When Doesn’t it Make Sense to Restore a Car?

Once in a while I get a call from a friend that says to me “I have XXX wrong with my car, should I fix it or cut my losses and just get something else?”  This can be a really easy question or a really tough question depending on the car and the problem that is ailing it.  When doing all of your own work, it is much easier to justify fixing a car because you don’t have to pay the labor.  The downfall to this is that it also means you can justify fixing cars that normally should be junked.  Well folks, now I have found myself in this position, and I’m asking the Nutts & Bolts Auto Blog readers for opinions.

I got a 1960 Pontiac Ventura in trade for some work on a 1964 GTO a couple years ago.  It was a complete car when I got it, and I even got it running again, but it is in rough shape.  It hasn’t been registered since the mid 1980’s, and it has been outside the entire time since, so finding solid portions of the body is not easy.  That being said, I am more ambitious than most, so I pulled the body from the frame, rebuilt the frame and suspension, and set the body back on it temporarily.

Recently, I had a friend (homesteadblast.com) soda blast the entire body of the car for me.  Ugh.  What we found was disheartening.  At the bare minimum, it needs all new floors and floor supports from front to rear, quarter panels, inner and outer rocker panels, a tailpan, lower fenders & doors.  Yeap, basically a new body minus the roof.  All of the glass is broken as well, which is a real financial drag.  To restore this back to original, the replacement sheetmetal alone would be in the multiple thousands of dollars.  Never mind the wiring, plumbing, trim, interior, and little odds and ends.  By the time the car is nice, I bet I would have well over $7500 in materials and several hundred (thousand?) hours of my own labor.  It’s value when done? Probably slightly less than what I have invested.

The 2nd option is throw originality to the wind, and basically “hot rod” the heck out of the car to suite my own bizarre tastes.  This option would be cheaper and faster because I could make my own floor braces out of boxed steel, do some simple bead-rolled floor pans, a basic DIY-style wiring kit, and use junkyard parts for the rest…

The 3rd and final option is to find a more suitable home for the car and just buy something fully drivable instead.

Ugh. I don’t know what to do. Help!

Where Do These People on eBay Find Such Amazing Cars?

Every so often, I type “Barn find” into eBay Motors just to see what kind of coolness pops up.  The search always yields hundreds of cars, trucks, and motorcycles that I dream of owning.  I want to be the guy that finds these things.  If there is some kind of Indiana Jones sort-of adventure involved that is even better.  I will run from crazy underground traps, and solve ancient riddles if it gets me a sweet old car. Heck, I may even do it for a couple of seized engines.  It’s every gearhead’s dream.

On eBay there are guys that pull ’60’s Vette’s, Yenko’s, Packards, and everything in between out of fields and barns.  How they find this stuff? I have no clue!  One of my favorite eBay finds recently was a 1933 Pierce Arrow.  It was apparently sitting under a tree in California for the last 50 years.  Luckily for car enthusiasts, cars don’t rust into the earth so fast in California, so this is an easy save for any restorer.  Check the pictures out and tell me how mad you are that you didn’t find it first!

Got a barn “find” story with pictures? Tell me your story.  I absolutely love reading about this kind of stuff.   If your story is good I’ll post it up here!

Item Number 190431606807

Nothing More Than a Great Picture.

Yesterday I spotted an outstanding picture that I wanted to share because it has so many things going for it (Yes, I know it is photoshopped).

Here is why I really like this picture:
– It actually looks like a race between a hotrod and a little girl in a soap box derby style car.
– The illusion (?) of speed is certainly present.
– Determination. Lots of it.
– It appears that she is ready to rip through gears with her chromed-out shifter.
– Captain America helmet.
– Pin striping is a timeless form of art that I cannot get enough of.
– Wire wheels with skinny tires, on chopped & channeled hotrods are always a huge win.

Found on:

http://voodootimm.tumblr.com/post/943408764

http://s3.amazonaws.com/

For Sale: Invisible Car $4500

Invisible Car For Sale

Craigslist is the place to find the strangest items and people that you never knew existed.  Last night I received a text message from my brother informing me of one such item / person.  From the moment I saw the CL ad, I knew that the 1A Auto Blog readers would appreciate such an amazing car. Without further adieu, I present to you, the $4500 invisible car (New snow tires included)!

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Wednesday = Hand Made Toyota 2000GT

If you were to tell me that you have never heard of Shin Yoshikawa, I wouldn’t be shocked, because I hadn’t either up until recently.  Who is he? you ask.  Well, the short story is that he is an absolutely incredible metal fabricator.  He and his shop (Studio Time Capsule) create automotive art in the form of classic sports cars.  They restore automotive history, and recreate some of the more special cars in their own interesting way.   They are true craftsmen in my mind, and use all of the old school tools that the coach builders of the 1920’s and 1930’s used.  Much of their work is with aluminum, which is generally known to be painful to work with.  It is tough to weld, and even tougher to shape.  Shin and his crew don’t seem to be phased by it though, because they build entire cars out of it.  But how? Well, I don’t know…. When I figure it out I will let you know.

This specific project is a hand built recreation of a Toyota 2000GT (Only ~350 real ones were built from 1967-70).  Shin decided to make his own all aluminum body from scratch that was identical in shape to an original body.   The amount of work and skill involved in doing this is nearly unmeasurable.  I hope you enjoy today’s project as much as I do, because it is a very rare art.

Found on:

http://www.studiotimecapsule.com/aluminum_fabrication

August 9 -13th = Project Car Week!

This week, I have decided to focus the 1A Auto blog solely on cool project cars.  Old cars, new cars, and cars so ferocious that you will be left shivering in your PJ’s.   I’m not saying any of the cars this week will ever be safe, cheap, reliable, or even good ideas.  Will they change your life?  Nope.  Will you share this blog with your friends?  Of Course you will, because it’s awesome!!  Might you shed just 1 tear over the course of the week?  Quite possibly.

And so we begin…..

Now What?