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Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-29-2006, 08:32 AM   #1
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Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

Anyone on the forum who enjoys restoring cars or motorcycles in retirement?

Seems that would be a fun way to study the history of different brands, bring life back to a tired machine, enjoy the ride, and then sell it at least at break even ... and perhaps a bit of profit on a wise choice / buy.

Just curious if you're out there, and what you've learned about the process ... please share your experiences. Thx.
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-29-2006, 10:05 AM   #2
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

My husband along with many of his friends restore cars, trucks and bikes. Most times you never get what you put into them back, they do it for the love of it not so much for making money. Husband has a 52 Ford Pickup, just this week he bought an old Harley he and his friend are going to restore. I know he'll never sell the 52 and once the bike is done he'll probably keep that too (probably for me to ride).

Most of the fun is in the hunt for parts, he and his friend spend lots of time at fleamarkets and swap meets looking for just that piece needed to finish what ever it is he's working on. And I can tell you from experience, it's an expensive hobby.
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-29-2006, 11:24 AM   #3
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

Into cars my whole life but not much of a restorer more of a detailer.

I've always had original unrestored cars which to me is the only way to go. Not to say that restored bikes and cars aren't cool just that I favor the unrestored.
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-29-2006, 07:39 PM   #4
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

I am not into restoration as I want my bikes to be the way I want them, and I can usually find any number of "original" items on them that irk me.

But I've got plenty of project bikes, most of which are some sort of competition bike that I'm looking forward to riding. But the design and build part are a big source of satisfaction for me, so it doesn't bother me too much if I don't have anything ready to race at any given moment.

cheers,
Michael

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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-29-2006, 08:07 PM   #5
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

I always enjoyed modifying too. Whether it is a car, bike or home ... usually, after a little use, those errant engineering choices by the original designers become apparent, and you can make a few adjustments to yield such a better product. Besides ... to modify, you need to very well understand the precise engineering in the first place, so you can improve the design.

Alas .. those modified cars / bikes tend to lose value accordingly, so I'm considering the perhaps equal challenge of precisely duplicating an aged original ...

I hear you, Outtahere ... I always like buying the car that is advertised "invested $25K ... $15K OBO". It does appear that careful selection of year / model, with an eye to rarity, can sometimes produce decent returns for some folks. 'Course, used to be that way with fixup houses, until the profits became obvious, and larger companies entered the fray.

Indian motorcycles were the craze for awhile.
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-29-2006, 08:46 PM   #6
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

I had a 70 Chevelle SS L-78 (396/402 375hp) that had a target block and auto trans prior to my buying it in 1981. Did some restoration on it back in the early 80's and located the build sheets. Held onto the car until a couple years ago. It is probably worth $50-$60k with proper engine, tranny, etc but I wasn't going to put the effort into it just to see my time reduced to $2 per hour. It has been my only vehicle that was an appreciating asset.
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-29-2006, 08:58 PM   #7
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

I enjoy thinking about it. Tried it twice in the past. A Honda motorcycle, and a Nissan car. Gave up both times. Too much work, too much money

Now, I rather hunt for the ones I like, either still in excellent original shape, or already restored. Instant gratification, and a lot cheaper
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-29-2006, 09:37 PM   #8
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

It's fun but you'll never make a dime from it. I have several in some stage or another: 59 Hillman Minx convertable, 2 60 Sunbeam Alpines and 73 Yamaha RT3 360. I think there's enough work left that I won't complete them until I'm too old to drive them.

My restorations aren't concours but good looking vehicles that you can drive anywhere. Who wants to spend their time polishing.
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-30-2006, 04:53 AM   #9
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
I enjoy thinking about it. Tried it twice in the past. A Honda motorcycle, and a Nissan car. Gave up both times. Too much work, too much money

Now, I rather hunt for the ones I like, either still in excellent original shape, or already restored. Instant gratification, and a lot cheaper
I think for a lot of us, the "idea" (romance) of it is as far as we should go.
Especially for a guy like me (impatient, no mechanical skills).

JG
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-30-2006, 06:12 AM   #10
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

Husband just bought a flat head, once he's done with it he figures he could double his money even after the restorations. He's lucky in that he has friends that he can trade with for the work done, some will just do it for the price of a 6pack and an afternoon away from the spouse.
I'll be documenting the progress with a webpage, if he doesn't mind me making it public I'll post it.
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-30-2006, 09:01 AM   #11
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

I admire a well restored car, or one that is original, but wouldn't enjoy exercising the almost fanatical attention to detail that is required it do it right. I've thought t would be a real kick to get a cool, older, quirky but not in demand car that is crumped out mechanically and improve it with modern running gear to make it into a reliable daily driver. Think of an Opel GT, Triumph Spitfire, Datsun 2000, etc equipped with a semi-modern Toyota engine and trans. This would be tricky to implement--lots of adapters needed (probably custom-built) and lots of little issues to attend to (Brakes: Swap out with newer gear? Suspension: Probably keep original, but replace all rubber. Electrical: Lots of fun troubleshoting here. While the dash is off put in LEDs to replace failure-prone incandescent dash lights? Modify stock headlamps to replace sealed beams with semi-modern halogens. etc, etc)

A purist would have a heart attack, but for about $3-4K and a chunk of your time you could have a lot of fun engineering new solutions and end up with a daily driver that would be more eye-catching and fun than anything selling for $30-40K at the dealer.

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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-30-2006, 09:51 AM   #12
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

I'm not retired yet, but I do lots of modifying and restoring of both cars and motorcycles. I hope that if I make it to retirement, that's what I'll spend most of my time doing.

The more you can do yourself, the less you have to pay someone else to do it for you. I've bought myself a mill and a lathe and taught myself how to use them - now I can make brackets and adaptors and whatnot so I can use low-priced parts instead of being forced to buy expensive parts. I do all of my own bodywork and painting, because its really labor intensive and therefore expensive to pay someone else to do it for you.

I do assembly work on my engines, but not the machine work. The proffesionals have very expensive machinery for that, so its far more cost-effective to pay them to do it for me. However, doing my own assembly and measuring makes sure that they don't screw up or try to over-charge me.

In my experience, restoring or modifying cars & motorcycles is only fun if its a money-losing activity. When you're trying to make a profit, its too much like work. I can't stay motivated to work hard on a car if I'm planning on selling it as soon as its done. Also, I don't like looking for parts. I'd rather make a washer than chase all over creation looking for just the right one. Yes, spending three hours making a simple part that only costs $0.50 seems foolish - but you can easily waste a whole day looking for the $0.50 part to buy. Besides, making things is part of the fun.

Get a car-trailer to haul non-running cars with. Buying junk cars for parts is a lot cheaper than buying parts individually.

To see what's possible, check out Grassroots Motorsports Magazine. They run a $2000 challenge every year where the contestants build cars on a $2000 budget and compete against each other. Lots of inspiring stories about how to make an awesome car without spending a fortune.
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-30-2006, 07:59 PM   #13
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

I've been working on a 79 Camaro for 4 years. First I paid someone to install a motor. It was 350 hp but I wanted more. Then I paid another guy to help me build another motor....basically re-building the one in it. That lasted 3 weeks and blew up at the track. It had maybe 375 hp.


THEN, I taught myself everything but the machining, and removed/replaced the 350 with a 383, AFR custom heads, aluminum Holley intake, holley 650, really hot cam, forged internals, billet msd ignition, etc.

Now the car is more reliable than it ever has been, and is puttign out about 475 hp!!! It's a real blast to drive.

I'd hate to pull out the old shoebox and tally up all the $$$ I've spent to date....that'd spoil the fun.

Next comes a custom exhaust and I will finish the interior

http://new.photos.yahoo.com/givedbsi...23551864#page1

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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-30-2006, 08:18 PM   #14
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

Today's sighting:

An electric blue Chevy Monza in shiny restored condition, slightly jacked up, with a classic car license plate.
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-30-2006, 08:21 PM   #15
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan
An electric blue Chevy Monza in shiny restored condition, slightly jacked up, with a classic car license plate.
Ouch-- I can remember when those were "new"...
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-31-2006, 08:55 AM   #16
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

I'm currently working on a 73, 911 porsche. When Im done I'll have more into it than its worth, but I'll know whats been done. Ive also got a 71 911 that if I'm lucky someone will steal from me and save me a fortune.

I did sell a 72 911 last year and made a very good profit but I got lucky and bought it right and the market went up alot. Someone in California wanted it more than I did.

I just like to tinker on cars and definatly don't do it for the money. I just like the project.

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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-31-2006, 01:06 PM   #17
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

I just resigned to the fact that my Chevelle is going to be an eternal money pit.

It makes it easier to still grin when I feed that 10mpg beast. Vroom Vroom!
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles
Old 10-31-2006, 03:58 PM   #18
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Re: Restoring Cars and Motorcycles

I am restoring a 69 Mach 1 because it is something that I always wanted but could not afford it back then. It is a money pit but what the heck, you got to pay to play.

Mach 1
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