“Barn Find Hunter” scores two Jaguar XKs just a quarter mile apart

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What happens when a barn find hunter and classic Jaguar enthusiast happen upon two different XK-series roadsters less than a quarter mile apart? Tom Cotter, the host of Hagerty‘s “Barn Find Hunter,” says he always dreams of opening a barn door and finding an old Jaguar XK120 or XK140. He’s about to strike gold twice, and they’re virtually on opposite sides of the same street.

The first find is an XK120 roadster. Purportedly once owned by Daniel Gerber (like the baby food), it was acquired by Cotter’s host, Denny Hoxie, from somebody who had let it go to seed a bit. Hoxie’s XK120 is very much a survivor that was merely repaired, rather than restored. Hoxie says that when he first started working on his XK, the cars weren’t old or coveted enough yet to warrant a full restoration. Getting it fixed and on the road was his priority.

Hoxie repaired some rust and gave it a fresh coat of paint, and drove it as one of several pleasure vehicles for years before retiring it over a water pump issue in 1989. That’s when he pulled the engine for repairs, and thus it has sat for three decades.

In the intermission between Jaguar finds, Cotter tours the XK120 owner’s farm, where he’s shown various older farm and utility trucks, many of which are still (or a few simple repairs away from being) in use on the owner’s property.

After once again espousing his fondness for the XK, Cotter asks Hoxie whether there might be any more classics floating around the Traverse City, Michigan, area. As it turns out, there’s one only a stone’s throw away, “just on the other side of the street.”

Cotter’s hit pay dirt only once before, he tells Hoxie, in Detroit, where he found an XK120 coupe and roadster.

They meet up with Jim, who, as it turns out, has an XK120 coupe. Its story isn’t quite so enticing and Cotter learns that it doesn’t have the original engine; fortunately, Jim kept it, along with a whole mess of other spare parts, even after the XK was parked and covered in 1985.

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