Sunday, September 18, 2011

Barnquest - One Guys Search For The Elusive Barnifus Findicus

I am going on a vision quest, an adventure, a walkabout, a mission from God, all in an attempt to find the Barnifus Findicus; otherwise known as the "Barn Find". More elusive then a Chupacabra, an authentic Barnifus Findicus is a rare find as they are generally hidden from view their entire life. Many folks are fooled by imitations falsely disguised to look like it, and the latest trend of locating barn finds, crudely resurrecting, and then driving them in all their patinaed glory isn't helping much either. Armed with fresh cash from a recent vehicle sale, I set out to find this elusive beast.

Technically, there are not many barns in Southern California, so locating an actual "barn find" here would be akin to finding the Holy Grail. I am hoping to find a car that has been languishing in a garage for a couple of decades or more, but I would probably settle for a vehicle that has been somebodies yard art and is ensconced with weeds. At first I will concentrate on a sub-species of Barnifus Findicus known as Bigius Ponticus (full size Pontiac), but I will also keep my eye out for a Largus Oldsmobilus. If I'm really lucky I might even spot a Giganticus Moparus!

Short of canvassing the entire countryside block by block to locate my prize, I had to utilize a more systematic approach to my search. My plan was simple, I would just ASK - as in Ask Someone you Know! Ok, technically thats "asyk", but that word doesn't exist. Actually, looking at it spelled out, "asyk" almost works... maybe. Anyways, no sooner then I had put the word out that I was looking for bottomless money pit, err, I mean project car, the leads started flowing in. Of particular interest was a 60's something Plymouth that I got a lead on from work. The story went that the owner had bought his house 15 plus years ago and the Mopar was in the garage. Apparently it came with the sale of the house and supposedly had been in there since the late 70's. I got the contact information and started calling... and calling.... and calling, all to no avail. It's not that the owner didn't want to sell, it's that he didn't care weather he sold it or not. Timing was everything here and I had to catch him at just the right moment. Well, I kept calling but other leads were coming in and I was getting impatient. That money was burning a hole in my pocket! My interest was really piqued after a brief conversation with the owner. Although he didn't know the exact year of the car, he told me it was a 2 door with a 440 and a stick shift. When I asked him how he knew it was a 440, he said it was on the hood. That's all I needed to hear! Holy big block Batman! After numerous attempts to get the owner to call me back and even one unannounced visit to his house, I finally gave up. I even "googled" his address and used their mapping program to "see" the house and yard, hoping for a view of an open garage... Hey you never know, it might be possible, but I think I will have better odds with the lottery.

This quest has truly been an eye opener for me. The market is really changing and due to the current economic status of our country, there are some incredible deals to be found. "Strike while the iron is hot" as some might say, but that is easier said then done if you do not have the monetary means to do so. Now, here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure from my Barnquest...

Found: 1966 Pontiac Starchief Executive. This was found sitting on jack stands behind and old airport hanger. I don't think it had been washed since the Carter administration. It was missing the engine but other then that was 100 percent complete, including a nearly mint interior.

Found: 1967 Oldsmobile 442. This was actually a barn find once removed. The seller reportedly found this in a barn and bought it from the original owner. It was 100 percent original but it was also almost 100 percent junk. The car was sporting more rust then the Titanic and the interior looked like it was home to various rodents over the years. To say this car needed a complete restoration is a total understatement. Hey, I know, let's get it to run and drive it cross country! You could use old street signs to patch the huge holes in the floorboards. That might keep the rodents out...
Found: 1961 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88. This car was a 4 door hardtop that was also bought from it's original owner and was being offered for sale. In my opinion this was the bargain of the bunch, even though it was leaking more oil then the Exxon Valdez. This baby was rock stock, right down to it's original A/C compressor. Although primered, the body was super straight and rust free. The car oozed cool all the way around. Have you seen the dash on one of these?

                                                                                                                                                               Check out this dash! Talk about retro, this thing reeks of sixties styling. The cat eye gauges are bitchen. Even the steering wheel is cool looking. The vinyl trash bag needs to go along with the lone fuzzy dice, or would that be die?
I'll leave you with the tail shot of the Dynamic 88. Olds was heavy into the "rocket" theme during this era. The backend almost looks like a spaceship or something and the tail lights look like afterburners.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Passing the Torch

They say all good things must come to an end, and that's what happened to the Mercury. No, it didn't get wrecked or stolen, I sold it. I had some really neat plans for it, but life happened. Reality sucks. A car like this does not come my way that often, so it was a little hard to see it go. I am really kind of bummed out. On the other hand, I did get a really good price for it, given the current state of the economy. The reality is that people are still losing their jobs or getting layed off, businesses are closing, and everything just keeps getting more and more expensive. With all thats going on I should consider myself lucky.

Well, there was something positive about selling the Mercury. After paying off some crushing debt I did end up with a small amount of extra cash. Gee, what am I going to do with that? I smell a project car on the horizon...

 Before the Merc sailed off into the sunset I did manage to get some really nice photos of it. Behold the Mercury Monterey in all of it's glory: