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Are restoration "projects" becoming less popular?


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I have no desire to to start on a rusty project these days,I will take on projects that are in decent shape that have not ran in years but no major body work.

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16 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Over  the years I had many “technical school” mechanics that were so-called educated..........probably more than 50. Only three were worth anything, and they would have been better off spending more time in my shop than at the schools they attended. All they had was a piece of paper and school loans when done. 

 

Hey Ed, can I come and work for you ? No need for any further tech school time, I can go straight onto the tool's.  Just fooling ,apart from the { lack of ] income I am getting used to being retired. The main reason I went the Marine route is that back in my youth the Artic oil industry was paying very high wages for Engineers. 

The thought was to do a few seasons in the White Hell, and use the proceeds to start my own restoration shop. The 1980's recession put a end to the Canadian Artic oil activity and my self employment ambitions. I did "OK" over the next 30 years in the Coastal marine enviroment , but wages were less than 1/2 of what the

Artic guys were making a season. Alaska off shore industry is still producing. The Canadian Artic is still dead all these years later.

 

Greg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Many of the old mechanics I knew early in my life were trained by the Army during their enlistment time.  Not sure how that program does today for transferring skills to the civilian life.  Several TV ads claim to be able to train a person to be a mechanic in as little as nine months.  I would run away from a program that quotes a timeline like that.

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I'm done with rusty project cars.., as soon as my current 1970 Chevelle ever gets done. Everytime I look at it or start working on it my desire for it decreases. At 65 after 50 years of messing around with cars it's getting harder to convince myself it will be worth it when done. Had a 70 Chevelle when I was 22 and always liked them. but the price for a decent finished one is over $40k. Too rich for me, so I thought buying a project and doing a lot of it myself was the answer. Problem is here in Canada the project cars are rusty!

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It takes years to unlearn what 99percent of us did in our youth........take a rough car or parts car and try to make something out of it. I simply refuse to do it anymore. I will only work on good, solid, decent cars. Part of what I do is to teach others my experiences and share with them the wisdom of fifty years of spinning wrenches........cheap cars are ten times more expensive, ten times more difficult to do, and fifty times more work and time than you think. A few weeks ago I was working on a world class PB car that seemed to be decent.  Everything I put my hands on looked 100 points......till I took it apart and it was a disaster. Never seen anything so nice so difficult to deal with. A simple job I estimated to take 15 hours ended up at 110 hours......and that only occurred because I was familiar with the car type, done the same job before, and knew every supplier, outside service company, and had lots of favors owed to me called in. Instead of a 500 dollar repair it turned into five grand. Now the car is perfect, and the item that had been “rebuilt” three times in the last ten years is back to the way it left the factory. Too many tractor mechanics hacking cars .........it’s disheartening, tiring, aggravating, and almost 100 percent predictable. I’m not burned out, and still optimistic every time I dive into a job...........but it’s god damm hard to keep pressing ahead sometimes. Now part of my “self imposed therapy” to keep going during this pandemic is coming here and posting with “the boys”. Makes my day tolerable. Interesting that this site has turned into a mental health tool, helping me to cope with all the bullshit problems that cross my path on a daily basis. It’s why I try and help people here as much as possible...........giving back to keep my sanity.......and making new friends all over the globe. I do many side projects outside this forum that I ended up finding here.......many people want privacy, as having to have their work done for the the third or fourth time is embarrassing..........anyway, thank to everyone here. Best, Ed

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"Often the guy that does the best work cant even read. " - usually I have the service manual and parts book before the car. It was reading Unca Tom and Peter Miller and Floyd Clymer that got me started. Over half of my motoring library is pre-1960. Of course I also have computer books starting about the same time and a number of Jane's. Basically if it moved it was interesting and kinda grew up with digital engine and flight controls.

 

The point is the $50 cars we played with as kids are now $500 cars and computer controlled (pictures earlier looked like a 3800 family maybe a 3300). That said we went through a period from about 1981 to 1996 when computer controls were simple and forums existed on how to program with common items. After that things got complicated and "tuner" programs proliferated.

 

A whole sub-culture, the resto-mod grew up which is mainly hot-rodding taken to a whole new level. Now there are some pre-war cars I like to look at but would not want to drive and live is a somewhat inhospitable (100 days a year) climate which influences things. The second factor is that rarely leave my house now and then usually just to get groceries, the usually twice a week car shows are no more. Do not know what the future will be like but doubt that my toys will be as important.

 

Not talking about well-heeled colectors who do not care about time or costs but those for whom $10k means making decisions (my last toy was $4.5K and a very nice low milage 30 year old).

Am curious how many others are in the same position: self taught and worked (ret) for a living while raising a family ?

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I started my auto interest as a 17year old with a $200 57 Desoto in 64. I worked in a junk yard when not playing football,  taking parts off cars. My pay was all the parts I needed for the 57 and any gas I could get out of the wrecks they brought in. It was a great learning experience and I always had gas for the week. I’ve restored a Healy 3000, a couple MGB’s, a 62 Tbird, a 49 F3 Ford pickup and my last the 38 Studebaker. I’ve run a successful business until C19 killed it. Raising a family, keeping a business going in crazy economic swings and still trying to have fun with old cars was hard as the $ had more important areas to be spent. The early cars were all around a thousand bucks when I purchased them. The 49 was $1500 out of the last barn in Chicago cook county. The Studebaker was the most expensive but still under $15,000 all in. I sold my Honda S2000 to finance it. It’s my daily driver. It was a lot of fun doing with some frustration. At 74 I don’t have it in me to do another but will do my best to keep this one running well and safe. I hope the younger generation realizes the self satisfaction one gets from taking something someone has given up on and brings it back to life. To be able to say that and see the look on someone’s face that has never tried that is a great feeling. It has to be a lot better than being a video game expert. 
Have fun. 
dave s 

 

Edited by SC38DLS (see edit history)
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Padgett- computer controlled cars are much easier to fix.......... been there, done that. OBD 1 and OBD 2 work is easy and mostly cookie cutter. I don’t want any book or or shop manual on cars pre 1980, as it tends to just slow me down. Recently I had to tear into a car I had never dealt with. The owner was asking a thousand questions, and my reply was, I have no idea how to do it. He looked puzzled and ask me what I meant. I said it’s just straight forward simple mechanical work on a rear end. I told him I would figure it out when it was on the lift. I ended up having every specialty tool I needed, and there was a ten minute learning curve.........finding a new seal to fix the leak and replace the felt packing was much more difficult to accomplish than the repair. Interestingly the best place to source and figure out what modern seal would work was Grainger...........I ordered three seals, two for the car, and one for a spare or in case I damaged on on the install........which did occur. So it worked out fine, one of the few straight forward repairs I have done this year. Dealing with a 100 point perfect car was the most difficult part of the work.......not scratching anything was a royal pain..........on a job that requires a three pound hammer. Working smart and being prepared is half the battle. Knowing when to walk away is the other half. Last year I had a running problem on a V-16 Cadillac........it was terrible......found five things wrong, and it still wasn’t right. Looked at the thing in thr shop for 60 days resentful that I had to fix it. One day the boss says to me, you gonna fix that thing?  I quoted a Bob Seager lyric.........I said “I’m trying to get my courage up”. Two days later I pounded on it for six days straight. At ten AM I finally found the impossible to figure out issue.......fixed it in half and hour, and when it was running 100 percent  I called him and said.......It’s fixed and I’m taking two days off. I knew on the other end of the phone he was smiling...........and got the “sure.....no problem“  answer I expected. Coming up with impossible solutions to impossible to fix problems can get tiring. Most of the time it’s rewarding. I still don’t like that Cadillac, even though it is the best running and driving V-16 on the planet. It kicked my ass too much for too long.

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7 hours ago, edinmass said:

It takes years to unlearn what 99percent of us did in our youth........take a rough car or parts car and try to make something out of it. I simply refuse to do it anymore. I will only work on good, solid, decent cars. Part of what I do is to teach others my experiences and share with them the wisdom of fifty years of spinning wrenches........cheap cars are ten times more expensive, ten times more difficult to do, and fifty times more work and time than you think. A few weeks ago I was working on a world class PB car that seemed to be decent.  Everything I put my hands on looked 100 points......till I took it apart and it was a disaster. Never seen anything so nice so difficult to deal with. A simple job I estimated to take 15 hours ended up at 110 hours......and that only occurred because I was familiar with the car type, done the same job before, and knew every supplier, outside service company, and had lots of favors owed to me called in. Instead of a 500 dollar repair it turned into five grand. Now the car is perfect, and the item that had been “rebuilt” three times in the last ten years is back to the way it left the factory. Too many tractor mechanics hacking cars .........it’s disheartening, tiring, aggravating, and almost 100 percent predictable. I’m not burned out, and still optimistic every time I dive into a job...........but it’s god damm hard to keep pressing ahead sometimes. Now part of my “self imposed therapy” to keep going during this pandemic is coming here and posting with “the boys”. Makes my day tolerable. Interesting that this site has turned into a mental health tool, helping me to cope with all the bullshit problems that cross my path on a daily basis. It’s why I try and help people here as much as possible...........giving back to keep my sanity.......and making new friends all over the globe. I do many side projects outside this forum that I ended up finding here.......many people want privacy, as having to have their work done for the the third or fourth time is embarrassing..........anyway, thank to everyone here. Best, Ed

 

Because the region I grew up in tended to rust cars , a number of people around here became superb sheet metal craftsmen. I worked with a couple of them  my early restoration shop , mechanic stage. The good , solid, decent cars were a luxury we seldom saw.

Some of the rough cars that went through the shop ended up as great cars by anyone's yardstick. But not cheap. There are still a couple of shops in my area doing superb work on deserving but very deterioated cars. Serious skills at work. A decade or more of

development of just the right person. No offense intended Ed , but it makes most mechanical work look like a cake walk. One of the fellows I worked with built a complete Jag C type body with little more than hand tools and sheet stock, just like they did back in the 1950's.

He apprenticed in the sheetmetal side of the UK aircraft industry in the early 1960's , sadly long deceased .He taught me enough that I was able to make a mold for the rear 1/3 of the hood { engine fire repair } for my first TVR Vixen. Wheel all the parts to the correct 

contour, hammer weld together, fit to a square tube outer frame. Then lay up the repair section.

Jag. was badly crashed in the 1960's and stored for decades. At least the owners kept all the badly damaged body for my co workers reference. Some people are magicians with metal.

 

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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13 hours ago, zepher said:

 

If it were up to me the 3 P's of collecting would be Pierce Arrow, Packard and Peerless.  😁


 

To quote Meatloaf..........”One out of three ain’t bad!” At least you put Pierce Arrow first!

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Greg......tin knocking is no different than any other craftsmanship skill.........time, time, time, and then more time. I my opinion it’s less complicated than what I do. That said, you need the passion to peruse anything, we strive for perfection in the effort to achieve excellence. Understanding  how metal is actually plastic, and forms and shapes when force is added is a fastening part of the restoration world. Welding, hydro forming, shrinking, stretching.......all take time to learn......as does upholstery, fantastic paint work, or Pebble Beach chrome polishing. I work in the field that appeals to me. I did try my hand at all the others, and didn’t care for any of them.  I will say this........I think my field is more interesting because it get me out of the shop often, forming metal, install upholstery, paint work, and chrome are all “stay at home” endeavors. I haven’t seen a guy with a power hammer on the Duesenberg tour yet, but they do need road mechanics................😎

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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

time, time, time, and then more time.

I can definitely relate to this.  Unfortunately guys around here know i can straighten and polish stainless trim.  Though I don't do it anymore,  there are still a few guys I reluctantly do it for. The worst part I hate is giving them the bill.  One does mostly restoration including mostly bodywork.  He does really nice work and seems to turn a car out about every 6 months.  1 man, Often they come in and the bodies get pulled then he goes from there. 

Well he dropped off 2 windshield moldings off a roadrunner.  He said no rush.  I hate things hanging over my head,  but with everything going on around the ranch and trying to get my own cars done, they kept getting put off. 

I finally decided they needed to get done,  so I jumped on them the other day.  Of course they were gouged and dinged from someone taking them off probably more than once in their life.  The long Piece looked like someone put it on with a rubber mallet and dented the crap out of it.  I just finished it up today.  Hammer , file, sand, repeat,  finally looks straight and ding/ dent free, then sand with 320, 600, 1000, 1500,  then buff and try not to wrap it up in my baldor Buffer.  All told 7 hours.  I charge $30 an hour and no materials.  I know that's not what a shop would get.  Maybe they could do it faster,  i'm not sure.  All the sanding is done with a right angle air grinder,  except the initial blocking to make sure it's straight. Now I have to hand him a $200 bill.  Looks like alot for 2 thin moldings especially since you can buy them Repro,  but he said they don't fit so to fix these.   

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3 hours ago, edinmass said:


 

To quote Meatloaf..........”One out of three ain’t bad!” At least you put Pierce Arrow first!

 

How could Pierce Arrow not be first among those three?  😄

Every time I work on something on my Pierce I am amazed at the engineering and quality that went into building the car.

The car drives amazing for it being almost a 100 years old.  It's almost like driving an early 60's car and I bet it drives better than 90% of the cars from the 50's.

As you have always stressed, a well sorted prewar car is actually a pleasure to drive.

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3 hours ago, edinmass said:

Greg......tin knocking is no different than any other craftsmanship skill.........time, time, time, and then more time. I my opinion it’s less complicated than what I do. That said, you need the passion to peruse anything, we strive for perfection in the effort to achieve excellence. Understanding  how metal is actually plastic, and forms and shapes when force is added is a fastening part of the restoration world. Welding, hydro forming, shrinking, stretching.......all take time to learn......as does upholstery, fantastic paint work, or Pebble Beach chrome polishing. I work in the field that appeals to me. I did try my hand at all the others, and didn’t care for any of them.  I will say this........I think my field is more interesting because it get me out of the shop often, forming metal, install upholstery, paint work, and chrome are all “stay at home” endeavors. I haven’t seen a guy with a power hammer on the Duesenberg tour yet, but they do need road mechanics................😎

 

I think it's probably a debatable point regarding pinnacle panel forming vs pinnacle mechanical work, but I do appreciate your point regarding getting out of the shop now and then. That's one of the things that appealed to me about a Marine career. Tons of variety  and an entire ship to look after.

I spent many hours on "upstairs" equipment surrounded by some of the best scenery going.  Lifeboats, life raft davits, all our air handling and AC equipment, anchor winches and much more is topside. All required maintenance and repair. I was also licensed to run one of the rescue boats.

Once every couple of months I had to take it out for a run to maintain my Transport Canada emergency duty proficiency. Always a pleasure. The endless fire and boat drills not so much, at a certain age tramping up and down stairways in a fire suit looses its entertainment value. Even more so on air.

 

Greg

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3 hours ago, edinmass said:

Understanding  how metal is actually plastic, and forms and shapes when force is added is a fastening part of the restoration world. Welding, hydro forming, shrinking, stretching.......all take time to learn

 

We need more Fay Butlers in this world.

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Doesn't really support any argument either way because the story is about a fellow that is in his 80s now but he actually did a very nice restoration after he took early retirement many years ago. I only bring it up because I thought he used an interesting approach which I failed at.

 

When he took retirement he started his restoration of a 1911 Hupmobile. He got up in the morning the same time as when he was working had breakfast and went to the shop. He took a short coffee break mid morning and worked till lunch. Back to the shop till afternoon coffee break then worked till it was time to go back in the house for supper. He pretty much kept up the routine till he finished a very nice restoration.

 

I considered the approach when I took early retirement but took some time off first, now 15 years later I still haven't gotten into the groove to working regular on my project car.

 

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I understand a lot of the views shared here but what I don’t understand is something an elderly guy told me many years ago, he said dave we don’t save them who is going too,that has always stuck with me I’ve started restos on a lot of cars but somehow along the way someone always pries them away from me before I finish them,I have four left to 31 devauxs a 32 devaux and a  27 moon roadster,I know I’ll never finish all of them but hopefully someone will,and to make matters worse I’m sure I’ll buy more if the opportunity arises and I have the funds, good luck to everyone,the hobby is not dying just changing course as it always has,in a couple years it will turn around

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I hate to be the old man math guy but a 31 devauxs, a 32 devaux and a 27 moon is three not four. What is it with car guys and simple math!😳. LOL 

dave s 

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We need more people willing to work with them Billy.  My scout troop died off because no one wanted to take over the leadership positions.  Volunteers and mentors are hard to find these days.

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On ‎7‎/‎11‎/‎2020 at 6:34 AM, hidden_hunter said:

I don't know what it's like where you guys live but real estate prices in Melbourne makes it difficult for people to be able to afford space for a project (they have shot up significantly in the last 20 years) 

I believe it is the same for any decent place anywhere in the world today.  Real estate prices in or near the bigger cities in the U.S, Canada, England, Holland, etc., have gone through the roof!

 

Craig

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21 hours ago, Michael J. Barnes said:

Another reason for the decline of hobby restoration is staring in front of everybody participating here — computers and tablets. They did not exist when I was growing up, and likewise I suspect for many participants in this conversation. They are great for sharing chats like this, and for sharing knowledge. But they are a HUGE distraction from reading a book or going into the garage to take something apart or doing the hobby you like to do. I teach 10 year olds. Their minds may be broadened by building worlds in MineCraft, and coding is a real intellectual activity available to them. I ALSO know kids love to work with their hands — making paper for example. It is hard to offer them mechanical activities to explore their dexterity and yankee ingenuity (spoken from Canada). Different in high school where there is shop class. By the way, many automotive and marine repair shops near me (Vancouver area) are constantly struggling to find qualified help. We have good programs at technical school. Not enough kids are following that direction.

 

I'm of the age where computers and internet were just becoming common place when I went through elementary school and make a living off building and managing digital services,  but to me computers/tablets are just a different medium for consuming information. I spent plenty of time as a kid reading those 'how things work' type books as a kid and as an adult spend plenty of reading about old stuff and fiddling with the car. When the next generation comes along I hope they enjoy tinkering as much as I have 

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On ‎7‎/‎11‎/‎2020 at 11:35 AM, plymouthcranbrook said:

Bernie I was under the impression that the fee for credit cards and debit cards was in the 2-3% range. 33% seems high unless you mean something else I am  not grasping.  I know I am one who has embraced plastic.  No wads of cash, wondering if you have enough on you to pay the correct amount.  I guess paying cash might limit impulse buying somewhat(good or bad depends on which side of the card you are on).  I never thought I would do so but other than a few bucks for an occasional small purchase it’s plastic for me.

I believe he is referring that there is no paper trail in doing cash transactions.   I find these days, nearly ALL merchants, including 'mom & pop' establishments who cannot afford to have an illness in the family are now encouraging 'hands-off' plastic transactions.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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Assuming one's situation is dispositioned, meaning old, young, working,whatever, and they are inclined to take on a project car I think now is a pretty good time.  If the overarching goal is to do as much yourself as possible, or at least a lot of it, there are a few very simple (in relative terms, every car has challenges) cars that are very well supported out there, and Internet brings advice and support quicker than ever. 

 

I had a TR 6 some time ago, and while not really a project, I used a company called the Roadster Factory for a lot of parts.  In the intro to his catalogs, the owner makes a great case for full frame TR series cars as great projects for hobbyists.  Does he want to sell parts, you bet.  But if you ask does a smaller, less complex car with a strong knowledge and parts network make sense for a first project, he makes a great argument. 

 

So, prewar A,T,  Ford (pretty common knowledge), postwar TR series, or MG for that matter are just 2 routes I can think of that are not the hobby equivalent to climbing mt. Everest. Just start with something solid, always.

 

If you are looking for a more exotic or pricey car its a different ballgame, but someone inclined to do a restoration, who wants to do one that won't take a second mortgage or the time needed to pay it off has options.  I suspect some folks will still want the experience down the road.

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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21 minutes ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

Just start with something solid, always.

 

If you are looking for a more exotic or pricey car its a different ballgame

That's been my downfall as the decades went by, because my desires turned to wanting rarer body styles and more upscale brands of circa 32-33 cars.  These were unaffordable to me, so I start with theoretically unrestorable cars.

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On 7/11/2020 at 2:36 PM, 60FlatTop said:

My comment was not on fees for credit card companies. It is the ability to charge income tax on the casual exchange of goods or services. Each transaction could have income tax levied. An average of 30 to 40% will be extracted. The push for rural broad band has been leading the move for about 15 years now and not getting traction. Just one big Sherwood Forest from Atlantic to Pacific. And it is discretionary spending and small businesses with their employees taking the brunt.

 

You don't see a lot of public officials or professional people carrying cash so it is a mute topic for them. A lot of studies have been done worldwide on the money grab. But the little places I go to meet for morning coffee or lunch, or the neighborly welding job aren't seen by the political side, much less dropping a $5 cash tip on a table. Their ignorance has far reaching collateral damage.

 

You won't even be able to sell a set of hub caps and give your wife $40 for the hairdresser without a third partner share.

So the idea is cash can be hidden from taxes?  I am certainly ok with tips being cash as the tipped can report as needed the amount.  Now going to drop this part of the subject to allow thread to return to normal

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19 hours ago, edinmass said:

It takes years to unlearn what 99percent of us did in our youth........take a rough car or parts car and try to make something out of it. I simply refuse to do it anymore. I will only work on good, solid, decent cars. Part of what I do is to teach others my experiences and share with them the wisdom of fifty years of spinning wrenches........cheap cars are ten times more expensive, ten times more difficult to do, and fifty times more work and time than you think. A few weeks ago I was working on a world class PB car that seemed to be decent.  Everything I put my hands on looked 100 points......till I took it apart and it was a disaster. Never seen anything so nice so difficult to deal with. A simple job I estimated to take 15 hours ended up at 110 hours......and that only occurred because I was familiar with the car type, done the same job before, and knew every supplier, outside service company, and had lots of favors owed to me called in. Instead of a 500 dollar repair it turned into five grand. Now the car is perfect, and the item that had been “rebuilt” three times in the last ten years is back to the way it left the factory. Too many tractor mechanics hacking cars .........it’s disheartening, tiring, aggravating, and almost 100 percent predictable. I’m not burned out, and still optimistic every time I dive into a job...........but it’s god damm hard to keep pressing ahead sometimes. Now part of my “self imposed therapy” to keep going during this pandemic is coming here and posting with “the boys”. Makes my day tolerable. Interesting that this site has turned into a mental health tool, helping me to cope with all the bullshit problems that cross my path on a daily basis. It’s why I try and help people here as much as possible...........giving back to keep my sanity.......and making new friends all over the globe. I do many side projects outside this forum that I ended up finding here.......many people want privacy, as having to have their work done for the the third or fourth time is embarrassing..........anyway, thank to everyone here. Best, Ed

 

18 hours ago, edinmass said:

Recently I had to tear into a car I had never dealt with. The owner was asking a thousand questions, and my reply was, I have no idea how to do it. He looked puzzled and ask me what I meant. I said it’s just straight forward simple mechanical work on a rear end. I told him I would figure it out when it was on the lift. I ended up having every specialty tool I needed, and there was a ten minute learning curve.........finding a new seal to fix the leak and replace the felt packing was much more difficult to accomplish than the repair. Interestingly the best place to source and figure out what modern seal would work was Grainger...........I ordered three seals, two for the car, and one for a spare or in case I damaged on on the install........which did occur. So it worked out fine, one of the few straight forward repairs I have done this year. Dealing with a 100 point perfect car was the most difficult part of the work.......not scratching anything was a royal pain..........on a job that requires a three pound hammer. Working smart and being prepared is half the battle. Knowing when to walk away is the other half. Last year I had a running problem on a V-16 Cadillac........it was terrible......found five things wrong, and it still wasn’t right. Looked at the thing in thr shop for 60 days resentful that I had to fix it. One day the boss says to me, you gonna fix that thing?  I quoted a Bob Seager lyric.........I said “I’m trying to get my courage up”. Two days later I pounded on it for six days straight. At ten AM I finally found the impossible to figure out issue.......fixed it in half and hour, and when it was running 100 percent  I called him and said.......It’s fixed and I’m taking two days off. I knew on the other end of the phone he was smiling...........and got the “sure.....no problem“  answer I expected. Coming up with impossible solutions to impossible to fix problems can get tiring. Most of the time it’s rewarding. I still don’t like that Cadillac, even though it is the best running and driving V-16 on the planet. It kicked my ass too much for too long.

Thanks for these assessments/comments.

They offer me some sense of relief knowing I'm not the only one regularly dealing with these types of issues and with almost every job, big or small, that enters into my shop.

In last 10 or so years, majority of my jobs have become to include fair amount of correcting/fixing hackwork by other "professional"(?) mechanics or shops, some even done in quite highly regarded and long established.

And yes, it can get quite tiring at times and one of the main reasons I rarely take on "new" clients anymore, especially those who aren't able to understand and willing to accept that almost anything in older cars, restored or not, can turn into a major endeavor to fix correctly. 

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7 minutes ago, TTR said:

 

Thanks for these assessments/comments.

They offer me some sense of relief knowing I'm not the only one regularly dealing with these types of issues and with almost every job, big or small, that enters into my shop.

In last 10 or so years, majority of my jobs have become to include fair amount of correcting/fixing hackwork by other "professional"(?) mechanics or shops, some even done in quite highly regarded and long established.

And yes, it can get quite tiring at times and one of the main reasons I rarely take on "new" clients anymore, especially those who aren't able to understand and willing to accept that almost anything in older cars, restored or not, can turn into a major endeavor to fix correctly. 

I would say this is as accurate/true and honest/blunt of a statement as they come here on this page !

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On 7/13/2020 at 4:13 AM, Billy Kingsley said:

Maybe young people would be more interested if they weren't being constantly disparaged all the time. Who wants to spend time with people who do nothing but insult them?

Seems to be a lot of what you said.  

 

As as sidneote:  I have been attending AACA, CCCA & British Sports Cars events (as well as Concours too - including I have run one for a good long time now) for my most of my life (British events since year 1) - When I joined the CCCA in 1989, we called it the 30 under 30 - (today it is the 50 of us under the age of 60 of perhaps 5000 something members - which is a pretty sad state of affairs, but that is a whole other discussion).  And some people have been welcoming since day one and others not so much.   My advice is to just find what floats your boat (may take a while to find too) and then just do your own thing and try best to enjoy it. 

 

By the way, a fellow who made house calls on cars started asking me to join him when I could - I did and learned a lot.  And, most everyone who has helped me with projects is the same whether by my choice or just luck.   And, I have made it though 100K of AACA and CCCA touring and the cars have been driven and came home only twice on the tow truck with both times we made it back to at least the next neighborhood over from home.  Probably, the difference is that my dad loved tools and knew how to use them even if he sat on the sidelines and made me use them, that my parent's welcome people over to their house right and left and if you want to drive something he is right there to do that, that dad himself complains about all the "old farts" himself and when he gets in an "old mood" someone usually quickly calls him on it (as a sidenote:  My grandmother - mom's mother was pushing 100 and still complaining about "the old people" - she made it past 100). Dad always says "you know that kid will be the one that buys this car from me someday - and that is pretty much the gods honest truth.   And, ...

 

 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, TTR said:

In last 10 or so years, majority of my jobs have become to include fair amount of correcting/fixing hackwork by other "professional"(?) mechanics or shops, some even done in quite highly regarded and long established.

I wanted to add that my experience and frustrations with "hackwork" in past 15-20 years also extends to a certain models of +/-50 years old Italian high performance stallions riddled with surprising amounts of manufacturing defects, most which can be contributed to poor workmanship by the manufacturer and/or their subcontractors.

I have long enough list of personal experiences/observations with well photo-documented evidence to support it to fill a book or at least several chapters in one, but I know better than trying to publicize such information.

OTOH, I've seen plenty of "questionable" OEM workmanship on other, larger scale auto makers, including the Big 3.

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On 7/11/2020 at 8:35 AM, edinmass said:

OK, I admit it..........I would jump up and down with glee if the entire pre war car market fell through the floor and went down the toilet............then I would be able to afford the stuff I live and dream of..........

Yep, I've been saying same for decades and posting on several "market/value watch" debate threads over the past 10+ years I've been on the interweb.

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3 hours ago, TTR said:

And yes, it can get quite tiring at times and one of the main reasons I rarely take on "new" clients anymore, especially those who aren't able to understand and willing to accept that almost anything in older cars, restored or not, can turn into a major endeavor to fix correctly. 

 

Many years ago I worked with an older guy that had a saying for this, "Everything's gotta be a job"

When you started out to do something that should have been a quick fix but it quickly snowballs into a days long 'job'.

 

As for the tech in new cars, I recently purchased a new scan tool that does OBD II / CAN and reads ECU, SRS, TPMS, Transmission, ABS data and a whole host of other stuff.

It will let you add new keys to the Immobilizer system, open calibers with the electronic parking brake, bleed ABS systems, all sorts of stuff.

The device will even email you the results of a system scan complete with VIN number of the vehicle.

 

The tech behind new cars doesn't scare me, it is the huge pain in the butt you go through just to access the pieces you need to replace should something go wrong.

Edited by zepher (see edit history)
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9 minutes ago, zepher said:

 

Many years ago I worked with an older guy that had a saying for this, "Everything's gotta be a job"

When you started out to do something that should have been a quick fix but it quickly snowballs into a days long 'job'.

 

 

I find myself in that same situation all the time, except the guys here in the shop hear me say, "Why the hell does it always have to be uphill both ways?"

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My rule is simple: if for a hobby (or a car)  pay cash. This solves many issues. Online a credit card is necessary. Pay off as soon as the bill comes in.

 

That said anytime is a great time to find what you want if you look hard enough just the $50 car is now a $500 car.

 

Kids have always had different interests than adults. My son is a gamer and a car is an appliance. Are many "tuners" around manly with hot hatches. Tend to flock together but can find if you look.

 

Florida has always been a melting pot of cars and except for next to the coast, cars last a long time. Metal cars more than plastic. Many garages have something interesting.

 

ps I look at a job and figure what it should take. Then multiply by 4. Am usually rite. Not sure how good but can take as long as I want (particularly since no shows now). Motivation is the hard part. Would be different if my rice bowl.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, F&J said:

That's been my downfall as the decades went by, because my desires turned to wanting rarer body styles and more upscale brands of circa 32-33 cars.  These were unaffordable to me, so I start with theoretically unrestorable cars.

F&J great to see the Nash and you on the move again.  It seems by your posts you are highly skilled, and can leverage that skill to take on something perhaps a novice would struggle with.  I think for a lot of hobbyists, the initial choice is key.  An early 30s model with a lot of wood, little parts/support or a Brit roadster with a lot of weather exposure and tinworm, or seemingly minor collision damage can be a much steeper hill to climb let alone a complex bigger car, say a Full Classic.  That said brave souls who take these on and stick with them are to be admired!!

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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12 minutes ago, padgett said:

 

ps I look at a job and figure what it should take. Then multiply by 4. Am usually rite. Not sure how good but can take as long as I want (particularly since no shows now). Motivation is the hard part. Would be different if my rice bowl.

Time or money?  Could be both.

 

Grimy's Law on How Long Things Take after one is retired:  Job should take 2 hrs.  Multiply the number by 2, then substitute the next higher increment of time.  Therefore, a job that should take 2 hrs will actually take 4 days.

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10 hours ago, Billy Kingsley said:

Maybe young people would be more interested if they weren't being constantly disparaged all the time. Who wants to spend time with people who do nothing but insult them?

Well stated, Billy. I have two 17 year olds who have made me proud in immeasurable ways. They don't have my interest in cars, but have developed constructive interests in other areas (like doing well in school, AMONG OTHER THINGS) that I never did when I was their age. My dad tried to get me interested in HAM radio when I was a kid, but it just wasn't something I was drawn to. So, parents are always going to be disappointed with young people in one way or another, but they have to remember that there's much more right with young adults than is wrong with them. And guess what? They aren't done growing up yet, either!

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