How to Find ‘Barn Finds’ in Australia – Enthusiast Motor Insurance

June 15th, 2021

Yes, we did pinch that title from a cleverly branded US auction site. It’s a place that sells cars of all kinds and in all conditions, from total wrecks to showpiece stunners, but still recommends ‘buyer beware’.

Even though a car might look like it just rolled off a showroom floor, it might still not be roadworthy enough to make it home under its own power.

That brings to mind the plethora of ‘barn find’ cars that have been popping up and bringing immense money simply because they appear untouched. Interesting and sometimes very affordable ‘classics’ pop up in a range of quite diverse places; from a friend or relative’s backyard shed or as a trade-in up the back of a dealer’s yard that’s awaiting a wholesaler (or maybe the wrecking yard) to take it away.

A prominent trader in older models revealed to Enthusiast some years ago his technique for scoping out possible purchases.

“You take the dog for a walk,” he explained. “Walking up and down unfamiliar streets, checking what’s parked in driveways, under carports or in open sheds can turn up some exceptional finds. Even if you need to drive across several suburbs to find new territory, the journey is often very worthwhile.”

“Suburbs with older houses on big blocks, even semi-rural areas with sheds and lots of space are good places to start looking”.

Our helpful collector emphasised that walking slowly down a street will reveal far more than can be seen when driving by. A familiar grille peeking from beneath a car cover, a half-open shed with faded but intact cars inside will all prompt a knock at the door to see if any are for sale.

“Sometimes the owner hasn’t thought much about selling but is open to an offer. In other instances, a former owner may have passed on and their successors have no firm idea of what to do with the vehicles left behind”.

Rural properties have traditionally become resting places for neglected vehicles and some very significant cars have come off scrap heaps in the hot and dry far west. Chasing down a rare model that has sat abandoned for decades can be a huge thrill, but also very frustrating if important parts have disappeared.

Engines in days gone by were often ‘repurposed’ and valuable power units have been discovered running pumps and saw benches. The big seats from old American sedans didn’t go to waste either; ending their days on the farmhouse verandah so visitors had somewhere comfy to sit while having a chat.

Piecing valuable vehicles back together and completing their restoration is an expensive and tedious business but over many decades this dedication has added greatly to this country’s and the world’s motoring heritage.

Automotive ‘swap meets’ are another place to find unusual models in need of restoration. Often, they will already be on a trailer and easily delivered, providing you don’t live too far from the show venue. Always ask when negotiating on this type of purchase whether any spare parts come with the car or can be bought separately.

Once you buy it you own it and you will need to insure it; something that may not be easy on a Sunday morning somewhere near the middle of nowhere.

As soon as you get a phone signal though, log onto and with a few taps organise Laid Up insurance cover on your new acquisition. With Enthusiast’s convenient and fee-free Pay By The Month method, your cover can commence even while the car is on a trailer and heading for home.