To be fair, this week's Community Question doesn't have to be about cars...
But this is Hagerty, so I'd love to know what's the best advice you ever received that helped you on your path of classic car ownership/fandom?
To be honest, I don't know if I can find one great instance. I just remember a lot of small bits of knowledge dropped on me over the years from people. I just remember listening a lot and absorbing everything I could!
I recall several.
Never get emotional making a decision. This applies to life and very much to buying cars. Many get burned buying on emotion.
Choose who you hang out with carefully. In my case I chose car people but I even chose those who not the same ones crashing cars on YouTube.
often your friends are who get you into trouble or keep you out. So choosing friends wisely is good advice.
I could write a book on good advice. The only thing better than good advice s following it. Be wise, be modest, me honest, love your family trust in God. The list goes on and is long.
I failed following good advice on buying a Pantera when they were $16,000.
Many people fail in life due to poor decisions, some die from them.
Nothing so profound here.
One of my cars is a fairly high performance sports car with a unique engine. I grew up with carburetors and points, but this was a forced induction, EFI, MAP, CAS and ECU car. When I bought it someone whom I respected told me not to add any performance modifications to it for the first year. Instead, for that first year every time I opened the hood and saw a component I couldn’t identify, I was told to find it the Factory Service Manual and learn it’s purpose and function.
Can’t tell you how much time, money, and grief that advice saved me. And it was kinda fun.
Oh…and while driving it I was to keep the shiny side up.
Best advice came from my dad… when faced with a problem with many possible causes, it’s usually the simplest cause so start there. I always think the engine needs replacing versus just tightening the battery cables!
Cars come with manuals that took several engineers years of man hours to write, if you follow the maintenance schedule in that manual it will save you money on repairs and not doing more maintenance than you need to spend money on.
If there are more than any two things wrong fix them. Putting up with a sticky window and radio static leads to bad brakes, bald tires, and a missed oil change faster than you think.
A retired airline pilot who owned and maintained a Mercedes 600, and Delorean and several vintage Cadillacs gave me the best advice: "Always check the easy things first - most often that is what is causing the problem. Only after they all check out do you move on to bigger issues." I.e., if there is vibration going down the road, don't assume a bad torque converter or a driveshaft rebuild is needed. Check tire balance first.
Sadly, with my luck, it's ALWAYS the worst possible, and most expensive thing! (Might have something to do with how badly I thrashed my cars when I was younger...)
Not so much advice but something to remember to keep your car running great: your car is like your body - a nice walk every day is good for your health, but to stay in the best shape, every now and then you have to run! So don't be afraid to rev those engines, they need their exercise too.
Buy the best shoes, mattress and tires you can afford. Because you'll always be using one of them.
The only time you'll feel good about buying something cheap is when you buy it. You'll feel good about buying something of quality every time you use it.
This is an awfully small one, but one I use constantly and has proven to be very important: "be sure to slightly thread in all bolts in an assembly before tightening any of them." Small, but important......and solves a lot of frustration!
My Dad was a phenomenal mechanic and Hot Rod Ford guy. The 1st thing he taught me at about 11 yrs old was, if a car won’t start, always check for fuel and spark. 90% of the time, your missing one or the other. Boy, was that dead on
From Robert Pirsig, “Peace of mind isn’t all superficial, really. It’s the whole thing. That which produces it is good maintenance; that which disturbs it is poor maintenance. What we call workability of the machine is just an objectification of this peace of mind. The ultimate test’s always your own serenity. If you don’t have this when you start and maintain it while you’re working you’re likely to build your personal problems right into the machine itself.”
About 40 years ago a gentleman who worked on my Volvo 1800 (Which I still have) with his blower Bentley and Bugatti sitting beside it Gave me advice I never forgot. When you drop something (and you will) don’t lunge for it ….watch where it goes and you will find it 90% of the time. Never forgot it and it works 90% of the time.
In August of 1982 I had just purchased a 1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mk2 and found found out the Tigers East/Alpines East United was just up the river in Kingston, NY on Columbus Day weekend. I drove up and followed some Rootes cars to the host hotel where I met Tiger Tom Ehrhart and Doug Jennings of Tiger Auto in Dayton. Both were in the vending room and both have contributed parts and advice, and over the years, friendship. I’ll never forget what Doug said to me, the rookie car guy, when I met him: “start buyin’ parts”.
He was right. I really enjoy the feeling of having the part at hand when I need it, now that I’ve restored a few cars since then!
I still have that Commodore Blue Mk2 Tiger, and look forward to the SUNI event in September!
Best advice I ever got was to get hold of a copy of Dick O'Kane's "How to Repair Your Foreign Car...." Second best advice was from the parts dept. manager of the local Triumph dealer who pointed out the Triumph Herald, Vitesse, Spitfire factory workshop manual in their display case, a manual I promptly bought and studied (still use it 50 years later)!
Two quick ones that stick out:
First and most important was how to find and fix vacuum leaks. Might sound insignificant, but knowing how, where and why to correctly look will save you hundreds of yours over your lifetime.
Second is quicker. Don't buy a freshly painted car. Of course that has exceptions, like a KNOW good restoration. But for a daily driver, forget it. You just bought lipstick on a pig.
Best car related advice I ever got was from a grizzled old dealership
body shop supervisor. As a greenhorn new technician in a Pontiac
dealer I was tasked with taking a fender off a brand new Gran Prix.
As I was not a body tech I was nervous about messing it up. So off I
went to see Frank in the body shop for advice. He looked me up and down
and said,"Just keep taking bolts out til the fender falls off. Don't
overthink it, pretty much how this business works."
How I've tackled any new task since. Thanks Frank.
Bad advice that I gave to myself: If some boost is good, MORE must be better!!! And it is... but several broken cranks, bent rods, broken pistons, and dropped valve seats have made me tone it down a bit. Only took me about 45 years to learn....
Automotive related- Learning to talk the talk is far, far less important than being able to walk the walk.
Life in general- You cannot have success without sacrifice.
I was told three lines when I was an engineering co-op working with older guys:
(outdated now) If you think that it's the carburetor, it's electrical.
Glues don't and insurance isn't.
An infinite number of allen wrenches is not necessarily a complete set.
From my Uncle Irv who was a transmission engineer for General Motors:
You have to understand the difference between "bread" and "gravy".
Always give a problem at least 2 weeks to resolve if you can.