Detroit has been America's Motor City for decades. It's home to Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler, as well as numerous auto industry companies and specialty and speed shops. At the same time, it's the poster child for urban blight and dysfunction. It's truly a city of contrasts, which presented challenges and opportunities in equal measure to barn finder Tom Cotter.
In Motor City Barn Finds, Cotter plies his trade in a locale rich with automotive history. Detroit's lost cars are abandoned in empty lots, resident in decrepit buildings, squirreled away in garages, and stashed in historic wrecking yards.
Behind the wheel of his classic 1939 Ford Woodie, Cotter trolls the back streets and neighborhoods of this historic city looking for lost automotive gems accompanied by photographer Michael Alan Ross.
As America's Motor City, Detroit is an emotional and historical mecca for car enthusiasts, capable of drawing hundreds of thousands of car people for events like Woodward Dream Cruise and attracting design-forward companies like Shinola. At the same time, it's intimidating to navigate, with numerous dodgy neighborhoods and risky abandoned factory sites. Add it all together and you have fascinating and intriguing opportunities to dig for barn-find gold.
Before writing his first book, Tom Cotter had long been involved in nearly every end of the automotive and racing industries. From mechanic and auto salesman to heading the public relations department at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Cotter formed his own racing and automotive PR and marketing agency, Cotter Group. The agency represented some of the largest clients in NASCAR, IndyCar/CART, drag racing and road racing. He has written biographies of the legendary Holman-Moody race team, Tommy Ivo and Dean Jeffries, but is best known for his series of barn find books, such as Cobra in the Barn , 50 Shades of Rust and Barn Find Road Trip. Cotter appears in the Barn Find Hunter video series, which is distributed by Hagerty Insurance. He teaches public relations at Belmont Abbey College, sits on the advisory board of McPherson College’s Auto Restoration program, and is a member of the Road Racing Driver’s Club (RRDC.) He is married to Pat, has one son, Brian, and lives in Davidson, N.C.
Michael Alan Ross has carved out a career photographing the studied nuances, latest models, adrenaline-rushed raceways, and proud owners of the car world. His love of automotive design includes an encyclopedic knowledge of sculptural engineering details with a parallel appreciation for the evolution of componentry. Michael's photography is featured in Motorbooks' Barn Find Road Trip and Rockin' Garages, as well as in a wide range of editorial and advertising in the US and Europe. He lives in San Rafael, California.