The barn find. The idea that sitting in some old shed or barn is a near pristine automobile that has been in storage for most of its life is the eternal gear head dream. These cars existed more in days gone by, but with the expansion of the internet, rare cars in hiding are becoming extinct. This doesn’t stop people from looking though and one man has decided to dedicate himself to searching for these old and abandoned cars. He has given a name to this pursuit, Carchaeology.
Charchaeology is the brain child of Southern California native Randy Carlson. Born into a car-loving family, Randy’s father had a huge collection of classic cars. his collection included marques like Packard and Pierce-Arrow. The collection even included such rare specimens as a Mercedes Gullwing. He bought his first car at the tender age of thirteen, a 71 Honda 600. He says the car was in boxes, but by the time he was 16 and had his license, the classic machine was assembled and running. He still has that old Honda today, and has always had old cars in his life.
He had found lots of joy in turning old piles of junk into new and lust-worthy machines, and by the 1980s he had his first car featured in a magazine. Since that first car, he has managed to be featured more than 30 more times.
Above all else, Carlson says he loves the chase. Little gets his motor running like the “hunt”. That is what drove the creation of Carchaeology. Randy lives for the moment of excitement that comes from finding a hidden gem in dank garage. The moment when you can pull a car out of a decade long hibernation and get the engine to crank again provides the euphoric rush that is not attainable by any other means. Randy says it makes him feel like “Indiana Jones on some great adventure.” Just like Indy, his main goal is not about the money, he just wants to bring these artifacts back into the world so that they can be seen and enjoyed by generations to come. His main goal is “…preservation more than restoration…”.
While the name Carchaeology may be new, the adventure isn’t. Randy has been doing this for years, but finally had the inspiration to share it with the world. During his years he has found rare gems like a 1950 Tatraplan, unique machines like a 1931 American Austin Kiddie Ride Fire Truck, and has even purchased machines from far away locations like New Zealand. This is not a man that takes his job lightly.
While this may have been a long time passion, the internet has made much of his work easier, and it is one of his most valued tools for locating rare and disregarded machinery. His team consists of four other occasional workers, but he is currently the only full-time member. When asked about recruiting he simply replied, “Calling all cars!”.
If you want to keep up with all things Carchaeology, check out the Facebook page that Randy has created. There is a website currently in creation, but there is nothing live at the moment, so Facebook is the only way to keep current.
A bit more about Randy…
When not searching for cars, Randy can be found running a few vehicle sales websites (Oldbug.com and Californiacar.com) that feature vintage machinery. He is happily married with three kids that are sure to catch the car bug, so that this pursuit can continue for years to come. He lives in one of the few remaining SoCal rural areas with his dogs, chickens and goats. Randy has also been lucky enough to be a part of “Picked Off”. “Picked Off” is a TV show on the History Channel based on the popular series “American Pickers”. Teams of “pickers” are tasked with finding items, and the team who finds the object worth the highest value wins. Randy and his partner found an Austrian Vis-a-Vis sleigh from the 1830′s.
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