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Thread: Tell us how you managed to "finish" your project
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    PNW Rodder's Avatar
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    Tell us how you managed to "finish" your project

     



    There's a thread going on over on another forum I haunt, and I like the theme, so I figured I'd start a similar one here.

    Obviously, we all know that they're never truly "done", but.........

    Tell us how you managed to get to the finish line on your long term project. Seems all too often we tend to get sidetracked and the project hits the back burner, or ends up sold to the next guy long before it ever sees the road. How did you get back into the swing of the build after going stagnant. How did you find the time while raising a family? Losing a job? Anything, really, that brought progress to a stand still; how did you manage to find a way to see it through to the end?

  2. #2
    53 Chevy5's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 53 Chevy 3100
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    Ok, here it goes. Around 20 yrs ago I got my 53 3100 from a friend of my brother and started tearing it apart. I told my wife that it would be done in 5 yrs ( hence 53 chevy 5 ). In that time I was a novice body guy and moderate fabricator and experienced mechanic. I got all the rust repaired and got soo frustrated with the door gaps that I quit working on it for over a year. Most of the drivetrain was completed in that time also, 348 rebuilt, boxed frame, Mustang II IFS. I think at this point I'm already up to the 7 yr mark on the build and then came the body work. I messed with that for about 3 yrs on and off and then we got kids. At the 10 yr mark my wife and I adopted 3 boys ages 3,5 and 7 and not only that but our dream acreage was offered to us for sale within a month of that. So we moved to a place without a shop while the 53 stayed in town at our old house that my brother bought from me. Now I'm into fixing up the neglected house and acreage and when that was finished I needed a shop. We moved a building on and converted that into a decent little shop over the next few years and soon after that my brother asked me to take the 53 to my house instead of storing it at his. Over the next 5 or so yrs I was able to get much more done on the 53 but very slowly and I wasn't enjoying it at all anymore. One day I came into the house and told my wife " I don't care how much it costs, the 53 is going to the body shop " I honestly didn't care. So last fall it went to a body shop and they finished the body up for me and I was throwing money at it like it was going out of style cause I just wanted it done. When we got everything all buttoned up it took about 500 miles to hate my 348 engine choice and I drove it in the shop and we did a 5.3 swap in about a 2-3 week time period. That was 3 thousand miles ago and the list for this winter is installing a rear sway bar, tinting the rear and side windows and maybe cruise control if I got time. I'm sure I forgot things and left things out, but that's the short version of it. These builds aren't as simple as they sound when you envision them in your mind. I guess I never really gave up on it, but I did have to walk away for periods of time. This is going to be a fun thread, thanks. ps. I'm still a novice body guy, moderate fabricator and a experienced mechanic
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    Last edited by 53 Chevy5; 12-29-2017 at 08:48 PM.
    Seth

    God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. C.S.Lewis

  3. #3
    firebird77clone's Avatar
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    I sold it, and let someone else finish it.
    .
    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
    EG

  4. #4
    PNW Rodder's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: '37 Dodge sedan
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    I'm currently building what I hope is the one that stays with the family until well after I'm gone. I'm certain it won't be finished quickly, so hopefully the stories shared here can remind me of the light at the end of the tunnel.

  5. #5
    34_40's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 34 Ford 3W Coupe Replica
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    I'll offer the short story of mine.

    In July of 2000 I picked up a frame that someone else had started a project and lost interest. About 3 weeks later I accepted a job in New Mexico. So we packed up everything left Mass. and relocated. While there I got the suspension / brakes assembled, then picked up a body in Mich. and it started looking like a car.. After 2.5 years the job changed and I then moved to Indiana.

    Work continued and more of the smaller items like the fuel system were added. 3 years more had passed and one of my old bosses had moved up higher in the company and asked me to return to work for him in Mass. , So we moved again! I was super crazy busy at work in my new job. My "territory" then was anything east of the Mississippi, Border to Border! So the car sat ignored for 2 or 3 years.

    I learned that the state of Mass. was changing the rules for "street rods" / assembled vehicles or what ever you wish to call them. But there was a 12 month grace period to get them titled-registered under the old rules, Great but I had heard this and 2 months had already passed. After talking with the authorities I learned to get the car in, it had to be "done". Painted, interior, running, driving, lights, the works! I had to "adjust" my schedule and use up vacation time and make many compromises.. but I got it done!

    Now there are many things I want to re-do to un-do some of those compromises... but I think I'd re-do things anyway! It'll never be done! LOL.
    Last edited by 34_40; 12-30-2017 at 05:04 AM.

  6. #6
    Hotrod46's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 1946 Ford Coupe, 1962 Austin Healey 3000
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    My 46 coupe took 7 years to get "finished". During that time I got divorced, but managed to keep the car. Mostly because my first wife hated the car and didn't want it. Luckily, she didn't hate me enough to force me to sell it. I considered it a personal challenge that the car would some day be on the road.

    My second wife actually helped me do some of the assembly work needed to get it on the road as well as following me around to the salvage yards to get parts.

    Most of the early chassis and body work was literally done under the proverbial shade tree using the fab tools on my dad's welding truck. I had to put it on hold again to build a workshop to finish it in. Not much bigger than a 2 car garage, but it was all I had money and space for.

    We drove it in black epoxy primer over a sandblasted finish for 2 years before the rear main seal in the take out 350 started leaking on the way home from a show in Memphis. I pulled the front cap to get the engine out and decided to slick up the body while I was at it. That took another year, but the engine that went back in was a 383 with 3 two's.

    The car has never had a real finished interior, just some really amateurishly done carpet and panels to cover stuff up. My 2 kids practically grew up in the back seat going to shows and I didn't want to always be fussing over a nice interior. It still has the leather Cadillac rear seat that I stuck in the night before our first show over 20 years ago. The leather still looks good, just doesn't match the front seats!

    In contrast, my T bucket only took about 2 1/2 years, but was a much nicer built car. Better tools, more experience and no distractions made for a quicker build with better attention to details. I've got to really get around to redoing the 46 one of these days. It deserves it for all the good times and memories it has given us.

    I will say that I have gotten disgusted many times on these projects (including the Healey I'm working on now) and have even threatened to bale out and sell them. It can be a real challenge to keep mentally focused and stay the course. It helps me sometimes to just walk away from a project for a week or two and do something else.
    Last edited by Hotrod46; 12-30-2017 at 06:54 AM.
    Mike

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  7. #7
    34_40's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 34 Ford 3W Coupe Replica
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    YES

    When it all becomes to much, walk away and do other things until you're ready to go back and pick up that load again.

  8. #8
    Matthyj's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: '32 Ford Hi Boy, '37 wildrod sedan
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    I guess its the fact I like working in the shop better than watching TV. Matt
    Mike P, NTFDAY, johnboy and 2 others like this.
    Why is mine so big and yours so small, Chrysler FirePower

  9. #9
    PNW Rodder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthyj View Post
    I guess its the fact I like working in the shop better than watching TV. Matt
    I'm the same way Matt. We haven't had cable in the house in 6 years, because we'll both park our butts on the couch and stay there all day. I can't live my life like that, and that's not how we want our daughter growing up. The TV is for family movie time just before bed, the rest of the time it's off and I'm either in the shop or doing Daddy stuff. Occasionally I'll check something off the honey do list........
    53 Chevy5 likes this.

  10. #10
    40FordDeluxe's Avatar
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    Shoot, I've still got 2 un-finished and 1 I just tore apart so IDK if my input is valid in this thread. My Corvette I got done over a 3 year period. I'm really surprised it got as far as it did. Half way through it I decided renting shop space was a done deal for me. I put up the shop on my parent's property and paid for it all with cash. That was a huge milestone for me. We were currently racing the Vette in 2010 and finally got it painted in 2011. It hasn't really raced any since 2012. I've got some things I'd like to get changed/repaired on it and get it out to drive this summer. It really bugs me to have it set in a barn most of the time now.

    My 72 K30 was a big project too. I had it 10 years before I drove it off the property. My biggest problem is I can't leave anything alone. While in the middle of this build, I was building customer trucks and I decided I wanted the same things I was building for others. So then the addiction/changes began. I doubt it ever gets "Finished", until I build a crew cab for it.

    I've definitely finished more builds for others than for myself. But building theirs has funded the parts and pieces for mine. This year I've got 2 long term customer projects to finish. I'm trying to not take anymore side work done until I get some big progress done on my stuff. I have 1 more Christmas present to finish tonight. We give it away tomorrow so on Tuesday I can get back to my stuff.
    Dave Severson and PNW Rodder like this.
    Ryan
    1940 Ford Deluxe Tudor 354 Hemi 46RH Electric Blue w/multi-color flames, Ford 9" Residing in multiple pieces
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    1972 Chevy K30 Longhorn P-pumped 24v Compound Turbos 47RH Just another money pit
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  11. #11
    Scooting's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 1940 Ford Sedan
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    "Finished" What is that? The closest I have ever came to finishing a car was when I cleaned it up and sold it. Never finished one.

  12. #12
    48steel's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 1948 Ford F1
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    I was driven at the age of 62 to finally complete a Custom, a 1929 Ford Tudor that I never finished in 1964. So in October 2006 I purchased my last project a 1948 Ford F1. After 10 years and over 3,000 hours I completed my Custom. Now at the age of 74 I have no desire to start another project. Enjoy'm as long as you can. The clock is ticking.
    NTFDAY and 40FordDeluxe like this.

  13. #13
    firebird77clone's Avatar
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    I've still got the bug but not the funds or space.

    I'm rather kicking myself thinking of the years I spent in my shop on my spare time, tinkering with my own stuff, selling it to fund the next project, usually breaking even or at a loss. All that time could have been spent working on other peoples crap for $20/hr, and just bought something already built.

    So that's the plan going forward. When my nest egg is built back up, I'll find someone who's over a barrel selling their project at a loss.

    No more playing gas monkey garage trying to flip cars to make a buck. It's just not a skill I have.
    40FordDeluxe likes this.
    .
    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
    EG

  14. #14
    Mike P's Avatar
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    My 37 Dodge was the longest term project. I did even sell it once (needed the money for a family emergency)…..thank god I was in a position to buy it back shortly after.

    All in all it took 15 years to get it to the point it was on the road. It was always THE back burner project. It would sometimes sit in the back shed a couple of years at a time get moved to the shop, have a little work done and then back in hibernation.

    About 5 years into the project I built the motor for it and set it on the run stand to break in the cam. The engine sat on the stand for 10 years (way longer than I expected it to). At least every 6 months I would fire it up and bring it up to operating temperature…..neighbors loved that

    Usually running the engine was enough to at least keep me motivated enough to not forget about it or decide to sell it again.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKxDIiVoeDg


    Shortly before I started driving it one of my friends remarked something to the effect of “…..your 37 is kind of like Sasquach or the Loch Ness monster....you hear about it occasionally and once in a while see a picture that claims to show it but you don't know if it's real or just a story….”


    There are still a few things I need to get done on it that I had planned on doing a year ago…..but I’ll get right on that…..eventually



    .
    NTFDAY, 34_40 and 40FordDeluxe like this.
    I've NEVER seen a car come from the factory that couldn't be improved.....

  15. #15
    rumrumm's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: '32 Ford 3W Coupe, 383 sbc
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    I can't stand something unfinished, it drives me nuts! So, when I start a project, I have to see it through to the end no matter how long it takes. That goes for car projects, house projects, writing projects. I can't seem to leave something undone. It's probably an illness my wife wants to leave untreated! LOL!
    Mike P, 34_40 and 40FordDeluxe like this.


    Lynn
    '32 3W

    There's no 12 step program for stupid!

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