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How to know if you are an automotive masochist

After shutting off the little blue roadster's ignition and walking into the house, the problem became cemented in my consciousness. My two-and-a-half-car garage was already holding two cars unfit to venture beyond my mailbox, along with three motorcycles that weren't faring much better. (My daily driver, a trusty Chevy pickup, was naturally relegated to the driveway.) Yet I was about to add one more car. Previously, any suspicion that I had a problem snoozed quietly in my subconscious. Suddenly, it sped to the front of my mind like a NHRA dragster.


I am an automotive masochist. Apparently, it took my most recent acquisition to confirm my self-diagnosis.


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I am there! Let's see, current cars a 1962 Sunbeam LeMans coupe. Arrived on a trailer. Brakes seized and carbs shot. 1971 Opel GT - arrived on a trailer, carb shot  exhaust missing, etc. Then 1964 E Type. Drove home from the bay area, broke down three times, ignition shorted out, carb diaphragm leaked fuel on engine, and finally freeze plugs blew out. Trailered after that. Those are just the ones I still own. Of course, I love all three to death.

Intermediate Driver

In a similar corner. Garage full of motorcycle and stuff. Daily driver and C5 FRC in two car driveway. On Monday I board a plane to fly out and drive back a car cross country I impulsively bid on BaT... and won. Can’t even blame that bid on liquor, I was at work! I’m probably more of a hoarder.


I love a good FRC! What are you road tripping?

Another great read Kyle, I wish I could post a photo here.......  I am right with you!

Pit Crew

Kyle, When I was 8 years old, my teacher told my mother, "I'm a little worried, he likes to play with those little Matchbox cars at recess when the other boys are playing sports. Then I am 13, with a '31 Model A, then a '56 Chevy 210 Sedan, next came a '67 Cougar, then the '71 Challenger, a few old Honda's, then a '63 Catalina convertible, currently an '83 Camaro and an '89 Corvette, and I almost forgot, the '91 Harley and the '01 Indian. I never make any money on them, too much of a perfectionist for that. And, yep, I also work for a major auto manufacturer. All my wife can say is, "Oh well, I guess it's better than a blonde..."

Advanced Driver

See, Kyle? You're not alone. There's tons of us around.


Hi, I'm Jim, and I'm an Automotive Masochist!


I'm addicted to old Japanese cars that you can't get parts for!


Maybe we are all just coming out and saying it at once. We all have our vice. Yours sounds fun!

Welcome to the club as the saying goes. I am from a different generation but have done the same thing way too many times. When I was younger and you could still buy cool cars for a few hundred dollars, I would pick things up and hold onto them having a several acre storage lot. Now 35 cars, trucks, RV's and boats later I am wondering if at age 62 it maybe time to sell a couple each year to help pay for a restoration project. I could sell them all and pay cash (waste good money) on a new truck but what fun would that be. I would much rather see the smiles on people's faces and the comments when I pull up to the gas pump in something 35+ years old, loud and different than everything else near by.

Pit Crew

You know you are an automotive masochist when you shove three cars and a motorcycle in a 2 car garage, and have to move the 4th car out of the driveway so you can climb in the passenger window of the car on the left and climb through the other cars windows to get to the drivers seat of the car you want to drive. Then squeezing it back into the garage and climbing out the same path you climbed in. When everything has cooled down move the 4th car back into the driveway...which blocks in the 3 other cars in the garage. Then forget you left your wallet in the car you just drove.



Whoa. That's a process!

I feel your pain (and joy), Kyle. I don't always recognize it at the time, but I get more "something" out of cars and bikes that need a loving hand. I recently bought a Triumph TR6,  knowing it was a project which was fine. But it has been even more fun than expected as I could actually make improvements vs. factory original without tremendous difficulty or expense--something not easily accomplished on newer cars. Bottom line: I love the challenge of making a silk purse out of a sows ear. Cheers!

New Driver

I understand your condition there son (I have it too).  There is great satisfaction in bringing home a car/bike/truck, etc. that may or may not run and "bring it back to life"!  Like we are playing God with mechanical beings. 


How many of you simply have walked around an auto parts store (or junk yards) just looking at oil, additives, air filters, old cars, parts, etc?  Seems to be a favorite past time of a lot of us.


Ill bet most of us with this affliction also like old stereos, record players, signage, rusty relics, etc..  It all comes with the disease . 


My current sickness (after dozens of restos) is a 1990 Ford Mustang LX 5.0 I bought from the original owner with 7,100 miles.  There's certainly something to be said for just getting in a vintage car (old but not too old) and knowing it will bring you down the road and back without breaking down :0)😉

Intermediate Driver

I do know I'm just as nuts as you are, and just as nuts as most of the people who posted here.  It doesn't help at all.  I just this week rejected a 66 Honda 160 Dream project because it was literally a pile of rusty junk disguised as a motorcycle.  Even so, I still find that I am thinking about it.  When every fastener was rusted to the point that it was mostly just red-brown lumps, and the rims were completely rotted, spokes all peeling and rusty, every cable jammed, headlight broken, bars bent, fender crumpled, exhausts rotted through.  You get the picture.  Why am I still wasting a moment on it?  


The 1st car that I bought with my own money way back in '77 was a 5 year old MG Midget. It overheated on the drive home.  It always needed something, that something being tinkering, replacing, and sometimes whacking a misbehaving bit with a hammer.  That emotional purchase (I had went to the Toyota dealer to buy a second hand Corolla, but a glance of the MG sitting on the lot doomed me) led to this life of continuous care of long past their prime cars.  Don't regret a minute of it.

Pit Crew

EVERY “toy” car I’ve bought was a either a repairable, or a potential hot rod or “work of art”. I always say the last will be “the last”, as I long to just enjoy what I have and quit buying work for myself, but yet something else comes along, and I just gotta...

Vintage or new, doesn’t matter, I like them all. What I have ranges from a stock ‘31 Ford A to an ‘06 Corvette custom.


I have already filled a two car garage, built a two car carport, filled it, and still have one in the elements. Fortunately I have limited myself to one in the project stage at a time... which is good because the upkeep on the remainder takes some time too. but yeah - with the exception of the daily driver, if there isn't something wrong with it, I don't find them as interesting


Wow, I am like you. I have in my 3 car garage: my wife's 2014 Escape, my 2019 titled, 3 wheeled, turbo diesel powered, XR3 homebuilt vehicle, my 2002 Miata which I am installing a 1987 Mustang 5.0-HO engine into, my 1985 Honda CB650SC motorcycle, and my 2020 BMW R1250R motorcycle. Last year I had to rent external indoor storage for my: 1970 Cougar, 1971 Ranchero, 1995 Taurus SHO, 1983 Honda CX650C motorcycle, my car trailer, and my 2017 Thor Gemini RV. I am glad I retired 3 years ago to have time to work on all my projects. Luckily, my wife of 36 years is "understanding".


Nice article that I can relate to.  I once bought a car that had a small fire because it seemed like a good idea at the time.  I ended up fixing it and bringing it back from certain death.  AC and heat worked amazing afterwards 🙂


LOL! This is myself to a "T" as well. My ONLY fear is RUST! Any mechanical repairs are always possible, but rust whole different issue. I live in TC as well, and here (as you know) on a quiet night, (lightning bugs or not) you can hear the cars rusting. My most recent buy is a 1983 Camaro, needs some work but NO RUST! Happy to crawl underneath. Salute!


I too am an automotive masochist. It’s nice to know there are others out there, lots of them apparently. Unless it’s for daily commuting, I never buy anything that doesn’t need “a little TLC”. CL and FB are treasure troves for projects and it’s addictive. When I’m driving, I find myself slowing down to see what’s in people’s fields, behind the garage and under that tarp. I’ve even taken to Google maps to see what the cars are stored in my neighbors back 40. 
Somewhere out there is another broken car that needs me. 
I’m guilty...just like the rest of you. 

New Driver

I'm a member of the club. Where do I pay my dues.


We set the club structure so there is no dues, more money for parts. We could all use that.
New Driver

Now that I have finished my 2 year project 1965 Falcon Hardtop. I satisfy my mechanical lust by working on everybody else's piece of crap....LOL

It is an illness, but like you said, the feeling you get is so rewarding when you fix something, in my case, almost anything....Good Article....



New Driver

100% right.  Add to it choosing cars/bikes/model years where its hard/expensive to source parts and you move up another rung on the masochistic ladder.

Intermediate Driver

STILL beats paying to 'lay on the couch' in a Therapist's office!

(AND, I haven't heard the "lightning bug" reference since I left PA all those years ago...)


Great piece Kyle. I have a 36 Chevy, a 66 Cutlass Convertible, a 66 Ford Econoline Van and my daily, an '06 Magnum SRT8. Took the Chevy all the way on the Hot Rod Power Tour last year. The Cutlass is a 75% completed project. The Econo was sitting next to a guy's garage on the side of the road for at least three years. It needed a new home. My wife let me bring it home. It was showing it's 50+ years, but apparently somewhere in it's past it had run. One tire blew out on the way home and the tow truck driver had turn the van around and pull from the opposite direction. Time and money . . . the car sat with a little work here and there until after A LOT of work, it finally fired up, and after a little more work actually idled pretty well. Happy days! Air high fives! But then there was that clacking valve. Off came the valve cover. It looked surprisingly good under there, expect for the one rocker that was not quite right and it's pushrod that was not as perfectly as straight as it should be. Now the head has to come off (it's a Ford 300). I wrench on . . .