I Had A Barn Find Dream 10 Years Ago.

This is a wonderful dream I had back in 2009, and the Tarp Find Cobra story had myself remmebring this. WOW, It took ten years, but this sure rings true. Stay tuned for Cobra Updates. Enjoy the old new dream as written.

You’re sitt’n at a bar having a burger and start up a conversation with a guy at the bar. One thing leads to another and eventually the conversation turns into an old wood boat deal. I know a guy out in the country that has a barn full of those things your new pal says. Well, at least I did, he died a year ago… just his wife now and she is about to sell the place. Wants to move to Florida or something like that. Your mind is racing and you forget the taste of the beer, and the fact that you are in the middle of no place on the way to someplace. And right now, this second, you are in the only place you want to be. You tell the guy you would love to see the boats and he can’t make it but gives you her number. You wait… about a second after the guy leaves so as not to look to desperate, and make the call. Eghhh hi Mrs Johnson, I was talkn with Jimmy here in town and he said you might have an old boat you might want to sell….. long pause… You want that stuff? It’s just a bunch of old rotten wood out in the barn, the boys were gonna clean it out in a week and burn them…. I think one of the grand kids wants to make a bed outa one….. Dear lord you think…. I need to get out there now… But you pause.. Say, well I am going to be out that way tomorrow do you mind if I stop by… Thinking to yourself, I can be there in 10 minutes and its 40 miles away if need be…

That night you have to stay at the No Place Motel, the foam hard pillows make your neck hurt, the room smells like old smoke and toilet cleaner. On the TV is some bad local show, and a bunch of bad movies. Dinner at the bar is working its way through you and you don’t care. The clock is ticking about half the speed it normally does… you finally doze off only to wake up at 2AM. Still dreaming.. Still wondering what treasures are awaiting you tomorrow… Maybe there’s a barrel back, an old race boat.. a Gar wood… a Shilo….. yeah, 3AM… 3:02 AM you fall back asleep and before you know it its 6AM… to early?

6:15 AM Your on the road , an Egg Mcfuffin, and a cup of Joe and you are heading west, into the country…. it’s 8 AM and you pull up in front of the house. It’s an early 1900’s simple farm house, white, with green shutters, flowers in the windows and clothing out to dry in the back. She’s awake! In fact she comes to the door, after all you’re the only car on the road, and possibly have been for a day or so, no strangers travel this road. It’s way off the road from Someplace to Somewhereville. She asks you in and asks if you would like some breakfast… you think.. lady, I want to see the boats.. but you say, a cup of coffee would be great. You want to run out the door and look, but also inside you want the dream to stay alive a little longer. You have your coffee and she starts talking about her late husband, and how he loved boating back in the day. How he was always into fast boats, and they spent all there weekends on the lake, but after his accident on the lake he had just lost interest… You are thinking, fast boats, possibly some old cool stuff…. possibly junk,, with a hole in it….

Your mind is racing… it’s time, you start to walk out the back door, the slam of the heavy screen door reminds you of your childhood at your grandmothers house. It all feels just right. It’s now about 9AM and the summer heat warms your body as you walk into your field of dreams. You notice the barn off in the field, wheat is about a foot tall. And there it is. The first sign of life. The rear end of a Utility, nothing special. But it’s all there. And the site of old varnished wood is all it takes to get your motor running… You have already decided what it is, so you move indoors. It’s dark and there are all sorts of parts, machine parts, farm parts, tractor parts… then you see the shape… a familiar shape only it looks like a clump of dirt and dust in that shape. The fin is the give away, your heart is pounding so hard that you cant really tell if you are breathing or even moving. Before you know it you are next to it.. Like you floated over to it…. It’s a Chris Craft Cobra.. a 21 footer. You take your finger and stick it into the dust and underneath is the perfection of patina and varnish. it’s still sitting on its original cradle from the factory. The wife chimes in… He never used it. He wrecked the other one out back and this was the replacement…. Dear lord you think… there’s more… You ask.. lets go out back… you walk through the barn, you see two Hemi’s 4 Chris Craft Motors, A Grey Marine motor, countless tripple carb set ups, Props, cool long rudders for the Cobra….all sorts of rare stuff. This guy was into it big time… Out back there it is, under a lean to, another Cobra… only with a hole in it, and missing some chrome parts a wheel, but mostly all there.

You think to yourself… Self…. All you have is your pick up truck… And about $1,000 bucks to your name. What in the hell have you done.. You are not prepared to do anything… And she is ready to go. She asks if you want it all, says she just wants to get the stuff out of here and knows its worth something, but cant do anything with it, so its gotta go. It pains her, but honestly she has had years to say so long to this old stuff. To you it’s the holey grail…. You stall. Because there is no way in hell you can get all this stuff out of there in a week. There you sit… with two Cobras, Hemi’s and god only knows what else is in there. There you are… your dream has come true….. there… silent… wondering why this is happening to you…and then you realize, hey maybe I am not the only guy with this dream..maybe there is a place on woodyboater for such stories. A place to share other fun barn finds…. You think, if I wait til Tuesday, maybe one of those stories will actually not be a dream caused by to much Mexican food… maybe I will tune in on Tuesday… maybe……….

Happy Header Day!

15 replies
  1. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    Reminds me of the story: I’ve spent my whole life in search of the old guy with a barn full stuff only to realize that old guy is me.

    • Johnny V.
      Johnny V. says:

      I’ve always wondered if it’s a barn find if it belongs to you and you know it’s there……………

  2. Chug-A-Lug
    Chug-A-Lug says:

    Just so happens,mom is in same predicament!She’s trying to sell dads old Chris-Craft.(same one in”Dale Protheros Chris- Craft if you google it.”)

  3. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Boy when you dream you dream BIG!

    Not just one, but two Cobra’s! One that is on the original cradle and never run.

  4. Syd Marsden
    Syd Marsden says:

    Kind of did that years ago was at a father daughter Girl Scout squaredance talking with some of the fathers and heard the group behind me talk about outboards so I turned around and joined the group. The next morning before our daughters soccer game I came home with a MK20Hbarn find

  5. George Burgess
    George Burgess says:

    39 years ago I visited Pete Henkel and told him I wanted a Cobra. He didn’t have a Cobra but a Silver Arrow so I bought it – hull #2. Then about a year later I saw an ad for a Cobra, it was Joe Kabot’s. We agreed on a price and I had a 21ft. Cobra – hull #3. So not barn finds but you never know when you find what you want.

  6. first53Resorter
    first53Resorter says:

    And all I had to do was retire, sell my home of twenty-seven years, move every possession six hours one-way – and only then, find an 18 ft. 1953 Century Resorter with production #1 covered with a tarp one mile away as the crow flies. Yeah, I’ve had that dream…

  7. George Emmanuel
    George Emmanuel says:

    I chased tis barn find for 20 years and finally got the owner to release it to me. Persistence pays off! 1948 Higgins 17′ Sportster

  8. Ayachtguy
    Ayachtguy says:

    In 1986, Porsche had the coolest ad ever, with the following text:

    “After running out of gas on a remote country road, you hike over to a distant farmhouse, knock on the door and ask an old man with a weathered face if he has some gas you can buy. “Sure”, he says. Out in the barn, as he sets to work with gas can and siphon, something in the shadows catches your eye…

    There – enshrouded in dust, sitting lopsided on a time-flattened tire – is a 1958 Porsche 356 Speedster. Left behind 25 years earlier, you discover, by a son on his way to boot camp and a subsequent commitment to marriage, family and a station wagon. Nonchalantly, you walk around it, examine it, and realize that, under the dust, nothing is missing. It’s all there. Waiting. “Never got around to selling it”, the old man says. “Oh?” you reply, stifling the urge to hug a perfect stranger. “I might be interested”. “You would, eh? $500 be too much?”

    And then you wake up.

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