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How to afford a hot rod on a regular guy's income.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by wsdad, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. TP
    Joined: Dec 13, 2001
    Posts: 2,023

    from conroe tx

    PnB, I am in the same boat as you. I have always made decent money to support my family but I guy in calif. would starve on my income. I think it's regional.
  2. bjinatj
    Joined: Jun 24, 2008
    Posts: 437


    Nothing like working hard for your goals.. Good luck!
  3. Income tax refunds... It took me 13 years to get mine running, but every year the income tax refunds paid for a big (OK, $700-$1000) chunk... I'm single, no dependents... If somebody wants to do some math to figure out that I'm lower middle class when it come to income.

    1996 $1000 for the body and frame
    1997 $350 for parallel leaf kit, $50 for the rear end, $150 for new drums and brakes
    1998 $400 for drop axle/spring/bone splitting kit.
    1999 $500 for the engine and trans... Bought $1000 donor, sold the body for $500
    2000 $400 for front disk brakes
    2001 $350 for the MC/booster and bracket
    2002 $400 for glass, $100 gas tank
    2003 $300 for gauges/senders, $200 wiring harness
    2006 $800 wheels
    2007 $400 rear tires

    In between, buying tools, bolt and nut collections, fun stuff like valve covers, swap meet finds, buying stuff to flip for more stuff, recycling, freelance, odd jobs, etc.

    Yeah yeah, I should have kept my money... No interest they say... Really? What interest would I get... 3%? 4%?

    Also, going back to school and getting a better paying job helps AND... You can take it off on your taxes = bigger refunds.

    The next 13 years is for body and interior... and a replacement for the junkyard engine and trans.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  4. Dane
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,352

    from Soquel, CA

    If you're good enough to build your own car, you should be good enough to work on others cars to fund your project. It's like having 3 jobs, but it works.
  5. Amniculi
    Joined: Oct 29, 2012
    Posts: 8


    I think a lot of it is learning to be happy with what you have and not always wishing you had something better. That way when something better comes along you're happier to have it. I've been trying to teach that to myself, but it's a hard lesson to learn.
  6. 61 chevy
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 891

    61 chevy

    my wife and I quit smoking, saved us a 100.00 bucks a week, that's a lot of parts, plus live longer
  7. indianhead74
    Joined: Mar 3, 2005
    Posts: 159


    Patience is my key, The family is the priority and sometimes you just have to tread water until you can indulge a little. . still got the wife ,3 grown kids and now I'm workin on the Hot Rod. I never got out of the hobby, Just didnt have the extra time or money. It's funny how that has given me clarity on the build, Indy
  8. Leevon
    Joined: Oct 5, 2009
    Posts: 401

    from Nixa, MO

    My wife recently asked me why I traded a nice new driver/payment for an old driver if I'm just going to sink the same amount of money into it. My reply was "You just answered your own question".

    Yesterday I went to a new barber shop and immediately realized he's a car guy. He's been building a '55 chevy since LT1's were popular. "One hair cut at a time" he says...
  9. bill s preston esq
    Joined: Feb 1, 2011
    Posts: 315

    bill s preston esq

    i plan to do my '52 wagon with (mainly) profits from ebay. for example.....went to an auction on 11/18 and spent $105.50. so far, i've cleared (after all fees) just under $200 ($90 clear profit) and still have a boatload of items to list and sell, so ALL of those are going to be free money. i normally list on sunday afternoon while watching football, or i do it in the evening after the kids are in bed on school nights.

    picked up a $35 floor jack on monday from craigslist and then got lucky and found a Hollander interchange manual for $17 on Ebay. so, basically, those were free. that's how i plan to do a lot of my build.
  10. I believe almost any budget will allow you to have a hot rod,,a small budget is not going to put you in a nice roadster or a '32 Ford,,but there are thousands of low cost cars and trucks out there that you can drive and work on while you are driving the way many of us old greybeards did when we got involved with old cars.

    If you set your sites on what you ultimately desire right out of the box on a working mans salary with a wife and kids you probably will never know the pleasure and fun of owning a hot rod or custom. HRP
  11. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,341


    There are some good suggestions on here and I'd have to think that the majority of us on the Hamb are "regular income guys" who don't have large sums of extra cash laying around to throw at a car.

    Probably the best concept: Don't go into debt for things you really don't need to impress people who really don't give a shit. That includes buying way more house than you need or can actually afford, constantly buying the latest home electronics trinkets while yard selling the old ones for pennies on the dollar, High zoot furniture that you make big assed payments on and is "so nice" your wife won't let you sit on it because it's "for guests". The new car or new truck that you don't need or that is more car or truck than you do need so you can show up the neighbors or the brother in law at the next family gathering.

    Building a car a year might not mean that you are "rich" as much as it may mean that a guy sells the car he built last year to pay for the one he is building this year and is trying to upgrade a bit each time. I know a couple of guys who have worked their way into some nice cars that way over the years.
  12. 47chevycoupe
    Joined: Dec 25, 2007
    Posts: 525


    I know how you feel. My wife had a massive stroke a few years ago and I ended up having to sell my projects, parts and lots of other things just to pay the bills. Now I am trying to start another project.
  13. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,907


    I learned post #1 in high school. Bought my 69 camaro and it never saw winter always bought a winter vehicle right and always sold them for what I paid or more. Parted out a lot of cars and built a lot of engines to fund my rides. Always kept cash on hand to grab deals and trade up or resell. Bought a lot of unfinished projects and sat on them long enough to make a little. There is always someone getting knocked up,project cars and race cars get sold fast. I've bought a few new vehicles. I keep my wife in a nice car - makes everything go smoother. I worked for GM in the past and you culd buy a new truck, drive for a year and break even. Did that a few times. When I left GM I bought the truck ill drive for the next 20 years $21k on $34k msrp, 7 years and 51000 miles later I'm glad I did.
  14. haha, thats true..thx for the coment :D

  15. well put .........x2
  16. I'm always on the lookout for a nice, clean, low mileage DD to keep the wife happy - as has been said, it goes a long way to make things go smoother for a hot rod couple, especially when the wife is not in to it so much and watches the pennies ...

    I've always huslted for hot rod money and cars in general - I'm no pro but I always "refresh" cars, new or old, that just did not "look" right when advertised, bought them inexpensively, cleaned them up, got them to "look" right, and sold them for some pretty good profit margins at times but not always. Did that for 3 semesters of college room, bd and tuition for my daughter. She, along with my son, both graduated without college debt. Neither one are interested in the cars but they know that's what got them to where they are today without the debt and they respect that.

    For all we do to get our cars finished and on the road, it brings all of us a great sense of satisfaction to drive them when done. It's amazing the amount of talent that's out there, totally evident by the great build threads and ideas that are on this board. No matter what financial station you may be, all of us here can appreciate the work, talent, and foresight to our builds. So, let's all keep hustling guys so we can all continue - there is no limit as to we can do.

  17. X3...

    The HD TV finally reached my price point ($249)... Funding it by shutting off the basic cable ($50/month) and DVR ($20/month). I will be watching everything I want to watch for free off the internet or through the (digital signal) antenna.

    It will pay for itself in 4 months, if we miss the cable, we can always just have it turned back on.

    Also, the land line is going away... Everyone we want to talk to knows my cell #. The only thing that we get on the land line is surveys and political messages anyway.
  18. TULSA
    Joined: Sep 27, 2008
    Posts: 659

    from Tulsa

    My car funds never come out of paychecks or our personal accounts. I have always bought and sold and moved up from there making a profit each time. I drive a 05 Focus with 226k miles that I bought for $1500. After starting with about $4,500, I traded and sold up to a 69 chevelle SS clone. Sold on eBay for $17,500. Payed a few things off. Gave the Mrs some shopping money. Then I bought a few pre 64 cars under $4k. Drove awhile and cleaned up. Sold for profit. Now I have my 58 edsel almost driver and my 30 Tudor A chop project and cash in put towards them. All while keeping the Mrs happy.

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
  19. MTR-HD-Ordie
    Joined: Nov 13, 2012
    Posts: 42


    Gotta second the point on young folks concentrating their efforts on careers and their earning potential. Sets the pace for life. Second, learn to live on much less than you earn, whatever that may be.

    All thru my life, I bought and drove old clunkers and bikes that I could work on. Concentrated on the mechanics to keep em reliable and the heck with ascetics. First spent my efforts on making my bikes nice. Older Nortons, BSA's, Pans & Shovels. Not much to'em good mileage and I lived in a area where I could ride all year round. I learned how to make em both nice and reliable and still spend 80% of my driving on 2 wheels. I've had a number of cool cars, but nothing "really nice" until I got much older. Bought my first and only new car 10 years ago, still has only 42K on it. After building a home, finishing a career, I'm now at a point in life to where I can concentrate my efforts on finishing a couple of my hot rod projects. All good things happen in time, but good planning is an important key.
  20. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,145


    If you're disciplined, credit cards can be a good thing. This quarter, Discover Card had a 5% cash back discount for anything bought on line. I am going to need tires for my '51 next spring. When I read that tire prices are going to go up in the future, I ordered a set of Cokers for it. 5% from Discover, 10% Alliance discount (thanks Ryan!), and current pricing probably saved me almost $200. Also, I mail-ordered a set of Rajah spark plug terminals and a roll of Packard 440 on line that I was going to need next spring anyway. Also some minor Corvette parts, but that's O/T. The only thing is YOU HAVE TO PAY THE BILL IN FULL WHEN YOU GET IT!

    Looking back on the past 50 years, I('d have to say "Quit drinkin' would have allowed me to have an AMBR winner instead of what I have. Naah, reconsidering, I wouldn't change a thing.
  21. GirchyGirchy
    Joined: Mar 17, 2011
    Posts: 208

    from Central IN

    I was going to post the exact same thing. Just buy what you normally buy with the credit card and, assuming the cash is in the bank for it, there's no problem.

    I love my Discover. I get to keep my money in the bank for up to a month extra (more interest there) before paying off the bill in full. I get cash back, some of which I put towards a gift card (which can make the amount even larger) for things I was going to buy anyway. They've returned my money paid to people who don't produce the items I ordered. Plus, there are side benefits which can come in handy sometimes, such as car rental insurance.

    It all comes down to discipline.
  22. GirchyGirchy
    Joined: Mar 17, 2011
    Posts: 208

    from Central IN

    No kidding, that's half the problem keeping me away from having a HAMB-friendly car. Too much other crap to work on between the house, bicycles, and OT cars.

    The other big hangup is a lack of space...don't want to keep my DD outside.
  23. I never put cars ahead of life, I've always had a hot rod or project car in the works. My 37 Chevy P.U. took me 6 years to finish, my 40 Chevy P.U. took 8 years. I worked on them when I had the money. I never scrimped on my home or my kids so I could put money towards a hot rod. Now I'm 64 and retired, and my 29 Roadster took me 2 years to build, not because I used money I'd saved but because I have more money that doesn't have to go to car or house payments or the dentist or whatever else you spend it on when you're raising a family. I now realize why when I go to shows or cruise nights the majority of the finished cars are owned by old guys like me. My formula for building a car is to take your time when you don't have much to spare, you'll enjoy it more and before you know it you'll have all kinds of time to spend on it, and some extra money to. Slow down and enjoy the whole picture.
    Joined: Aug 10, 2008
    Posts: 2,595


    If there is a will there is a way...
    Two kids one wife and a very large dog and a small house. I have 3 toys two model As and a 68 pickup
    2 other project trucks 35 & 53

    If I didn't send money on parts I didn't need just because they where a good deal I would have more running toys
  25. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,771

    from Tampa, FL

    My first build took 8-1/2 years on a budget. I learned a lot, but didn't get to drive it much! After 4 years on the road, selling it allowed me to build my truck a lot faster and as I kept it well maintained I didn't loose too much. But 2/3 of the depreciation on it occurred when the car was a hangar queen. Depreciation is ok and expected when you are driving it, but to have it do so in the garage a little sad.

    If I had to do it again, I'd finance an entry level car that is a fairly new build and very much along the lines of what you want to build. You get to drive it today and any depreciation is at least funner than looking at a 1/2 built frame in the garage. If you want to keep it, then pay it off as fast as you can and plan your changes in the interim.

  26. lukey
    Joined: May 27, 2009
    Posts: 668


    If you are going to spend 3 grand on a beater, why not spend 3 grand on your rod and drive it daily? Just a thought

    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
  27. Lowrders
    Joined: Sep 10, 2009
    Posts: 303

    from DUBUQUE IA

    After I yet again didn't win the lotto last night, I got to thinking about finances and how much fun it would be to have an unlimited amount of cash to buy a big shop, lots of tools, and whatever parts I needed to build whatever I wanted. But then I got thinking about it. If I had 500 MILLION dollars, I would guess I would become very lazy, and have others build everything for me. It would take all the fun out of it! I am also sick of the waiting for funds to arrive, and the stress of having to finish this car before the kids get older and real expensive, but at the same time its very humbling when you get compliments on it. The sacrifices you must make to enjoy that one thing that gets you up in the morning, and still be a good provider for your family.
    I drive a 250k mile Jetta TDI, paid for, economical. not very cool, but good enough. Ive been wanting a new car for a couple years, but I have the only car that makes sense to have - and its paid for!
  28. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,341


    I didn't scroll through the list to see if it is there but one of my buds was guilty as hell and I'm rather getting that way.


    For years every time I went down to my buddy's place he would have his latest acquisition sitting prominently beside the driveway for all to see while saying that he had "only" paid X amount for it and then in the next breath lament that he couldn't get any work done on his long time project because he didn't have any money to spend on it.
    I'm almost in that situation but only have three going and don't have 20 sitting behind the shed waiting like he did for a long time.
  29. TULSA
    Joined: Sep 27, 2008
    Posts: 659

    from Tulsa

    For some people, not all, its not very realistic. I need a decent car that gets good mpg for work (Realtor) Also with a three year old I need something that has heat and AC. but as said above i paid 1500 for my 05 focus!
  30. fordf1trucknut
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 1,114


    I found the best way is to A. be cheap, B. work hard, smart and often, C. pay off all debt ASAP.

    Out of school I used ALL available income to pay off debt involved quadrupling the mortgage payment some months and NOT getting a car payment. I never paid more that what I had in cash, on hand for a car or anything for that matter. And I quit doing time wasting activities like watching TV....... I work on other people's hotrods and 4x4's and whatnot for extra $$ in the evenings and weekends when I am not playing music for $$ other side work.

    In a few years you will be debt free and can concentrate on making your beat up old daily driver a proper hotrod and start building more cars as you have extra time and $$....but always put your family's needs first.

    You are not entitled to anything so you have to work hard to get what you want.

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