What were you thinking?

What do the words "too far gone" mean to some who builds cars for fun?

4y ago

I admit it, I'm a carthusiast, I'm also an unrepentant sucker for lost causes. Consider the car above, I needed a motor for my poor, abused 1993 Chevrolet pickup. Unlike smart people, I was just casually looking through Craigslist and saw a 1970 Buick Skylark for sale with a motor from a 1991 Chevrolet pickup. My wife (now ex) knew the truck needed a motor, so I had indirect (albeit without defined fine print) spousal support. I also had her willing to let me build a hot rod with what was left over. I've never been much good at sports (not for lack of trying), but I imagine this is what a Super Bowl winner must feel like.

"For sale, 1970 Buick Skylark, 350 Chevrolet motor from 1990s Chevrolet truck, body in perfect shape, new floorboards, runs and drives great, just needs finishing touches." What could possibly be wrong with it? a lick of paint, a bit of boffin-about in the engine compartment, and I'd besmudging the Prius-laden Seattle air with tire smoke in no time at all. Granted, it was 200 miles south of me, the transmission was in a box and needed some assembly, but it was the motor I needed - truly, it was a sign from heaven. Not only that, but I had parts from another Buick that was... well, a bit rusty...

I pulled this dash with my bare hands - a bit of rust... did I mention I hauled this 200 miles twice?

I pulled this dash with my bare hands - a bit of rust... did I mention I hauled this 200 miles twice?

Liar. My High School English teacher would have had a terrible time with that one-word sentence. Squinting modifier she'd say - or she'd say something else, but I honestly wasn't listening then any more then I do now. I'd say it's accurate in either sense, so she can go back to whatever English teachers do when they're not tormenting children. The floor, for example, was crafted with the remains of a refrigerator. The artistic touch of using a green refrigerator was a nice touch but still completely and totally wrong. But I was in love. It was affordable, it had a motor, and best of all, I had another 'worthy' motor for it that could have it on the street in no time.

Deluded liar. I spent the better part of a year painting, putting the motor in, doing bodywork (which I still hate doing), replacing the transmission (several times) and eventually putting in a Buick motor with a manual transmission. It was not perfect, and its next owner called it Jessica Rabbit because she was so sexy but badly drawn. I own some of that and honestly you're either making waves or getting seasick - though, it might be said that some of the bodywork would make one seasick as well.

But you know something? I drove that car for several years, eventually selling it to do the next project (which I'll talk about in another post). That car also brought at least 10 people into hot rodding, field searching, craigslist perusing, wife convincing, people just like me. They're friends and their wives still talk to me too so it's really not that bad. Best of all, I got to see the grin on a 18-year-old kids face when he realized he was going to get to drive the car without me in the passenger seat or even that close by.

So what is your wrecks to beauty story?

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