There is nothing quite like a project automobile and car culture. It is the sort of hobby which you can pick up as a young boy working alongside your father, or in middle-age as you wonder what you really know about the thing you drive to work every day. But if you were not steeped in car culture early on, you may be unsure of where to even begin.
The car is a tool of individualism, and so you will have to decide for yourself just how to get into car culture and what project car you want. But here are a few tips for how to make the most with your project car.
- Budget, Budget, Budget
You may know what car you want to get, but how much are you willing to spend? Just like buying a regular car, you cannot only consider the sticker price for the car. Even factoring in insurance and registration is still not good enough. If you are true project car enthusiast, you will need to figure out how much money you want for parts and tools.
Keep in mind that skimping out in price for either parts or tools is a common mistake. Doing so often means that you will find yourself with a broken part or tool at the worst moment possible. Make a list beforehand of how much you spend, add it up, and then add an extra 50% on top of that total.
- Where to find the right car
You have figured out how much you plan to spend and know what kind of car you want to get. But real life is not a movie where you just stumble across your dream car wasting away in some random barn. Finding the right car is going to take work and asking around.
Craigslist is a great place to look for old cars, and Cars.com and eBay are good alternatives. Car shows are another strong alternative as well. When you find a car which looks appealing, make sure to do your research not just on that particular car, but on any trouble which might exist with that brand.
- What to look for in a car
You don’t want to buy a car, and then find out that something is unexpectedly wrong with the key and that you will have to call a locksmith. But while that may be a silly scenario, there are important things you must check on encountering a project.
Rust is the biggest thing to avoid as it kills cars. Other warning signs are a previous project car that the owner gave up on, as well as a car which will need a great deal of work. Never hesitate to walk away from the seller like you would with a regular car.
Of course, there is a great deal to consider beyond these three factors for what you want out of your car project. Haynes has a good list of common project pitfalls, and one can check out social media for project groups who will be willing to help. But whatever you do, know that there is nothing quite like the accomplishment of looking at a car that you have changed into something wholly new.