Found Fords - Treasure hunting in the “Treasure State”

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By Rotten Rodney Bauman

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We might spend a lifetime, or perhaps just the better part of one, collecting old car projects for the future. If we’ve got the space, it’s pretty easy to do. Let’s say we’ve got an old car visibly out to pasture. Passersby will likely stop to inform us where others like it languish. Before we know it, they’ve multiplied and we’ve got a pasture full of old cars.

Then, later on, we just might come to realize that we’re not really going to restore them all. Way out here in Montana, that’s the situation our friend, Bill Spurzem, finds himself in today.

If you ask someone out here, Bill has been a preferred source for old cars and parts for many, many years. Now, it’s time to unload. Bill is not an online auction kind of guy, so things will be sold off bit-by-bit at a pace that he’ll be comfortable with. Before that starts to happen, it might be fun to take a peek. There’s got to be something good inside that old barn.

The barn is indeed, an old one, built by Bill’s grandfather in 1906. The barn, of course, is red. The big sky above it is blue, and the grass around it is green as you’ve ever seen. If you look hard enough, through that grass, you just might find that pasture cars in Montana don’t rust as much as you thought.

We’ll begin and end our tour in the pasture surrounding the barn. With all that we hear about “barn finds” today, our minds may quickly conjure images of what might be inside. Here, as rumor has it, the barn cars are desirable ’50s Fords, and they’re not nearly as rough as most.

 Ordinarily,strangers don’t get invited inside. Today, just for us, Bill is making a kind exception. Come on in. You’re with me.

Ordinarily,strangers don’t get invited inside. Today, just for us, Bill is making a kind exception. Come on in. You’re with me.

Today, I’ve been handed a ring of worn keys. I’ll be your misguided guide for the first leg of the tour, ’round the grounds, and up the treacherous stretch of stairs that just might lead to treasure. Later on, once we reemerge back to ground-level safety, Bill has a special treat in store for us. He’s offered to let us in deeper, which should make for some pretty good storytelling.

So, here we go. Ahead of the crowd, let’s enjoy this insider opportunity. Welcome to Bill’s Barn.

Bill’s Barn: 406-437-1944

 Out back we discover a subtle surprise. 1959 Buick taillamps are a pretty close fit. As y’all may recall, this was once a popular swap among the custom crowd.

Out back we discover a subtle surprise. 1959 Buick taillamps are a pretty close fit. As y’all may recall, this was once a popular swap among the custom crowd.

 Outside, scattered ‘round the barn, there are a number of restorable classics. This ’55 Chrysler is complete, and yes, it is a two-door hardtop.

Outside, scattered ‘round the barn, there are a number of restorable classics. This ’55 Chrysler is complete, and yes, it is a two-door hardtop.

 As Bill opens this old barn door, we find ourselves in deep. Better than most barn cars, this low-mileage ’55 Ford two-door Club Sedan is powered by its original 272-cid V-8.

As Bill opens this old barn door, we find ourselves in deep. Better than most barn cars, this low-mileage ’55 Ford two-door Club Sedan is powered by its original 272-cid V-8.

 We’ve done some climbin’ to get here. Behind us on shelves, and on the floor, there’s a mix of parts and rare accessories — mostly Ford and some Chevrolet.

We’ve done some climbin’ to get here. Behind us on shelves, and on the floor, there’s a mix of parts and rare accessories — mostly Ford and some Chevrolet.

 Lookin’ down through the hay loft, what’s this? A pair of shiny, black Fords? Perhaps this might be a good time to go and meet Bill, outside, down below.

Lookin’ down through the hay loft, what’s this? A pair of shiny, black Fords? Perhaps this might be a good time to go and meet Bill, outside, down below.

 In the very next stall, this ’57 Ford Fairlane two-door hardtop has some mild custom touches as well. This one’s powered by a later 351 Windsor V-8.

In the very next stall, this ’57 Ford Fairlane two-door hardtop has some mild custom touches as well. This one’s powered by a later 351 Windsor V-8.

 Back outside, on the other side of the barn, we find a ’68 Ranchero. As Bill tells us, it received an engine transplant just a few years back. Undercover, there’s a fresh 302.

Back outside, on the other side of the barn, we find a ’68 Ranchero. As Bill tells us, it received an engine transplant just a few years back. Undercover, there’s a fresh 302.

 Again, these are in better shape than most barn cars. With just a little doing, they’d likely drive right out. Inside the ’57, the keys are temptingly left on the seat.

Again, these are in better shape than most barn cars. With just a little doing, they’d likely drive right out. Inside the ’57, the keys are temptingly left on the seat.

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