Tom Cotter is Mr Barn Find Hunter. Travelling America by 1939 Ford Woodie Wagon, he lives and breathes Barn Finding, even rediscovering his Woodie, 26-years after selling it to fund his education.
Those that follow his travels from the UK will appreciate that most of the time, Tom turns up interesting cars with stories to tell in America. But for a recent episode, filmed just before the Covid-19 lockdown began, he stepped off a transatlantic flight and set to discovering interesting but neglected cars across the driveways of Britain.
First he meets Pete, and has the pleasure of the company of three cars that have all seen better days. Take the Nissan “Zee” car, a 260Z. Pete bought it when he was 18 (he’s now 57) and soon decided that it was “…the slowest thing on four wheels. It was like a pigeon with no wings.”
Pete turned to friend “Hippie Paul” to perform an engine transplant on it. The rest is for you to hear about.
Behind it sits a Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC AMG sporting a supercharger. Bought from “a double-barrelled surname yuppie”, it was driven until it was no longer driveable, and hasn’t moved since.
Alongside the SEC Merc is a natural contemporary from its heyday, the Jaguar XJS. Not any old XJS mind you, but a TWR Jaguar XJR-S, from 1984. Appropriately, the number plate of the XJS has a ‘GUV’ registration suffix.
The 150mph bruiser Jag cost £37,400 back in the day and featured a balanced and blue-printed 5.3-litre V12 engine with around 320bhp. All it appears to feature now is a whole lot of rust and moss. You can find out about XJS history and values, here.
Pete has one or two more surprises lurking in his garage. Then Cotton is off to meet Richard, whose father handed him down a 1951 Allard P1.
Tom and Richard discuss the story of this P1, and Richard recounts how his mother and father were always unsure whether he might have been conceived on the front seat, back seat or bonnet. Such was life in the 1950s.
Designed by company founder Sydney Allard, the five-seat, two-door saloon was underpinned by a box section chassis shared, at varying lengths, with other Allards of the time. Richard’s father’s car originally came with the Ford flat head V8 as standard but Richard says “I’ve changed it a few times because it kept breaking!”
It makes our hearts glow with pride to see Tom Cotter doing his thing in little old Blighty. Stay tuned for more episodes of Barn Find Hunter, soon.