Saturday, February 11, 2017

1955 Huffy Radiobike

Christmas has come and gone, and some of us may not have gotten exactly what we were wishing for. Many of us receive Christmas money from grandparents, and other relatives, fueling our desires to get that one thing we really wanted for Christmas, like this bicycle. This 1955 Huffy Radiobike is a great survivor that is rare, and complete. The Radiobike was made for 1955 and 1956 making some very lucky kids the coolest kids on their street, being able to have portable music built right into their bicycle. Unfortunately, not long after the Radiobikes release, the transistor radio came out making it very easy to take music with you any, and everywhere. This rare two wheeled mercury vapor tube radio is offered at $1,800. Find it here on ebay out of Ohio.

Within this tank lies a narrow mercury vapor tube radio. There is a volume knob, as well as a tuning knob, and the key is a locking on/off switch to prevent others from draining your batteries when you aren’t with your bike. The white tube coming out of the bottom of the tank is the antenna. Wearing the lovely “Flamboyant Red” color, the Huffy Radiobike was also offered in “Flamboyant Green” and “Flamboyant Blue”. Although the Radiobike was offered for 2 years, it is speculated that there were only 8,500 bikes made. 8,500 doesn’t sound like too low of a number, but the Radio built into the tank was not cut out for the outdoors, and many fell subject to failure. Upon out living their usefulness as a radio with wheels, the transistor radio would become a quick replacement, and the “Muscle” bikes of the 1960s didn’t do the Radiobikes any favors, making them appear old and outdated.

Fortunately, this radio looks to be in fair health, needing to be cleaned and tested. Also fortunately the on/off switch key is with this bike as well. This 3 tube radio was designed, and manufactured by Yellow Springs Instrument Company.

In nice survivor condition, there are areas where some surface rust has developed.  The radio side of the tank has some minor surface rust, but much of the paint, and graphic on the tank is present. There is also some surface rust forming on the chain guard as well as the rear fender. The battery pack compartment is very clean. Thankfully someone removed the batteries preventing corrosion to the battery area.  The 1955 only headlight is nice with no rust, or paint issues. The handle bars and fork crown are beautifully shiny, although the wheels have not aged as well. There is some corrosion, and even minor rust forming on the rims. These wheels are likely suitable to ride, but they are just a bit ugly as far as condition goes. But we aren’t too picky, we would gladly welcome this 2 wheeled find to our collection. How about you?


GPO Mobile Post Office

Barn Finds reader Dik S. has found a truly unusual project here on eBay that combines obscurity and history in ways we’ve never seen before. I would love to know the story behind the creation of a mobile post office, of which this GPO truck is said to be one of three created by the General Post Office (hence, GPO) of London – clearly, the U.K.’s version of the Pony Express! 

The story seems long and complicated, but the seller claims that this example was rescued from the scrap bin after being de-commissioned in the early 1980s. One of the three trucks was destroyed, and the other is in the hands of a UK museum. This example here was even thought to have been lost to a fire at one time. Although I can’t find any info on why this mobile post office was created, I’m sure it was built to offer more options and convenience to customers.

The trailer section is where the magic happens, so to speak. That’s where the original counters, drawers and other post office equipment can be found. With so much wood paneling, water damage is often a concern but the seller claims it is minimal. This rig will clearly have sentimental value for British enthusiasts, so hopefully someone on that side of the pond has the space and vision to bring this piece of postal and motoring history back to life.

The listing is a bit hard to decipher, but it sounds as if the seller is currently restoring the cab. While the whole assembly is for sale, it does seem as though the seller is passing the incomplete project along to someone else who can see it through. I’m sure parts sourcing is a challenge, unless the cab is a conventional design (with the truly one-off items limited to the trailer). What do you think the future holds for this unusual mobile post office?


1955 Chevrolet Nomad

What a great looking car! The Nomad really is an iconic design that to this day looks great. Looking this ’55 over, it makes me wish American manufactures would bring back the two door wagon! The seller of this Nomad doesn’t really offer much information. They state that it needs to be restored, but that it still wins awards the way it is. It looks like it might be an older restoration to me, but I’m sure a closer inspection will reveal some of the car’s history. There is rust that needs to be addressed and lots of little things to fix, but overall, it looks like a good buy. You can find it here on eBay in Amelia, Ohio with a current bid of $25k.

Of all the Tri-Five body styles, the Nomad is easily the most desirable. They built a little over 8k Nomads in ’55 and even fewer for ’56 and ’57. While ’57 fuel injected models are the most sought after of the Nomads, I really like the looks of the earlier cars and the carbureted 265 is simple to work on. The seller states that this one’s engine is original and unmolested, but no word on whether it’s the 162 horse or 180 horsepower engine. It must run if they are able to take it to car shows though, so that is hopeful!

The interior looks fantastic in the photos! If the upholstery is original it’s in incredibly nice condition, but I would guess it’s been replaced at some point. Either way, it looks like a nice place to be.

I won’t lie, the rust issues concern me a bit. It doesn’t look too serious, but the with the paint bubbling on the doors and pitting around the back window there could be serious rust hiding under the paint. A quick inspection could resolve those fears easily enough though. So which year of Nomad is your favorite?


1965 Imperial Flower Car

Despite being disdained by forum bashers here and here, I think this 1965 Imperial that was converted into a flower car, probably when new, has a tremendous amount of potential. It’s located in Newcastle, Oklahoma and is listed for sale here on eBay, where the buy it now is $3,000 (despite being listed previously on craigslist for $2,750), however lower offers are welcomed.

Unlike a lot of flower cars, this one looks fairly well done, and I can easily see modifying the rear to fold out like a tailgate (clearing the round Imperial emblem might be the toughest part).You would then have a fairly useful pickup truck like no one else’s! The Imperial Club has this set of pictures of the same vehicle taken in 2010. You can see that it’s a little less deteriorated, especially the plastic rear window. That shouldn’t be too hard to fabricate a glass panel for instead, though.

It really does look pretty nice to me; not really awkward lines at all. Of course, that’s just one person’s opinion; you may think it’s awful.


It’s a shame that the interior is so trashed; I hope some of the walnut trim can be saved. Since the car/truck is a custom anyway, I think if I couldn’t easily find a factory dash, I’d put something in that was in keeping with the rest of the vehicle.

Here’s how the bed was constructed…interesting to say the least.  I”m guessing a layer of wood was involved originally? The seller mentions that the floor only has one little hole in it (I’m guessing from the deterioration of the rear window since 2010) but overall it looks pretty solid.

If this is the original engine as I believe it to be, it’s a 413 V8 with factory air. The seller says it does turn over, which is a good start. I’d love to start on this car/truck and make it my own; what do you think? How would you finish it?

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1958 Chevrolet Nomad

right front
The 1958 model year was a year of big changes in the auto industry. Car makers doubled two to four. Cars got four headlights, the Thunderbird get 4 seats and the Nomad got 4 doors. This Nomad is an unfinished project listed here on craigslist in Sacramento, California. The seller thinks it’s worth $15,000 and there may be someone willing to pay that much. It has an LS3 engine and a six speed automatic. The interior was redone at some time and there’s a carpet kit ready to install. There is even a 4 wheel disk brake kit included. The body is in good shape with no rust. Few pictures are provided and the photography is very selective.


The dash looks original and complete except perhaps for the radio knobs.

back seat
This is the only view of the upholstery provided. It looks plain but in good shape. The door card is missing. Does the blue paint indicate a respray?

This closeup view of the LS3 shows very little. The big unknown here is how well the engine and trans were installed and the quality of any other work that was done. It looks like the engine might just be set in place. The headers don’t seem to be installed.

The back bumper will need some work, but it looks like the trim is mostly complete. It will take a close inspection to see what it will take to complete this project. Perhaps this fellow bought this project believing it was, as he claims, an “Amazing easy finish project”. It’s not likely this Nomad is worth anywhere near the asking price. What do you think it might be worth? Besides walking away, what would you do with this project?


Crazy Custom RV: 1941 Western Flyer

Custom 1914 Western Flyer RV
We have featured some crazy campers over the years, but this thing may take the cake. It started life as two halves of a 1941 Western Flyer van, but was restro-modded into the awesome RV seen here. It’s not a barn find, but it’s definitely an oddity that’s worth a look. It has won awards and features many upgrades that make it very usable today. Find it here on eBay where bidding is already up to $66k!

Bed In The Back
There isn’t a lot of information online about the Western Flyer van, but we do know it was designed by Brooks Stevens and he came up with some amazingly styled vehicles that were essentially early motorhomes. You can read more about him and his awesome creations over at Hemmings.

Kitchen And Cockpit
This one has obviously been modified from its original form. There’s a modern chassis and drivetrain underneath and a new interior inside. We think it’s a lot of work to restore a car, but just think about all the challenges the builder faced when they built this thing!

Awesome Tail Fin
This could be the ultimate snowbirdmobile. Just think of the looks on everyone’s faces when you pull into the RV park with this puppy! It’s not going to be cheap, but it will be even more stunning than all your buddies’ six figure rigs. Who needs a slide out when you have a tail fin!


1960 Chevrolet Corvair 700

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Thanks to Barn Finds fan, Jay P., for tracking down this great looking custom! This is a 1960 Chevrolet Corvair 700, no really, it is! It’s in Long Beach, California and is on Craigslist with an asking price of $3,000. This car has quite a history, being custom made by a former GM chassis engineer, and I mean custom made! Our own Jamie wrote about two handfuls of Corvairs being offered up for sale by a Detroit collector back in February, and it included this very car and some museum-quality Corvairs.

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Ok, now you know its nickname. This car started out as a four-door 700 sedan and it was basically cut in half, had 18″ removed from the center, and JB Welded back together again. No, it was welded, and not just by a shadetree mechanic, but by a former GM chassis engineer. He thought that GM should have made a shortened two-door Corvair like this, and if GM could have seen this car in 1960 they very well may have. You may have noticed that there’s an extra tail light on each side, that’s custom, too. If they would have had such a thing as reality tv in the mid-1980s when this car was built, it could have made the fabricator a star.

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What a gorgeous piece of work this was, and still is! The fabricator didn’t just use standard doors, the seller says that they “made custom longer doors utilizing sets of doors from FOUR different four door sedans. He then had custom glass cut for these custom doors.” Amazing! I can’t imagine doing that kind of custom work, but I sure applaud the folks who can master it. I’m a purist 99% of the time, but I really like this car. This rear 3/4 shot is gorgeous, in my opinion. It has the traits of a Corvair but it also looks European to me. They also “upgraded the suspension to the 1964 one year only version which was the best improved design for the 1960-64 cars with the transverse leaf spring on the rear and a sway bar up front. He also used stronger 5 lug axles from the van/truck Corvairs.”

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Yes, that’s custom AC and this car also has cruise control. I’m not a fan of the steering wheel or the velour seat fabric, but those things could always be changed. The builder “removed the 3 speed manual transmission and swapped in a 4 speed Saginaw manual with short shifter from a 1966 car,” Cool. This is a running car, but it has a big caveat, much bigger than such a short car should have.

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GAAA! That’s not a deep dish Chicago-style pizza, it’s the undercarriage, or what’s left of it. What a shame. This car started out SO well, too. Being in Michigan for years, this “car has suffered some major rust on the rocker panels, floor and the rear doglegs behind the doors from being driven in Michigan winters with salt on the road. It will need to be cut out and patched with good dry sheet metal.” Ouch, this will be a massive project to fix that rust in such a way that the car could be used again. But, according to the seller, it can be done. And, look what the original owner/fabricator did in the first place, so it definitely could be fixed. But, wow, this would be so far above my head that it’s scary. But, I have no doubt that a good number of Barn Finds readers have done rust repair maybe to even rival this amount of work. What do you think of Stubby? Cute l’il bugger, isn’t it? Can this great little car be saved or is the amount of rust just too much to make it worth the effort?