LOST & FOUND

Barn Finds & Hid­den Gems at MCACN

Muscle Car Review - - Con­tents - By Drew Hardin

Barn finds and hid­den gems at MCACN

One of the things we like so much about the Mus­cle Car and Corvette Na­tion­als is that it is a per­fect mi­cro­cosm of our en­tire hobby, all cap­tured un­der one roof. It’s a multi-make show that fully cov­ers the Big Three but runs way deeper—even to Stude­bak­ers in some years. You’ll find beau­ti­fully pre­served orig­i­nal cars and megabuck restora­tions. There are purely stock cars and cars from the Pure Stock Drags. Cars for sale and cars that will never be for sale. Cars with fully doc­u­mented his­tory and cars that are a to­tal mys­tery. Cars you know and cars you never knew ex­isted.

Any mus­cle mi­cro­cosm these days has to in­clude the ever-pop­u­lar barn finds. The Barn Finds & Hid­den Gems dis­play at MCACN never ceases to amaze. Au­to­mo­tive Ar­chae­ol­o­gist Ryan Brutt care­fully cu­rates this cor­ner of the show, bring­ing out trea­sures he has learned about—and of­ten doc­u­mented on his var­i­ous so­cial me­dia plat­forms—dur­ing his reg­u­lar trav­els across the coun­try. As can hap­pen these days, some of the cars stretch the def­i­ni­tion of barn find a bit. There are cars that were never re­ally lost per se but have been in stor­age for decades in a state of be­nign ne­glect. But Brutt also man­ages to dig up (and out) cars from ac­tual barns, some still dec­o­rated with the de­tri­tus left be­hind by var­i­ous species of ver­min. Weirdly enough, this is one por­tion of one car show where an oc­ca­sional pet­ri­fied mouse just adds to the charm.

Here are some of the high­lights from the Barn Finds & Hid­den Gems dis­play at MCACN 2017. Want more? The next Mus­cle Car and Corvette Na­tion­als takes place Novem­ber 17-18, 2018, at the Don­ald E. Stephens Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Rose­mont, Illi­nois, right next door to Chicago’s O’Hare Air­port. Visit mcacn.com for more show info.

To keep up with Ryan Brutt, visit his so­cial me­dia links: Face­book( The Auto Ar­chae­ol­o­gist ), Ins tag ram (@ the auto arche­ologi st ), and You Tube (@ Au­toArche­ol­ogy).

“A 16-year-old kid won the car”

“The son was a 19- or 20-yearold kid who par­tied a lot, so the dad took it away and sold it.”

n Doug Perry helped his friend Ja­son Ball find his dream Fathom Green COPO Ca­maro sev­eral years ago, so Ball re­turned the fa­vor by telling Perry about this Yenko Ca­maro. It took al­most a whole year for Perry to reach the owner, and he fi­nally bought it just 2½ weeks be­fore bring­ing it to MCACN. Perry is the car’s fifth owner; the pre­vi­ous owner bought it in 1999 and had kept it with other cars in a pole barn. With 23,000 orig­i­nal miles, the Ca­maro “was more played with on the street than raced,” says Perry. “It was al­ways pam­pered, never out­side. The paint is al­most all orig­i­nal ex­cept on the hood and the quar­ters where the flares were added.” At some point the mo­tor was decked, so no num­bers are vis­i­ble for Perry to de­ter­mine whether it’s orig­i­nal to the car; he does know the M21 trans­mis­sion is not. The Ca­maro sports a Ram Rod shifter, Lake­wood trac­tion bars, Ansen Sprint wheels, and Drag Ra­di­als “that are hard as a rock,” says Perry. He plans to sort it out to race it at this year’s Su­per Car Re­union.

n Ric Van­ler­berghe (of Ric’s Restora­tions near Detroit) has a long his­tory with this real-deal L78 Ca­maro, as it was owned by a high school friend back in the late 1970s. He crossed paths with the car again some 15 years ago, when he was asked to check out an old Ca­maro in a barn. “It was up against a wall, and I couldn’t get a real good view, but when I opened the hood and saw the big-block en­gine, I about had a heart at­tack right there.” Van­ler­berghe worked for years to buy the car, even started col­lect­ing N.O.S. parts for a restora­tion, but the owner wouldn’t budge. Never did, in fact. His step­son bro­kered the deal with him last sum­mer after the owner passed away. Prior to its stor­age the car had achieved some in­famy as a lo­cal street racer; the son of a pre­vi­ous owner put the dent in the front fender when he hit a tele­phone pole try­ing to get away from the po­lice. Un­der the Mickey Thomp­son valve cov­ers and af­ter­mar­ket carb is the Ca­maro’s born-with 375hp 396; be­hind it is the orig­i­nal M21 four­speed and rearend, al­though it now houses5.13 gears. Van­ler­berghe wants to re­store the Ca­maro but may add some day two parts in a nod to its past.

n Galen Govier calls this the “Holy Grail of Dodge Darts.” Back in 1969, Car Craft mag­a­zine cov­ered the buildup of this car over sev­eral is­sues and then of­fered it as a sweep­stakes prize. Keith Black built the 340, Funny Car driver Char­lie Allen did the sus­pen­sion, and none other than Ge­orge Bar­ris painted it. Bill Shrews­berry raced the car be­fore the give­away and set an AHRA record in it. A 16-year-old kid won the car, but he never took pos­ses­sion, opt­ing in­stead to ex­change his win­nings for—of all things—a Po­lara wagon. Tom El­lie, the car’s sev­enth owner, bought it at the Robert Ga­beline auc­tion in Iowa last June, after Ga­beline had owned it for 26 years.

n Ryan De­gen­hardt is just the third owner of this 1968 Hemi Su­per Bee, which was a street racer in the St. Louis area be­fore it was stolen in 1971. It was even­tu­ally re­cov­ered—with­out its Hemi driv­e­line—but after the orig­i­nal owner had been paid for the loss. So a lo­cal re­pair shop bought it, put a 318 in it, and drove it. “They never re­li­censed it,” says De­gen­hardt, “prob­a­bly drove it on dealer tags, and when they were done they just shoved it in the back of their shop.” A friend bought it in 1996 and had it un­til De­gen­hardt bought it in 2015. De­gen­hardt plans a driver-qual­ity resto on the car, which wears a set of Spy­der wheels. “They’re sort of a Re­call wheel knock­off made by Mo­tor Wheel,” says De­gen­hardt, who owns eight sets of the rare af­ter­mar­ket rims.

n “Old Dead­eye” was let­tered on the side of this 1969 COPO Ca­maro RS when it was raced in the late 1960s. Ac­cord­ing to cur­rent owner Mike Spray, it was pur­chased new by a Mary­land con­struc­tion com­pany and raced by the son of the com­pany’s owner. Spray said it was “the winningest Ca­maro in the area,” but the son, who was a “19 or 20-year-old kid, par­tied a lot, so the dad took it away and sold it.” The car sat for decades in North Carolina. “It was a big fish, but no­body had the tackle.” No­body, that is, un­til Mike Kaiser of Ari­zona Mus­cle Cars came along. Spray bought it from him about a year ago. The en­gine is not orig­i­nal but is built around a date-code cor­rect block, which is per­fect for Spray, as he’s driv­ing the car. A restora­tion is not planned.

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