- Hero and all other images from: The Hagerty YouTube channel. Text and errors by: Chris Breeden


Since the March 22nd, 2016 debut of the Hagerty Collector car insurance companies Barn Find Hunter series, interest in the elusive barn find automobile has reached an all-time high. Each episode finds Tom Cotter and his 1940 Ford woodie wagon on the trail of rumored classic car gold. Tom's approach seems to be a fairly light-hearted one. He will start out telling us where in the US he happens to find himself for this episode. We quickly learn that many of the car leads he gets happen while talking to people who have approached him to admire his Street Rodded 1940 Ford woody.

From Episode #1 of The Barn Find Hunter by Hagerty. Tom's 1940 Ford Woody on the trail of the next big find.

Shortly we will find ourselves in the passenger's seat with Tom as we head out in search of the unknown. Sometimes his finds are normal, like a wrecked '68 Camaro SS and other times they are sublime, like a 427 Cobra in the same garage as a Ferrari 275.

Above: 1st picture: From episode 1, a '68 Camaro SS. Last two pictures: From episode 24, a 427 Cobra and a Ferrari 275.

No matter what Tom comes across in the series he will talk a few seconds about it and will always ask for a price. Most of the time the prices aren't that unreasonable and most owners seem to be willing to negotiate.

From episode #32 of The Barn Find Hunter by Hagerty. A storage unit stored 1954 Mercedes 300SL.

The only indulgence piece has came in episode #32. Tom is in California as is being shown a 300SL that's been owned by the same person for several decades. Tom even has someone with him that isn't the owner. This episode plays out like a show and tell for a rich person that can't even be bothered to be around when their car is being shown. While the car is interesting, the episode comes off a little bit snotty.

From episode #34 of The Barn Find Hunter by Hagerty. Tom buffs the paint on a "desert field find".

The whole premise of the show is that classic cars are out there in the world, just waiting to be saved. That the average person can still find a gem of a car and with a little elbow grease, and remanufactured parts, can have a classic of their own. Tom is really attempting to show that you don't have to be rich to own a nice classic. That there is still something to be said about the pay off at the end of hard work. Something he attempted to demonstrate in episode #34 when he buffed the fender on a car he felt was worth saving.

From episode #40 of the Barn Find Hunter by Hagerty. A lonely Plymouth.

The only-off putting thing about the show is the mild car snobbery Tom engages in. It is obvious he is a Ford guy and as a result will skip over GM cars in favor of a something he is more familiar with. That is understandable, no one wants to feel forced to talk about something they don't know about, but it is an obvious flaw in an otherwise excellent series.

From episode #18 of The Barn Find Hunter by Hagerty. A first generation Corvette.

Hagerty releases a new Barn Find Hunter episode every month on their YouTube channel. Most episodes are 10 to 20 minutes long. They have millions of views, hundreds of thousands of thumbs up and comments. I don't see this series stopping anytime soon. I just hope it can stay away from the Velocity/Discovery/The Enthusiasts Network debacle that represents much of current US automotive centric television.

The Barn Find Hunter calling card.

The show occasionally gets too artsy with camera shots, the music is horrendous and I will never understand why shows like these employ camera operators that are incapable of getting descent engine compartment and interior shots and yes, sometimes they don't really find anything interesting, but all of that just contributes to the series charm. I strongly recommend this show for anyone who is interested in seeing how to go about starting a lifelong love affair with older cars. I also, strongly recommend it for anyone who has been around cars for so long they've become a little jaded to them. It is both capable of sparking an interest in classic cars and relighting the fire for them. Enjoy the show and don't forget to keep your eyes opened for forgotten cars!

Keep on Cruisin'!

Art by: Chris Breeden

About the Author:

"Chris Breeden is a Social Media content creator for Custom & Hot Rod Life on DRIVETRIBE, YouTube and Facebook. After spending 5 years in Southern California, a.k.a. Hot Rod Heaven, while serving as a jet engine mechanic in the United States Marine Corps, he moved back home to Tennessee with an even greater love for Hot Rodded Vintage Tin. Since then he has worked in retail sales and the transportation and logistics industry. In 2018, seeing a gap in Hot Rod and Custom Car coverage on DRIVETRIBE, Chris began advocating for their inclusion on the platform. During the summer months, he can be found all over the Tennessee region covering car shows, meets, and cruise-ins. During the winter months, he can be found in the garage working on his custom 1949 Ford two-door sedan and 1954 F100 truck."

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