Barney’s first purchase (in 1967) was a 1965 K-code (289 ci, 271 hp) Mustang Fastback, black over red. What a car! What a sound! Over the years, the loyalty to the Ford family continued: Shelby GT 350, 289 Cobra, De Tomaso Mangusta, De Tomaso Pantera, GT 40, and Iso Grifo- all Ford powered.
As his collection evolved, it was referred to as ‘the cars of my youth’, basically mid-fifties to mid-seventies. Why mid-seventies? Because that is when the government got in to the business of safety standards which started to have limitations on the beautiful historic designs with bumper regulations and so forth (think about the later Panteras and Boras (US version) with those big ugly black front bumpers!). Over time the collection moved increasingly in the direction of European exotics of that era.
Europe opened the door to so many possibilities- Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Fiat, Iso Rivolta, Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Morgan, Lotus, AC, and on. So, over the years the following cars joined the pack: 1970 Lamborghini Muira S, Fiat Dino 2400 Sypder, Maserati Bora (4.9), Maserati Ghibli (4,9 SS Spyder), Iso Grifo Series II (351 Cleveland). On the German side, BMW 507, M1, M6, Z8 and Porsche 911 (1989 Silver Anniversary edition). Being married to an English gal, it was necessary for Barney to keep a few British cars in the garage: Aston Martin V8 convertible, Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Sanction II, Jaguar XK140 MC, Morgan +4, Lotus Europa (John Player Special) and an AC Bristol. And then there were the strays: Citroen 2 CV Charleston, Datsun 240Z, …
Realizing that Ferrari had made so many fabulous cars in the era, they started to became the heart of Barney’s collection. The famous Columbo 250 engine (3 litres) was used in a series of cars between 1954 and 1964. Designs by Pinin Farina and Scagletti were absolutely stunning. They were made in relatively small numbers and were increasingly coveted. Back to Chinetti Ferrari, Luigi Chinetti was a racer, winning Le Mans three times and Spa twice, among many other victories. He was given the first US Ferrari dealership by Enzo Ferrari, a distinct honor. At Chinetti, Barney, as a boy, was able to see all of the cars as they passed through the show room. On top of that, Chinetti started NART (North American Racing Team) to promote the brand in the US. The Rodriguez brothers, Jochen Rindt, Maston Gregory, Mario Andretti were among the long list of drivers that brought victory to NART, primarily in endurance racing at Le Mans, Spa, Sebring and Daytona. Barney made one purchase (in 1970) from Chinetti- it was the Norton Commando owned by Luigi’s son, Coco or Junior as he is known. Junior had just purchased an MV Agusta and decided to sell the Norton. Beautiful in black with gold trim, at 750cc it was among the fastest bikes on the planet. Exhilarating!
When Barney and his partners sold their investment business in 1999, he set a budget to purchase ‘the twins’. He had long coveted the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta and 250 GT SWB California Spyder. These two cars became the pinnacle of the collection. He showed them proudly at various concours and enjoyed driving both of them at every opportunity. The 250 GT Pinin Farina Series 1 Cabriolet joined the collection in 2000. Long, lean, gorgeous, it was a ‘gentleman’s car’, not a racer.
The other car in the series that Barney owned was a 250 Le Mans (chassis 6045), originally owned by Bill Harrah. This was the mid-engine beauty, sold as a ‘street car’, that was the ultimate ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’. 6045 had an interesting history. The car caught fire many years back, doing damage which left it beyond financially sensible repair. The car was ‘parted out’ with bits going in many directions. Eventually, one person bought the remains of the chassis added in a different engine, gearbox and all of the other mechanicals, and developed one car using the original serial number. Another person located the engine, crossmember with the original chassis stamp, and other bits and pieces, built a new chassis and used the original chassis number as well. So, there were two cars using the same serial number- not the first time in Ferrari history. Which car was the ‘real’ 6045 was a long running discussion. Barney owned the car with the original engine and chassis number. Eventually, as should happen, both cars were bought by the same owner, sent to Ferrari to be combined using as many of the original parts as possible to build a single car, and the remains were destroyed. As the market was rising strongly at the time, it was a successful financial venture. The car remains in private hands today.
Other Ferraris that have passed through the collection are two Daytona Sypders, the first a ‘cut car’ formerly owned by Mel Blanc, the voice behind most of Looney Tunes characters, followed ay an original European spec Spyder. Two Dinos, a 330 GTC and 330 GTS, and a 400 Superamerica SWB Sypder. This last car, of which only six were made, was powered by a Lampreti motor rather than the more typical Columbo engine.
All in all, Barney has had a fabulous time serving as the ‘current caretaker’ of many fine automobiles and is privileged to have had the opportunity.