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Art & Inspiration Just a hobby or ??????

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by themoose, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. I always liked cars as a kid and my buddies and I always enjoyed playing around with them and as we grew older it was the hot rod and custom scene that got our attention but I never thought of making a living in the car business. I got drafted by the army ( good old Vietnam era) soon after graduating from high school and when I finally returned home from overseas I did what everyone else did in my hometown ,I got a job in one of the local factories. I soon realized that working in a factory was not the life for me. A friend of mine was working in the next town over at a speed shop called the Motor Clinic and he told me to come and apply for a job as a mechanic because they were willing to train guys who had the aptitude and desire to work with cars. I did and the rest is history. I went from wrenching on cars to managing all of the fixed operations of a big GM dealership and made a good living at it until my recent retirement. How many can say they made a living doing something the loved. Just wondering how many of you have or do make a living in the auto business and the story of how it went from hobby to a way of life.
    gascrank, loudbang and juuraslahti like this.
  2. King ford
    Joined: Mar 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,463

    King ford
    from 08302

    Great story Moose! Thanks for your service ...I am currently living my dream, just retired sept. First and doing some collector car work on the side and playing with my toys more!
    themoose likes this.
  3. I was going to be a mechanic. By the time I left school, I knew I loved hot rods, and also knew if I became a mechanic, that I'd end up disliking cars, so I gave up on that. I've never regretted it either. Worked for Ford as car detailer straight outer school for a while, then discovered punk rock and girls. :D
    Then the eighties was ln full swing, and now we have stupid pastel paint, awful graphics and billet crap. Yuck, I walked away from my car affliction in disscust.
    Still went to car shows, but by then my career as a Tattoo artist was in full swing, so I just peddled old Holdens around, sixes and eights.

    When I discovered traditional hot rodding, I was blown away. Here was others who didn't follow the pastel billet muck, I thought I was alone. ;)
    I got there after seeing the new RR thing, which wasn't as ugly a thing in the beginning as it eventually turned into. At least it helped me get to here.
    So I'm glad how it turned out. I still feel if I'd become a mechanic, that I'd have no time for working on my own cars, or want to.
    So its a hobby to me I guess, one that consumes my thoughts in most of my free time, when im not busy chasing my customers needs.

    Now, off out to the shed to fix my damn lawnmower. :eek:
    37hotrod, themoose, bct and 1 other person like this.
  4. Long time hobby for me although I have built and helped build hot rods for friends. HRP

  5. It' an all consuming hobby. I've always had a job using tools just not as an auto mechanic, I've been a millwright for many years.
  6. I started out as a auto mechanic, worked for some small shops and then a large Ford Dealership. I have always had hotrods and worked on them as a side line. I work on medium and heavy duty trucks, diesel mechanic, for the last 20 years. Mostly engine work. I can not wait to retire and just work on and play with hot rods. It is a way of life for me, love to drag race. The older I get the more I hate my regular job. But thats the way it is, for now.:rolleyes::)
    loudbang and themoose like this.
  7. Finished High School in 66, knew what I wanted to do. My dad was a mechanic so he helped me keep my old car going. Got a job at a machine shop, learned to rebuild cyl heads, grind crankshafts, make masters and grind camshafts, bore blocks, and all other things to rebuild engines. Next job was at a Goodyear service center, Did front end alignments,and general mechanic and A/C work. next job was at a speed shop selling and installing parts.
    Opened my own speed shop in 74 added a machine shop and second speed shop in 76. places like Jegs and Summit made a small speed shop hard to survive. Started building drag race chassis in the early 80s
    moved to Ft Lauderdale in 84 ,building race cars full time. Back to Arkansas in 2000 building race cars, mostly small tire Fox body door cars, get to build a Altered or a big tire car ever so often.
    I never made a lot of money, but made a fairly good living. raised two great kids,have a good wife for the last 48 years, all which love old cars and race cars.
    I have always enjoyed what I do for a living. Cars is the only job I have ever had.
  8. Mike Colemire
    Joined: May 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,390

    Mike Colemire

    I graduated in 75, I had done been building barns for 4 yrs. Built houses, done construction, worked at a large salvage yard for several yrs. GM dealership called me, worked there for 4 yrs, then a Ford dealership called, worked there, GOOD money, for 10 yrs until they closed the doors. Been at another Ford dealer for 7yrs. I also got a garage at home. I've worked on diesels and everything else and I can tell you it is getting really old. I have carpule tunnel, a type of arthitus, and a screwed up back. Bad spelling also. This new stuff is getting so bad to work on, engineering has went out the window. Ford seems to try and make it as hard as possible. Enjoyment to me is going in the garage, locking the door, and working on my gasser project on a Sunday afternoon after church. Bad part is, I had done passed all the test to go into commercial art. At 18, I could have had a really good high paying job, but I was so smart at the time I passed it up. If only we could have a do over.
    themoose likes this.
  9. wreckfixer
    Joined: Jun 15, 2009
    Posts: 317


    When I was first married I worked at a concrete plant for ten years and hated it. I enrolled in a body shop glass at the cc, learned the basics. My brother was working at the local ford dealership. They gave me a chance and I worked as a body man and assistant manager. For 12 years then another 3 at a different shop. Now I'm a technician for natural compressors and do some body work on the side. And of course my own stuff.
    themoose likes this.
  10. Came back from overseas, late in 68, Sgt. Army, infantry, was into cars since my early teens so I went to work for International Harvester, Ft. Wayne, IN. building medium and heavy duty trucks, UAW, also spent some years on the Scout Line, retired in Springfield, Ohio in 2004, 35 years. Built hot rods and street rods from 1962 till 1982. Always wanted to fly so I got into aviation, started flying ultra lights then went into Experimental Aircraft, built 4 planes, bought 14 acres, had a house and hanger built, put in a 2,000' runway and rented hanger space to a few pilots, flew for 25 years. Decided to move to Minnesota in 2010 to be closer to my daughter and family, bought lake property and rebuilt the garage so I could get back into building traditional hot rods, my first love, best decision I could've made, it's great to be back, been an exciting journey!
    themoose, LongT and Chucky like this.
  11. Hey Moose- YES- I have to consider it a hobby.... I wrench all day..... It was a good plan many years ago,but leaves me a lil empty at the end of the day. Just tired,and don't want to "go for it again" when I get home,although it's for MY satisfaction,and what I want........
    I make a good living, and able to play with my chosen hobby, but- If I had stayed in school,and became a veterinarian- well, I think I would be more thankfull for "our " hobby..... And just for P's and Q's..... A mechanic that hate's side job's.... Very rare that i'll bother,and people ask why? Why? because I do it all fricken day! If I'm gonna spin wrenches,it's going to be on my own stuff!
    I still make it happen, but I might have had a different perspective/appreiciation ....... My worthless OP.
    kiwijeff and themoose like this.
  12. blackanblue
    Joined: Feb 20, 2009
    Posts: 408


    So I started out as a farmers son trying to help keep the junk running then ended up an electrician construction and maintenance then motorcycles mainly Harleys hobby? more life style. So now my son rides the panhead . now I play with hotrods,,hobby or life syle,,what ever you want to call it,as long as you love it..
    themoose and Speedys Garage like this.
  13. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350


    My "story" is pretty boring really...
    I was born and raised around cars, bikes and about anything with a gas i took interest at a very early age, well before a job/career was even a thought.
    Fast forward to senior year of high school, i got a job at a neighbors Sunoco service station as a co'op thing because i had already had some wrench experience...not a crazy amount but enough to make due.
    That was 25 years ago, and i'm still at the same old school Sunoco 3 bay service station. Except now im the head tech.
    So i do make a living wrenching on cars etc, and thats how i fund my lifestyle. I'll admit, working on newer stuff has gotten old at this point and it isnt very enjoyable, but i have somehow been able to separate my job from what i do After hours in the shop.
    The old cars, trucks and bikes part of me is without a doubt a lifestyle not a hobby, and truly feel that lifestyle developed well before my 20's. And i feel lucky in that i still get excited when the end of the work day comes because i know soon i'll be working on something i enjoy.
    Having something old to work on, build and drive has become my way of life and a mental necessity. Without having that outlet i can become very difficult to deal with...and im actually being serious about that.

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
    Tuck, 1927graham and themoose like this.
  14. I have never worked in the automotive craft as a living . I use my hot rodding as an escape. I have been self employed most of my adult life and working on my hot rod is very relaxing .
    My wife's friends ask her why I spend my time in my toy box and her reply is "He's not in a bar and I like his choice".
  15. blackanblue
    Joined: Feb 20, 2009
    Posts: 408


    Traditional rods are my passion, but I met some guys that just put me to shame and blew me away the Tigerboys in Guelph ont.are restoring and flying vintage byplanes don't no a lot about models and history but Bruce took me for a ride in a tigermoth a bucket list thing,,,its not a hobby its a lifestyle..
    themoose and 1927graham like this.
  16. MOTOV8N
    Joined: Mar 20, 2015
    Posts: 390

    from Manitoba

    The world is a better place because of fellas like yourself, moose! we are all lucky to have the freedom to work and have a hobby in great countries!!
    kiwijeff, Tony and themoose like this.
  17. am in the same boat , so to speak
  18. A Tigermoth is an incredible biplane, I flew a SPAD 13, an 80% replica I built with no kit or plans, many hours building, well over 2,000.
    DSCN6927.JPG DSCN6937.JPG
  19. Tony, not a boring story, actually very good, good for you!
  20. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350


    Thank you!
    1927graham likes this.
  21. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,707

    from Colorado

    Had two great journalism teachers and wrote a car of the month column for the high school paper. Took my clippings to Petersen in 1959 and got a foot in the door writing for R&C. Did some freelance work for HOT ROD INDUSTRY NEWS and got a part time job writing press releases for Fall Enterprises, one of three ad agency's specializing in the high performance aftermarket industry. First clients were Torco Oil, Dragmaster and Carlsbad Raceway. Opened my own agency in 1970 with a client list that included, Crower, Jardine, Offenhauser, Weber and Husqvarna Motorcycles among others. Started a marketing company that designed and sold products using logos from ROAD & TRACK, FOUR WHEELER, CYCLE WORLD, WORLD TENNIS magazines. All of my hot rods are banger powered and always seem to be a work in progress. Still have a Speed Equipment Manufactuer's Association member plaque hanging over my desk in the shop.
    themoose, D-Russ and kiwijeff like this.
  22. triman62
    Joined: Sep 2, 2013
    Posts: 275


    I work on old cars and motorcycles as a hobby, I have been a mechanic all my life. I grew up in a family of shade tree mechanics, and went professional at the age of 18 in 1980. I manage a fleet of trucks and construction equipment for a general contractor, I go in early and stay late where I have a bay with one of my projects in it that I work on most everyday. At home I have a custom motorcycle shop to keep me busy, I am planning on building an auto shop at home and spending a little more time working on all my projects .
    themoose and Speedys Garage like this.
  23. Some great stories here guys...Keep um coming!
  24. I have made my living working on cars and bikes at one time or another. no big story to tell, I am a good wrench and I have been on my own for a very long time, need to eat makes working a necessity. Well it was that or be a pimp I suppose. I have more then once worked on cars for fun and profit because I do like making things go fast and when I didn't have the money to work on my own stuff working on someone else's stuff allowed me to work on some things that my budget would never have allowed.

    I can't speak for everyone else but in my own life I have never gotten the enjoyment out of wrenching for a living that I get out of wrenching for fun. I still have to wrench a car for cash on occasion to make ends meet and it is not nearly as relaxing as going to the garage and tinkering with my own stuff.
    themoose, triman62 and 1927graham like this.
    Joined: May 5, 2015
    Posts: 934


    I went to school for auto mechanics, but never had the knack for finding the problem and making the repairs in a quick and fast manner. The first job I encounter as a auto mechanic was a blown valve cover gasket in which I remove the valve cover, cleaned it in the gunk tank, gave it a coat of engine enamel, install a new gasket and replace the valve cover. The Service Manager said, "nice job, but you will never make it as a mechanic". I ended up going into the army for 31 years and civil service. I should be retiring in 3 to 5 years.
    themoose likes this.
  26. Hot Rods are my weekend hobby… I’m a mouse clicking desk jockey by trade. I grew up in 80/90’s with a family full of shade tree mechanics with hot rods or customs. I was always good at art, but in college I decided I didn’t want to be a “starving artist” and went into graphic design instead. Started out at an ad agency that specialized in event marketing for automotive dealerships (car dealer junk mail). At least it was automotive related, but got laid off in 08’… a blessing in disguise! I had started freelance business in 2004, selling printing of brochures and catalogs to some of the Aftermarket Parts Vendors of our hobby. I continue with my own business until 2010. Now I work for NAPA’s headquarters, producing mostly packaging designs and a few quarterly publications. I’ve meet and done design work for NAPA’s race teams for Ron Capps, Chase Elliott, and Robby Woods. It’s been a wide range of design work, which I like… and the benefit of some free tools and discounted auto parts feed my weekend passion!

    As some have stated, working full time in the related field of your hobby can curb the passion a little… I’m glad I was persuaded towards art instead of mechanics as a career, even though I enjoyed working on cars much more while growing up. On the other hand, I haven’t draw/painted any artwork by freehand in probably over ten years…
    themoose likes this.
  27. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,257


    Always worked on cars, modifying etc and driving the dirt logging roads in Northern Maine, my goal in life as inscribed in my graduation yearbook (1967) was to 'build and drive a supermodified'. During college I crewed Irish Jack Murphy's Supermodified at Oswego and then toured on Charlie Kemp's M8-C McClaren Can Am car. I started racing in the mid 80's and eventually ran a B/A and built many cars for others until going into the speed shop business in the late 90's. I built and raced funny cars & Top Sportsman until a guy asked if I would build a nostalga FED for him, I said sure as long as it was blown alcohol and not an injected SBC. We got together and I fired up a funny car I was working on, he heard and felt it and the deal was struck. I built this little FED with a picture of an old Don Prudome car as a blueprint. The car turned out beautiful, a year later he handed me a magazine called Rod & Kulture that did a feature on the car and I read all about these old hot rods - I didn't need to see a picture of the car I built but I was fasinated that these old hot rods still existed! I had no idea, I had been racing modern stuff and could care less what was going up and down the roads.
    I saw people just like me, shaved heads, tats and being creative, making stuff and driving old tin! I felt right at home for the first time in years. I literally had no idea all this was going on. It took a lot of learning and
    catching up to get into the traditional hot rods, the HAMB has been a big help.
    The FED was 'Old Bones' and is still a very popular car.
    Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.
    themoose likes this.
  28. das858
    Joined: Jul 28, 2010
    Posts: 721


    I started in the automotive business in December of 1975 when I was a senior in high school. Went to tech school next, after graduation started working in gm dealerships for the next 12 years. Went to work next for a friend with an independent auto repair shop for 12 plus years. The last 11 plus years I've been a fleet mechanic for our local police department, finally have good benifits!
    themoose likes this.
  29. Moose, thanks for starting this thread, all of us "car guys" (and girls) share a common bond. My dad always had a car in some sort of dis repair for as long as I can remember. He was a kid during the depression and remained very frugal, therefore our project car was the 36 Chevy 4 door, not the Model A coupe that I liked. My first job was cleaning the local machine shop, when I graduated High School I began there as a lathe operator, I was taught to run shapers and Bridgeport mills as well. When I turned 21 I was hired at a concrete plant, where I ran a end loader and batched ready mix concrete. Moving ahead 40+ years and I'm still in concrete, Thankfully on the sales side for the last couple decades. I never worked in an automotive shop, but always wrenched on something, roundy round cars when I was young, muscle cars when I was a little older, my first hot rod, a 33 Chevy was started when my kids were young and took 10 years to finally drive. With 4 kids, Little League, Cub Scouts, dance class, softball, etc. makes time and money kinda scarce. As the kids are now grown, I'm back in the garage again, just finishing my 48 Chevy pick up. To me there are few things as rewarding as finishing a car or truck and getting it out on the highway, I have done Power Tour several times and plan to make the Chicago to Santa Monica Rt. 66 trip in my truck. I agree with one of the previous posts that indicated cars can be a lifestyle, most of my friends are car people, vacations are planned around events and I wouldn't,t change a thing. Hopefully I can get after it as long as my father did, he built and painted his last car at the age of 80, claimed it kept him young!
    triman62, Speedys Garage and themoose like this.
  30. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 6,260


    Born into racing family, Dad had midget from 1948 thru his passing in 1987, myself, Always a car guy from little on, but I got into Tool & Die Trade right out of high school and ended up owning my own shop/business for 36 years, retired 5 years ago. Involved in racing myself for 21 years and went back into car hobby after racing, I Enjoyed my Business, the car hobby/racing hobby completed me as person, now I realize how lucky I was/am to have made the right decisions for ME. The best advice anyone can receive is, Find something you like/love and you'll never work a day in your life. Preached this to my children and they (5) ALL are sucessful, hard working, seemingly happy adults. I have stated this before, I am a very lucky man and thankful for my good fortune !
    themoose likes this.

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