Over the years, barn find hunter Tom Cotter has come across more than his share of ...
Over the years, barn find hunter Tom Cotter has come across more than his share of hidden treasures. But 1,800 vintage cars in one spot? Now, that’s a genuine treasure trove! Although there are some discoveries that don’t fall under the ‘barn find’ category, they are still worth exploring and one such location is the Cuyama Historical Car Garden in northern California, home to what could be the biggest automotive collection in the world.
The garden is the brainchild of the late artist Tom Merkel who described it as “a memorial to the men of machines and the machines of men.” He arranged the cars as a permanent large-scale art. In fact, Merkel designed the so-called Car Garden in such a way one may lay out a contemplation garden.
With hundreds of cars on the estate, you’d likely think they will be tough to keep track of, but Cotter hints that the owner would have known every automobile on the grounds if he’s still with us today. With a rattle-snake stick in hand, Cotter poked around and found some gems that will make excellent restoration projects…from an Isetta to a 1960 Jaguar XK 150 coupe that he said would be the one car he would take out if he had the opportunity.
Some of the other rides that he ran into include a 1929 Ford Model A roadster, 1965 Ford Falcon Futura, 1939 Ford pickup, 1957 Thunderbird, 1972 Datsun 510, 1956 Ford pickup, 1964 Chevrolet El Camino, 1966 Ford Galaxie, 1968 Mercury Cougar, and a 1972 Ford Gran Torino.
Unfortunately, none of the 1,800 cars are for sale as the sign on the property clearly indicates that no cars or parts will be sold. So the entire collection will remain as it is, and while that’s bad news for collectors and restorers out there, it is good news for folks who will have the chance to enjoy the park, which is open by invitation only.
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