Jim’s Blog: The Promise of a Project

There’s something pretty appealing about a classic car project. For me, there are a lot of possibilities that circle around a rusty remnant of a car — especially when its revival is in my hands. 

What color was the car and what color will it be when you’re done with it? What engine was in it from new, and will it still be in there when you hit the key? How about the interior? What about wheels and tires? This stuff can rattle around in your head endlessly, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself planning out builds for cars you don’t even own.

That’s what’s dangerous about places like Craigslist and eBay — just seeing a cheap classic in need of attention can cost me a half-hour of otherwise productive time. 

Last week, Facebook showed me a 1974 Chevrolet shortbed pickup frame for sale for $200. It came with a good title and with the front and rear suspension still attached, but it was otherwise bare. 

So immediately I started running numbers in my head: Cab and body? $1,000 for something that’s straight and not rusty. Engine and transmission? 350/TH350. That’s another $2,000. Interior, wiring, trim? Another $2,000 if we’re being honest. Brakes and wheels with good tires? Probably $3k. Then there’s body, paint, chrome, glass, and other odds and ends. $20k total could probably get the job done on that frame, all-in. But would that truck be worth $20k when it’s finally done? And what about all the time involved?

Regardless, I can’t stop myself, and I don’t think I’m alone. But I’ve always loved the project and the build just as much as I’ve loved driving cool old cars. 

Is it just me, or do you get lured into old car projects the same way I do? 

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