The term “Barn Find” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot at classic car auctions, shows, and meets. While the term is at certain times stretched to include a variety of cars including some that are nothing but a rusty shell of their former selves, the popularity of this phrase is certainly […]
The term “Barn Find” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot at classic car auctions, shows, and meets. While the term is at certain times stretched to include a variety of cars including some that are nothing but a rusty shell of their former selves, the popularity of this phrase is certainly justified. There is a certain allure to the idea of finding a classic car covered under years of dust and dirt in a barn, garage, storage facility or any other place where a classic car can sit languishing. The thought of resuscitating that old forgotten vehicle and bringing it back to its formal glory excites people even if they are not car lovers. For proof of this trend, one has to look no further than the plethora of automotive restoration shows that grace main stream media.
We here at LBI Limited were lucky enough to see this amazing process come full-circle when we discovered a 1969 Porsche 911T Targa in a parking garage just a mile away from the LBI Stable in Philadelphia. The car had been parked in the same second story corner of an automotive repair shop, which had long ago ceased operating, for nearly 10 years. Covered in dust and dirt, there it sat right in front of our eyes. Like archeologists removing pre-historic bones from the earth, there is a methodical yet tedious way to pulling cars from their long-term resting places. We inflated all 4 flattened tires and worked the brakes a bit to get them unstuck. After a few attempts to break it free, the fourth attempt proved successful; moving the car for the first time in 15 years.
Rolling the 911T down the steep ramp that connected the second floor with ground level was a bit nerve wrecking. After 15 years of neglect, the uneasy feeling was understandable when staring down a steep ramp not being positive that the brakes would hold. Luckily, it came to stop at the bottom of the ramp where we were able to properly inspect the car in the sunlight. There is a certain feeling of excitement when you see the warm glow of the sun wash over a car that has sat forgotten in an inky darkness for over a decade. We may have not realized it at the time due to our excitement but this moment was the new beginning to the rest of this car’s life.
After loading the car into our trailer, we took it back to our shop where we reluctantly cleaned the dust off of its Irish Green paint, and took some great pictures; documenting the car in as-found condition. It was certainly in need of restoration but overall a very solid, numbers matching example, having been protected from the elements during its long slumber in the dark.
We decided that the next caretaker of this special car should be someone that recognizes its potential as a fully restored show winning 911T. That caretaker just so happened to be noted restoration experts, BMC of Philadelphia; located just a few blocks from the LBI Stable. BMC specializes in British marquees, but being the talented, versatile restoration facility that they are, Knut Holzer (BMC’s owner) was certainly up to the task of taking on this German. The restoration began and the car was disassembled methodically down to its most basic form. It was then repainted, rebuilt, and reassembled by only the best in the industry and to proper PCA standards. The result of one year, meticulous restoration is the car we pictured as we squinted through the layers of dust in that second story garage.
It is truly a special experience to be able to discover a car like this, hidden away in a dark corner of a decrepit building. It is even more of a momentous occasion to then see that car beautifully restored as if it rolled off the showroom floor in 1969. We here at LBI Limited feel honored to have been a part of saving this particular car from rotting away; forlorn and forgotten. It was, in this instance, that we were able to live out a certain “barn find” dream that many car enthusiasts long to be a part of and you can bet this is certainly an experience we will not soon forget!
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Written by: Nick Zabrecky