Interesting encounter yesterday…


Well-Known Member
Oct 21, 2008
Upper Mississippi River valley
I like old and I often slowly curse the historic districts of my town when riding my "old" bike I call Excalibur. One of my favorite old tree lined neighborhoods has several large well maintained houses ranging from the late 1840’s to the early nineteen-teens.

While riding by one particularly nice Italianate style mansion an older gentleman was leaving the drive and stopped and waved me over. He began to tell me about his 1907 Marsh-Metz motorcycle. I do know of the man and he has a reputation of being very private and perhaps even a little eccentric. In fact I know a few local car guys have tried to persuade him into a viewing of his collection only to be rebuffed. Not a untypical old money attitude.

Needless to say I was thrilled when invited me to the carriage house for a look-see!

The bike had a older restoration, but is very complete and otherwise original. Perhaps the largest detraction was the hand painted graphics, a little chroming here and there, and the use of over scaled modern spokes. It is in working condition but leaks oil badly and is inconvenient to ride in a modern world of stop signs on every corner as it is direct drive.

Other vehicles included was his high school graduation gift a then new 1953 Jaguar, a very hip custom bodied Model T Hot Rod he build himself while still in high school, 3 other large luxury cars from the teens (obscures brand who’s names I can’t recall) and the highlight of the collection a beautifully restored 1912 Stanley Steamer!

He said this time of year he likes to take them out every couple of weeks to help keep them healthy. And I have on occasion seen him putting around.

At times he seemed uncomfortable about having me in there, and would begin to rush things. But other times his enthusiasm won over, and mine was undeniably present and genuine! Sorry but I just feel certain he wouldn’t of liked the idea of photos being made… Reference pic’s from online.

However he did take my number and said next time he runs the Stanley Steam car he would invite me to go along. We’ll see…

I know the local Yamaha dealer here has a original paint 1912 Harley stashed away in the back room, so that's at least 2 originals in a town of 60,000.

Nice to know that this stuff is still out there! Wonder what else might be hidden away...?

-Mr. B.


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Staff member
Sep 15, 2008
Littleton, Colorado
My guess is that there are tons of historic vehicles secreted away in carriage houses, barns and garages all over the country. Microsoft's Edge home page runs stories almost daily of barn finds that have escaped scrutiny by all but a fortunate few.

We've all heard the stories of long forgotten treasures that have languished in dark corners for ages but at least your new acquaintance takes his out occasionally and enjoys them.. My advice would be to cultivate that friendship. I'd bet he has lots to share in the way of knowledge and history.

Thanks for sharing your story.



Bonneville Bomber the Salt Flat record breaker
Jun 25, 2009
Hey Mr. B,
Cool that he showed you his private collection. What fun is having things if you can't share with like minded people?
Northern Cal, huh? Looks like that truck was found in my back yard. Guess I missed it. My '49 was found in a field by a neighbor of mine who lives out in the country. He actually keeps his binoculars with him at all times both for checking the local game and for peering into barns from a distance. He has a few "barn finds" he hasn't been able to talk with the owners, yet, but he keeps after it and always scores cool stuff.


Staff member
Sep 15, 2008
Littleton, Colorado
There is a local guy who found a complete 1932 Chevy coupe up on blocks, hidden in a split level barn when the family was going through the grandfather's estate. The lower level of the barn was hidden from view by years of shrubbery and no one knew there was a lower level. He found the coupe by accident and ended up owning it. It needed tires and a battery and it ran when he tried to start it. It shows up at an occasional car show just as he found it. Never restored because it didn't need much.

There are thousands of stories like these. I once thought about collecting them and putting them into book form thinking they would make good reading but they became repetitious and I gave up on the idea.


Old Chevrolet for sale. $50.00 Turns out it was a 1953 Corvette.

A Chrysler dealership went out of business and when they started going through things they found it had a basement. In it they discovered ten, complete 426 Hemi engines in crates.

"Old car for sale" the ad read. Yep, it was old, a 1932 Ford 2 door sedan. Had been kept in a carriage shed since the 40s.

Another local Denver man owns a 1947 Indian that was found in a walled off section of a barn being demolished. It had been purchased new and stored when the owner went off to the Army. He was killed in action in Korea and the family kept the Indian stored in the barn until it was found in 1998. It is also seen at local car shows, all original except for new tires and battery.

These stories abound and are fun to read but after a while they all start to sound alike. That's why I gave up on the book idea.



Active Member
May 13, 2011
Central Illinois

Next time you are here... I will take you for a ride in a 1923 International fire truck. I like to get the old girl out of the firehouse and take her cruising around the village every so often. I am the only one who drives it since it can take a bit of a knack to shift the gears. My daughter and I got it out awhile back to do a bit of joy riding.

The truck is powered by a Lycoming flat head 4 cylinder. Lycoming today is known for aircraft engines, but prior to the mid 20's they built truck engines.
A lot of fun to drive for sure, but as you can see by the photos....firemen must have been much smaller in the 20's because my belly is right in the steering wheel.LOL



Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2008
Thanks for sharing Mr.B, and starting this tread. A neighbor of mine just bought a 39 Ford deluxe coupe, that was a fifties hot rod. It went through a fire, but most was just smoke damage. The husband died and now she is down sizing. He also got a 39 4door that had sat in mud, so the rear was shot. But was able to salvage front axle and some body parts. They are out there just getting far and fewer between, LOL Sue is fun when you do find one.........Curt