Perhaps by now, you’ve had the opportunity to take a look at our 3 Part Series Basics of Getting Into The Automotive Hobby. If not, you can take a look at it here; and if you are at the point where The Hunt is On and you are just about ready to take things to the next level this post is for you.
Hopefully, by now you’ve had a great time taking in lots of great shows, and have tons of ideas floating around in your head, on countless pieces of paper, now let’s get you started. Now that you’ve got an idea for what kind of Hot Rod you want to build, you’ll need to decide what your plans will be for your project.
Are you wanting to make this a daily driver, weekend cruiser, or a show car? Searching for a new project can sometimes be a frustrating task, but don’t jump on the first one that comes your way.
Before you spend a dime on a potential project, check the availability of parts. When buying a rare car you’ll want to make sure that when you are putting the finishing touches on your projects, you won’t be stuck trying to find that impossible molding or trim piece.
Don’t get me wrong, I love unique Hot Rods that are different than the rest, just make sure that you’ll be able to find everything you need, or you’ll spend tons of money having to have something custom made.
Swap Meets, Classifieds, and word of mouth are great ways to find a new project, but take your time and carefully look at the car for before buying it.
Make sure that you’ll be able to title and register it where you live, this is a huge issue in many states, I’ve heard endless stories about people that have built Hot Rods only to find they can’t be titled or registered in their state.
The other issue with some states titling and registering your new Hot Rod is when they assign a vehicle a VIN it now becomes a new car. I know that sounds confusing but here’s an example, when the VIN is assigned, the title will say for example 2017 Ford 23 Model T Roadster, and along with that comes higher taxes and registration fees.
Buying a project that someone started but lost interest in can be a double edged sword. If you’re thinking about buying someone’s project, make sure that any frame, modifications, or suspension fabrication were done properly, with quality welding.
The last thing you need is your newly finished Hot Rod going sideways down the road or causing an accident from a broken frame or suspension part.
BEWARE of what the seller’s saying, some people will tell you anything to unload something they can’t finish. I can’t stress enough to be very careful at what you’re going to look at, especially if it’s a frame only. A lot of people are building frames that won’t fit anything just to make a buck.
The up side is that their loss can be your gain, just make sure you get all the parts in the deal, make sure all this is understood before any money changes hands. Don’t hesitate to bring a friend along that is more knowledgeable if you’re just getting into Hot Rodding.
Always ask questions about the project, where they got it, why they are selling it, and why they lost interest, maybe even talk to the people they bought it from. This is where you need to take your time, look at the project objectively, and not with rose colored glasses.
I have made this mistake a few times, it’s very easy to let your enthusiasm overload your billfold, and getting out of that situation can be difficult and costly.
With that being said, and your plan in hand, Good Luck on the search for your Dream Project.
This 1931 Chevrolet Sedan would need a total frame off restoration, this project is not for the faint of heart, and you need to have more than just basic automotive skills to tackle this one.
Also, one thing to remember is that many Pre 40’s cars have wood inner structure, so unless you’re very good with wood working or know someone that is. Check to see if there’s a wood kit available before paying a lot of money for a project like this.
This 1977 Chevrolet Malibu SE is a very rare car, only 50 of these were made. They were a 1977 Chevrolet Malibu that had stripes and front and rear spoilers added by a company called Special Editions Inc. in Wichita, Ks. All the rest of the parts are 73-77 Malibu. This is a great project that can easily be done by most anyone.
This happens to be my own personal project, it’s a 1976 Chevrolet Laguna S3. This is a very rare car, and I saw one for the first time at a small Chevrolet Dealer in Augusta, Kansas in October 1975.
It was a really cool Bronze/Copper color with the white Laguna S3 Stripes, and white interior, I instantly fell in love with that car, and always wanted one. I have only seen 6 of these in 35 years, and ironically, that dealership was the same Chevrolet Dealership that I started my Professional Parts Career just a mere 5 years later.
This is what my Laguna S3 looked like in the ad on Craigslist, but by the time I finally got hold of the seller, he had already sold the Tilt Steering Column, Swivel Bucket Seats, Console, Front Bumper Cover, Engine, Transmission, the extremely rare Rear Spoiler, Rear Bumper, and the Complete Frame. I managed to rescue the what was left of the car before he was going to take it to the crusher the next day.
Unfortunately guys like him part out numbers matching cars thinking they’ll make more money instead of selling the whole car.
That makes it harder to find the missing parts, I would have paid him twice what he made parting it out, but he was in too big of a hurry. I had to drive to Oklahoma City to get a Front Bumper, and Steering Column, and Wymore, Nebraska for the Seats, and Console.
It took me over two years to find the Headlight Bezels for it and at a price of nearly $200. I would have passed on this car had it not been the car I’ve loved and wanted for over 30 years.