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Rusty Old Hot Rods in a Junk Yard


Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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There are two things that simply don't work together: being cheap and being a car enthusiast.

If you're a success at one, you will fail at the other.

Or, you'll fail at both.

Here's the thing: cars are expensive.

If you are strictly a commuter car owner without ever having attempted to be a car collector/restorer — or studied the hobby extensively — and say "yeah, they're expensive," I'll clue you in: you have literally no idea.

Being a deeply involved, actively engaged enthusiast means a level of expenditure that eclipses being a car owner like a sky scraper eclipses your home.

The cost is outrageous.

As a car owner you only have to concern yourself with purchase, housing, use, and basic upkeep.

With today's cars, while it's not cheap, the amount for basic upkeep (maintenance and repair) is pretty low compared to the other factors — especially when you consider the way it used to be with '30s, '40s, '50s, and '60s cars.

Being both an involved and engaged enthusiast means likely owning one or more classic or performance cars, housing them — and I don't mean leaving them to rot in your back yard or parking them in your driveway, apartment parking spot, or on the street — and tinkering.

If you think the first two sound pricey, it's really that last one. Ouch.

Tinkering has a lot of connotations.

It tends to lead to entire restorations or customizations.

Performing every facet of a restoration or customization yourself isn't the kind of thing you do in your attached garage.

Neither is it the kind of thing a shade tree mechanic can pull off in the average detached garage.

Major projects like that require adequate facilities, processes, education/expertise, and other resources already in place before you begin.

How many great cars have been lost to someone starting off with a simple repair that ended up with the thing in pieces only to be hauled off to a junk yard because they were trying to figure out what they were doing as they went along?

I'm not actually asking a question. I'm being rhetorical because I'm aware that it occurs regularly.

Not only have I watched it happen ad nauseam, I've been guilty of it myselftwice.

That said, being an avid car nut is a truly fascinating experience.

There's lots to learn and lots to do.

There's also lots and lots to invest in.

So, if you haven't successfully done it before and you're just thinking that it sounds like fun, stop. Give it the kind of consideration you would any important lifelong commitment — this hobby requires some serious dedication.

Be sure you're ready for the level of involvement necessary to succeed and have the finances needed to back whatever endeavor you're getting yourself into — and be willing to part with your hard earned money by the wheel barrel load.

If not, you're heading into failure, and possibly destroying another great car. And if people keep it up, there won't be many left.

And that would be a travesty.


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