Muscle Cars

Negotiating A Rare Barn Find

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By Mark Weisseg

Check out this customized Corvette rotting in the weeds. I say customized, as I studied the car and saw the rear quarters have been changed to accommodate bigger tires, I guess.

One might say that it does not hurt the fiberglass car to sit there for a while until someone figures out what to do with it. Well, that statement is correct but let us not forget the steel frame underneath the fiberglass.
With that now said I hope someone somewhere gets this classic out of the grass and moisture. So many of these cars sit due to an estate issue, someone’s long lost love, laziness, or the owner will get to it someday,and we know someday never comes.

Here is my tips to get that barn find, weed find, neglect find, out of a bad situation. I hope you never just go up and pound on the front door and ask the person who answers the door if you can buy the car in the weeds. Right away the defense mechanisms go up and that person feels invaded.
Try some love, some small talk, some understanding first. Pretend you are lost and ask for directions. That theme worked for me for years when I was on the road doing cold calls. If I just barged in somewhere and pronounced my name and company name they would look for a way to throw me to the wolves. Try tenderness. I am lost, can you tell me how to get to Route xyz? After they give you the directions start small talk about how nice the area is, find a way to relate to them quickly. You need to get a connection in the first minute or you are doomed. Once you get a connection you can start asking other related questions and work your way around to how lucky you that they were home to get help. Gee, nice barn, have you been a farmer your whole life? Really, my Uncle and Aunt were farmers and I understand first hand how tough it is but thankfully we have people like you farming. Have any old tractors? My Dad and I loved old tractors and old cars and trucks. I sure miss him as he has passed now but I love the country life and hope to move myself and family to the country as soon as I can. Hey, what’s with that old car out front? Ask questions that require answers. Not yes or no questions. Probe gently, feel the moment. Can I look around? Please? And you go from there. Make them feel in charge. Make them feel like the educator. Say thank you, yes mam, no sir, and be polite. Now, you may have giggled or laughed at me but I used this type of approach for 30 years and it worked. Of course I changed my script, changed on the fly and did what was necessary to get access. Sometimes I failed, sometimes I won. But failures only meant I could stop back in two months, then I would say, ” remember me, I stopped by a couple of months ago and I just thought I would stop by to see how you are doing? Building a relationship, a bond if you will. I had people invite me in there homes, take me out in barns, tell me stories, offer me food and drink and so on and I was a complete stranger.

So when you stumble into something don’t pounce like a tiger. Some of these folks have been pounced before and you better have a different way or you will be asked to leave. Be smart, think on your feet and always be polite.
It works. Try it.

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