Amazing Barnfinds and Roadside Relics

Musty Mustangs, Hidden Hudsons, Forgotten Fords, And Other Lost Automotive Gems

by Ryan Brutt

Amazing Barnfinds

“You pull up to the house and do the polite thing by knocking on the door. You wait a few moments and then the owner swings the door open and looks at you. He’s a crusty guy, and he knows why you’re here. He’s been through this before.

He says, ‘It’s not for sale.’

And that’s that.”


Well, as long as that is that, no harm–no foul. Not every encounter ends this way, and if this book does something different from the piles of others it is in the telling of those tales. It is also very smartly designed (theme-specific, such as endpapers emulating rust) which, for book folk, is reason enough to take note of it.

Despite the proliferation of such books in recent years—of which the author would have had to have been aware—Brutt seems to have come by this topic honestly enough and for reasons specific to his particular situation (taking his daily driver to a shop and espying a ‘Cuda under a pile of junk). He may not have been a “car guy” at the time but he obviously is now, contributing to magazines like Hot Rod, Muscle Car Review, or Mopar Collectors Guide and organizing the “barn finds” class for the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals.

Amazing Barnfinds shed

His purpose, with this book, his website, and his magazine work is to prove the people who say there’s nothing left be found wrong. The photos here are of random discoveries of his own or from following leads. While the photos are very specific as to what they show, they do not disclose the location. Brutt lives in Illinois but says he “travels the United States” to make his finds (apparently by car, a 2009 Challenger he drives “everywhere”). Presumably, he has a “catch and release” approach, meaning he’s looking for cars to photograph and not to buy/punt, restore, flip. Which brings us back to the opening quote: your intentions have a great deal to do with the responses you’ll get!

Amazing Barnfinds 1

That the book is divided into proper chapters and sections is probably just a nod to convention. In a way it really doesn’t matter if you read this book front to back or open it on any random page. The pages have a scrapbook/bulletin board look with backgrounds of bricks or wooden planks to which photos are taped. Most have captions, in a nice “handwriting” font, or are referred to in the text. That Brutt is not just mindlessly slapping car trivia around is evident in such comments as “. . . a big-block ’69 Plymouth Sport Satellite convertible with a 4-speed; whoever ordered it that way knew how to dodge the insurance man.

Most of the cars are production road cars, including pickups and vans, mostly from the 1950s to ‘70s with an occasional Model A Ford and a very few commercial vehicles (tow truck, school bus, race support truck). What is puzzling, especially if the photos are indeed from all over the US, is that no matter how large the collections/piles of cars here are, except for one MGA and one mystery kit car, it’s all American iron. Where do old Volvos go to die??

Amazing Barnfinds2

There’s quite a bit of text among the photos, relating Brutt’s encounters with the owners and, as most of the cars here are utterly beyond reasonable hope, ruminating about the reasons for letting the cars come to such inglorious ends.

Hunting cars really is an underrated pastime; it’s even family-friendly—just wear sturdy shoes and don’t reach into dark places!


Copyright 2015, Charly Baumann (

Amazing Barnfinds and Roadside Relics
Musty Mustangs, Hidden Hudsons, Forgotten Fords, And Other Lost Automotive Gems
by Ryan Brutt
Motorbooks, 2015
192 pages, 438 color photos, hardcover
List Price: $35
ISBN-13: 978-0760348079


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