My engineer brother started college at GMI (General Motors Institute). 6 months of class followed by 6 in the factory each semester. He went on to work for ASC. He would come in to family functions with a new pre-production car to drive and report on. One such endeavor was a Fiero with 4 wheel steering - the drive line in those (if memory serves me) was the front wheel drive clip from a Citation mounted as the mid engine of the Fiero. To accomplish this, GM replaced the steering rack with solid mounted tie rods. ASC simply swapped the steering linkage back in for the 4 wheel steering exercise. The issue was getting the front and back steering to respond sharper at slow speeds (for parking etc) but with slower response ratio at speed for stability. At the end of the tests, they put it back to stock, he bought the car and years later he sold it to me. With the convertible tops, ASC would engineer them, set up their conversion facility next to the manufacturer's main assembly factory. Cars slated for conversion to convertibles would go a certain distance during assembly and when the time was right, travel over to ASC for top mods, then back to the line for final assembly. Typically after this arrangement came up to snuff, ASC would fold their facility into the manufacturer's and move on to the next car company. That's one of the main reasons convertibles come a year or 2 later. They sell the base models while ramping up the new convertible line.
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Take what ever cars you like and seek out owners of them at car shows, blogs and car clubs. Hooking up with enthusiasts is one of the best ways to enter a hobby on the ground floor and rise quickly through osmosis via their shared knowledge. People like these in the hobby will go out of their way to share the highs (and lows) from the years of cutting their teeth just like you are about to embark upon. Remember, they started out once upon a time like you are now and learning from their mistakes saves you from committing them yourself. Add to that if you are lucky enough, you could maybe apprentice with them and even work on your car in their shop with their expertise along side you. This is how I got into my first bike - 1975 Harley FLH basket case. I got hooked up with a Harley mechanic. I told him I wanted to do as much work as possible so I ''knew'' my bike inside and out instead of just owning and riding it. Between him and all his buddies, there was no question too dumb to ask. Their love of the hobby was shared willingly with me. And the bonus was when we dropped the bike off the lift the first time. He said it was the prettiest bike even to come out of his shop! The 2nd bit of advise I ever got was to buy the most amount of car you can afford. What that means is put more into the highest level of that car you can buy so you have less needed funds to come up with to fix what can be avoided in a car of better shape. This is proven best once you get into buying a hot rod someone else built but then sells. More often than not, they never recoup the money (and more importantly the labor!) they put into it.
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