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How Car Guys Survive Economic Crisis

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Thefingerisout, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. Cargo
    Joined: Jun 18, 2007
    Posts: 232


    So how are you guys doing? I mean really, still working in the garage? buying parts? Seems like every other news story, or even if you don't listen to the news-the guys at the barber shop, are pouring out the latest bad news on the economy. Personally I'm gettin tired of it.
    I've always believed in my own personal economy, regardless of the big picture. What really matters to most of us is how we personally, our family, and friends are doing. Maybe I'm just lucky, but me and everyone in my world are still chugging along.
    OK, I gotta come clean and tell you that the TV station I worked for got rid of me and about 48 of my co-workers in January of 07, and besides 4 months filling in at a buddies body shop, I've been un-employed, ran out of employment benefits, and really have no prospects.
    But I think that being a "car guy" puts me, and if your reading this; most likely you, in a special catagory. We tuck stuff away in the garage, shed, neighbors garage, under the bed etc.when we have an extra buck, and pull it out when we need it. Car guy 401k.
    So I have been getting along selling off a couple of finished projects, nothing fancy or high zoot$$$$$, I am lucky enough to of had a couple other projects stashed, and a couple of deals come my way that I have bought, fixed, and turned. Over the summer a buddy and I turned a good chunk of my garage in to a bicycle shop, and we did up some classic old bikes that we sold.
    So like I said, maybe I'm just lucky. Got a roof, heat (turned down kinda low), good eats, a cold beer occasionaly, good woman for the last twenty years, and even though the last few days have been too frosty to wrench in the shop, I get to do pretty much what I love-work on old cars, buy some cool stuff, and sell some stuff I hopefully will not miss later on. So thanks to the classifieds on the H.A.M.B.(thank-you HAMB, checks gonna be in the mail), local swap meets, and another free listing site that can go un-named here, I'm doing OK.
    I hope you all are making it work too, and if ya got any secrets on making an honest buck, share it with us. :D
  2. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 6,098


    perhaps you can finish up some unfinished projects. WAAAAY to many of those on here and some for sale. Would be worth a bunch more if you could finish them up. Could you buy some cheap projects and add your talents to make them more marketable? Best wishes
  3. Hand making more and more parts now.
  4. Cargo
    Joined: Jun 18, 2007
    Posts: 232


    Ya know, you got something there. I think it works right along with the whole hot rod community thing, somebody needs some bucks and sells a project, buyer takes it from project to "running project", sells to the next guy and makes some dough.......we got our own economy going on here. Thanks for the wishes, and I'm always on the hunt for a project!

  5. Cargo
    Joined: Jun 18, 2007
    Posts: 232


    Ah yes, necessity: the mother of invention.
    and if it doesn't work the mother-#&%! of #@&! invention.
  6. srdart67
    Joined: Feb 3, 2008
    Posts: 357

    from Sharon, Wi

    i second that. i got laid off 2 months ago. havent made under 20 an hour in well since i was 16.. now im makin 11 an hour:eek: working on european can am race cars:( i guess we are all doing what we can do to survive. im also working at a job shop installing plows and plowing myself getting less than the needed sleep. but i guess ill sleep when im dead! my personal projects are slow moving on lack of funds being a younger fella. but it will turn around eventually.. at least thats what the experienced ones tell me!
  7. helmsville
    Joined: Mar 4, 2007
    Posts: 363


    sounds like you are a rich man to me! we need more like you.
  8. James427
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,740


    I do the same thing and I'm doing fine. Maybe even better than fine. But the next 6-8 months is really going to tell the tale.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  9. tewkes
    Joined: May 22, 2005
    Posts: 200


    I'm actually trying to finish my car up soon in the worst case scenario that I'll have to sell it to pay bills. It's worth a bit more running, driving, than sitting in pieces.

    Other than that, I've been trying to spend a bit less lately. However, I don't have a lot saved away, and I figure there is no use trying to save right now. Even if I could save a few thousdand dollars, that would only save me for a month or so anyway.
  10. Pothole 31A
    Joined: Dec 15, 2007
    Posts: 318

    Pothole 31A

    Got that right!!!!!!

    Swap meets...
  11. Cargo
    Joined: Jun 18, 2007
    Posts: 232


    You got it! I'm with ya %100, my friends were getting sick of me preaching the "Debt Free" sermon from my soap-box. Most new car drivers probably paid more tax on their car, than you paid totally for your ride! Lately they've been thinking maybe I'm not so nuts.
  12. plmczy
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 2,408


    The secret to staying alive in this economy is to take jobs that no one else wants, all the shitty work for meager pay. Thats what I've always done, you may not get ahead but by god you'll survive. later shawn
  13. 32SEDAN
    Joined: Jul 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,294


    Your bro-inlaw is probably a very skilled playing video games...correct?! Guys like that can't even change a tire...
  14. lostforawhile
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,160


    I just make everything myself,I always have. We keep getting laid off for a week or two at a time, so I've actually been getting more done on my car then in a long time. We are broke anyway, but i can scrape by. I just go out there and work on my projects or i'll be at the junkyard scavenging
  15. T.W.Dustin
    Joined: Nov 18, 2008
    Posts: 883


    With the way things are these days, my wife and I decided to shred our credit cards last June. We're both still working but being cautious. We had them all paid off and wanted it to stay that way in case something happened. I'll never go back to using them again if I can help it. Of course this means if I don't have it - I can't spend it.

    I had quite a few parts stashed away for my Dodge while I was working on a couple other projects (son's '70 mustang and my '69 vette frame off). I ran out of $$$ to work on the vette and now I'm using all those stashed Dodge parts and working on it. I have a lot of work I can do without spending much money, and I hope to have her drivable in January or February.
  16. henryj429
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,061


    Not too bad here. I just got a $200 per month raise as gas went from $4.00+ to $1.69. Man, that really helps out the cash flow. I'm looking forward to putting some extra miles on the rod next summer.
  17. Mopar34
    Joined: Aug 8, 2006
    Posts: 1,028


    The drop in gas prices from $4.00 gal to $1.49 has sure helped especially since I have to drive 400+ miles a week just to get back and forth to work.:( Currently not planning any long trips, just local stuff so that saves a ton on gas and hotels. Will be doing more work around the house and on the cars and less traveling, another money saver. Other than that it will be the same old, same old. Go to work, come home, go to sleep, get up and go to work and do it all again the next day.:eek::(
  18. 57 shaker
    Joined: Aug 2, 2008
    Posts: 316

    57 shaker

    It's tough here also at least we don't have to pay to heat the house.I don't think we used the at all last year.My wife and I were just riding around today looking at yard sales and stuff like that and I said a few months ago half the vehicals you saw on the streets around here were big SUVs, we kept looking and only saw a few,but I did see a 58 red and white pontiac that was bad ass:)
  19. well, I'm one of the victims of the economic crisis. I was "management" so I know there are others worse off, but the job market sucks and living off your savings as they shrink faster in the economic crash makes it worse.

    one of the best investments I made this year was a beater truck to work on. a relatively cheap project (if there is such a thing) and a nice physical break from the rigors of job hunting and daily stress.

    I've also been organizing my tools, practicing welding and a number of sort-of car related but cheap projects.

    I've also been a good boy exercising and eating right as I've not got much excuse for not spending time at the gym.

    hopefully things will pick up after the new year. My real project (a 34 coupe) is at the point it's stalled until I can inject some funds and it's a crappy time to be at that point.

    I told someone the other day it's a race to bankruptcy and insanity and if I have to reach one, I'm going to try to hit them both at the same time. :)

  20. FCCOOL
    Joined: Jun 13, 2005
    Posts: 276


    i havent noticed any effect except the aussie dollar has dropped and so has the price of fuel. i have however let the daily driver run out of registration, registration here is $700 aussie dollars per year, my daily (a 1983 aussie ford LTD)cost me $600 to buy 3 years ago.
    i am now trying to get together the cash to get my old car on the road.
  21. 100mph WHEELSPINNER
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 207


    Stay dept free..... at least I sleep at night
  22. 49coupe
    Joined: Nov 4, 2005
    Posts: 565


    With a wife, young kid and a mortgage, I'm a little tense, but hoping for the best.

    I finished my motor rebuild two weeks ago. My '49 coupe is going to take a sabbatical this year while I refocus on my finances. It's not finished, but it runs and drives, so I'm just going to enjoy it in primer and do a few small things. I'll be selling any parts I don't need as well.

    I just hope that the greedy fucks that started this mess will have to suffer financially....wait they paid themselves millions plus they have golden parachutes. Never mind....:mad:
  23. Little Wing
    Joined: Nov 25, 2005
    Posts: 7,501

    Little Wing
    from Northeast

    The internet has changed the face of this hobby forever ( as it has many and ruined most ) prices for used parts ,junkyards and swap have gone to stupid levels. Staying backwoods and keeping the places you know hush hush ,seem to be the best bet..local swaps and auctions..and just checking in at all the local farms now and again,and nothing to do with "car guys" its everyone ,,lotta folks may have families now or a house and expenses they did'nt before,so a balance needs to be struck. If anything it will affect those new to the hobby greater,,and may thin the herd
  24. Cargo
    Joined: Jun 18, 2007
    Posts: 232


    This is why I started this thread, wisdom comes from unexpected places, especially when you take the time to ask. Your right on with the card shredder! Hey there are times when you just gotta have em, (try checking in to a hotel without a credit card)! If your making minimum payments on a card, you'll likely never pay it off, and it's really easy to fall in to the "Buy now-Pay later" trap. On the other hand, sounds like you got a great savings account stashed in the garage, certainly better than the stock market right now!
    Traditional rodders, traditional wisdom, what a concept! Keep digging out those old parts, cruising in a car that you brought back to life is the best therapy for the economic blues!
  25. Deuce Roadster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2002
    Posts: 9,519

    Deuce Roadster
    Member Emeritus

    The strong will survive ... they always do. :)

    As a governement worker for 30 years, I never made any REAL big money. My wife taught school for 32 years ... so no real money there either :eek:

    We have been conservative ... all our lives. I live in the same small brick home I bought 30 years ago. We never " moved up " to the big fancy place that some of our fellow workers and friends did. I drove 6 to 8 year old trucks for most of my life ( but did keep the wife in something decent and fairly late model ). I never had a credit card until I was 50 years old ( made ordering parts online and keeping record of drug prescriptions easier ) . Still pay the thing off every month when the bill comes in.

    Worked a part-time job ... to pay for my 32 Ford diease. Did not take regular paycheck money for the 32 stuff.

    My wife's Dad died when she was 9 ... so she knew what it is to live " conservative " money wise.

    About 10 years ago, with everything paid for and some $$$ in the bank ... we started to loosen up a little and travel. We bought a few nicer things ... but we never went in debt for any of it.

    We have done so much with so little for so long ... the current economic situation does not scare us. We do feel sorry for some of the " older folks " who has worked all their lives and now inflation and the current situation has them with their backs to the wall ... :mad:
  26. eric-duh other one
    Joined: Dec 8, 2008
    Posts: 22

    eric-duh other one

    I did the stoopid credit card thing and that was hard to dig out of. I went with a credit/debit card that gives me the convenience of a credit card but the money comes straight from the ol' bank account. Can't spend it if I don't have it. I love it that I can shop online or get gas in the middle of the night with out the worry of racking up more debt.
  27. I've been retired for almost 5 years and things have been going pretty well. I've taken a few small car projects from time to time and did some swap meet/HAMB buying and selling. My stash hasn't went down much though. I have lots of my own projects in front of me and they are almost completely funded.

    The bad news is that our income is fixed...the good news is that our income is fixed. We pretty much work on a debt free basis although we have a truck payment. My wife is tighter than bark on a tree so I tend to be also. My biggest complaint is that my 401K has become a 201K.

    I was out of steady work for a couple-three years in the early 80's, but we survived because I always hustled up something.

    I'm thankful for what we have and for a hobby that I love.

  28. T.W.Dustin
    Joined: Nov 18, 2008
    Posts: 883


    This is exactly the way we do things now - debit card only :cool:
  29. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    from colorado

    What I do.
    Since 1955, I have done what my dad taught me. He talked about the "Great Depression" a lot, felt sorry for people that let it get them down, "self-pity" never put bread on the table. He was always posative, never to complain. Taught us boys that there were a lot of myths about the depression, and discussed the causes and the effects.

    He would point out that in 1929 his dad, my grandpa, bought a brand new Model A. Paid Cash. Grampa saved enough money to retire "on his own" bought a house in town and moved there in 1939. He drove that Model A until he died in 1953, when my and my brothers got it.

    In 1930 my dad bought a brand new Chivvy. Paid Cash. In those days, out in the heartland, credit was considered a sin, money-changers were considered evil. The drought/dust bowl was more of a social problem than the stock market crash. People still try to tie the two together. Neither caused the other, just happenstance they were on timeline.

    My dad insisted that people needed to keep "backup mad money". He kept a fair amount in the bank, in his words "five years worth, in case we have four years of bad times". His mad money was a $20 bill in his change purse, in the days when that was a months worth of groceries, certainly a lot of money to be carried in your change purse.

    It was his contention, and proved it throughout his life that "Economic hard-times' are self-inflicted"(his words). He related that "having more kids than you can feed is like screwing yourself away from the dinner table". We never wanted. We always ate. There was always too much work to do to worry about the small shit. We didn't play until the work was done. He would tell the neighbors, "you need help, my boys are usually ready and willing". When the work was caught up, when it seemed that we were in for a break, (NOT!!), dad went looking for more for us to do. On the other hand I remember uncles and cousins complaining that they were on hard times. I couldn't understand that.

    That 1930 Chivvy was the family car, not used for any of the work. Work vehicles were Model A pickups. We drove that '30 Chivvy until 1952 when Dad bought his next new car, a 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook.

    From all of that I learned.
    1. Live within your means. Save for a rainy day, because it's going to rain
    2. Use credit to your advantage, not as a crutch
    3. Lose people from your circle of friends that squander, they tend to drag you down
    4. Ignore the premise that people think that their generation is smarter than the one before they were born. They are full of shit if they believe that.
    5. Do not covet your neighbor's wife/house/car/job/money, or try to keep up with the Joneses, (old 1940s saw), which means, never do something because somebody else thinks it's cool, cute, or attracts other people to you. Popularity with assholes isn't worth being popular. Be popular with yourself, he's the best friend you got. Apply it to your hotrod, build what you want, not what others want.

    Me? I'm a fruegal person. I pay cash for a car I can afford, no car payments for me. My dream car is not a pipe dream, it's a reality dream. I would never 'charge it' for a hotrod part. That along with the other self reliance traits that I inherited allows me to have "backup". My 'mad money' is a couple of hundred in cash that I carry, just because. When tempted to dip into it, that act in itself is a subtle reminder that I need to cut back somewhere, lest I lose my "backup".
  30. Michael_e
    Joined: Mar 15, 2005
    Posts: 431


    I guess i must be a 'typical' american in today's world also. Got layed off in Oct '06. Tried to find work but never got back into the field i previously worked. We decided to move to small town in Kansas, took our savings and bought a small garage and proced to get it fixed up. New roof and paint, and hauled off 20+ years of trash. Then we put our house up for sale and the housing market went stright to hell. So here we are half moved. I took a job at local grocery store, making $9 per hr to help cover bills and now my wife gets layed off. Merry Christmas. But, ya know about the only thing that helps keep me sane is to go out to the garage and do a little work on my hot rod/speedster. Yesterday i tacked into place the fornt crossmember and was mocking things in place and discovered i only had one kingpin. So i found some junk steel, chucked it into my old lathe and made a temp one and finished the assembly. So what does all this mean, hell, i don't know, but i did feel better when i came back in the house.


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