Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Amelia Project

Taking all pros and cons into account, one car definitely stood out as my choice. Only problem was that it was $500 above my budget; time to negotiate.
I guess this car was just meant to be mine, as not only did I get him down to my budget but even below it. $1400 cash, and she was mine!

I am happy to introduce the newest addition to our "car" family...

1928 Ford Model A Sport Coupe

All packed up.


Checking left over parts from a previous owners roadster conversion.

 Done! (special thanks to my dad for all the help)

Toast with the best wife ever, and a huge THANK YOU to all my friends and family for helping make this possible!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Shopping for the Project Car

Soon after the Craigslist search began, I quickly realized that finding a good starter within my minimal budget of $1500 was going to be a trick. There were a lot of 40s, 50s and 60s project available, but anything 20s or 30s were harder to come by.

Over the course of 3 months, I ended up finding and looking at 3 cars that were around my budget and the body style I wanted.

No. 1
Late 1920s Model T Pickup
- Body with bed, rectangular tube frame, front axle and leaf, rear end housing and leaf, 4 wire wheels, and a small block Chevy engine
asking: $1600 obo


  • Most major components were included, which would give me a good start
  • Bed was in really good shape
  • Very simple body
  • Extremely rough body that would need a good amount of panel replacement, and a lot of fab work
  • Doors are welded shut (looking for working doors)
  • Over my budget
No. 2
1932 Chevy 5 Passenger Coupe
- Body, fenders, hood, grille, stock frame, and front axle
asking: $1500



  • Always wanted a car with a nice chop
  • Rare
  • Pretty complete
  • Almost perfect grille
  • Missing driver's door and trunk
  • Sourcing parts more difficult due to rarity
  • Rear lower section 
  • All wood structure completely gone
  • Roof would need a lot of structure support created
  • Lots of body panels, all of which needed work
  • Much more work than than a roadster

No. 3
1928 Ford Model A Sport Coupe
- Body, fenders, rolling chassis with all stock components, hood, stock wheels
asking: $2000



  • Roadster (coupe turned roadster)
  • Complete (minus radiator cover)
  • Body is in pretty good condition
  • Highly sought after year
  • My dad has a 1930 Model A, and is part of a group with a good source of knowledge/parts
  • Panels rusted through at bottom, needs patch panels
  • Someone started a poorly done channel job on it
  • Need extra fab work to complete conversion from sport coupe to roadster
  • Above my budget

Each car has its own strengths and weaknesses, and I tried to think about which would keep me interested the longest. This is going to be a multi-year project, so I need to be sure that the car really will keep me occupied. So what do you think I ended up going with? What would you have gone with?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Deciding what type of car to build

As I started thinking about what style and era of car I was going to go with, I decided the best approach was to start searching Google for cars that tickled my fancy, and add them to a board on Pinterest. This turned out to be a great method, as it kept all my ideas in one place, and I could keep going back to look at all the photos together to see what really stuck out. Here is the actual board I used: Project Ideas

Some of the cars I have on the board:

As you can see, it is a mish-mosh of European, American muscle, and hot rods. 

I currently own, and have owned, many European cars ('74 BMW 2002, 2 VW Jettas, a VW Corrado, and a new MINI Cooper), and thought it might be a good start to continue with that direction. However, after looking back on my Project Ideas board over a few weeks, I decided I needed to build something much older and with a V8. 

I began looking at the less popular 60's/70's muscle cars, as they would be a good start, good starting price point, and readily available parts. I again started pinning cars I found that peeked my interest, but there was still something missing. I felt like I needed to keep convincing myself that I would be happy with one for my project. After mulling it over for the next week or so, I decided to go big or go home, bite the bullet, and look for something pre-40's.

I knew that by going with something that old, was going to mean much more work, and most likely starting from the ground up with an incomplete car. However, this era has always been my favorite, and I knew I would have a much better chance of keeping my heart in the project and staying excited through all the work knowing I would love the outcome. 

Now that I knew what I was looking for, next step was to begin shopping. Off to Craigslist...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The beginning.

This will be my attempt at a digital documentation of my experience building my first hot rod from the ground up. I will be using this see my own progress, while hopefully sharing my experiences of trial and error, blood, sweat, and of course, some cursing. Hopefully it will help others gain knowledge from my experiences, as I have from so many.

So, who am I?

Well, for as long as I can remember, cars and planes have been my passion. They struck something deep when I was young, and have been a part of me ever since. While going through school, I worked at a tire shop, body shop, quick oil change place, and an aircraft maintenance company. I am a hands on guy, and have always done my own handy work. I have co-worked on a fair amount of projects with my dad while growing up, including rebuilding a 1967 Mini Cooper S clone, two Honda Z50s, and currently a 1982 Honda CB750 Cafe; however this hot rod build will definitely be the biggest project to date, but I am so excited to get started.

A couple of the previous projects:

1967 Mini Cooper S clone 

Z50 Chopper
Video of the Z50 build process

The whole idea of a project car started on my wedding day. My wife made my promise her that we would spend our 5th wedding anniversary in Italy. Jokingly I agreed to it on the condition that I'd have a project car by my 30th birthday. Well, we spent our 5th anniversary in Laglio Como, Italy, and the month of my 30th birthday, I began my search for my first real project car. I guess you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. 

Stay tuned, as I share my progress of shopping for the perfect project candidate.