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Projects My girl builds a hot rod for $1

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Squablow, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 16,054


    A real, live, working car for a total investment of $1. No freebies either.

    About a year ago I met a nice girl and we started dating, and I pitched an idea at her. I said we'd start with $1 and she'd buy something to resell, with the idea that we could build that one dollar into a car. In October 2012 we settled on an old pressed tin Tonka Jeep from a local thrift shop.


    It ended up selling for $9 on eBay, and after some fees, she had about a $6 profit to re-invest. That got spent on some more cheapie thrift store junk and a lucky score of old cabinet hardware that brought in some nice profit, and by the time swap meet season rolled around in spring, she had a decent nest egg to work with. This was the haul we brought in from Spring Jefferson swap meet.


    After reselling the majority of this stuff, the right car came along, a 51 Chevy 2 door sedan for $1000. Luckily, the proceeds from the Jefferson haul was enough to pay for the car with enough left over to re-invest at the Iola swap meet. Here's the car as-purchased on the day we brought it home.


    Then we made a list of stuff that the car needed, and headed out to the Iola swap meet for some more resale investments and some parts for the car. The two highest priority items were fender skirts and a rear bumper, and she ended up finding a pair of the correct skirts for $5 and a rear bumper for $10. She couldn't have gotten luckier at the swap meet, we had to make 5 trips back to the car with full carts from all of our purchases.


    We've been working on the car in the meantime, the straight 6 runs good and the brakes are all working thanks to a friend who stepped up to help out on the mechanical end of things, which I'm terrible at. The car came with some chrome wheels which cleaned up nice, and we made some wide whitewalls using my infamous Snow-Seal method. We cut up a set of '55 Buick side trim to run on the car and now we're trying to figure out the paint scheme and stance.

    I showed her quite a few pics of custom cars of the era, she likes skirts and taildragger stance, and she wants the car to be two tone green. Just not sure if the car should be all light green with dark inside the Buick trim (like the Hirohata Mercury), or if the top of the roof should be dark green to match the cove, or if the car should be mostly dark green with the ligher color on the roof and cove. This is a pic we took of the car as it stands today, with the trim mocked up on it with tape.


    Hoping to get some photoshop advice on colors and stance so we have a blueprint to work off of. I'll post this pic up in the photoshop thread as well.

    And I'll add a bunch more pics and info on the car and I'll update it as the build progresses , just wanted to start this up as a build thread and hopefully get some photoshop advice and feedback on the project.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
    dana barlow likes this.
  2. pwschuh
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,614


    Congrats (on the girl and the car). You'd better marry her before she decides she likes the car better than you.;)
  3. harleycontracter
    Joined: Aug 25, 2007
    Posts: 2,019


    Im gunna start with 2 dollars and see if I can parlay that into a deuce Great job !!
  4. spiders web
    Joined: Jan 16, 2011
    Posts: 386

    spiders web

    Ahhhh to be young!!!!!!!!!!

  5. chubbie
    Joined: Jan 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,318


    this tread would be alot more interesting...if we had details of all the deals from the dollar up:p the coolest bild ever!!
  6. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,527

    from Nicasio Ca

    Don't tell me, she's good looking too. Some guys have all the luck.
  7. zjerry
    Joined: Feb 11, 2013
    Posts: 319


    Some Guy's have all the Luck a nice gal & a nice car congrat's.:)
  8. where's the pictures of the girl?
  9. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 16,054


    I've got pics and details on all the things we bought and sold so far, and Rachel kept a spread sheet style log book of each thing with what she paid, what she sold it for, and all the related fees and cost, I'll post up some more detailed pics and maybe a complete run through of everything when I get a chance.
    cleetus77 likes this.
  10. brooksinc1976
    Joined: Dec 4, 2009
    Posts: 281

    from P-Town

    That's great. I think one of the few things I like better than American iron is the great American dream. Great success story

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  11. Gerg
    Joined: Feb 27, 2006
    Posts: 1,827


    I can't wait to see more on this car you have been telling me about it for a while. Might have to make the might trek all the way 45 minutes up to your place again to check it out.
  12. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 16,054


    Thanks for all the feedback so far. I have lots more, but one of the more interesting resale purchases were these 1960's era diamond shaped chrome cabinet handle backing plates. They'd go behind the knobs on kitchen or bathroom cabinet knobs. We got these for 10 cents each at a big local closeout type store, all still new in the wrappers, and we sold them in groups, they were selling for $2 each and we went through probably 300 or more. They were the hot ticket for the midcentury modern house crowd. I know I put a couple hundred of them in my own house.

  13. BRENT
    Joined: Jun 22, 2005
    Posts: 252


    Awesome story! Reminds me of the story where a guys bought a house with a paper clip! same sort of idea, kept trading up and up until he eventually got a house.

  14. 1950-mercury
    Joined: Mar 20, 2011
    Posts: 534


    Awesome story!! Congrats on the car!!! Thanks for sharing!
  15. heatnbeat
    Joined: Jan 6, 2009
    Posts: 184

    from Madera,Ca.

    Sounds like " the barter queen!
  16. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 28,951

    Jalopy Joker

    very Cool - suggest the upper section of car being a dark color. with a tall roof will help to make it seem lower. plus, the lower lighter color will help accent the lower section being lower.
  17. Good story. I like the side trim. There were original light and dark green colors on those cars which would probably look good......just need to decide on where to place them.

    Would those diamond pieces attach to some backing and make a grille for some car?
  18. 2racer
    Joined: Sep 1, 2011
    Posts: 960


    get her a real estate license!
  19. No_Respect
    Joined: Jul 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,172

    from So-Cal

    Awesome this is a good example of determination and goals pay off. Ill be watching..
  20. old soul
    Joined: Jan 15, 2011
    Posts: 1,093

    old soul
    from oswego NY

  21. Uteslider
    Joined: Aug 18, 2013
    Posts: 17


    Awesome idea, I thought I was building my machine on a tight budget. Nice car to start with too, I'm really keen to see how this turns out.
  22. That's how my Chevy was going. I added up all the stuff I bought and sold with that car and I was ahead by like $500 for it all when I sold it.
  23. robertsregal
    Joined: Oct 2, 2008
    Posts: 743


    Interesting story, keep the photos on progress coming!
  24. Dave Rondou
    Joined: May 26, 2008
    Posts: 668

    Dave Rondou

    Great story. Keep us posted.
  25. cmarcus
    Joined: May 23, 2012
    Posts: 953


    Certainly going to follow this one. Takes a lot of patience and good sense on how to resell and flip for profit like you are doing. Love it! :)
  26. This thread should be required reading to all newbies and folks hoping to build a car!
  27. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 8,594


    Congrats on your barter sucess story. Marry that girl NOW! Shes a keeper. John
  28. Yummy
    Joined: Jul 8, 2006
    Posts: 164


    I was intrigued about this story when you mentioned it at Symco.
    Very cool, I'll be watching for updates.
  29. 117harv
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 6,590


  30. Uteslider
    Joined: Aug 18, 2013
    Posts: 17


    Agreed, as a newbie builder it certainly got me thinking outside the box. Worked out a slightly different way to fund my own project that I wouldn't have thought of otherwise. Thanks guys!

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