New Barn Find Book from Wyss
The fourth and latest book in the softbound series that started with the one entitled Incredible Barn Finds is now in print, reports Wallace Wyss, a West Coast based historian.
The cover story is about songstress Janis Joplin’s Porsche psychedelically-painted Porsche 356C cabriolet, stolen while she was onstage in San Francisco belting out the blues.
“The new book follows the same format as the first three–50 short stories–packed into one handy-sized paperbound book,” says Wyss.
“It’s the opposite of those coffee-table books with lavish color. Those I leave to the world class photographers like Michael Fuhrman and Randy Leffingwell.”
“This series is designed instead to be something you can take to the airport, and read chapters in 10 minute bites while you’re waiting for your flight,” says Wyss, who has authored 15 automotive histories, starting with a race driver biography, Shelby’s Wildlife back in 1977.
The series has no marque preference, says Wyss, who, in his role as a barn finder role back in the ’80s, successfully hunted down everything from Bizzarrinis to Bentley Continentals.
“I select the cars featured only if there’s a good story of the hunt,” he says, “not cars bought from car dealers. That’s too easy…”
CLASSICS IN DISGUISE
There’s at least two chapters on Ferraris that had other bodies on them for one reason or another, like a 250LM in Switzerland that ran hillclimbs wearing a Porsche body. A second chapter is on a F1 Dino rebodied into a rough-and-ready approximation of a 250GTO.
Other Italian cars featured include a De Tomaso Pantera that was made custom at the factory for a Ford executive, a Fiat 8V found in a motel parking lot covered with snow, and a Cadillac bodied by Zagato; one of “Coco” Chinetti’s most embarrassing faux paxs.
Dictators get their measure of ink, one chapter on a Romanian President’s 6-door Mercedes landaulet, liberated after he was executed in a revolution, and then there’s Juan Peron’s Alfa street car that was turned back into the Alfa race car it had been when it was born.
Hollywood celebrities also get some ink, Diana Dors for her Delahaye, Elvis (“The Pelvis”) for his BMW 507 and Rolls Phantom and even Hollywood mobster Mickey Cohen for the bulletproof Cadillac that the California DMV wouldn’t let him register.
World War II figures in with two stories on prewar Mercedes, the fabled bulletproof “blue Goose” of Reichsmarschall Herman Goering, and the Mercedes given by Hitler to an Egyptian king.
American marques are represented, including Wyss’ theory that the Corvette XP-700 “dream car” may still exist and not in fact be under the body of the Corvette Shark as everyone has assumed for nearly a half a century.
The book’s conclusion has the author giving barn-finding tips from his own career and from the examples of other collectors.
For the first time in the series, in the conclusion, Wyss discusses the intricacies of how barn finders can make money from cars they found, even if they are not in a position to buy them.
An accomplished fine artist whose paintings are featured annually at Concours Italiano, Wyss did many of the illustrations himself. (his art work can be seen at wallacewyssfineart.com
The book can be advance-ordered direct from the publisher, Enthusiast Books, at 715-381-9755.