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Projects How to decide when to throw in the towel?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Model A Fan, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,819


    are you really a hot rodder or are you just as happy being creative doing something else?

    if the roadster is just a passing fancy sell it and make furniture or violins or whatever you see in your woodshop.

    life is too short to live with an albatross of a project piled up around you
    The G00SE and falcongeorge like this.
  2. Look thru here. Then go back and read it.

    You've got to want it # 1
    Any undertaking takes time talent and treasure. What you lack in one or two of them you make up with the other. If you have none - no time, no talent, no treasure it may "fail to launch" until you do or die. Life's short and goes quicker.

    Maybe the talents and skills you do have can be bartered for those you don't have. Being part of a group or club of like minded folks can be quite beneficial
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
    mike bowling likes this.
  3. wex65
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 1,107

    from WV

    This thread hits close to home for me.

    I too had a Model A sitting in my workshop. Had all the tools but no fab skills, and I do mean none.

    Mechanically I am capable and in fact am in the middle of rebuilding the engine, detailing the engine compartment and completely replacing the interior in the wife’s 55 Thunderbird right now. But show me a welder and some metal and I will show you how to make holes in it, BIG ones.

    The car sat for a year, I found a local welder who said he would ‘help out’ on the fab work. He then proceeded to completely screw up one quarter and nearly the whole body. I was then where the OP sounds like he is now…wondering whether it will ever get done.

    I had decided to simply sell the body and buy a built coupe. It was NEVER a question of whether I wanted a hot rod, that was certain. My decision was more about how I could make it happen. For some, the build is the passion, for others it is owning/driving the car. For me…to be honest I would love to be able to do the build myself but realize I am just not able so I switched to wanting a completed car, or, a roller.

    A local HAMBer put me in touch with a pro (Bob Hilton) who came to buy the body from me. This evolved into his taking on building a roller, and from there it evolved to his bulding me a completed car.

    I have been involved in pretty much every decision in the build, have personally been sourcing many hard to find parts, restored a few parts myself, and have enjoyed every minute of the build.

    Some will say I am not a ‘real’ hot rodder as I didn’t build it myself…my response? To me, my inability to fabricate a hot rod from square one means one thing, I am not a hot rod BUILDER.

    I have the utmost respect for members here that build a car from a pile of twisted metal. I am in awe of their ability to get it done. I do not possess those skills but it does not make me any less passionate in relation to traditional hot rods and I can tell you now, my Coupe will be driven FAR this year. Going to Austin in April and Canada in August with 6-7 other shows and it wont see the inside of a trailer going to ANY of them..
    i.rant, Phillips and Hnstray like this.
  4. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 3,182


    Most projects take years to complete and involve many seemingly impossible problems to solve. Two suggestions:

    Find a photo of a finished car like the one you are building and post it so you can see it every day. A visible goal will help with motivation.

    And, take it one small do-able step at a time. Making one accomplishment every day, no matter how small, will move you forward more quickly than you think.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  5. Alanbt4924
    Joined: Dec 15, 2014
    Posts: 11


    For what it's worth I've had my 55 since April 01 I'll work on it for a while then it becomes more frustrating than fun so I put it up for a while. This year I've got some big plans so I'm aquiring parts to pass the winter. It takes a long time for some of us to "finish" a car.
  6. Hot Rod 50
    Joined: Jul 30, 2007
    Posts: 500

    Hot Rod 50

    You asked for our thoughts so here's my .02. The allure of a runner is a big one. However. You never know what your getting inside a motor. It may start up and run like a peach, for two weeks. Drop a valve, flatten a cam lobe, anything. You say you bent the valve while working on a stud? So the motor wasn't running, there's no other damage. Replace the valve put the head on and Fire it up. That will get you back on track with it. Bug your car friends. It doesn't matter if they're are muscle car guys or hot rodders. They will help you. Take a grinder, WITH A SOFT WIRE BRUSH, to the body to get the rust of and get it primer and put together and running. Then if it still doesn't light your fire. Sell it for more than it is worth now

    I am however speaking from the stand point of building and wanting a banger coupe for a decade so there's no way I would sell that car. It will be awhile before you see another true roadster.

    In the end it's your car. I sold cars I said I'd NEVER sell because they didn't do it for me any more. Tastes and life change.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  7. Binger
    Joined: Apr 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,733

    from wyoming

    I have been working on my Coupe for almost 7 years. Granted I took almost 3 of those years working on an OT '68 Chevy truck for my step son. With any luck and enough motivation I should have it driving this summer. Elbow Grease is always free. Get a wire brush for your 4 1/2" grinder and attack the rust. No need to take it and get it sandblasted. A lot of pieces can be built with cut off wheels and a grinder. Get all the parts cut out and shaped to be welded up by a friend at a later time. That A chassis looks pretty complete and a few parts could have you going down the road sooner than you might think. You can always swap from the banger engine to that flat head at a later date.
  8. Think creatively. I hauled my 354 Hemi in the back of my Subaru and another HAMBer hauled his Deuce frame rails on his roof rack.

    Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right.

    engine04.jpg 61EFA7B0-21A6-4DBA-89A8-7732CB842A1D_zpsnitvbsoe.jpg
  9. Man,we all have had set backs.

    I took me 9 years to finish the wagon,time,money 60 hours a week at work and loosing both my parents and both my wife's parents,clearing out their respective homes..there is always something that keeps you from fulfilling your dream in a timely manor.

    I never lost the desire although the wagon was relegated to the back burner several times and for several years at a time.

    If the passion is not there anymore and your dream has morphed into a nightmare sell the car and move on,if it's woodworking that will make you happy do it. HRP
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
    wingnutz and 40fordtudor like this.
  10. mike bowling
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 3,558

    mike bowling

    Ya gotta focus,Man.I finally learned if you don't know what to do next, don't do anything.(read a hot rod magazine!) But like someone else said, there's a million things you CAN do that don't take a hell of a lot of expertise.Dissassembly and parts cleaning( which sucks) is the first step.Familiarize yourself with how things go together.READ and Learn-find an adult education course at a trade school,and learn the basics of welding.(Just because ya buy a guitar don't make you Jimi Hendrix!)"All good things come in time".If the car is paid for and you don't need the cash; keep it.If you want something else; sell it.But no matter what, if you get involved with any "project", it's a long term commitment ( like most things that are worth doing).Nobody starts out running; you gotta crawl a little first. Good luck with it however you choose. Keep the Faith!
  11. All good advice. But one thing to think about. Once it's gone it's gone.
  12. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 6,077

    scrap metal 48

    Sounds like you would rather buy than build.. That's OK...
  13. Buddy Palumbo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2008
    Posts: 3,871

    Buddy Palumbo

    I wouldn't give up yet . Sometimes you just need to take a breather . As long as you get SOMETHING done , you're getting something done . Look at it like that - I do . I'm about 4 years into my build , and yes , it's a long time . But it'll get done . Just keep plugging away .
  14. IF IT WAS EASY EVERYONE WOULD DO IT! THE HARD IT WHAT MAKES IT GREAT! Hang in there. You might regret it if you do not.
  15. Quit making excuses as to why you can't do this or that and get off your rear and find ways to do what needs to be done. I am quite sure you have a buddy who has a truck or trailer so get on with it!!!
  16. J'LO.217
    Joined: Mar 22, 2007
    Posts: 51


    If it means a lot to you don't give up. I cant count how many times I wanted to throw in the towel with my model a. I had done r&r work on all of my cars that I had previous to the A and thought it would be a snap. Soon did I learn that there is a BIG difference between upgrading and replacing on a car and building one. I bit off way more that I could chew when in got my body....body only. I gave up numerous times including not touching it for over a year except to move it around in the garage, oh and the was never even in my garage. It was always in someone else's, a friend or family member since I don't have the space to work on it in my own. But when I finally did get it on the road (with the help from awesome friends) it was one of the happiest days of my life (next to my wedding day). So long story longer, if you truly want this car keep at it. Here are some pic of where I started and my avatar is it now. Best of luck to you. begining.jpg
  17. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,735


    Uhaul rents trucks and trailers every day. Home Depot will rent you a pickup for $20 per hour.
    wingnutz likes this.
  18. oldsrocket
    Joined: Oct 31, 2004
    Posts: 2,204


    Here's how I know when to throw in the towel, quite simply....... when it stops being fun and starts feeling like work.

    Sometimes you get past your financial comfort level, sometimes beyond your storage limit, sometimes beyond your give a damn level. Maybe your tastes have changed. My change frequently, which is probably why I have owned over 30 cars in the last 12 years. Some get finished, some don't, some move on as soon as they start. Sometimes I just go a winter without one and enjoy being able to park in my garage. There are a couple that I miss, but by and large, I still feel that I made the right decision at the time.

    Building isn't for everybody, just like buying isn't. It's ok to be one or the other or neither. In the end you only need to answer to yourself and your family and do what makes you happy and is best for all involved. It's not like anybody's life is riding on you finishing some old car.
    Hnstray likes this.
  19. lewk
    Joined: Apr 8, 2011
    Posts: 851

    from Mt

    I've had my '63 Impala SS since '96 when I was 18. It has sat most of that time. I've lived a lot since than and have been lucky that I had 10 years of storage at my parents house and never really needed the money that bad. I'm not going to get to it this year, it's rough and it needs love, but it makes me happy just sitting in the driveway. It isn't going anywhere. It was never very nice and sitting hasn't hurt it much. It's worth more now than when I bought it. If it's a woodwork season in your life, so be it. Let the A sit and wait. There will be a time...
  20. jimpopper
    Joined: Feb 3, 2013
    Posts: 140


    It took me 12 years to rebuild my Camaro while raising the kids. I found it helpful to keep pictures and a journal. I would often look back a year or two and say I wouldn't want to be still at that stage of the build. How do you eat an elephant? One Bite at a time. It won it's class at the Camaro Nationals seven years ago. I am glad I did it.
    I now have more time and have usually got two projects working.
    Is there any clubs around where you could borrow someone else's skills from time to time and pay them back with help that you can provide? You would be surprised how someone will weld for you if you give them use of a steady set of hands hanging some sheet metal or sanding off a bunch of old paint. Barter still works, just be sure to be generously fair.
    As far as Woodworking, compared to metal work:
    You cannot stretch or weld more length back on a board.
    Warpage cannot be tweaked away, wood springs back.
    You can't burn rubber with it unless you throw it in a fire.
    The only gas it uses is if you clean your varnish or paint brushes with ethyl.
    It is easier to strip out threads and the splinters won't stick to a magnet.

    In your Past, did you tend to tend to drift from hobby to hobby? Any thing that has a long term time commitment may go against your natural tendencies. If that is the case, find someone else to build it or upgrade to a runner (it will probably be cheaper).
  21. If money isn't your biggest problem then put it all in storage for later consideration and buy yourself something to rumble around in and tinker with once in a while. And a table saw.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  22. Damn, I'd seriously like to build that. Always wanted a 31 Roadster.

    Anyway, don't stick with it if you no longer feel the passion. Sell the project and buy a driver. You don't owe anyone anything. It's your life and you need to be happy and not feel burdened by a ball and chain sitting out in the garage. Life is short, my friend. Do something you love.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  23. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,514

    from Nicasio Ca

  24. Hot rods seem to provide the psychological stability that everything else is based off of
  25. That car ain't eatin nuthin. Let it sit until you get a chance to work on it. Remember, in a few years it will be worth more than the money you paid for it.
    I think we have all gotten discouraged and sold a project only to regret it later on.
    I have cars that I haven't touched in 10 years, probably never will. Like someone said, its a hobby. Its supposed to be fun. If you are going to go by a time clock, you turn the hobby into work.
    But if you are more interested in driving around than building then maybe you need to look at an already running car. You can still hide the A in the garage til later.
  26. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 1,235


    First thing I'd suggest is remove the stuff that has piled up on it, so the car seems like an active project again. I bet you'll feel better immediately. A stalled project can prey on your mind.

    Next, you've got to figure out whether you've genuinely lost interest, or a simply feeling overwhelmed.

    Stripping an entire car of rust can seem overwhelming. So think of it in batches: This month I will strip the cowl, next month a quarter, the next month another quarter, etc. Use an angle grinder with a soft wire brush followed by scotch brite pads, get it as far as you can and then neutralize with phosphoric acid. Move on.

    Welding patch panels is not mysterious alchemy. You can figure it out. I took a short crash course from a local guy, bought a MIG welder (doesn't cost much more than a table saw;)), and taught myself on a rotted out Model A subframe I got at a swap meet for $10; when I was done, I sold it for $50. Essentially got paid to practice! Looks like you've got some extra sheetmetal parts there that might fill the bill. Dont' fear it: If you screw up a patch, you can cut it out and do it again. Use .023 wire, lots of little tacks, don't overheat the metal.

    Best piece of advice I got off the HAMB, and it's been repeated on this thread, is to do something every day. It will keep you moving and keep you interested. And remember, even having a beer and contemplating next steps counts as something.

    If in the end it turns out you really have lost interest, no shame in that. You can easily sell it, or trade it for the truck you mentioned.
  27. I know how you feel just go to my thread The 56 buick wont start again. Some times you just have to walk away for a day or 2. PLUS I got a LOT of help here on this board. Hopefully she will be running this week. Good luck.Bruce.
  28. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 8,079

    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    Close to 30 deuces thru the shop since 1970 and I don't think there was one that at some point I didn't get discouraged and think about quitting. Many of them were for paying customers so I had to forge ahead. Quite a few were package cars that the customer finished but many of them were my own and I was buried so dam deep in them I couldn't quit. I find that yet today when I'm doing a customer chassis it takes a little longer and I wonder why I still do this, but everyday I do a little and they always get done. Don't quit, the reward is worth the effort!
  29. Mo rust
    Joined: Mar 11, 2012
    Posts: 607

    Mo rust

    If you don't feel that you have the skills or resources to tackle your roadster project right now, push it aside for awhile and find a buddy or two in the area and help them with theirs. You'll pick up some skills and confidence and they will probably return the favor when you are ready to put your build in high gear.
  30. harley rider
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 527

    harley rider

    this hobby is all about how bad you want it. if you want it bad enough you will find a way. I didn't know how to weld till I learned,I didn't know how to do body work till I learned how.You either learn how to do what you need or you pay someone to do it. if not willing to do either it is time to move sounds like to me that you have already convinced yourself that you can't. good luck with what ever you decide.

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