We all know about barn finds: those cars that get dragged out of barns and garages with layers of dust and animal droppings splattering the once-shiny paint and vinyl tops. Cars that have been sitting for decades, often neglected and put away with their owners claiming, “I’m going to restore it one day.”
Sadly, in many cases, the restoration never happens and these once-majestic, and even rare, muscle cars never emerge to see the light of day. More often, they become shelving, holding boxes of old Christmas decorations, mattresses, tools, bicycles, and just about any other “stuff.” Sometimes they’re even used for chicken coupes, rabbit cages and other creative storage. Quite a sad fate for vehicles that once ruled the street and strip.
On the other side of “categorizing” unmolested muscle cars, there are the survivors. A name that is so appropriate, there should be a picture in Wikipedia of a ’68 Camaro Z/28 or ’70 Chevelle SS, rolling on vintage dry rotted polyglas tires and wearing slightly faded original paint, peppered with door dings and minor scrapes. These unaltered “timepieces” have many restoration shops using them as a “living” reference manual when a basket case comes rolling in the shop. Luckily, most owners of survivor muscle cars wisely choose to perform only basic maintenance to keep the cars running healthy and forgo going the frame-off, 100-point restoration route.
While the attendees at this year’s Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) drooled over the finely restored Yenko Camaros, LS-6 Chevelles and L-88 Corvettes, they were just as awestruck by the barn finds and survivors at the show. Their reaction to some of these exhibits was more of amazement and bewilderment. Sort of like when you see a wreck on the highway but learn the occupants walked away.
So check out our photo gallery from MCACN. You’ll see barn find Chevys that were unearthed, some with vintage food wrappers and soda bottles strewn in the interior and trunks. And then survivors that took on the ravages of time, and their former owners, but are still able to fight another day in the modern era.