In this episode of Barn Find Hunter, host Tom Cotter visits four young gentlemen who are all best friends as well as neighbours. Anyone into cars can understand how this is car enthusiast heaven. If someone is missing a 10mm socket they can go next door and borrow one from a friend. If it’s a late night and you have to fix your ride for a rally the next day, you’re never short a helping hand.
First up is Bobby, whose Lotus Europa – an early S1A – is not the kind of car many would expect a young driver to gravitate toward, which makes us want to be Bobby’s neighbour all the more. The car was restored with help from all the family – but an annoying accident with a bouncing battery undid some of that hard work. Bobby has another project car, a ’66 Volkswagen Beetle 1300, complete with some pretty attention-grabbing mods.
Then comes Dallas, and his daily-driver Beetle, bought as a rolling shell and upgraded with a 1600cc motor. Around the corner are three Land Rovers, a passion of Dallas’ since he was school-age. There then follows a warning of the perils of rust hidden beneath the aluminium body, which any owner of a Series Land Rover or later Defender will be able to relate to.
A couple of doors down the street is Connor, who is into air-cooled, split-window Volkswagen T2s, with both a Camper and a pickup on the driveway. Conner was born into the hobby, with a father who ran a classic car restoration business, so it was almost inevitable he’d end up involved in cars one way or another.
“A lot of long-time car people – collectors, restorers like me – are worried about where this hobby is going, with a generation of people that seem to be more interested in digital hobbies than mechanical ones,” ponders Cotter. “But you know what, I think it’s in good hands. We just met three of the four people that own these homes and they are so into these cars – one into a Lotus and a VW, another into Land Rover, another German air-cooled… if there are more people like this, we have nothing to worry about. Our hobby is going well.”
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