Route 66 Barn Find Road Trip: Lost Collector Cars Along the Mother Road

By Tom Cotter | Photographs by Michael Alan Ross

This book answers the question all of us have pondered as we speed pass an abandoned interesting car or cars along the highway and have wondered what the deal was. Or if that truck back there was for sale. Probably should stop. Bet I could get it cheap. Wouldn’t it be cool to (fill in the blank). We consider the finished project in our minds and bury the reality of what it would take to get there. But by the time all of this is weighed, we’re twenty miles down the road, and it’s another ten to the nearest exit. That would mean backtracking thirty miles, losing a couple hours, and probably couldn’t track down the owner anyway. And the wife and kids are getting cranky. Something about food.



So it’s one thing to be on a road trip and see an interesting car along the way. It’s another thing entirely if the purpose of the road trip is to discover the backstory on as many old cars and collections as possible. And what better route to take than Route 66.

The book is jammed packed full of nostalgia and possibilities. Every car has a story, and every car owner likes to tell his. The glimmer of excitement and longing for an earlier time or waiting for the right time to get on with a project seems to accompany most of them. Most of the owners were enthusiastic about sharing their dream with the authors.

But there is some pathos here as well. Many of the cars were projects abandoned years ago as life interfered with the dream. As the owners told their stories, the spark and the dream was till there just as vividly today as the day the thing was hauled home, perhaps decades earlier. And, no, it’s not for sale. Because you can’t sell your dreams.—Gary Smith

Available on Amazon



Quarto’s Press Release

For a nation that loves the idea of the road, there is no more legendary ribbon of highway than the 2,451 miles comprising historic Route 66. Along the Mother Road lies the detritus of the automotive age: motels, roadside attractions, diners, service stations, drive-ins, and dives. Hidden in, around, and behind its buildings or abandoned along its roadside hide collector cars, lost trucks, and moldering motorcycles. How could there be a better destination for automotive archaeologist Tom Cotter?

In Route 66 Barn Find Road Trip Cotter and his BBF (best barn finder) pal Brian Barr jump on Route 66, just outside Chicago, seeking rusted gold in every state Route 66 passes through. Along the way, ace lensman Michael Alan Ross documents their finds, mishaps, and various adventures. Starting in the Midwest and barreling through Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico, the barn-find bunch continues on to Arizona before completing their quest in Santa Monica, California. You’ll never guess what automotive treasure they see peeking out from corroded garages and behind weary buildings along the way. You can bet every awesome barn find was investigated and recorded in Route 66 Barn Find Road Trip.

Whether you’ve only dreamed of retracing US 66 or are familiar with its path but never considered car hunting there, Route 66 Barn Find Road Trip will take you on the trip of a lifetime. Hop in; you can ride shotgun.

Format: Hardcover, 192 Pages
ISBN: 9780760351703
Illustrations: 440 color photos
Size: 9.25 in x 10.875 in
Published: Oct. 15, 2016

  1. Lawrence Thompson

    Great book. There’s still a lot of stuff out there for any sort of project.

  2. Ken Pickering

    We drove our family to California in 1966 on Route 66 long before I-40 was built. Very interesting trip! The many gas stations along Route 66 were stocked with lots of shock absorbers and tires, so whenever we stopped for fuel, my wife would get out of one side of the car and me the other and I would say, “Gas only, nobody under the car or under the hood”. The gas stations were notorious for spraying oil on your shocks or slashing your tires, then telling you that new shocks or tires were needed.

    We here at Cordia ( are now, as a group, walking Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. We wear our pedometers, turn them in once a week, and are now at the halfway point and on schedule. And walking is healthy too!

    Ken Pickering

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