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drive it or junk it?


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Hi everyone,

New to the list & the hobby. Seeking basic opinions & advice. I fell in love with a Studebaker Silverhawk and bought it without blinking (or thinking too much). It runs well but needs some work to be roadworthy (brakes, fuel tank cleaned, new tires for sure). Been sitting for 3 years & lived outside forever. Severe rust has made lots of folks tell me I should forget about it. Others say just get the darn thing on the road & worry about the rest later. It's not so bad that I'd fall through the floor. My longterm budget is limited to several thousand. Main question to you all is where does one with limited funds draw the line between good enough and hopeless. Thanks, PeggyStu Debaker

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You are asking how to make a rational decision regarding an emotional item. In the end you will have to follow your own heart and mind.

I have one old car that I purchased when I was a broke student. Financially it would have made sense to get rid of it long ago and buy another (even the same make and model) that was in better shape to work on. But it was my car and I wanted to see it made better even if it did not make monetary sense. (I don't think any old car makes monetary sense but I do acknowledge that some make less sense than others.) So just because it needs work does not mean you shouldn't do it. Remember that you can trade time and effort against money, so even if you have a limited budget you can still fix up an old car.

If you do start correcting all those problems, I strongly recommend starting with the brakes and tires. You need to be able to control and stop a car much more than you need it to run well.

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I whole heartedly agree with Tod. I have on more than one ocassion put more effort, time and finances in to a vehicle than many would think appropriate. If you "love" a vehicle, it becomes an emotional (irrational? cool.gif ) issue, rather than a straight dollars and sense issue (yes I meant sense, not cents tongue.gif ). As Tod stated, start with the safety issues, move to the comfort and beauty issues later. While you may not be able to afford to fix all of the issues right now, you may well be able to afford to 'preserve' it's state, that is to make it functional, safe, and keep it from further deterioration. I am working on a restoration I really can't afford, so I know first hand of this. I lept before I looked, I got more work than I bargained for, and a much rarer (harder to find parts for) vehicle than I realized. While I have had a few gut wrenching realization moments, I keep on pouring my spare time, and spare change in to the restoration. I find myself learning many new (not always fun mind you) things as I try to do as much of the work as I can myself. In the end I think I will have a great car, a great story, and a highly rewarding (albeit sometimes frustrating) experience. Sometimes we just have to go with our heart, rather than our brain.

Having said all of that, the only thing I would say is, always remember your priorities... which in my book means the family comes before the car getting worked on.

Rich

PS: Obesessions are great things when taken in moderation.

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I agree with the previous post, but have one point to add regarding the rust. Sheet metal rust is fairly straight-forward to either live with or repair, but if there is rust that threatens the structural integrity of the frame, it may be beyond reasonable repair. Have a competent person check this out for you. Hopefully you have a strong foundation for your project, and can enjoy your car for many years to come. Car enthusiasts tend to be eager to provide helpful information, so don't be afraid to ask for advice.

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My advice is:

1. Get the car on the road safely and enjoy it

2. When you decide to fix the rust areas - replace the rotted areas with fresh sheet metal and not just bondo over them.

3. Don't save your receipts - it will help you not remember how much you are spending on something that you love!

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I agree with all other who have posted. If you have a struturally sound foundation, the sheet metal can be repaired, and it does not have to happen today. If you can get it running and enjoy it while you work on it, you are ahead in the long run. I have found that when people first look at my "projects", they question my sanity. But when they see the finished product, they have a change of heart. I also have an old Studebaker, but mine is a bit older and I am sure is in worse shape than yours. Let that be some encouragement. You can check out my 1912 Studebaker E-M-F Demi Tonneau restoration project on the E-M-F Homepage:

E-M-F Homepage

Juct click on the "Restoration" link on the left side of the homepage.

Hopefully that will encourage you.

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My 2 cents. If you have the no how, lots of tools, a decent place to work and many many hours you can probably fix it up for several thousand dollars as you state. If most of the work will need subed out you can double the money from doing it yourself, easy!

I am not trying to discourage you as you state you are new to the hobby but the facts are loving something is one thing but in reality it is a lot of time and money either way you go. Its cheaper generally to buy and enjoy a good driver then to restore one. Just keeping up with the maintenance will keep you busy.

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Thanks to everyone for the welcome & encouragement. I will have someone check for solid foundation before making a final decision to jump in, but if that looks good enough....I'm rarin' to go!!!! Best to you all & I'll let you know how it goes. PeggyStu in Louisiana

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Peggy...

Please keep us informed of your progress, and, by all means, contact us again with any questions.

The above folks are extremely knowledgeable about old cars, plus, there are many who read this forum and post when they feel they can contribute. Many of us know eachother in person, so, I can assure you we will all help out as you require assistance with mechanics, advise on decisions you must make, etc.

Welcome...

Regards, Peter J. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif" alt="" />

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