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Hagerty Employee

Your project car doesn't care if you're an expert | Hagerty Media

We spend our lives accumulating knowledge, thinking that this stored insight will ward off disaster while we enjoy our vintage rides. The car doesn't care. You may have read all the books and manuals, collected all the special tools, watched the YouTube videos, called the experts, and gotten a good night's sleep beforehand, but the car is inanimate.
New Driver

Never have truer words been written. The car doesn't know the difference. Perhaps having experience might save time and headaches as the experienced mechanic might approach a task from a different angle or exercise additional caution when moving toward those make-or-break moments of bolt removal and whatnot. Then again someone with experience might not even tackle a project, knowing the inevitable world of hurt, frustration, and repeatedly renegotiated timetables involved in a particular project...and that could mean something that could be perfectly good in the right hands gets scrapped. Let's face it: the whole collector car hobby is based on people getting in over their heads, doing their best, and learning from the experience.
New Driver

When I was 19 I went looking for a snowmobile, and I ended up buying a '71 Corvette convertible. It was more a rolling basket case than a car. I loved cars and mechanical stuff and I remember that Corvette was a "knuckle muncher", drawing blood on every item I worked on. I had basic tools, some older mechanics for advice, and little fear of failure. I ripped into the suspension, rear end, brakes, interior and fiberglass, with a good portion being done in a garage with a dirt floor and a single light and outlet. I got that car together and painted in time to impress my buddies on my last semester in college. I was like the guy in this article with the motorcycle.
Now I am in my late 50's and have a much nicer (but too small) garage, lots of tools and that same car badly in need of a refresh. Now I feel a lot like the guy that wrote this article; I want to have a plan that will work flawlessly, but I know from experience that isn't likely. As a result I have been flat footed about getting started.
Thanks for the article, hopefully it will give myself and others the motivation we need to just "dive in and do it".

Maybe that's why my projects have taken on a glacial pace; too much planning, parts accumulation, research, time management, fear of failure. Maybe just do it like I did when I was 18; dive in, and cross the inevitable hurdles as they present themselves...

After seeing endless videos on YouTube on expert mechanics or a DIY on rebuilding a project car from scratch, time consuming and to have ultimate patience will be a key role because the car will show my remorse for no one even If you love that particular auto. 


Yep, I love cars, but they don’t always love me back.
Case in hoping the third time is the charm in getting a non-leaking seal on the oil pan of a Chevrolet 235. A project that regardless of diligent study and planning will likely come down to a Voodoo witch-doctor, some chicken blood and rolling bones across the shop floor. 

New Driver

You have to dive in, and sometimes you have to through money at it to get out, but keeping old iron on the road is really fun and satisfying. I love using a 50 year old van to run errands and haul stuff. This van sat dead in a side yard before I "got in over my head " and chipped away at the troubles piece by piece to put it back in service. Not many people get thumbs-up on a Saturday chore run in the Prius, eh?