Raiders of the Lost Cars

“Raiders  of  the  Lost  Cars”
The  Greatest  American  Car  Story  NEVER  Told


Jay Leno and Geoff Hacker at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with Geoff’s 1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet


What  People  Are  Saying…

“In attempting to capture the significance and passion inherent in Undiscovered Classics, I can’t seem to shake the graphic allusion to Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark on the former’s website. Although I would aspire to be more original, that theme absolutely nails the essence of their journey and the value of their achievements.

Geoff Hacker and his crew are indeed scholars who embark on perilous adventures to obtain rare artifacts. They’re obsessive and not afraid to get dirty digging. And, by making the liberated treasures universally accessible on the web, it’s like they have given anyone who’s interested a virtual key and detailed map to the implausibly giant warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant was stored.”


Dan Post: President, Duarte Inc
Click Here To See Full Quote


Ralph Smith Works Late One Night on our 1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet While Prepping Our 1957 LaDawri Conquest for an Upcoming Appearance at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Geoff Hacker Receiving Award For His 1955 Californian Sports Car at the 2014 Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance


What  We  Do  Best

Our strength is sharing untold stories of individuals designing and building their own sports cars in early postwar America.  It’s a story of distinction, a story of passion, a story founded on the enthusiasm and the belief in a world and a time where anything seemed possible from your own garage.  Collectively, we at Undiscovered Classics refer to this as: 


“The Greatest American Car Story NEVER Told”


Our focus is about individuals who set out to achieve their dream – the postwar generation that took on these projects, set goals for themselves and achieved them.  Their spirited endeavors were quintessentially American and, as such, are highly relevant today. 

These stories are interesting and can stand alone as compelling items of interest.  But, we can weave the following elements into the story board with ease:

  • Restoration & Collaboration: Restoring our own and customer’s handcrafted sports cars.  This includes collaborating with three restoration teams in and around Tampa, Florida
  • Communication: Maintaining a website/blog that shares our stories with a worldwide audience which includes Facebook, Twitter, and relationships with several automobile magazines
  • Concours & Curation: Working with concours and museums to establish classes or cars or exhibitions for public display
  • Adventures & Trips: Traveling to shows as well as recovering acquired cars
  • Mystery & History: Investigating mystery cars sent to us, and researching the history of “found” cars including the people and families that built them
  • Search & Rescue: Searching for lost cars – and finding them – something we’ve done time and again.  Returning with lost automotive treasures from across the USA
  • Research & Investigation: Using magazines, company literature, car show programs, libraries, museums and more to document an investigative topic.
  • Rebirth: Most recently, taking cars that are so rare and making molds of them so that new ones can be built nearly 70 years after many were created

From Left to Right: Geoff Hacker, Wayne Carini and Rick D’Louhy with Our 1946 Burke Streamliner at the 2014 Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance


Strong  Ties  To  Proven  Themes

Undiscovered Classics is the story of lost cars, lost companies, mystery cars, and people, family  and topics that have remained secreted away for 50+ years.  Through the hunt for and the sharing of these stories, our team utilizes a perfect blend of strategies that successful shows have used to their advantage.  We have an opportunity to share our story using these same proven themes with an audience at large in the ways described below.

  • American Pickers (History Channel): Our team of experts is both local and across the country and shares their expertise on history and valuation as needed.
  • Antiques Roadshow (PBS): We are often presented with cars with missing history and our job is to track down the history and share what we’ve learned via our website and media channels and partners.
  • Jay Leno’s Garage (CNBC): As with Jay Leno’s Garage, we share stories of cars and their owners/builders which are often picked up by other media channels – the more unique the better
  • Wayne Carini’s Chasing Classic Cars (Motor Trend TV): The finding buying, restoring, showing and selling of cars is part of our organization too.  We also restore cars for our customers span Europe, South America, New Zealand, Australia and of course the USA.
  • Hagerty’s Barn Find Hunter with Tom Cotter (YouTube): We also travel the country and identify what people have and share what we learn with our audience.  But our travels are “digital” too.  That is, we identify mystery cars and lost cars worldwide via our website (media channel) e-mail and conference call ability.
  • Fast ‘n Loud (Gas Monkey Garage) (Discovery Channel; Motor Trend TV): We also focus on restoring cars for ourselves and customers and are challenged with deadlines, shoestring budgets, personalities who restore our (and our customer) cars and expectations that the cars will go to the finest shows across the land.
  • History Detectives (PBS):  We also use archival magazines, newspapers and other historical documents to share the full untold story.  We do this for our own research projects and when new information is brought to light by our audience.

Wayne Carini and Geoff Hacker at the 2020 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance with Owners of the 1952 Voodoo Special (Brian and Sue Ford of Christchurch, New Zealand)

The Undiscovered Classics Team: Merrill Powell (Victress Co-Founder), Geoff Hacker and Rick D’louhy at the 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.  Our 1955 Meteor SR-1 Lurks in the Background.


Undiscovered  Classics  In  The  News

The work, activity, research, restorations, re-creations, exhibitions and concours appearance that Undiscovered Classics participates in is covered by a wide range of media publications.  These appear in print, on the web, in TV and on video to a worldwide audience.  Click on each of the links below to learn more.

Hemmings  Motor  News
Stories  Authored  by  or  About  Undiscovered  Classics

Autoweek  Magazine  Archives
Stories  About  Undiscovered  Classics  Cars

Hagerty  Classic  Car  Magazine, Video  Archive  &  Valuation  Tool
Stories  &  Video  About  Undiscovered  Classic  Cars

Silodrome  Archives
Stories  About  Undiscovered  Classics  Cars

Tom  Cotter  Barnfind  Books,  Videos  &  Podcasts
Stories  About  Barn  Finds  of  Undiscovered  Classic  Cars

Video:  Jay  Leno’s  Garage,  Autoweek,  USA  Today  &  More
Concours, Car Shows and other Event Settings

Velocity  Channel:   Ray  Evernham’s  AmeriCarna  TV  Show
Shot in 2014 and Debuted in 2015


Geoff Hacker and Wayne Carini’s With Wayne’s 1957 Spohn Sport Custom at the 2014 Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance

Photo Taken During Our Velocity TV Channel Appearance in 2015 for Ray Evernham’s “AmeriCarna” Show. From Left To Right: Craig Johnson, Rick D’Louhy, Ray Evernham, Geoff Hacker and Kyle Feller.  We Are Standing Next To Our 1956 Bangert Manta Ray – a Car That Later Appeared Fully Restored at the 2017 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.


Explore  Our  Own  Media  Archive

Stories authored by or about Undiscovered Classics and Undiscovered Classic Cars.  The archive starts when we started in 2006.  Also includes Undiscovered Classics at concours, in museums & exhibitions, on the web, in print, podcasts, video and more.  Click on the link below to learn more:

Undiscovered  Classics  Archive:  2006 to Present


In This Photo We’re At the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Showing our 1950 Leo Lyons Custom Mercury. From Left to Right: Geoff Hacker, George Barris and Rick D’Louhy


Restorations

From soup to nuts, we’ve restored a number of special cars with more already in progress.  Click on the link below to learn more:

Restorations:  Our Cars, Customer Cars, Partnerships and more



Undiscovered  Classics  Has  A  Global  Reach

We consult, collaborate and restore cars with others from across the world which include people from England, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy as well as South America, New Zealand, Australia and of course the USA.  In addition, the stories on our website are read by a worldwide audience and you can view their readership locations on a world map.  Click on the link below to learn more:

Worldwide  Visitor  Map  For  Undiscovered  Classics


Ray Evernham at the Wheel of our 1955 Californian Sports Car During The Taping of His Show “AmeriCarna” in 2015 – For the Velocity Channel

From Left to Right: Tom Cotter, Rollie Langston and Geoff Hacker Standing In Front of Our 1953 Kaiser Dragon. Photo Taken During Shooting for Hagerty’s “Barn Find Hunter” in 2018 – Nearly 500,000 views on YouTube For This 2-Part Series on Undiscovered Classics and Forgotten Fiberglass.


Here  At  Undiscovered  Classics:

“We  find,  research,  restore,  show  and  sell  America’s
lost  automotive  treasures…”


Tom DuPont of DuPont Registry With Geoff Hacker and His 1957 Galileo Show Car – lost for over 50 years. The Galileo Debuted in 2016 to the Public in the DuPont Registry Showroom Located in Their Corporate Headquarters in Clearwater, Florida.


Background  Information:

Click  on  the  Links  Below  To  Learn  More:

Undiscovered  Classics  Website – Home Page

Undiscovered  Classics  Portfolio

Geoffrey  Hacker,  Ph.D.

Craig  Johnson

Guy  Dirkin,  Ph.D.

Kyle  Feller


Prepping to Film a Segment During the 2015 AmeriCarna Shoot for Velocity TV. Location: Sarasota Classic Car Museum in Sarasota, Florida.  Kyle Feller at Extreme Right.  The Segment Included Our 1962 Shark Roadster Shown Above.

On The Set For the 2018 Discovery Channel Show “Sticker Shock” With Our 1949 Sunflower State Special. There were over 850,000 Views when Discovery Ran This Trailer on Facebook.


Developed  Media  Channels

Click  on  the  Links  Below  To  Learn  More:

Undiscovered  Classics  Website
Our Primary Distribution Channel

Facebook  Home  Page
Undiscovered  Classics

YouTube  Channel
Undiscovered  Classics

Twitter  Home  Page
Undiscovered  Classics


From Left To Right: Dan Strohl of Hemmings, Tom Cotter From Hagerty’s Barn Find Hunter, Geoff Hacker and Merrill Powell Who Was The Co-Founder of Victress in 1952

Our 1950 Leo Lyons Custom Mercury at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. From Left to Right: Rick D’Louhy, Graham Kozak from Autoweek and Geoff Hacker


Undiscovered  Classics  and  Autoweek  Magazine

“If the concours scene is going to survive in the coming years, it’s going to have to embrace the “Undiscovered Classics” and emerging trends. So go forth and seek the cars you find intriguing, whether or not they’re worth boatloads of money, and you too may find yourself cruising onto the concours green.

If you do end up with something special, Hacker and D’Louhy’s model is one that you’d do well to emulate. Unlike the typical, secretive owners, they’re nothing but transparent about what they do, which lets guys like me share every step of the previously mysterious process with all of you.

Their objective is to make the whole process engaging and informative and maybe even fun — not something you usually say about a stranger’s car restoration.  They would have succeeded even if they hadn’t let me hop behind the wheel the morning of the concours. Not that I was about to stop them.”


Graham Kozak: Autoweek Magazine
Click  Here  To  See  What  People  Are  Saying  About  Undiscovered  Classics


Our 1952 Allied “Cisitalia” Coupe – As Found In Garage Tucked Safely Away For Over 50 Years


Teamwork is Key To Everything We Do at Undiscovered Classics. Here We Get Our Car to the 2010 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Lawn in the Nick of Time.


Map  of  Undiscovered  Classics
In  The  Tampa  /  West  Coast  Florida  Area

 


Undiscovered  Classics  “Best  of”  Gallery
Photos  With  Captions

From Left to Right: Geoff Hacker, Rick D’Louhy and Steve Steers – Owner of this 1953 Victress S1A. Taken at the 2011 Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours d’Elegance.

From Left to Right: Bob Petersen and Geoff Hacker at the 2011 Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours d’Elegance. We’re Standing Next To Our 1961 Tiburon “Porsche” Coupe – a concept car that was recognized in 1966 by Road & Track Magazine as the “Most Streamlined Car in the World.”

From Left to Right: Rick D’Louhy and Geoff Hacker at the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance with our 1962 Shark Roadster Concept Car.

The 10 Year Search Was Over in 2017 When We Acquired One of the Five Coachbuilt Cars from DM Nacional – A Mexican Firm which Built Cars From Scratch in the Early 1950s. This Car is Called a “Sedenca d’Ville” And Was Originally Built for A San Antonio Couple to Go Shopping In on the Weekends with a personal driver at the wheel. Geoff Hacker is Standing at the Rear Of The Car – Photo Taken at “South of the Border” in South Carolina.

Another 10 Year Quest Ended in 2019 When We Acquired the “Executive” – a Concept Show Truck/RV Built by John Bucci which Traveled the World in the 1970s. Photo Taken in Metropolis, Illinois on our way from Chicago where we loaded the Truck to take it to our headquarters based in Tampa, Florida. In Downtown Metropolis is a 2 story “Superman” statue – what better way to showcase our cool find in 2019.

Dinosaurs Aren’t Extinct in Florida – Here’s our Leo Lyons Mercury Taking a rest near a Tyrannosaurus Rex at Dinosaur World. We love these “campy” shots.

Near our home base is another famous Dinosaur. This was originally built as a Sinclair gas station which used “Dino the Dinosaur” as their advertising mascot. We took a quick shot of our Leo Lyons Custom Mercury next to Dino near Crystal River, Florida. Again…we love these “campy” shots.

Another 10+ Year Search Came to an End in 2017 When We Acquired This Lost Custom Show Car Called the “Frazer Sport Custom”. Dan Strohl of Hemmings Motor News and I Collaborated on Tracking This Car Down and then Undiscovered Classics Acquired The Car. What a Fun Story to Share Where This Photo Was Taken – at the 2019 Charlotte Motor Sport Speedway’s Autofair.

This Photo Was Also Taken at the 2019 Charlotte Motor Sport Speedway’s Autofair where Our 1962 Shark Roadster – A Car We’ve Owned Since 1980 (40 years and counting) Was One of the Feature Cars of the Show along with a Replica of Speed Racer’s Mach V.

In 2016 We Acquired Our First of Two Handcrafted RV’s Built by Ferber Coachworks. These were hand built RV’s that took up to 6 months each to build.  Each Ferber Coach was custom ordered and the resulting vehicle became the most expensive RV’s built in the early 1970s costing $20,000 to $30,000 each – or more. So along with our “Bucci Executive” RV….Undiscovered Classics now writes about, collects and restores Vintage Hand Built RV’s 🙂   Nate Bowne, One of Our Undiscovered Classics Team Members, Points To The Sky Reminding Our Followers that “The Cars Are Out There…”

From Left To Right: Ray Evernham and Geoff Hacker at the 2017 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Here Ray Inspects Our 1956 Bangert Manta Ray Which He Saw Last in 2015 – Back Then It Was Unrestored and Resting at our Fiberglass Farms Location.

Upcoming Project: Restoration of our 1954 Chicagoan Concept Car – Lost since the mid 1950s But Now Recovered and Awaiting Restoration

Upcoming Project: Restoration of our 1957 LeMans Coupe – Body and Chassis Designed By John Bond of Road & Track (Owner of Road & Track Magazine) and Strother MacMinn – America’s Most Famous Automobile Designer

A fun poster we use combining the themes of “Raiders” With “X-Files”

A Poster Done By Kit Car Builder Magazine in the July/August 2014 Issue

On Display at the DuPont Registery Corporate Headquarters in Clearwater, Florida – our 1961 Tiburon Porsche Coupe and our 1957 Galileo Show Car

On Our Way Home From Wisconsin where we picked up a lost car called a “Maverick Sportster.” In its day it was called “America’s Postwar Duesenburg.” Geoff Hacker waving from behind the Maverick.

In 2009 our 1946 Bill Burke Belly Streamliner went on display at the NHRA Museum in Pomona, California. From there it debuted on the concours seen at the 2010 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. What a year!

In 2009 our 1946 Bill Burke Belly Tank debuted to the public at the 2009 Speedweek at Bonneville, Utah. This is a photo of Peter Vincent, famed automobile photographer, taking photos for an upcoming feature article in “The Rodder’s Journal.”

On My Way Home From Michigan where we retrieved the 1948 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet – the 5th documented sports car built in postwar America.

I can’t tell if I’m stretching or I’m celebrating. Probably Celebrating. In 2009 we were tracking down a lost car called the “Wild Hare” and in this photo – we found it. A common theme for us and our trips 🙂

People From Left to Right: Geoff Hacker, Bill Craddock and Rick D’Louhy. Cars from left to right: 1952 Maverick Sportster, 1964 Bohada and 1953 Grantham Stardust. In this photo we were having a bit of fun and “pretending” that we were at the “First Annual” Vintage handbuilt car concours. We wrote a story about this on our website – it’s a fun story.

In 2009 when our 1948 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet Went on Display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California, Billboards like this one went up across Southern California.

Pre-Amelia Island “Round Up” at Fiberglass Farms before our “Forgotten Fiberglass” Class debut at the 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “The Cars Are Out There” – A phrase we’ve modified from the “X-Files” TV show and that we commonly use in speaking with individuals and groups.  This phrase is meaningful to us because it’s something where we “walk our talk” by finding lost cars time and again.

Here’s our 1961 Tiburon Coupe – barely visible – on display in 2010 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California. Our cars get a lot of attention 🙂

On our way in 2011 to the Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours d’Elegance, we found a rare “Futuro” home from the early 1970s. What a Perfect Match!

On our way in 2011 to the Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours d’Elegance, we found a rare “Futuro” home from the early 1970s. What a Perfect Match!

The Same Year We Found our first Futuro Space Home (2011) we found another one in Media, Pennsylvania when we were returning with a Motorama Car Find – the 1955 McCormack Show Car. We found it in a junk yard (3 year search based on rumors) in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

The LeMay Automotive Museum opened in 2012 and Our 1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet was the first car folks saw when they stepped into the museum. What an honor to be an opening car for this prestigious museum.

The LeMay Automotive Museum opened in 2012 and Our 1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet was the first car folks saw when they stepped into the museum. What an honor to be an opening car for this prestigious museum.

Here We Are The Morning Before the 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance – Assembling our Crew to Launch our two cars on the 2016 Amelia Field. Behind the grouping of individuals is our 1961 Porsche Tiburon Coupe.

In 2012 we found and acquired the last Meteor SR-1 sports car ever built – by the original designer/builder Dick Jones. This was actually a smaller version of the same car that Dick had built for racing. Photo from our trip to Denver, Colorado to retrieve this car.

Sometimes we have to get creative with our transporting cars. Here in 2012 we have a 1952 Glasspar G2 (red) underneath a body from a 1955 Clearfield/Almquist Sabre. You should see the looks we get with our open trailers on the road.

In 2013 we had the feature car – 1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet – and the feature class at the Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours d’Elegance. All tickets, posters (shown here) advertising, billboards and other memorabilia used our original artwork commissioned to celebrate the return of this car to collectible automobile lore.

In 2013 we had the feature car – 1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet – and the feature class at the Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours d’Elegance. All tickets, posters (shown here) advertising, billboards and other memorabilia used our original artwork commissioned to celebrate the return of this car to collectible automobile lore.

The 2014 Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance with our 1955 Californian (LeGene Special). At the Wheel is Geoff Hacker. Riding Passenger is Rick D’Louhy. Presenting the Award is Chief Judge Paul Sable.

In 2014 Merrill Powell, Co-Founder of Victress who created sports cars and bodies in the 1950s, joined us at a show in Carlisle, Pennsylvania as the guest speaker. What an honor it was to host a session with Merrill as our speaker – so much to learn about the vintage years of handcrafted cars.

Rumors abounded for years about a lost concept car in a Detroit junkyard. Finally in 2014 we tracked it down and its history – The Hustler – one of 3 built in the early 1960s. We hope to bring this back to Undiscovered Classics in Tampa, Florida some day.

Boy are our cars popular with the judges! Here we staged a shot with all the judges at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance showing our 1950 Leo Lyons Custom Mercury. The Ray Ban style sunglasses were one of several pieces we gave away that day branding the name of the car and our company on the lawn of Pebble Beach. What fun memories!

On our way home with the 1954 Debonnaire (a car designed by one of the legendary Tucker Design members Philip Egan) we stopped by for a quick visit with friends at the Piatt Castle in Liberty, Ohio. Great photography that day showcasing “old” and “older” for all to see.

In 2016 we retrieved our 2nd handbuilt Ferber RV directly from Larry Ferber of the Ferber family. Getting it out of its resting place of 30+ years and moving it from Wisconsin to Florida – that….was an adventure in itself.

In 2016 we retrieved two cars from the Detroit, Michigan area. Before leaving Detroit, we did a photo shoot of the cars at the abandoned Packard Automobile Plant with Tom Cotter of publishing fame for an upcoming book. We also met with Graham Kozak of Autoweek to be interviewed for an article that later appeared in Autoweek Magazine about this car – our 1955 Victress C2 coupe and another car we picked up that day.  Check out the beautiful reflection of the Victress coupe in the water in the foreground.

Here’s the other car from our Detroit photo shoot at the abandoned Packard Production Plant in Detroit, Michigan. Here you can also see the other car we were retrieving – a lost show car called the 1966 Cannara I. We have too much fun 🙂

Our 1966 Cannara I car turned out to be one of the earliest known streamlined “wedge” cars ever built. Another testimony to our team’s skill at tracking down the “Undiscovered Classics.” Here famed photographer Michael Alan Ross shoots the Cannara I for an upcoming Tom Cotter book titled “Motorcity Barnfinds.” We turned out to be the topic of the first and last chapter in his book. What fun!

Still on the 2016 photo shoot at the abandoned Packard Production Plant in Detroit Michigan. From Left to Right: Graham Kozak of Autoweek Magazine, Tom Cotter, Rick D’Louhy and Geoff Hacker

At the DuPont Registry’s Show in June, 2016 – Geoff Hacker at Passenger Side of Shark

In 2016 we retrieved a 1957 LaDawri Conquest Show Car – tucked away in a Michigan garage for over 30 years. What fun this will be when it’s back on the road again in the future.

In 2018 we became owners of a 1937 Cord Phaeton “1 of 1” – a Phaeton that had been modified in the late 1940s and fitted with a new chassis and powertrain from a more modern car. The story about this car is still being written – it is the only known long-wheelbase Cord – nearly two feet longer than any other that exists today.

In 2018 we became owners of a 1937 Cord Phaeton “1 of 1” – a Phaeton that had been modified in the late 1940s and fitted with a new chassis and powertrain from a more modern car. The story about this car is still being written – it is the only known long-wheelbase Cord – nearly two feet longer than any other that exists today.

In 2018 we tracked down and acquired the oldest known Packard Show Car in the world – the 1949 Packard Monte Carlo Convertible. When we retrieved it from the owners who had owned it for decades, they had an interesting way of moving it to our trailer. Wonders never cease!

Our 1937 Gougeon Streamliner is one of the gems of our collection. Photo shown at an event in 2019 in Norwalk, Connecticut. The Gougeon is one of the oldest concept cars that exist in the world today and when built it represented what “future cars” would look like in the world.

We debuted our 1954 Frazer Custom at the 2019 Gasparilla Concours d’Elegance in Tampa, Florida. The Gasparilla festival is a pirate themed festival for Tampa and the “Captain” and his “First Mate” took over our car for a photo opportunity for the event.

We participated in the first ever Gasparilla Concours d’Elegance in Tampa Florida debuting two cars we had recently acquired – our 1954 Frazer Custom and our 1937 Custom Cord Phaeton. Always something happening here at Undiscovered Classics in Tampa, Florida.

Craig Johnson with our Signature Flag on the back of our 1954 Frazer Custom. Taken at the 2019 Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Autofair.