Eclectic British, American, Italian barn finds unearthed at Buick dealer


In a departure from his typical methods of finding cars by old-fashioned sleuthing and poking around, Tom Cotter follows a tip from a viewer on the latest episode of Barn Find Hunter. And it leads him to a fantastically cool former Buick dealership in Iowa. Bet you can guess what happens next.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/01/16/barn-find-hunter-48


I guess that’s why so many dealerships tack on so much to the sale of their inventory…some of those cars found in barns and fields about 4 year ago in Nebraska are crossing B&J auction this week…several hundred of cars from that dealership were never titled or sold…isn’t that stealing??? Grand Larceny??? I know its just me and if I worked in a dealership that long I’d know how to get away with things and vin numbers and order sheets…but how do you hide 3,000 pound cars and trucks for 60 years??? I think a 64 C 10 went across the block on Thursday with 14 miles on it…Makes you wonder when bending the law…just doesn’t show just how many people are agreeing with that bend!!!


Just because vehicles with low miles are retained by a dealership doesn’t mean a law has been broken. Dealerships purchase their inventory from the factories and if they choose to keep them and not sell them, that is there prerogative. It is the same as if you purchased porcelain collectable figurines as a Hallmark store and decided to keep some instead of retailing them to the public.


Assuming the cars were owned by the dealer him(her)self (as reasonable an assumption here as any), how does that constitute theft?


I have never actually seen a Mangusta that I recall; I have only seen pictures, and read period tests. Too bad it doesn’t have the original engine and transaxle. It does have the typical Italian gated shifter, though - complete with dogleg first!


It has been many years since I have last seen any of these cars in public. {The cars were never owned by the Buick dealer who built the building}. To say I was shocked by this video is an understatement. I am sick to my stomach. What was once a wonderful survivor 63 XKE coupe is now sitting on 4 flat tires covered in dirt afflicted with all the terrible mechanical problems many years of neglect cause. ETC ETC ETC Definitely not the way to treat a glorious lady like that E. These cars need to be saved and soon. Good work getting the word out Tom. Hopefully help/ buyers are on the way to save this incredible “coolection”.


Totally agree. Here we go again - this series ought to be called “Hoarders: Car Edition”

By the looks of the old guy, he’s probably going to drop dead one day and the collection will be fought over by his heirs and wrapped up in probate court forever. Sad to witness. He should sell while he’s got time.


After watching many of the amazing videos in this series, one thing that I have learned is; you absolutely MUST finish one car project before moving onto the next one. Many of these cars will NEVER be completed by the present owner/hoarder. The executor of the estate is going to face a massive amount of work ahead of them when the owner passes. Sell them please to someone who will give them a good home and will put the work into them that they need.


I hardly recognized Bob in the video.Over the years Bob has had a harsh opinion of collector car dealers like me like we are just all sharks. But I will say this, every car I have bought has left my possession in better shape then when I bought it. Very sad situation all around from what facts I know. It is common knowledge in the local Quad cities British car club that he is trying to sell his cars for health reasons.


I guess being born on the poor side of town can get anyone wondering about the rich and their buying habits…were all these cars just sitting in storage because they weren’t able to drive them with out plates or city stickers??? How many of us can plate and sticker and insure 100 + cars and store them for that long and not go broke??? The article never mention how the owner of a small town dealership was able to “OWN” “if thats what we’re talking about here” so many cars??? I’m sure any city official can figure out just how much revenue was lost from them not turning in his own sales receipts …I know I’m guessing again what it might cost back then but I’m sure its doable. I’ve bought about 6 new cars in my adult life and living in a major metropolitan area, the tax man has always gotten his share before we driven away. So many dealerships/salesmen figure out ways to do this till they get caught. I know there was a crime committed here and years of covering it up is just the proof of it… We all have had our share of sticker shock when the pen reaches the bottom of that 10th page…that where this guy got all that money…the other 9 pages… Crooks, Hoarders or just another guy that said “all the other dealerships were doing it” makes you glad that we all have the right to get caught…Maybe he was the sales leader in his district and he wanted to win no matter what, just like Wells Fargo…do what ever it takes to make your numbers look good and beat your goals…got to love greed…greed is good…Gordon Gecko circa 1960…


Lots of exotics here, but I’ll take the E-Type and the 240Z.


The old Buick dealer did not own these cars. Bob bought the building and put all the cars in it.


jrevana2002. Dealers don’t tack on all kinds of profit to these cars. It’s very difficult to make money as an auto dealer. Thats why the days of owning one dealership are long gone and you have mega dealers today. The overall dealership profitability is 2%… Please stop going down the road that some kind of crime was committed or this individual was “rich.” Just because you can’t conceive how these cars were owned doesn’t mean a crime was committed.


shame all those cuties aren’t being enjoyed, other than Hoarder Bob enjoying the idea of ownership, which is his option of course, no offense or disrespect intended, on the plus side, they are not getting crushed and eventually will all find new homes, one way or the other. I have to wonder how this collection is funded, how does one acquire all this without flipping some? Again, none of my business I know, although I can’t help but be both jealous and sad at the same time, and yet a bit hopeful, the more that are saved, even if only squirreled away to slowly fade, means there’s something left out there to fuel the future. I think Bob should give some away to passionate deserving common guys just to further the cause. I’m available, :wink:


Awesome, I would like to know more about the man ,how he acquired the building and collection etc., all and all very interesting , thankyou anyway Bob for " protecting "these pieces of history .


Why are so many jealous? The guy collected exotic cars and if he didn’t most would have been history long ago.


Hey Tom, I was surprised that you didn’t spend at least a few seconds talking about the 240Z. Japanese cars are finally getting the credit they have long deserved and the 240Z is an icon in that regard. Best regards, A 240Z Fan


True, usually when a dealer gets their cars, they owe money on them too. The longer they hold, the more the car costs them in borrowed cash. Everybody thinks you’ll get a terrific deal the longer the dealer sits on the car but that’s only true up to a point.

Regardless sitting on a warehouse full of unregistered cars isn’t illegal - that’s what museums do.


“I know there was a crime committed here and years of covering it up is just the proof of it…” The new American way: guilty until proven innocent.


I actually think it might be fun to have a “Barn Finds Back Story” series that goes in to detail about how the cars got into the “barns” in the first place.