So far, 2017 is serving up a bit of a banger for me — or perhaps I’m serving it up myself, having actually got to the point where I have driven both the E36 and C10 projects. I can honestly say that I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Both of these have been full-scale builds from the frame up, and that weighs heavy on a man’s mind when trying to handle every damn thing yourself. It’s a feeling that many of you will relate to — that guilt in the pit of your stomach when you’re not in the shed spinning spanners or throwing sparks — because that b*tch ain’t going to finish itself. The day after REunion I was full steam into the C10 to have it ready for Beach Hop a month later, it’s an event I’ve failed to have it ready for twice, and I wasn’t keen on a third failure. On the Wednesday morning the day of Beach Hop 2017, I hadn’t been to sleep that night, and I was bolting in the last interior pieces for the truck ready to roll down to Whangamata, a three-hour drive away. I had barely done any highway cruising, and I was nervous to find out how all my suspension modifications would perform during a good strop through the windies. We made to Whangamata without incident, rolling in a convoy of eight mates. Over the week, I made a few tweaks and changes to get things running better — but it was, after all, a shakedown, and we certinaly shook that main road plenty of times — hammering the road and my chromoly cross member in the process.
Yes, I harp on about how great that event is, and it’s got absolutely nothing to do with anything inside this magazine — but it’s one that I attend year on year and miss out on other more-work-relevant stuff just to attend. Rolling your own car down that main street on a Saturday night, with thousands of people lining the streets, is an experience that just can’t be beaten. It’s a throw back to the old days of Queen St, a time in history I hold very close to my heart. This year the police were chill and so was the majority of the crowd. You build up to these events and often feel hollow after they are done and dusted — I’m already hanging to do it all again next summer.
But that shakedown showed me that I still need to do some work to the chassis to get it handling on rails, and continue adding some other finishing touches. With winter now banging on the door, I already have the grinder warmed up, so, although, yes, I have driven them both, I’m far from stopping that pursuit of perfection. I want my shit low, I want my shit fast, and I’m not stopping until I achieve both.
This car life sure takes a lot to commit to, but we all know that joy that makes it all worthwhile: simply enjoying your own hard work. To me, that’s what it’s all about.