Automotive Restoration Plan for Success
By Mark Simpson
A loud groan from the car trailer’s suspension broke the silence as we winched the old Ford truck aboard. The old pickup was once Ralph’s dream, as thoughts of driving his family around the neighborhood or in the local Fourth of July parade fueled his passion. But, like so many other unfinished projects I’ve bought over the years, Ralph’s dream failed to become reality when a lack of resources and knowledge stalled the project.
As years passed, his patience and persistence for the project diminished and soon the old truck merely reminded him of the space it took up in the garage.
I’ve always believed that for every car in attendance at the local car show there are at least a dozen more sitting in garages, sheds, and fields. Truth be told, many car projects suffer the same fate as Ralph’s, although with a little planning and honest personal assessment prior to purchasing a new project, many more dreams could become reality.
The scenario always plays out similarly. It starts with the proverbial “great deal.” You know, the $500 Chevelle that’s only a little rusty, or Grandpa’s Buick behind the barn that’s only missing a few parts. Before laying down your hard earned cash for that “great deal,” take a moment to consider what needs to be done and whether you have the skills, time, and resources to get the job done. The time and cost to complete a car can escalate quickly. Rare parts, replacement panels, and unforeseen problems can all take the steam out of your progress if you’re not prepared.
Ask questions before you buy! Not only from the seller, but from other car enthusiasts as well. There are many cars that have unique problems or simply have parts that are unavailable. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with it before you purchase will help keep your project on track.
Once the decision is made to buy, planning the progress of the build is key to ensuring a successful completion. Keep your expenses within budget and your progress expectations conservative, while leaving ample time to spend with friends and family. When all is said and done, you’ll want them to enjoy your new ride as much as you do.
A friend and fellow enthusiast once told me, “Nothing happens in the garage after nine o’clock that can’t wait until tomorrow.” His message was clear as it related to cars and life alike: it’s not so important how quickly you get to the end, but rather that you enjoyed the journey.