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Show Us Your Barn Finds

Crazy Uncle Joe’s Mustang
Crazy Uncle Joe’s Mustang
Photo: Alex Hevesy

Barn find cars are the archeological expeditions of the car world. Instead of a fedora, whip and Harrison Ford, these digs often involve standing in a shed and googling “Mustang VIN decoder” while a pigeon silently judges you from the rafters.

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A few weeks ago, my grandfather told me that “Crazy Uncle Joe has an old Mustang you should check out.” When I pulled up to his house in Baltimore, Maryland, sure enough, Crazy Uncle Joe delivered. Sitting in a shed was a 1972 Ford Mustang. Uncle Joe wants to sell the Mustang and get it out of his shed and I was more than happy to help. Getting the Ford out of the shed is a story for a different blog but I was glad to come across a real barn find. It has that dilapidated aesthetic that I love.

Show us the cars you’ve found buried away in a shed, barn or aircraft hangers that you’ve come across. Let us know of any hidden automotive treasures you’ve found.

Lance Tedford spends his energies working on his 1985 Chrysler LeBaron. He is extremely tall and can never die.

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DISCUSSION

1982 Porsche 911 (unknown model) in a carport in rural VA.

I saw it while riding around on my motorcycle and got curious. Clearly in a somewhat decent state, but uncared for. I knocked at the door and got no answer. I visited off and in a few times in the coming year and got no answer any time I knocked.

Eventually I got an answer and was met by a somewhat stern but friendly faced man in his mid sixties. We’ll call this man Glenn. Not wishing to waste Glenn’s time, I let him know that I was a car lover and interested in restoring his car.

II’m not sure if you’ve ever talked to a Southern man in his vintage prime, but storytelling us an art form that they are the master of. Glenn told me about how he met his wife while he was in medical school and she was the darling of his life. They dated, got engaged and were married not long after he graduated. After many years and several wonderful children he had his “mid life crisis” and bought and brand new Porsche. He enjoyed it for years and they had many a wonderful date night in it. One day in the way home from work someone ran a red light and damn near totaled it.

Glenn spent years rebuilding it and adding to it things that he loved in other cars. He really made it into his dream car. Well, nearly. Glenn was about 3 small projects away from completion when his wife got cancer the first time. Project abandoned, he stood by his wife as she’d stood by him. Eventually it went into remission and he got around to working on it more. He got it running and only had a bit of carb work before it was ready to inspect, plate, and drive.

Cancer came back, fuck cancer.

This had been about 5 years before I met Glenn, and while it hadn’t been beat she was responding well.

TThrough this entire conversation I was uncomfortably standing on his steps while he leant on his door jamb. Glenn stopped talking and let me soak of his yarn and decide where I’d go next.

“Glenn, that is indeed your car. I don’t imagine you have interest in selling it but it deserves to run. Does the thought of it driving bring a number to your head?”

“Young man, it just makes me want to come up with a number high enough that you can’t afford.”

We shook hands and I rode home. I don’t expect Glenn has that Porsche running and I don’t care. I hope his wife beat it again and they enjoy every second. One day the sheet metal will outlive us, and when that day comes I hope it runs again.