couple of times a year and I feel so fortunate to be allowed to do that and I look forward like Lime Rock is my favorite weekend of the year the vintage Fall Festival Labor Day weekend I don't know if this year's gonna happen but if you live in Northeast III highly suggest you going up there because the weather the people the cars the whole environment and the Berkshire Mountains is just amazing yeah and there have been some changes right with this situation rubber Berlin is working from home and staying close about how the show is done you got notified that there are some interesting enhancements to you want to know more about some of the cars that you've featured before well we have enough barn-find hunter episodes to last us probably into October so we know we're in pretty good shape but you know if if this pandemic is still around then we're not gonna be traveling from one fine hunter to soon so one of the things that we would like to pursue is if you watch porn fine hunter and have fallen in love with one of the cars that you've seen and you bought it I remember there was a guy that bought a Pantera that we found in a storage container in New Hampshire and it's in Colorado being restored I remember we found two big-block camaro 396 Camaros a factory air cars I think one gentleman bought those two cars if you bought any car that you've seen on barn-find honor we'd like to have a short story about it and and photos of it you know as it is now whether it's finished or not and I think that would be a really cool kind of a self-guided episode we could do the guys in Michigan will edit it people at Haggerty had course edited down to a really nice piece and we'll do several people like that so if you bought a car that you found on born for another this is all lowercase bond fine hunter at Haggerty calm so if you could send your photos and story the story could be you know a hundred words 200 words whatever you feel comfortable never you get tired of writing that stop and then we'll call you if we need you more information but we would like to share your experience with the other 2 million people who watch this program I think that's super cool we actually had a question they were hoping they'd get an update from you Johnny wanted to know if you had any updates there was a young lady in Michigan who was liquidating her dad's huge car collection did you have a follow up to that at all do you have any news I you know it's funny I found out about that last week I asked the guys at Traverse City cuz I live in North Carolina so I'm thousand miles away it's all been liquidated it's all gone because I said why don't we go back and you know check on that possibile convertible which was tripower red white top white interior why don't we check out that Mercedes Benz Adenauer that was next to it or cover it up with stuff it's all gone all done odd but hanging he did buy that pickup truck there I think a Chevy or GMC pickup truck and and Damon has rebuilt the motor and now he's going through the rest of the chassis I think so sadly you know those cars weren't her passion they were father's passion and when he was you know putting a nursing home whatever she's going to clear it out probably sell the property yeah well and that happens right I mean we were you would set us up with a visit for a family on one of our tours and we kind of had to pivot toward the end of it for sort of a different situation so yeah I I find that in cases people who are reluctant to let me into their lives on first blush become great friends you know because you know I walk up to somebody's door I knock on the door we shoot a video good happy you you know they're thinking who the heck are you and video and I want but what that you know if you want me to name who you are you give you a name I won't I won't even say what towering or state we're in its the cars that are important and I just want to talk get the story on the cars it's uh we become friends because I realized we're not really out for anything more than just entertainment good good entertainment well these are some of the these are some of the great photos you know of cars that were found on our trip this was in New Orlean to Florida there was an old junker coupe outside a Mustang like a 65 66 coupe outside and as we were video or that I happen to look in the window the garage way around the back oh my god and so I knocked on the door and the lady said don't tell my husband I told you to look at that car so I had to tell him I said you know your wife didn't tell me to look in the window I just looked in the window and I saw that car he said you're lucky I wasn't home I would have shot your ass we had a question from Michael he wants to know what's the oldest car you found so far ah fixed princess outside Detroit and I actually wanted to buy the car it was an absolutely complete 1 or 2 cylinder car they would be in that book right there Motor City Board finds mm-hmm the princess and whatever he wanted for it ten thousand twelve thousand that's good it was too much like I I think I offered him four grand or something which you know cars of that vintage as sad as it is are losing value every day because the people who could relate to them or even care about them want to work on them get parts for you know the a 25 year old just doesn't care about a 1902 car so you know I thought I was offering a fair amount and he said no I would like to have gotten that gotten it running it was absolutely complete had a Kickstarter almost like a lawnmower Kickstarter it was built in Detroit I'd never heard of a princess before but it was like a little two-seater sports car I think people if they experienced a truly vintage car like that though they get a spark in them about it because I hear what you're saying and that that really does seem to be true that a lot of people you know they say older generations that connect with them you know they're not you know they're they're passing away and the younger generation isn't carrying that much but if you if you buy one of those you have a truly veteran old car my god it makes you appreciate things like automatic spark advance and all kinds of stuff like if you have a car from the 60s you realize this is not an old car at all I mean I mean it pretty much does everything a modern car can do you know yeah well when we recently did a series of episodes in Atlanta my whole intention was just to find what I call youthful cars cars that were not as old as the cars that I gravitated towards and cars that would aspire inspire ownership by younger enthusiasts so we you know Datsun z-cars Mazda rotary powered cars alfre mayose Volkswagens things like that and it was so positive people were so thankful that I know a lot of the viewers wrote stories I know that were young thank you so much for conscious you know looking at rotary powered cars just like you know like we didn't think would ever be on onboard fine hunter but I love those things too you know so I think there are this the hobby is gonna grow with newer cars it's not going to grow with older cars so I want to yeah I will respect the older cars but you know I love newer cars too well we've had several questions here about kind of logistics of how the show works and I think that's a that's a fair thing to walk people through if you just throw a dart board and you say Idaho and then it just happens like how do you do this yeah kind of I'm a lucky guy the let's say Midland Texas we were in San Diego kind of not a bad place to be the weather is always perfect eating great food on the on the water and they say where do you want to go next Midland Texas and so everybody takes out their iPhone why would you want to go there that's like that's in western that's in the desert well you know selfishly I wanted to go there because that's what Jim Hall built the chaperones in the 60s and I've always wanted to see what was it about Midland that was special he built some of the most exotic interesting cars ever on a racetrack he had his own race track called rattlesnake Raceway I gotta see what it's all about and Midland is an amazing place this is these are pictures of Midland Texas where we wound up buying that read facial magnet you know we enjoyed so much in fact there it is back there before we bought it so the Midland is a is an oil town and lots of I know an oil man in Houston his name is John Meachem he's done a bunch of racing teams in the 60s and I said John I'm I'm in Midland Texas kind of come and visit you after I'm done isn't sure what are you doing in Midland I said well I'm hunting for old cars he said let me tell you something about Midler he's a he's an oil man he says middle is a kind of town you can go there broke you can make a billion dollars lose it have a good chance to make it back again right now Midlands in a down-cycle the value of oil is plummeted the economy the virus everything about Midland that made it prosperous is now gone but Midlands a rough town don't think because people are billionaires that that the roads are paper gold the roads are paved for potholes is dust and dirt and a hotel room in Midland that a Hampton Inn cost as much as the Waldorf Astoria in New York City $450 a night that the barber makes 180 thousand a year if you go to work at McDonald's they'll not only pay you $15 an hour they'll drive you to work and pick you I pick you up and drop you off if you have no place to live you'll pay for your hotel room that's how bad McDonald's needs workers because everybody goes to work so I had to see what that was all about but another good thing is you know cars are dry look look at this fairly near 63 feeling with a 260 in it and you know it's got surface rust that's all you have to deal with so when I saw that red station wagon in Midland man is something special about this I started to buff it and as we know that car had an a whole new life so to answer your original question yeah it kind of is in fact I have an idea of literally throwing a dart onto a map of the United States and that we're gonna do in the next episode there so I don't know if anybody that headquarters knows about that yet another fantasy I have is flying across the United States from North Carolina to LA looking down two and a half hours into the flight excuse me can you ask the pilot what town that is down there and should come back a few minutes later and tell me that's something something Kansas that's what we're gonna go I'm gonna go to LA I'm gonna hop a flight back to whatever town there is in Kansas and hunt for cars I think that's awesome better hope it's not cloudy all right so we've got another question about the rented Oldsmobile 88 je je mets was asking about that do you remember specifically there was a red olds 88 yeah that was nice panic Traverse City there was the tripower red white car white yeah red white interior white top her father had owners since like the early 70s and and that car is down the road it was sold for probably less than it was worth we just said hmm a few of us tried to get Haggerty by it that would have been a cool car in your in your collection could have been yeah all right so I'm gonna start walking our way through some of these questions because as we knew a lot of people want to ask the great Tom Connor a very specific question so I can go another hour by the way we can't we could go another hour we're gonna maybe we'll do a part two let's see so Daniel this is a great question actually of all the unannounced knocks on a door what was the most humorous or unexpected reaction from someone when they met you I'd like to say it was like someone that just got the shower with no clothes on but unfortunately nothing like that ever ever ever happen I can't think of any you worst you know it's like I'm pretty straight you're who you know what's nice about it though is it you know they look in the driveway and say come on in and have some iced tea you know so it's almost like we're friends off the bat I have this theory that car people are all friends some of us just haven't met yet I can meet a car person and 15 minutes later where it's like we've known each other our whole lives so I started this pointed noting that you were but we want a blessing a lot during our the course of filming there anyway well I and you've made a lot of really good friends from these trips the midland trip that i got to go on with you our friend Thomas Ross that's right so he not only did he help you with okay let's make sure this is the right car he didn't help me with I helped him with you helped him with he got highly involved this is a guy who because of your relationship with him got car clubs involved right to help with make sure that you you ended up doing something very special with that particular wagon that your new friend mr. cross helped with talk about that a little bit it's really nice this car was one of maybe 50 cars in a lot that Tom had behind his business he's a pool manufacturer and I you know walk around see that red wagon mmm walk around with the camera guys filming filming get back their wagon hmm and you know an hour later walk around look at the rest of the cars come back that wagon you wouldn't have any compound in a rag would you oh yeah you it goes over the shop comes back in a compound piece that big said man it's this paint now I I saw a Simon eyes commercial I was a kid where somebody walking with junkie or a dusty old crappy car polished it look like no I always want to try that and so there I am we brought the key to forklift pick the car up brought it to his shop we hooked up the electric extension cord to his buffer and buffed that fender look at that fender that fender is gold shining that thing's been sitting out in the desert for 35 years dead paint on top I'm low buffer I'm not a detailer I went through the red paints and some spots is that what are you gonna do and when we got to the end of that fender that's when we decided this car is not ready to die yet and so tom was a crew chief on that Tom cross who we bought the car from he said look you know you gave me just smudged and cheap and I'll give you everything you need for it engines transmissions because it had nothing it had a the front crossmember was cut out there's no engine no gearbox crappy interior you know we went back a couple of times over that a year and we built that car had a really cool 390 with a four-barrel it had a photomatic transmission it was all rebuilt we put cool wheels and tires hubcaps Mexican blanket interior we sanded the rough rust off on the roof and then clear coated it so it's like clear coated rust looks like looks like suede and and then Tom followed us in case we broke down we drove it from Midland Texas to Macpherson Kansas and we donated to the McPherson College has their new parts chase car they had an old Chevy pickup and it was you know it's really dying and what could be better for a restoration school to have then a cool old car like this so it's a 1962 Ford country sedan that started off in Tom's junkyard and now Donald Osborne you know Donald Osborne yeah well you know when I gave him a ride in it he said do you think the school would sell me this car I love it though you know it's you know I'm a lucky guy to be able to experience some of these things today and you know what I hope that my shows transmit that to you because I you know what I'm doing up I'm a guy on a camera but I have a million people you know next to me did which is you yeah I know I think I think you uh you exude an enthusiasm for all of this that comes from your core I don't think you know authentic may be overuse these days but um you're just tom it's great you do a wonderful job with all of this cool all right it's organic I type ramas you it's totally organic so we've got someone that wants to know what's the scariest thing that's ever jumped out of an old car that you weren't expecting I have the feeling they know ah cats I made a dog with sleeping the car cats but the scariest thing was a possum we opened the hood on a big old Cadillac and they were actually buzzards living in the Cadillac they would I guess buzzes eat their their their friends after they die so the little skeletons in this old Cadillac it was in a barn we opened the hood because I want to show me the big v8 fire engine there it is watch this but whatever oh and I'd pick off screaming like a girl is it you know you see those teeth that's how many I'm out of here that looks like a perfectly reasonable reaction to having something like that leap out of here now I was so yeah here it is that's where the is past it but that's where the car was right off the road an old Cadillac sitting in a farm at a barn in the middle of nowhere it's pretty cool there it is one more time come on one more time let's watch that roll but I mean boom no possum were harmed in the filming of this episode right you have a little disclaimer across the bottom now all right so what if your cars we have have some folks asking questions knows you're traveling around these out-of-the-way places at mostly American and stuff that you find or there's some cool European cars mixed out you know I have to tell you that missing American American yeah so I'm half and half yeah I love foreign cars I'm restoring this one [Laughter] so yeah but here's the crazy thing mad I'd love to pursue or this the frame that my son one week ago today he was sandblasting in our backyard that's the lowest one frame which weighs less than 50 pounds amazing car we went to England and you don't know about that yet because those episodes haven't shown yet but we go to England to shoot episodes right before the pandemic it and people have shown us cars Camaros Mustangs 32 Ford High boys so women I came across the ocean to see American cars but that's what they love like I want to find stuff like this forget it couldn't find it you know it's all American stuff I'm being facetious but you know most of the stuff we found was American in collector-car buildings but we did find no Morris minors and Mini Cooper is an Allard which is kind of cool so people say oh can you find me a 426 super bird you like you know you walk up to a barn or garage door you open it up it is what it is you know it can be a Vega it could be a pile of hay it could be a fourth music super but I can't go out and find a super bird you open the door and you have to love the Corvair that you you know that's there for at least a few minutes you know so it is what it is this was in this picture a couple of Jags that's in Maggie Valley North Carolina this is the man who had Steve Davis had a Ford 60 foot long chicken house with hundreds of cars and thousands of motorcycles unbeli unbelievable but let me tell you we went to Atlanta and filmed these young guys who restore Datsun 240z s there in college that actually they probably graduated by now because graduations like right now but they were not gonna go into law like they wanted to original whatever they're gonna go to restoring Z cars and they wound up watching this episode with Steve Davis and he had a 240z in there 73 I think and they went to bind from him and it took hours and hours to get the car out of the garage a to pull so it's of all the cars out to get that Z car out but those guys want to buying one of those cars in fact that's him right there that's these are two young guys outside of the north of Atlanta that have probably 60 or 70 Z cars some of which are restoration material and some of which are parts cars that's great you touched on motorcycles for just a minute do you find very many in your travels with a question about that from a why are you selling the wagon oh yeah motorcycles you know this is crazy I did a couple of motorcycle books and there are people like Pat Simmons from The Doobie Brothers who somehow you have to be in that frame of mind you go to a small town into a concert your tour bus is out there and you just start talking to the motorcycle shop and you talk the most like I shot me tell you about a guy outside of town that's got a bunch of Indian motorcycles and you want to find 20 at a time I don't find motorcycles I guess I'm just not I'm not geared towards that now this guy Steve Davis he has thousands of motorcycles some rotary powered motorcycles think about that you can store one car or probably ten motorcycles in a one-car garage it should be easier to find motorcycles but yeah I don't ask about them I think once you get into that frame of mind you're locked in the guy that owns wheels through time museum dale walksler and also a Maggie Valley he's made his life's goal of finding rare old racing bikes that ran on dirt tracks in the 30s though how he does this I don't know but he's not in a car frame of mine and I'm not in a bike frame line so no I don't know the language well so we've had a thing where your notoriety with all this now do you have your phone and email ringing all the time with people saying hey you've got to go there's a there's a barn off old highway whatever you got to come check it out you get tips now that you didn't used to get I do and I pretty much ignore them I mean I really appreciate caring viewers that want to help me out but I do not want to become American Pickers I do not want to become somebody that takes orders and knows what they're gonna find before they find it American Pickers was coming to Charlotte a few months ago and it wasn't there was a story in The Charlotte Observer that said American Pickers is coming to Charlotte let them know what you have so what they do is they pick through email so that's good that's good all everything's negotiated ahead of time it's like this so it's artificial drama so I really really enjoy doing it the old-fashioned way it's knocking on doors asking local auto parts stores who restores cars it's much more wholesome that way and and you find you really find cars that are have have disappeared for a long time as opposed to finding cars that people have been trying to sell so I appreciate you know your leads but I hope you respect the fact that I just like to go and find cars that even you don't know about and I can say that that is absolutely true because we were gonna go because I had a lead on somebody that was that it told me something and I tried to tell you about I said hey while you're there you got to call this guy apparently he knows and you were like I don't want to know that I would rather be out driving around or stopping in at some local joint and getting a cup of coffee and find out about this guy and this is what I've been doing since um yeah well I bought my woody when I was fifteen it actually is my second car my first car was a 1940 Ford convertible I bought when I was 14 for 25 bucks because lumpy I believe at the beaver drove one and I fell in love with it and I found for 25 bucks and I had Lumpy's car I was gonna put a 283 and it never happened but this is what I've been doing my whole life it's become kind of being a Salesman see to me whether you're selling auto parts or cars or furniture or whatever you have to sell yourself if we can still before I could ask about that car in your carport I have to sell myself to you you have to believe in me sure well what's what's next for you let's say we get back out of all this and you can go hit the road again where would you like to go next well I would I might like to Canada I'd like to do some more Europe stuff the only state I've never been to is North Dakota so I'd like to go there that's the only state I've been to personally on the barn 500 series I think we're probably on 30 states now we're doing pretty well we were gonna go to we're gonna go to Hawaii this past January wound up going to England instead it was colder it wasn't as many bikinis but I'm always intrigued with cold areas I really like the people we met in Alaska I was amazed at how little rush there is I think it's same frog probably for North Dakota Wyoming Idaho Montana I'd like I wouldn't mind hitting the very northern parts of the state that border Canada just to see what's up there it's very desolate and you know personally I like traveling to places that are really cold when winter I like over the summer you know I like Maine you know I like I did I just I like northern areas not necessarily when they're cold we had a question about when you pick a city does it matter if there was a like a military presence like do you like like a population of people that are that they may buy something when they live there then they leave they leave something behind you find that alive and someone like that in in the Bay Area north of San Francisco up near Vallejo and his military base and when people were shipped out that sell this guys put their cars to sell the car sell the cars and there was a yard and I was told about stuff in there hundreds of amazingly rare cars a six wheel staff car mercedes-benz staff car from like Hitler days that mercedes-benz flew a private jet over and did not leave until he sold in the car and they put the car on the jet and flew back to Stuttgart cars like that but that's rare that's rare these days because those guys are usually dying off but the what I really enjoy is go to college towns you know you might go to West Virginia which is pretty world but if you go to Charles Town Charleston West Virginia there's a college there and professors have quirky tastes and you know he might have been into Fiats or Jaguars or something and if the professor might be retired now and his old automotive passion might still be in the garage in the back so I enjoy college towns because they bring quirkiness automotive quirkiness to the to the for well when along the lines of quirky I've got a question here about crazy Corvair collectors have you been anywhere where you've seen someone with barns too full of Corvairs I guess we have a Corvair nut here Chad wants to know oh it's not Kyle no I thought it was a seed question as well but it was not from our okay you know onesie twosie I know you know the cars like that cars like Morris minors and Berkeley's and Corvair stuff you don't know just one you own a fleet of them and you imagine it Corvairs you're gonna find somebody with a backyard full of convertibles and two doors four doors and vans stepside pickup trucks and all that kind of stuff I haven't yet 1 1 z 2 z Corvair stuff I really enjoy corporate to me that's the American portion I really dig him but not specific core vision yet but you know here's some crazy I was driving that Cobra in Maine I'm driving this car that is universally loved and respected and and there's a rusty Corvair convertible on the side of the road for sale and I and I pull up next to my Cobra looking at this rusty Corvair and a guy comes out of a house and you're driving that and you want to talk about that yeah it's a I said yeah I'm just a sicko I apologize for that but uh I love you know my interest is there's 88 keys on the keyboard low and the high and I play all 8080 side it doesn't matter brand or the value a little more well that's super cool and we've we've coming around the Bandon on our time with you today and as we predicted I think we could have done about another hour so maybe we can schedule more time with you a little bit down the road and we'll answer some more questions from you if we go another hour do I get paid for another hour I don't know about that I don't I don't have your contract in front there's no money here leaves you alone so you can play in your garage right now and I think that's where you can live yep yep yep yeah but we appreciate you very much and guys I hope you've enjoyed listening to Tom and having some fun doing some QA and Tom are you working on Annie you have any other projects that are upcoming you'd like to mention and you're in your time here well you know this is probably my project I hope they haven't done in about a year the bodywork of paint is expensive that's gonna be a tough one to swallow but the engine and transmission off the rebuilder chassis will I'm working on here myself then when this said long Eleanor salon is done the next one over there's my son's and he's gonna we're gonna restore that one but then my Dawson 510 is gonna come up and then you know I'll probably close 70 years old Lin up I'll probably say okay that's enough restoration you know I'm just gonna now we're gonna drive them how about some quiet book writing you got any fun going on there got any new blooms you're working on off a Porsche a Porsche racing book I mean yeah interestingly Porsche probably the most renowned sports car brand in the world with an amazing racing history this being the largest market for Porsches in the world being the United States and there's never been a book about Porsche racing in the u.s. so I'm deep in that right now from 1951 where a man who sold Porsches out of his little lot in in Chicago went to Elkhart Lake and ran four laps in a 356 cab relay I don't know how why he retired but after four laps he retired that was the first Porsche racing in the United States 1961 4 laps Elkhart Lake so I'm gonna take it from there probably all the way up to the Penske era beyond the 917 s into the DHL cars the yellow cars they had probably in 2008 and and try to cover that that whole damage so that's that's several years worth work super cool well we appreciate you very much and again guys follow Tom on his adventures on our barn 500 series on haggerty's YouTube channel and send in that information give me the website one more time Tom or the email address it's all lowercase born fine hunter one big word born fine hunter at Haggerty calm yep so if you've got a car that they've seen before let's get an update on that and bring a trailer of 67 Ford Country Squire it can be yours exactly right we had a question we got somebody here who wants to buy the car and there it is you can have the only 428 four-speed 67 wagon on the planet and tomorrow the Sunbeam tiger goes on bring a trailer you ther breaking my heart with the tiger you're supposed it already has it - it already has a - ignited it you do have to swap it but we're working on it you find any old parts laying around for that thing you didn't sell with a car you strip in my way all right tom thanks very much as always thank you to our audience for coming in and tuning in for a fun discussion with Tom Connor today thank you for being a member of the Haggerty drivers club and any other questions we didn't get to hear just look at us a time we'll try and answer those online or get the answer to you another way so thanks very much appreciate our bread yep see you Tom you


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