The Full Story of That House With 300 Classic Cars Is a Sad One

At one time, it was a small-time vintage American car parts business. But then illness arrived unannounced.

byJames Gilboy|
New Hampshire property with classic American cars


Several weeks ago, half the internet stopped to stare at the property for sale in New Hampshire with 300-ish classic cars on its grounds. There wasn't a whole lot of info on the cars or the incompletely remodeled house, so I had to guess what was there based on a handful of pictures. Well, I've since spoken to the family that was selling it, and learned the history of the property isn't a fairy tale—it's a tragedy.

I spoke to Steve Cushing, who told me his brother (whose name wasn't disclosed) was the land's former resident. He ran a business called Parts of the Past out of the property, selling pre-1972 American cars and parts that he'd collected from across New England for more than 30 years. At his peak, he may have accumulated as many as 1,200 cars according to Cushing, who characterized his brother as "reclusive" and "quite a hoarder."

"He had a 1972 [Chevy] Super Sport that was a basket case, but the underframe was good, and he was asking $7,500 for the car," Cushing told me. "A gentleman came up and looked the car, spent several hours looking it over, and he said to my brother, 'I'll give you $7,000 cash,' and my brother said, 'well, the price is 7,500.' And the guy says, 'well, I've got $7,000 cash right now,' and my brother said, 'I need you to leave my property.' And he had $500 in the car, but that was my brother."

"My brother had a girlfriend at one point, and she announced to him that if anything ever happened to him, the day after he was gone, she would crush every car," Cushing continued. "Well, he threw her out the next day. And she turned him into the EPA, and the EPA actually came out there and inspected the property and did not find anything. [...] As my brother said, 'they've never seen oil in 50 years.'"

Though Cushing spoke to his brother regularly, he was kept in the dark about something serious—his brother's chronic illness.

"We got a phone call in early September of 2020, and this guy said, 'do you have any idea how sick your brother is?' And I said, 'no, I speak to him every couple of weeks.' And then he said, 'well, he's pretty bad off.' So my wife and I jumped on an airplane the very next day and flew up there."

That was when Cushing learned his brother had developed a fatty cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, and that it had metastasized—as in, it was spreading.

"He wouldn't even leave his property to get any assistance, so I actually had to call 911 to get him into the hospital to get him some pain relief. And we got hospice to go in there, and he eventually ended up in a palliative care facility and passed away in November of 2020."

That left Cushing, his brother's only relative, with a monumental number of non-running cars on his hands. His brother hadn't kept an inventory, just filled a mostly uncleared property with hundreds of cars, other vehicles, and more than a dozen 40-foot trailers full of god knows what. One was suspected to be full of OEM Ford parts, but Cushing hadn't gotten around to checking. (It wasn't unlike the situation at Collier Motors AMC, the last AMC dealer in the country, just with more cars in worse condition.)

Cushing told me the cars are pretty much all parts cars, meaning there are few to no restorables among them. He also said the count was probably closer to 500 cars than 300, with many having been sold off with the help of a man Cushing's brother paid to help around the property. As for the property itself, the house was apparently unfinished on purpose: Cushing's brother didn't want the tax assessor to pay a visit. All the materials to finish the job though, as well as a well pump and generator, were there.

But this information isn't of much use, because Cushing told me the property was sold this past weekend. Someone out there has just bought up the motherlode of vintage American car parts, and it might take them years to work out what they've bought. Odds are they'll want to sell anything they can though, so maybe it's best to write a letter to the new owner to see if they have anything you want.

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