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Discarded to Glory:t̷h̷r̷e̷e̷ c̷a̷r̷ f̷i̷n̷d̷s̷

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For every individual that restores an old car, there is that “magical moment” when what was discarded, whether in a barn, field, garage, or submerged in mud, comes to life and is again restored to its former glory. The ability of a car enthusiast to do this is nothing short of a miracle. They have a vision and a dream, and much like the character Caractacus Potts in Ian Fleming’s novel, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” a whole lot of gumption. Not only do they restore the car, but they often surpass expectations, with sales rocketing past expectations. These cars may not fly over the ocean or carry a special floating device like Chitty, but they are treasured as a piece of history to be loved and admired by the restorers and purchasers.


Michael Potiker is one of those lucky individuals who, while on a neighborhood stroll with his father, spotted a shiny piece of chrome gleaming out from under a car cover in a garage. Potiker went to inspect and wound-up walking away with an incredibly valuable and rare Mercedes-Benz 190SL, complete with years upon years of dust, clay dirt, rodent droppings, dog fur, and even some asbestos tiles for good measure. He restored it to the ultimate Barchetta Cruiser.


In a dusty old storage shed of a woman named Donna O’Hara—the automobile world rejoiced as the last Shelby Cobra Daytona was discovered. Carroll Shelby produced only six of these automobiles, which were illegally flown back to the states and sold at $5,000 apiece. Heralded as “the greatest barn find in the history of car collecting,” O’Hara’s Daytona was valued at a staggering $4 million.


In January of 1978, a group of children were digging in the mud at 1137W 119th Street in the West Athens section of Los Angeles. Just below the surface, they struck something that felt like the roof of a car. They told local deputies Joe Sabas and Dennis Carroll, who called in a team to investigate. A buried treasure slowly emerged to the amazement of everyone involved: A Ferrari 1974 Dino 246 GTS.

The car had originally been reported stolen; however, later, the mystery was revealed that the owner, plumber Rosendo Cruz, had attempted to commit insurance fraud. He had conspired with thieves to take the Dino to a chop shop to be broken up for parts. Considering these men were already corrupt, is it no wonder that seeing future dollar signs, they buried it, covering it with carpets to dig it up later. However, being quite dim, they left the windows open, and to add insult to injury, they forgot where they buried it. The ownership had defaulted, and the car was eventually purchased by one of the cops who helped discover it: The value is nearly $500,000.

So as April rolls around and you head out for a walk or drive on a beautiful day, keep your eyes peeled for what might be hiding just waiting to be found. Every barn find started with someone “spying” on what was just around the corner, waiting to be found.

“Never say no to adventures. Always say yes. Otherwise you'll lead a very dull life.”
— Ian Fleming, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang


Mercedes-Benz 190SL RHD with Coco #11 Red and White

Cobra ERA Replica with Coco #55 Black and Blue

1972 Ferrari Dino with Coco #52 Black and Yellow

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