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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Horde of barn-find Pontiacs up for grabs in Kansas | Hagerty Media

When Pontiac fanatic Bernie Larson passed away in 2020 at the age of 79, he left behind a tremendous collection of his favorite cars. His stash, located in Tonganoxie, Kansas, is going up for sale on June 12, administered by VanDerBrink Auctions.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/auctions/horde-of-barn-find-pontiacs-up-for-grabs-in-kansas/
52 REPLIES 52
MATTMERICA
Instructor

Seems like a pretty good stash for a postal worker...I will refrain from making any "missing birthday card money" quips (except for that one)
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

"Double dipper."
DaveB
Intermediate Driver

LOL
LamboEd
Intermediate Driver

How come I didn't get a birthday card from grandma with $50 like she usually does? Mystery solved......
PRScott
Intermediate Driver

And how exactly do they know when an envelope contains money, does the post office have money detectors??!!!
Tinkerah
Technician

Nope. As an ex-Postal technician myself, I can say that unless there's a jam or fault in the equipment no human hands touch your first class mail until your carrier puts it in your mailbox. Of course there's always the possibility of devious employees being tempted but the process runs so fast (10 per second is baseline for 1st class) it's difficult to be selective. Now back to those Ponchos!
rokky
Intermediate Driver

Where have all the 1969 Catalinas gone to?.
Bigdog1949
New Driver

Junker buy ups!
Iso_Grifo
Detailer

I've thought a few times that the turbo Trans Am would be a really good candidate for a modern restomod. Pretty stock on the outside, but a modern turbo monster underneath. I'm sure somebody has done that somewhere.
Marcsten
Pit Crew

Do you have the Discovery channel Motor Week? https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8887828/
dirkfathom
Pit Crew

I admit to not understanding the hoarder mentality, that accumulates countless materials to complete projects, but never makes any progress.
BMD4800
Instructor

It is a form of mental illness.

Some do it out of an honest desire to preserve the cars, art, etc.

Some have dreams, but no drive or time.

Some, cannot differentiate between junk and value.

These cars are largely valuable. Not 61 Super Duty valuable, but not 200,000mile 1985 Pontiac 6000 rusted out junk either.

I bought an estate sale house and the person had a massive collection of coke bottles. I didn’t want them, but I found some other coke bottle collector to take them for free. Saved me the trouble of throwing them away. Did they have value? Maybe, but I didn’t have a desire to research and transport them to get the value. Someone else did, win-win.

Such it is with barn finds. If someone wants to pay for it, more power to them.
sclin10
Detailer

I agree with you, to a point. I watch the Hoarders show and most of those profiled ARE mentally deficient. However, people who collect 'whatever' need not be called 'hoarders'. (But you may get an argument from my wife.) I collect various items (toys, models, magazines, records, etc.) but they are stored neatly together in our home. Now the garage?...that's another story.
F360Spider
Detailer

It seems that barn finds and junkers are synonymous.
Numberscruncher
Detailer

A "barn find" is typically a candidate for restoration. A junker is only good for parts, at most.
TG
Advanced Driver

Before 'barn find' became a thing, my concept of a 'barn find' was a running or nearly running condition survivor - which I think a healthy portion of that collection qualifies
BMD4800
Instructor

One man’s junker is another man’s treasure.

We should be more supportive of one another. There are enough forces trying to destroy our passions and hobbies, we don’t need to foster dissent within our ranks.
Numberscruncher
Detailer

That's a lifetime of gathering. Too bad he didn't put all those resources to good use.
GRP_Photo
Advanced Driver

If he enjoyed it, he put those resources to the best use possible.
BMD4800
Instructor

And the material is arguably far better off than had it sat outside in the snow and rain.
DMcC
Intermediate Driver

I suspect he enjoyed the trip. Another find, get it home, examine, think about, maybe take steps, etc.
tahend
Detailer

Sometimes it's just fun to look at what you've got.
Opus1965
Pit Crew

My dad was a postal worker. When he passed away, there were 54 Chrysler 300s in 3 pole buildings in the back yard. I think those cars were the only thing that kept him sane while working for the postal service. He passed on to me the love of motorworks but not the room to house it. In his memory I collect and restore Honda interceptor motorcycles. After 10 years I still miss him everyday. Passions are sometimes infectious. Cheers everyone!
mfp4073
Intermediate Driver

I too am a fan of the Chrysler 300s. Have owned many and mostly before they were thought to be worth very little. I think your Dad and I would have been fast friends. He obviously had good taste! Cheers to you!
LamboEd
Intermediate Driver

Who on earth would paint the bumpers white on the 74??? And look at the wheels, UGH! I wonder what the inside looks like...... But the SD 455 will sell the car.....
BMD4800
Instructor

Merely speculation, but given that 70s era GM bumpers weren’t great quality, and that the cars are in KS, I bet there was some rust damage, so they were stripped, filled, and painted. Also, late 80s Euro monochrome phase may have been a factor.

LamboEd
Intermediate Driver

The bumpers on the 74 and 75 where black rubber. That's why the bumpers being painted white on this car stand out so much. And I also just noticed that is not the style of bird that would have been on a 74! I would suggest that any bidders check out the VIN and the serial number on the engine. With so much of the appearance of the car not being original it would not surprise me if the engine and transmission aren't original either! BTW, I have 2 75 Trans Ams, an auto and a stick. The auto was bought off the showroom floor in 1975 from McAndrews-King Pontiac Buick in Adams, Mass while the stick was acquired about 10 years ago and it is white with the correct bird and the correct wheels!
65SS
New Driver

In my opinion, the best looking Firebirds were the 67 and 68 models. Loved the 400 and always wanted one.
GreatAukSi
Pit Crew

I suppose you could call this a "horde." But "hoard" is more accurate.
Brandan
Hagerty Employee

We debated that, but we liked liked the idea of a group of Pontiacs assembled to invade.
SilentBoy741
Detailer

I can almost see Bernie walking past the engines and saying, "I'll get to it someday."
Rich8
Intermediate Driver

In my opinion discontinuing Pontiac & Saturn was a HUGE mistake! Pontiac had a tremendous loyal following for decades and built some pretty snazzy & also stylish cars. Saturns were just plain safe, reliable and affordable!
BMD4800
Instructor

Gotta look into the details behind the scenes.

Pontiac was largely the performance division and it was crowding Cadillac.

Saturn’s non-union TN workforce was a point of contention during the financial crisis, bailout, and re-org.

Remember Hummer was sold to China, but now it is back….
Utopia1
Detailer

When I was about 6, my uncle had a silver '77 Trans Am with the screaming chicken on the hood and I thought it was awesome! Nearly forty years later, that Trans Am is long gone but I still think they're awesome!
golfnut53083
Pit Crew

In 1974 I had the pleasure to drive a TA with a 455/4 speed. It was very memorable LOL!
dd1
Intermediate Driver

I sincerely hope that each and every road-worthy car in this collection gets fully restored and enjoyed by new owners who value and appreciate the historical and cultural value of these machines. Pontiac was an amazing part of America's automotive history. When I look at these cars I'm taken back to a by-gone era of AM rock, pretty girls and hopeful optimism for a bright and gleaming future. This is the audacity of youth, and I can tell you that we are in dire need of such audacity in this day and age.
Patrician
Intermediate Driver

Talk about coincidence. Two days ago a long time customer to my repair just brought in a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am with 42,000 miles. He bought it new. The vehicle has a 6.6 400 , T-tops, Factory 4 SPEED HURST SHIFTER, A/C, Formula package, hood scoop, decal option and AM/FM radio. The sticker was $7,800 and he paid $6,600 because he said with the price of gas the dealer was dying to get rid of it. The Firebird is in breathtaking pristine condition. The interior is so perfect that when I went to drive it in the shop it felt like it was 1978 again and I was in a time machine. It is so rare to find any original unmolested car anywhere in showroom condition let alone a Trans Am Firebird. NICE CAR !!!!
KinkCobra
Pit Crew

I am aware of this family as a Pontiac club member here in KC. Please remember us car fans only have others to thank for their "caretakers" role in the hobby. If you are a Pontiac fan .....getcha sum!
KingCobra
js100
Intermediate Driver

Ah, how time and some dust have changed the collective memory for this generation of F-body Ponchos. In reality, these were horribly built cars and were at a point, just a cheap used car, that would be inexpensive to collect. My college roommate took delivery on a special order 78 T/A with all of the toys and the WS-6 package. Within the first 12K miles (that was the total warranty period back in the bad old days), it spent many weeks at the local Pontiac dealer. The list of woes included a spun main bearing in the T/A 6.6, a failed second gear in the auto transmission, a leaking heater core, a failed A/C compressor, and oddly a broken baffle in the gas tank. Not to mention the usual GM failures of a power window motor, a short in the dash lighting, misaligned doors, leaking trunk and windshield seal and the overspray from the previous car on the assembly line (apparently a red F-body) on the front fenders and hood. The car was actually treated very gently, never abused and sadly was just typical of the total GM "lack of quality" at the time. They looked great, were fun to drive, but were poorly assembled by a corporate culture that didn't care about their product, suppliers or customers. Any restoration or modifications will only make these old birds way better than original.
SuperDeLuxe
Intermediate Driver

Collectors come in every stripe. I can imagine some book collector in the 18th century stashing away every stained, ripped, half-complete manuscript they could find, never cleaning or properly conserving their library. Gee, what if they focused on a couple of really nice volumes, instead of amassing a huge collection? People like Bernie do our hobby a favor by preserving more for future generations. Hat off to you sir!
Markg1
Pit Crew

Whatever collection floats your boat - value is subjective - if it makes your heart sing, then it's worth having.
Doug42
Pit Crew

Just think how many Trans Am fans this collector will make happy. Where I live we do not have the room to erect buildings like that as land is to valuable. I can imagine the hours needed to get this collection ready for auction. Must be hundreds.
DMcC
Intermediate Driver

I am wondering if the auction co. wants them freshly cleaned or leave them dirty and messy allowing the buyer to do their careful cleaning and examination of a new prize. What is it that they just won?
TG
Advanced Driver

That situation breaks two of my general rules of collecting - (1) don't buy more than one of the same car, and (2) don't buy more cars than you can keep legal and operational (with exception of one 'in progress' project)
I'm guessing that postal worker had some family money sprinkled into the mix
chrlsful
Instructor

trans ams? nah...
DHess
Pit Crew

whatever you drive? Nah…

Zephyr
Advanced Driver

Trivia: the first generation of Pontiacs with rubber bumpers had a lot of problems getting the bumper to fit properly. Consequently there were an enormous and variable number of spacers between the bumper and body; every bumper was more or less a custom fit. Their parts catalog at the time listed at least 5 or 6 different style spacers, each a different shape and thickness.
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

I seem to recall, most of the Duesenbergs in the ACD museum showroom used to be from one guy's collection. He'd been a trucker, and would pick them up for sale by the side of the road for a few hundred each, when they were in their dark days. Now think about a typical midwestern rural route, and how many Firebirds up on blocks a guy would see in 30 or 40 years... There's an excellent chance these cars came to him, with "4Sale" in white shoe polish on the windshield.
sclin10
Detailer

Please keep us posted. (BTW, I'll take the '74 Silver Trans Am!.)