69 Car Barn Find At Dead Plumber’s Home

Published March 30, 2015

Little is known of Gerald Willits other than he worked as a plumber, he collected all kinds of cars, and that he died last August without a legally-recognized will or heir.

When the officials of Orange County Public Administration department visited his Buena Park, CA home after his passing to prepare it for public auction they were surprised to find 69 classic to vintage cars, in various states of repair, along with countless bits and pieces, in his front, side and back yards.


Flathead Engine Parts (Photo Orange County Register)

The entire inventory of vehicles and components were transported from Willit’s house to the County Public Administrator’s lot in Santa Ana, where the staff has been attempting to catalog the find.


Great Collection of Trucks (Photo Orange County Register)

“This stuff is kind of amazing. He had a lot of cars from the ’20s. We don’t even know what the value of all of this is going to be,” Elizabeth Henderson, chief deputy public administrator for Orange County total the Orange County Register.


Keys In the Ignition Ready To Go (Photo Orange County Register)

Not true Barn Finds as the vehicles were stored outside, some for decades,but at least in Southern California. The County reports that none can be driven off the lot and many were buried in leaves or suffered damage from rats.


Photo Orange County Register

Describing the collection as “a combination of ‘Hoarders’ and ‘Antiques Roadshow,’” Henderson told the Orange County Register, “we have no idea what these are worth.”

Willits has a daughter in another state, but under California law, an original will is needed to transfer assets to a rightful heir. Henderson told the Orange County Register that Willits only kept a copy.

All of these 69 cars will be going up for auction in early or mid May. For more information, Email:




Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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