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!

Friday = 2JZ in a 1993 Mustang

Monday = We had an awd turbo dune buggy
Tuesday = It was old-school vs. new-school with the 1929 Whippet SRT-4
Wednesday = There was no choice but to go with the hand built Toyota 2000GT
Thursday = An incredible  ’69 Porsche GT3 build.
Friday = 1993 Mustang notchback with a 2JZ Toyota Supra engine.

I know that today’s build will be hated by some and loved by others, but regardless of personal opinions, it makes an impact.  Today’s project is a fox body Mustang notchback with a 2JZ Toyota Supra engine swap built by a guy named Dan (2JZstang) on supraforums.com.  It makes 650 horsepower at the wheels on E85 fuel and runs a 9.74 quarter mile at 144 mph.  Sick fast. It took him a few years to build it on a budget, and it was almost sold off at one point, but in the end his dream prevailed.  In it’s current state, is brutally awesome, sicknasty fast, and well deserving of high 5’s from every enthusiast in his area code.

Here are a few modifications worth noting:
– 6 Point Cage
– 2JZ engine with stock internals
– Billet Precision Turbo
– 4″ exhaust
– coilovers
– Built 8.8 rear

Videos FTW.

The full build can be found here:


Thursday = 1969 Porsche 911 with GT3 Engine

It’s Thursday folks, and since I declared this week as “Project Car Week”, you should know by now what needs to happen.  I need to bring you yet ANOTHER awesome project car.  Woo!  Now, with so many great projects out there to choose from, I am actually having a tough time deciding which ones to share with you.  Do I share my own projects?  What about a friend’s?  I could go with the Karmann Ghia, the turbo truck, the Rabbit, the Nova, the Impala convertible, the ’60 Ventura, the monster-trike, the RX8, the Fiero, the other Fiero, the Trans Am, the Toyota truck…..  I could go on and on……  OR …… I could just pick a car off the internet that I like.


Internet it is! Today’s car is a 1969 Porsche 911. It was built and documented by a guy that goes by the name of “petevb” on pelicanparts.com.  He started with a run of the mill Porsche and ever so gently turned it into a dream car of mine.  The car was intended to be raced, so the first step was to add a roll cage to stiffen the chassis and protect the driver from danger.  The average guy would have thrown a bunch of pipe inside and created a jungle gym, not Petevb though.  He actually designed the cage, and stress tested it with the wonderous world of modern technology.  Once he was happy with the test results, the cage was built and he began to make everybody else look like noobs.  Tons of chassis bracing, stretching, shortening, cleaning, and repairing happened, and it was engine time.

The engine is water cooled, and was intended for a high performance GT3, but we all know by this point in the story that it landed inside this amazing 911.  It’s backed up (Can I even say that with a Porsche?) with a modified 993 transmission.  It makes 380 horsepower which sounds like a pretty fair number, but then I throw this little fact at you causing your jaw to drop.  This car only weighs 2150 lbs.  WUT! Ah yes, I remember now…..  Petevb also used carbon fiber body panels for weight savings (ok, everybody calm down). Be sure to check the pictures for maximum shock factor, because the car is brilliant from every angle.  The quality of work throughout the whole car is top notch, and the car as a whole is amazing because of it.  With that, I present to you pictures and video for your enjoyment.

Turn Your Volume Up.

Entire build can be found here:


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:


Tuesday = 1929 Whippet Turbo SRT-4

Today’s project car was spotted on killbillet.com and is truly a bizarre combination of old rusty sheetmetal, and modern engine technology.  The user who goes by the name of “kberjian” acquired a destroyed Dodge Neon SRT-4 chassis and drivetrain, and knew that it belonged in the back of a 1929 Whippet that was sitting around the family farm.  He dragged them both into a garage and began creating a rear engine, tilt body, ’29 Whippet.  When done, it will likely do wheelies and be quite horrifying exciting to drive.  If it were up to me, I would have used a Jeep transmission behind the SRT-4 engine and kept it front engine, but you know what, it’s not my build… Obviously, it is still an unfinished project, but I will be keeping my eye on it for updates.  I’m quite anxious to see this car move under it’s own power.

Found on:


(login might be required)

Monday = AWD Mitsubishi Turbo Dune Buggy

It’s no secret that I love cars with forced induction & all wheel drive.  There is also a wacky rumor floating around that I may have a secret obsession with air cooled VW’s.  Well, when you mix that dream with reality, you find yourself on the internet staring into the bug eyes of an incredibly scary Eagle Talon Dune Buggy.  It is the brainchild of a guy appropriately named “dsmbuggy” on baystatedsm.com.

He took a drivable, but rough looking AWD Talon, cut the body off and ever so gently applied a dune-buggy body to it.  He then added a few roll bars to complete the package and reserve his spot in dune buggy legends.  Is it going to horrify nearby children & pets?  You bet it is.  Will it ever be able to pass a state inspection?  “Who’s Asking?” ….   Read More

Possibly The Scariest Van Ever?

I roam the interweb  far and wide searching for automotive beauty, and occasionally I strike pure gold.  Is this van the scariest thing that you have ever seen?  Probably.  Does it look like it has a questionable past? Yes.  Does it do wheelies? Please…  Do I want one just like it?  Maybe.  This Chevy Van doesn’t even look safe enough to lean on, never mind the horror show that must happen when you rip on the throttle.   One thing that seems to be missing is the inspection sticker on the windshield?  He must have forgotten to get one. 😉

…. And a wheelie video.

Fantastic pictures borrowed from: