We’re part of a movement gang – a “barnfinders” movement.
More and more the cars we seek – the handcrafted cars of the 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond – are coming out of the woodwork. That is, they are being recognized as having a significant history and the folks like you, me, and all of us are out seeking to save, research, restore, and celebrate these very cars.
This is more evident than ever in the release of Tom Cotter’s new book: Fifty Shades of Rust.
Meeting Tom Cotter:
Tom and I first met after I contacted him in 2006 about a story he wrote in his book “Cobra in the Barn”. At the time I was newbie at “barnfinding” and I loved the romance and adventure of tracking down long lost cars, sharing the history, and planning the restoration. I had done this once before – nearly 30 years before with my 1962 Shark Roadster.
Reading about this topic was so much fun! This was Tom’s first “In The Barn…” series of books, and I was as excited to read it as I’m sure he was to write it.
But being a “newbie” I wasn’t sure how this “barnfinding” thing went. As I was reading Cobra in the Barn, I saw a car I fell in love with….the Moon Transporter…and I got ahold of Tom to learn more about this very cool vehicle. That was, I viewed his “book” as my “barn.”
He was excited about sharing what he knew and was kind enough to pass along the contact information for the owner near Los Angeles, California – Jim Degnan.
Cutting to the chase, here’s what Jim recently recounted on our website about what came “next “in terms of the acquisition of the transporter:
I’m happy to say that Jim, his wife and I are still friends. And, inspired by my “barnfind” using the “barnfinders” book, I pressed forward with Rick D’Louhy to more and different things – all great car stuff.
In the next few years, we worked with Tom and shared several stories of our barnfinds in his 2010 book “Corvette in the Barn.” So…when we got the call in 2013 about his latest book in this series, Rick D’Louhy and I were ready – ready with stories not only about the cars that we found but the people that we worked with to find, locate, retrieve, and save these gems of history.
Tom’s latest book includes six of our stories as well as an introduction to the book which incorporated many of the discussions Tom and I had concerning how and why people find hunting for lost cars intriguing, exciting, and adventurous. And besides our 6 stories there are about 90 more stories by others who have had their own car adventures too.
I asked the publisher of the book – Motorbooks – if we could share one of our stories that would give you some insight into the type of stories included in Fifty Shades of Rust – nearly 100 stories in all. They enthusiastically said “yes” and then offered a surprise as well – which I’ll share with you at the end of the story.
For now, let’s explore one of our stories that appears in Tom’s new book, “Fifty Shades of Rust.”
Junkyard Girls Are The Best
By Geoff Hacker
A lost car found in a junkyard? Covered in snow? What’s the car? Where is the junkyard? How did it get there? I love those kinds of questions!
I’ve been on the hunt for a McCormack sports/custom car since first seeing one in 2006 in Texas. Rick D’Louhy and I didn’t pounce quickly enough, though, and we lost the car to a now good friend in Australia. Were there any McCormacks left in the USA? I was hopeful that there were, and I was bound and determined to find one.
Around 2010, I began receiving e-mails of a mysterious car in a junkyard somewhere in the northeast – the hunt was on. When I finally found the link to the car on the Internet, it turned out to be a video of a lost junkyard, and the video was even set to music.
The video was artistic and featured beautiful cars in the snow. And there it was – another McCormack! I had to find out where the junkyard was and learn its history too. It took about a year, but I tracked down the source of the video – Marc Reed. Marc agreed to help me on my quest and provided information about the junkyard, but it appeared to be abandoned.
With a bit more help from local sources, I tracked the car down to a small yard in New Hope, Pennsylvania, a town known for its quaint antique shops, not its fantastic junkyards. I was getting close!
I made a few more calls, and I was soon in touch with Bob Truitt and his mother, Doris – great folks in every way. Bob had acquired the car years earlier from his friend Graham Orton. A few more calls, and Graham and I were speaking. He shared that he had found the car in New Jersey and that it had a great engine in it at one time.
The previous owner had bought the car for the engine and pushed the car out back, abandoning it for years.
During several conversations with current owner Bob Truitt, I put together a deal and made arrangements to save the car. At Christmas time in 2011, I hitched my trailer to my Suburban, filled it with gas, and headed north, and just days before Christmas, I had my new acquisition in hand – a 1955 (or so) McCormack.
I motored back home and began to research again too. So far, we’ve determined that the car raced at ATCO Dragway (New Jersey) in the ’60s or ’70s. It was painted green, just like how it appeared on the cover of Motor Life back in 1956, but it was clearly not the original cover car.
This was built for speed. The entire frame was round tube and well-built in every way. We’ve been working with drag racing historian and photographer Bob Wenzelburger to identify that original owner and builder, but the question still remains open at this time.
Our hope is to restore this car back to its original racing beauty. And if luck, time, and money allows, install a Dodge (long) cross ram engine underneath its extremely wide hood. The space is there, and it would be a remarkable way to show a car, its history, and potential to all interested.
And perhaps by then we may have the “rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say.
Other Stories That Appear:
Thanks again to Motorbooks for allowing us to share one of the stories that appears in Fifty Shades of Rust. This book includes (but is not limited to) stories about cars we’ve found and the people who helped find them. Some of our cars discussed are:
- The Siebler Special
- Cinnamon Girl
- The Last Racing Singer
- The Leo Lyons Custom Merc
- The Chicagon
- And of course, the McCormack Sports Car
Also included are stories that you’ll enjoy such as:
- Jim and Lea Ann Robinson’s Guy Mabee Victress and their all original hot rod from the 50s – Benny’s Coupe
- A story on a Sorrell SR-100
- The Sabel sports/race car
And nearly 90 more stories told from the owners and adventurers who found them – cars from all areas of the hobby found by the people who tracked these great automobiles down.
Here is the table of contents showing the breadth of the stories in the book:
And now for the surprise – Nichole Schiele, Marketing Manager for Motorbooks – offered a discount to readers of our website – Forgotten Fiberglass. You can order the book directly off the Motorbook website at a 40% discount through the end of this year (2014) by using the following information:
- Website: www.motorbooks.com
- Promo Code: tom14
- Code Expiration: 12/31/2014
Thanks very much to Nichole for setting this up for our readers – we greatly appreciate this opportunity to save a bit of money 🙂
And below are shown the inside covers and back cover of the book.
Tom Cotter Hits The Road On Another Barn Find Mission:
Do you want to join in on Tom’s barn find adventures? You can for the next 10 days if you live in the Northeast – or want to quickly travel there. Here’s what’s shown on the Motorbook Facebook page about Tom’s current “barnfinding” adventure:
Best-selling Motorbooks author Tom Cotter, and his trusty car spotters Brian Barr and Michael Alan Ross, are on the road September 26 – October 9, 2014 looking for the best barn finds in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Maryland. Share Your Tips!
You can visit Motorbook’s Facebook page for more information by clicking on the following link:
And you can see some of the photos from this trip by clicking on the following link:
Thanks again to Tom Cotter for his interest, support, and enthusiasm for all that we do at Forgotten Fiberglass to hunt down, save, and restore these historically important artifacts from the early postwar years.
Greatly appreciated Tom!
Oh…and for those you interested – including Jim Degnan – the restoration of the Moon Transporter began this year. Yea! More about that in future stories here at Forgotten Fiberglass.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
* Click on the following link to view all stories on: Book Reviews