Monday, March 21, 2016

Detroit’s Secret Collection Of Rare American Classics

Detroit's Secret Stash Of Classics
There have been many stories and rumors about a massive collection of priceless classic cars hiding in the heart of Motown. Well our buddies over at BoldRide just uncovered the truth about this hoard of classics and it is more incredible than the rumors! Apparently this secret warehouse is owned and run by the Detroit Historical Society and houses some of the rarest American cars ever built. Special thanks to Jim S for letting us know about this story!

Detroit's Secret Stash
Myles K was invited to visit this secret locations. He was given directions to get there, but was asked to keep it hidden from the rest of the world. Once you start to see what all is stashed in this warehouse, you begin to understand why the D.H.S. wants to keep its location a mystery. While these cars really should be on display for the entire world to see, they also need to be protected from the elements, vandals and thieves.

AMC In Detroit's Secret Stash
The Detroit Historical Society does have a museum that is open to the public, which has lots of great automotive displays, but it would be difficult to have all of their cars on display at once. It would also be difficult to keep them all in top shape if they were sitting in a museum. So they sit in this huge warehouse in their own individual bubbles waiting to be put on display either in a museum or at a major automotive event (think Concours and similar event). It might seem like a shame that they are hidden, but every one of these cars has played some kind of role in automotive history and really needs to be preserved for future generations!

Bubble Wrapped Classics
And that is what is truly incredible about this collection! While there are a number super rare prototypes, even the normal production cars have interesting stories. Just as an example, the Lincoln Continental Mark V that’s in the collection was Lee Iacocca’s personal car. Oh and the AMC Pacer, well it is one of the first ones ever built (if not the first). If you could spend all day at a salvage yard just looking, just imagine how much time you could spend in this place! It’s just too bad there aren’t more photos of the collection out there, but at least we now know that all these incredible cars are being protected and saved for future enjoyment! So do you see any cars here that you would love to drool over?


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pristine And Minty: 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook

Lately, I’ve noticed these early fifties shoebox Chrysler products getting some well-deserved love here on Barn Finds, including this 1951 Dodge Coronet, and this 1950 Plymouth. I for one, would posit that these cars are very worthy of that love, and this one might be worth a spot near the top of the heap. So as not to start gushing positive adjectives all over everything, I’ll just say this looks to be one of the finest preserved originals I’ve seen in a long time.

It’s listed on eBay, where the bidding is currently at $5,655, with several days left for bidding. It has a Buy It Now price of $15,450, which is certainly top dollar, but clearly this is top quality product. It’s located in Jacksonville, Florida, and the owner states this car has been parked since 1972, and sports just 12,361 documented original miles. Never have plaid seat covers looked so cool.

The owner says the seat covers are aftermarket, and were installed in 1951. Presumably with miles this low, the original covers underneath should be in near perfect condition. I’d love to see them, but would really deliberate before removing these.

The engine is a 217 cubic inch flathead six, and it drives a column shifted three speed manual transmission. New brakes, a new radiator, and restoration of the fuel system including the tank and carburetor round out the package.

This photo of the driver’s side rocker panel and lower door jambs tells a lot about what a factory-fresh car this really is. The seller says the exterior paint is all original as well, but shows some wear in a few areas. I wouldn’t consider re-painting this one.

1951 Plymouth Door Tag
Check out the period Sinclair Service door jamb decal. The seller says the car runs and drives like new, and that all the factory gauges and lights are in working condition.

It looks as good inside the trunk as it does everywhere else.

Probably we can all agree on the benefit of having four parts of this car that aren’t original, and that’s the brand new wide whitewall tires. They look like a million bucks here. Here at Barn Finds, we like our project cars, but occasionally it’s nice to see a car like this one, that needs really nothing. So what do you think? Chop the top, get a chain steering wheel, some flat black primer and a fake skull for a shifter knob? Don’t shoot! I was just kidding!


1963 Corvair Greenbrier Deluxe

right rear
We’ve seen a few of these Corvair vans lately, some in very nice shape, some not so much. Here’s an unusual one with barn doors on both sides listed on craigslist in Gilroy, California. The seller doesn’t say if it runs or anything about the state of the mechanicals. The $5,000 asking might seem high, but there are very few of these around. The 8 door option was not shown in the vin number, so there’s no way to know how many were built. They were originally designed for commercial uses but became popular with private owners as well.

open doors
This van has the deluxe package with interior panels among other options but you can’t tell what shape they are in. I wonder why the back doors were replaced. What sort of damage made it necessary and what effect does the rust or collision damage have on the rest of the van?

right rear
The body looks pretty solid with no obvious signs of rust. The only rust the seller mentions is the battery tray. There’s a lot of trim missing. It’s hard to imagine how this van could be worth the $5,000 asking. It would have to be running well and pretty well sorted out to be worth the asking. I don’t think most folks are willing to pay much extra for a couple of extra doors. What kind of fun uses could you find for this though?


Caddy Truck: 1976 Cadillac DeVille Mirage

1976 Cadillac Mirage

We’ve seen a few Cadillac trucks over the years, they all have been custom creations used primarily as flower cars by funeral homes. This ’76 DeVille based Mirage is one of the nicer examples we have seen and was built by Traditional Coach Works. Just a little over 200 of these were built, but no one is sure of the exact number. They were extremely well done conversions and are probably as close to a factory built Cadillac truck as you can get. This one is listed here on eBay in Tacoma, Washington with a high bid of $15k and the reserve not met.
1976 Cadillac Mirage Interior
I think the seller might be dreaming by setting a reserve that’s higher than $15k. They have posted results for other Mirages that have sold in the past at Barrett Jackson auctions as examples of what others have sold for, there prices range from $38k up to $44k. The only problem with that is those cars were all in extremely nice shape and were either very low mileage survivors, had already been extensively restored or both. Now don’t get me wrong, I think this seller’s truck is a nice example of one of these rare conversions, I’m just not convinced that it’s worth much more than $15k in its current condition.
1976 Cadillac Mirage Bed
I could be wrong on my guesstimate for this one, but I think that Barrett Jackson values tend to be inflated and not representative of the classic car market as a whole. If the seller detailed it to show quality, they might be able to get a few more bids out of it, but given the rust issues, cracked dash, ruined weather stripping, and other small issues I don’t see it going much higher. I’m hopping the seller’s reserve is only slightly more than the current bid. If that is the case, it could be a worthwhile and fun buy! The seller does seem to be upfront about the car’s issues and welcomes inspections, so if you are looking for an oddball luxury truck I’d recommend giving this one a closer look! So would you like to roll around in this Caddy?


1963 Chevrolet Corvair 95


Click Here to read all about this Corvair 95 Van and to view other pictures.


1953 Chrysler Special Coupe

1953 Chrysler Special Coupe

Click Here to read all about this Chrysler and to view other pictures.