Get off couch and into cruising
It’s a pleasurable hobby whether you build or buy your ride
SO you want to enter the collector car hobby. For most, cruising down the road in that special machine remains a dream, but it doesn’t have to be.
As a car guy, my best recommendation is you simply find something you like that has been recently restored. That way, you get to write the cheque, take the keys and cruise happily down the road to the local cruise spot. No bruised knuckles, no sleepless nights and no additional bills to pay for parts and labour.
On the other hand, if you like a challenge and have some free time, there is another way. For example, if you’re savvy at taking things apart and putting them back together without having parts left over and the item still actually functions as intended, you may have the mechanical inclination to actually pull it off.
Another benefit is that it’s a project the whole family and friends can take part in. You’re going to spend hundreds of hours dismantling refurbishing, rebuilding and reassembling that dream machine. Quality time with family doing something productive and learning as you go can only be viewed as a positive life experience.
The starting point is finding something you want. Whether you buy it or build it, you’re going to have to live with it, so really do some searching here.
If the household is down to two people, the two-seat sports car you dreamt about in high school may be perfect, but it just doesn’t cut it as a Sunday family cruiser. Full-size convertibles and hardtops are about the most commonly restored vehicles, and parts are geared towards meeting that marketing need in the restoration field.
Restored station wagons are also a possibility for a larger family and have been making a comeback as a niche vehicle. Face it, if you want to stand out at a car show a wagon or even a pickup truck is definitely different.
Once you find out what you want, put together a budget and start looking. My rule of thumb is
A ’71 Corvette dragcar/street machine project. At right, parts for sale.
Complete running small block Chevy V8.
At top, an Olds 442 project car.