Long-lost stash of American pre-war classic cars found in cellar

Hidden away for decades, ten pre-war classics including a rare Plymouth PB Roadster and two racing-bodied 'Speedster' Fords have been found in a run-down North Carolina property

Barn finds aren’t really a great surprise in themselves. Every day, classics which have been parked for years pop up after being assumed long lost. But this isn’t a typical barn find – it’s something more curious than that.

Imagine the shock of turning up to work and finding nearly a dozen pre-war classic vehicles by accident. That’s precisely what happened to North Carolina-based contractor David Mount, who had been sent to demolish a vacant property.

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Under a thick green carpet of weeds lay ten pre-war American machines, parked and left abandoned for decades. There were cars stashed in the property’s cellar and others dotted around the acres of land surrounding the house.

‘They belonged to the father of the previous owner of the property. He was just a car guy,’ explains Mount. ‘When they stopped running or whatever happened, he just parked them.’

What he found was a diverse collection left to perish for over two decades. None was in solid condition, many barely useful as parts cars never mind having restoration potential. But it wasn’t all bad news.

In amongst the undergrowth were several recognisable cars, all taking punishment from the sands of time yet still mostly whole; two Ford ‘Speedsters’, a 1932 Plymouth PB Roadster, a long wheelbase 1927 Ford Model T Express Truck and a 1938 Chevrolet Sedan.

That pair of Ford Speedsters were a product of a racing-obsessed nation. Decades before competing on paved ovals became the norm, dirt track racing had dominated American motorsport. It was cheap and accessible, with drivers taking their dime-a-dozen road cars and taking them to rebodying specialists for a racing makeover.

One of the Ford Model Ts discovered by Mount will likely have graced more than one of these dirt track ovals in its time. Converted to speedway specification, it was fitted with a boat tail body designed by Morton & Brett, a company dedicated to racing conversions based in Indianapolis, Indiana. That location is no coincidence, as any American racing fan can attest to.

A little younger than the Morton & Brett-bodied 1929 Model T is a 1937 Ford chassis, mated to a flathead Ford V8, which Mount has prioritised for restoration. So too is the Plymouth PB Roadster, possibly the rarest of all in his find yet also the most complete, retrofitted with Ford running gear and with only the seats and convertible top missing.

It appears that this lucky find will have a happy ending. Though the boat-tail Model T has been sold on to a Virginia-based collector, Mount is determined to get both the 1937 Ford and 1932 Plymouth PB back to roadworthy condition and keep them in the family.

‘As far as the Plymouth and the Speedster goes, we're going to hang on to those, at least for a little while,’ continued Mount.

'We've got a full workshop. The little Speedster is on the lift right now. We're going to start dismantling it and see what's salvageable, then try and rework everything that we can that's original.'

Photos courtesy of David Mount

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