BARN FIND. SURVIVOR. DRIVEABLE DREAM. UNTOUCHED ORIGINAL. UNRESTORED. HPOF (Historic Preservation of Original Features)
These are labels the hobby has created for cars that time has been kind to. Everyone talks about such cars. Interest is rising and values are climbing. But are “barn find” cars all that much fun?
I have a ’36 Pontiac with mostly original paint and about 75,000 original miles. I had to have the engine rebuilt and we had to fix and upgrade the DuBonnet front suspension. This car can be driven hundreds of miles, but it is slow. It will do maybe 50 tops on the highway and maybe 15 crawling up a steep hill. It has no signal lights. You sweat to death driving it.
A friend has a 1931 automobile that looks totally stock inside and out. Under the hood, it has a 1955 six of a different brand. My friend added EFI to the engine. He installed a 5-speed S-10 transmission. The car also has power steering and a GPS. He let me drive it and it was a hoot. The car will do 70 and can cruise all day at 65. He even has a period-correct accessory fan to cool him off. It has blinkers and seat belts.
I think my friend’s car is a lot more fun to drive than my Pontiac — and a lot safer, too. Barn Finds are great, but most of them belong in the barn — or maybe in a museum. It is fun to drive old cars all over the place and for me, a car set up nicely for driving, is a lot more fun than a barn find.