Jim’s Blog: What’s the Best Part of a Car Project?

A few months back, I found a set of original steel wheels for my 1972 Chevrolet K10 pickup. In the time since, I had them soda blasted, welded up scar on one of them, and had them primed and painted white. Then I hunted a set of proper hubcaps for them at the Portland Swapmeet in April, and spent a week of evenings in May restoring those caps using a lot of polish, some vinyl tape, and flat black paint. 


Finally, about two months ago, all the pieces were ready, so I had my 33-inch Goodyear Duratracs pried off my old wheels at a local shop and installed on the new ones. 


From start to finish, my new wheels were about eight months in the making. That seems like a lot of time for such an easy project — I could have dropped everything and done it over the course of a week. But it was fun to work on it when I had time, with no real deadline in sight. It kept me busy without requiring me to spend a bunch of cash, which kept my wife happy, too. 


It always feels good to finish up a project, and I think the new wheels look a lot better than the ones they replaced. But now I have a problem that I’d bet a lot of car guys face: I enjoy the project itself more than the finished product. My enjoyment of whatever’s been changed lasts about three minutes before I start thinking about what’s next. 


For the truck, I’ve got a list of stuff to do. I’d like to do a two-inch lift, install LED taillights, find some factory tow hooks, and source a new front bumper. I should probably also fix the so-so brakes, fix what I assume is low compression from the short block, fix a leak at the transmission input shaft, and reseal the steering box. But I’ll probably ignore all that and focus on swapping out the glass pack mufflers for some Flowmasters.


So how about you? When it comes to your old car, do you enjoy the project, the finished product, or both? Let me know in the comments below.