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Ton Shaughnessey once called "King of the Toasted Ponies"

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by bitzman, Sep 15, 2020 at 10:40 AM.

  1. bitzman

    bitzman Formula 3

    Feb 15, 2008
    2,425
    Ran into Tom Shaughnessey (I think when I first met him it was spelled in the true Irish version, O'Shaughnessey) the other day in San Clemente, California at Cars 'n Coffee and he said he is now living in New Hampshire with "ten or eleven cars, but nothing for sale." I like to hear about his barn finds but only know a couple. I am most interested in hearing tales on how he first came across a great car, not in what happened afterward. The fun is in the finding. I am completing a novel about an exotic car hunter, like to know what separates the lucky ones from the guys like me who don't have nearly so dramatic stories. Here's a few cars I read Tom barn found. Any others?

    --a 212 Europa Cabriolet . The car had by the late 1960s, migrated to the Detroit area, where its engine was replaced with a Corvette V8. In 1972, a car enthusiast spotted the Ferrari at a swap meet, paid $600 for it, and parked it in his garage in Grand Blanc, MI, where it remained hidden until 2011. Somehow Tom found it.

    -GT40 At a car show in Chino , CA Tom and his son were showing a GT40 when a guy walked up to Tom's son and said "I got one of those" and his son did not say "Yah, a replica by who?" but instead asked the SN, was told a real number and Tom ended up with the car, chassis P/1067)

    -1952 Ferrari 340 America Spider chassis in 2006 in a Frankfort, Illinois, garage sale. The sale was on eBay and Shaughnessy bought it for $26,912—less than one percent of the car’s estimated restored value. He was hoping nobody else would recognize what a treasure it was and scored the winning bid.

    -250 Europa , chassis 0313 EU owned by Philip Stanton of Los Angeles, who sold the car to Ferrari of Los Gatos in 1976. It was purchased there later that year by Constantine Baksheef and Alec Sokoloff of Palo Alto. Sometime thereafter, the 250 Europa was taken off the road, but it would remain in California. It was discovered in 2003 by Tom Shaughnessy but I haven't heard how.

    - 375 America 0337AL,Vignale bodied This "discovery" was on a TV show called something like Barn Find Hunters, Tom accompanied by Freeman Thomas, a famous car designer, and the old codger who owned the Ferrari smiling as Tom pulled the dusty old car out of the barn...each thinking they were coming out ahead on the deal

    So hope to hear more how-he-found-it stories as now it appears he's publicity shy (maybe he showed up at some places and the first words he was greeted with were "Oh, you're the fella I saw on TV...."
     
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  2. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    Tom is a wonderful guy and I have always enjoyed spending time with him. His ability to locate barn finds are very much a skill honed from years of hanging around cars and owners. Tom is an excellent listener and has an incredible memory. He understands the psychology of collectible things and has been successful because he is an enthusiast first.

    Let's not forget dealing in old cars and parts is how Tom earns his living. It is not a side deal for him and it is very hard for an 'amateur' to be introduced to barn finds when they spend their days doing something else. Regardless when he does unearth a gem it is always fun to hear about.
     
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  3. bitzman

    bitzman Formula 3

    Feb 15, 2008
    2,425
    I think we will hear that he takes meticulous notes (maybe out of sight, after a conversation) so later on he can refer to a note he took 10 years ago. I was reminded of my failure to do this in September, 2020, at a Malibu Cars 'n Coffee when a guy drove by me in a gullwing that I met in '65. Maybe if I would have kept in contact with him sometime in the last 50 years he would have clued me in on a car. And oh the guy Tom met in Chino was an LA fireman I met in the '70s who would drive it to the Shelby Club meet. I asked him every time I saw him if it was for sale but Tom met him kust when he was ready...
     
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  4. 19633500GT

    19633500GT F1 Veteran
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    It’s not always about the notes you take or the serial numbers you remember.

    sometimes it is about knowing “how” to look.
    Then you realize the playing field is not level :)
     
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  5. Julia

    Julia Formula 3
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    I suppose it's about knowing how to ask to buy the car, as well. For many people who've owned something a long time, it's very difficult to part with it.
     
  6. bitzman

    bitzman Formula 3

    Feb 15, 2008
    2,425
    When I was a much less successful barn finder, I would travel to the car owner's house (travel free because of a marry-me-fly-free connection) and though i only talked to the car owner perhaps months and vaguely said "If I ever get out there I'll look you up" I would appear with a Cashier's Check (from some client) and say "Let's go to the bank and see if they will cash this." That way the word "sell" never came up. Their mind focused only on the check. One flaw though was if the car was worth less than the check, There was a Bizzarrini, alloy body, but parked outside in Ohio several winters. I think it was rusty underneath but I still paid the 30K check. Nowadays it would be worth it, you could buy a used Rivolta and pit that underneath. And the owner was such a local loser even the bank president couldn't believe anybody would give him 30K. Summing up, the cashier's check got around that awkward conversation of "what do you want for it?" Sort of like not asking a lady if she'll marry you but skipping to "And here's two tickets to Hawaii for our honeymoon."
     
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  7. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    I remember several years back Tom S. bought a alloy body 275 GTB that looked like a barn find but the reality is lots of people knew about the car and were chasing the owner to buy it. Tom told me he was able to buy the car because he offered good money for it rather than try to steal it like everyone else did. As it turned out the car went a little viral online and lets say it did very well at auction.
     
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  8. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Tom’s motto is, “See it, buy it.”


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat
     

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