Is The Term Holy Grail Of Barnfinds Worn Out?

Thayer IV Barnfind

Words that describe stuff over the years change. Like all natural, or actual size, organic, and in our culture and the car world, Patina, and now Holy Grail of barnfinds. There is one Holy Grail, how can there be so many? The Thayer IV and Maria was a huge find for sure, but there are other amazing Barn finds. Stinky was the same, but holy grail.


Stinky and her barn in Georgia

Maybe back then before it was over used. So what is a great term for a very rare and special find?

Fin & Tonic found in a barn. Now a major show winner

Scarlet in her barn on original trailer

Time capsule XK18

A Barns Boat from a Barn? – Katzs Marina


1. The Once in a lifetime find

2. The Dreamfind

3. Frozen In Time Find

4. Time Capsule

5. Mother of all barnfinds

6. Untouched barnfind

7. moma mia thats a barnfind

Thats it, I don’t really have anything better than Holy Grail, maybe the fun should be, what is your Dream Barn Find Boat?

1. Century Thunderbolt

2. Cobra .. Boat or car

3. Step Hydro 16 Chris Craft

4. Barrel Back, any size, but 19 is my fave

5. Twin Engine 25 Sportsman Chris Craft

6. Any Gar Wood, Chris Craft, Century with race history

7, Chris Craft Special Racer. BTW, its still cool

Of course the Irony is, you bull them from a barn, only to stick them back in the barn! But it’s your barn.


45 replies
  1. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    I’m looking for Christopher Smith’s original duck boat full of his hand carved decoys along side a Mercedes Gull Wing low mileage original set up with a trailer hitch to tow the duck boat to the shows.

    If you have any leeds contact me immediately!

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I think Dan is on to something. In order to exceed all other barn finds and rise to the top, there will need to be multiple pieces to the find.

    How about a 1941 22 Utility De-luxe with the blue gauges, a matching 1941 WACO bi-plane, a Liberty powered go-cart, and boxes full of Troy’s magazine collection from the 1970’s?

    Or maybe a pair of iconic pre and post war runabouts, a 19 barrelback and a 20 Custom with the bubble transom. Throw in a 1950’s Dehavalind Beaver and a 60’s Corvette and maybe some vintage Wagner cast iron.

  3. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    I don’t think the term is worn out or that there are none left. I just know anytime I have looked at the proverbial barn find, it’s been common boats that were put away for a reason; engine seized, all hardware missing or a major pile of firewood. I do keep looking though-maybe I should stop the insanity.

  4. Andy C
    Andy C says:

    It doesn’t really matter what you call it. Finding a boat that has been tucked away out of the public eye still is an exciting moment. Speaking of “barn finds”, I just pulled these 2 out of at least a 40 yr hibernation and am picking up a third from the same building.

    • Bilge Rat
      Bilge Rat says:

      I need to start look in better quality barns. Not necessarily nicer quality as the old ones hold the most potential, but not having to side step cow poop would be a good thing.

  5. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    The Holy Grail is the The Holy Grail and nothing else.

    Boats are subjective depending on taste and interest. I do not mind the term, but what might be The Holy Grail find for me may be simply another boat for someone else.

    Andy C: Those are some good looking boats!

  6. Cameron
    Cameron says:

    There is something though when the find turns out to be the ‘pot at the end of the rainbow’. I’ve lost the article, but I sent it to you Matt. This boat was found in a barnlongside a river in the U.K., in a terrible state and bought for about GBP50. Turns out it was built for Lord Lipton and (after very expensive restoration) was expected to fetch over GBP2 million! Please fact check me from the article if you still have it saved..

    • Ned Protexter
      Ned Protexter says:

      Council Bluffs? I kick myself every time I see one for not driving the hour and a half to look at it.

  7. Speedboat Outlaw
    Speedboat Outlaw says:

    Found last month in Kentucky on the Ohio River. Boat is not even finished about 23′ and it’s already in a falling down shed.

  8. Bob Kays
    Bob Kays says:

    Barns all around me and they are all full of cows and horses, no boats. My ultimate find would be “Miss Hopatcong” a 1925/6 33′ Baby Gar. Our museum would love to follow the restoration and see it run on Lake Hopatcong one more time. In the late 20’s 3 Baby Gar’s called Lake Hopatcong home.

  9. David Doner
    David Doner says:

    Wouldn’t most anything found in a building be a barn find? Whats the point with putting nebulous, holy grail, nondescript parameters on a boat, car, motorcycle or anything else found in a building? Likely its’ all good stuff and appealing to one or many!

  10. Ned Protexter
    Ned Protexter says:

    This one hadn’t been in the water for 40 years until last summer. ’63 Coronado found the year before.

  11. Verne
    Verne says:

    This one turned up in Wisconsin about ten years ago. It’s kind of a missing link in the Thompson/Chris Craft history. It’s a ’64 Sea-V 20 with an Eaton outdrive, powered by a Dearborn (Ford) 230 V8. Built by Thompson and branded as a Chris Craft after they acquired the company in ’62. It’s the only one I”ve ever seen. It is now restored

  12. Kathy Muller
    Kathy Muller says:

    And of course there are the “Field Finds” like this Thunderbolt my custoomer found in a neighbor’s ditch…

  13. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    If we’re dreaming, I’d just like to find a barn, like Jimmy’s, for under 6 figures. Hey, we’re dreaming. The one boat I did find was in a pole barn 100 miles south of Atlanta. Found the owner of that neglected family owned farm who lived 50 miles north of Atlanta where I lived. After some discussion about the 1961 19′ CC Continental’s (not exactly a holy grail) poor shape and an offer, the owner says, its so valuable I’ll just keep it for my grandson to restore. Everything was there, but someone had started stripping the hull. A year or so later, a made for TV movie was made on the property using the farm house and pole barn with an old Ford pickup truck placed in the pole barn next to the boat and shot on video cutting out the boat amazingly. 3+ years later working with a friend/restorer, we get a call to look at a boat to restore sitting out in a yard whose owner last name rang a bell. Yea, it was the grandson, the boat had been sitting out in the open within 10 miles of me, most hardware was there but boat was totally unrestorable.

  14. Mike Dovichi
    Mike Dovichi says:

    better get busy poking in those barns. I understand that there are approximately 60,000 barns in Wisconsin but they are coming down at a rate of one a day. Do the math, 60,000 barns divided by 365 days equals 164 years left. s/


  15. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    Here’s my barn/boathouse find….call it what you want. It was an amazing find and took me about 12 years to find the owner and get the boat. Found hanging about 10′ above the water on Ellicott Creek in Buffalo….1929 24′ Hacker….A legitimate rum-runner from Canada down to Buffalo back in the day…..

    • MikeM
      MikeM says:

      And that was the owner in front of the building. He had owned the boat for 55 years. It spent the last 35 years in that boat house on blocks with a seized motor.

  16. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    I have a friend that found a 1956 Jaguar in a field. A tree was growing up through the floorpan. He took several years restoring it, and when finished, it won its class at the Cincinnati Concours.

    I have always wondered what percentage of a “restored” vehicle has to be original to qualify as restored. As opposed to rebuilt, or replicated.

  17. MikeyB
    MikeyB says:

    I always dreamed I’d be driving down a country road and chance upon an old guy with a barn full of unrestored boats. Now I’m the old guy with the barn full of unrestored boats…

  18. Sean
    Sean says:

    My “Holy Grail” would be the original Wynne Mill II 17′ wooden racer designed by Walt Walters and Jim Wynne that gave rise to the Formula 233, the Formula Jr., the entire early Donzi line and many, many deep V designs many of which are still built today. Interestingly enough, the WM II disappeared and nobody seems to know where…. so, keep looking!

    • Wilson
      Wilson says:

      The DeNisco boys and their father who had the Formula hull # 1 at Tavares might have a lead. The father and I were class mates of Jim Wynne but Bob DeNisco stayed much closer to Jim through the years than I did. Last time I saw Jim was in he early 90’s at an ACBS meeting in Miami. Why don’t you email Bob. He’s in the ACBS directory at

  19. Sean
    Sean says:

    My 1965 Formula Jr. project spent 30 years under a Banyan tree in Key Largo, Fla. … not a barn find a Banyan find!

    • Troy in ANE
      Troy in ANE says:


      Last I knew Wyn Mill was for sale in Europe. I guess this would actually be Wyn Mill one though and you are looking for II.

  20. Lymehouse
    Lymehouse says:

    Something about Barn Finds, hard to not want to add to the fleet.From the Fink Barn in Lodi, ’59, ’66 and ’71 Arabians.

  21. Allen
    Allen says:

    Recently acquired Boat house find. 1947 U22 hidden since 2004. Original family near Algonac Mi. They are still out there. Even M engine….cleaning up well for original.

Comments are closed.