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Anyone here who's retired and loves cars (or restoring them)?
Old 05-09-2014, 04:12 PM   #1
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Anyone here who's retired and loves cars (or restoring them)?

I grew up around cars, tinkering with them, racing them etc so I always find it therapeutic to work on them. My garage is also usually the first 'room' I fix up when I move/buy a place. Lately though I haven't been able to do a whole lot in that area due to not having too much free time but one day if I ER I would love to scratch-build a car or restore an old one or two....provided I don't retire too poor

Just curious if any others here have retired with the same hobby/passion.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:58 PM   #2
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Motorcycles for me: smaller, less expensive, [mostly] but many of the same techniques and materials. I ride modern ones too.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:59 PM   #3
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Not for myself, but you have lots of company. Locally, antique cars shows are very common. I enjoy going to those and appreciate all the work that goes into a restoration.
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:24 AM   #4
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I like the higher-end German models -- Mercedes and BMW.

Dad was an econo-miser, so the family wheels were always no-frills. But he serviced all his cars himself and taught me a lot.

When I grew up I also lurked in the bottom of the motor pool until I had an epiphany about 20 years ago. A lot of European models that original owners babied and then traded in for fear they'd become money pits, I could buy at deep, deep discounts and maintain myself without tremendous effort.

My daily drivers have included a couple Mercedes diesels, an Audi 4000 quattro, BMW 3 series convertible and most recently a BMW 5 series V8. When I w*rked I commuted 85 miles every day, so I drove the wheels off of all of them.

Keeping them up hasn't exactly been a hobby -- it's been more like an exercise in frugality. Still bottom fishing in the motor pool, but instead of crappies I went after German trout.

I've still got the ragtop as a resto project (it needs a new transmission). I hope to have it back on the road now that I have the extra leisure time.
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:49 AM   #5
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Always loved fast cars growing up. Have had 60s muscle cars, Porsche, BMWs, and Vettes. Most of those were modified for racing. Since downsizing, no space for that anymore, so we are down to an Acura RDX.
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Old 05-10-2014, 07:00 PM   #6
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I have a 2001 corvette that I tinker on. I have a few things on my list now. I need to replace the driver's side mirror(mirror stuff is oozing out), fix/replace my ebcm module so that I get traction control/abs back, replace the oil pressure sending unit, and do something to my visor so the mirror doesn't fall out. And keep an eye on coolant temp. Last year I had high temps and blew out a bunch of junk off the front of the radiator with an air compressor to improve air flow - so far so good this year but its still cool out.
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Old 05-10-2014, 07:20 PM   #7
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My car tinkering goes in cycles. Buy cars cheap with good bodies, but lots of mechanical problems. Sort them all out then just drive them. Had several Mercedes 220 Diesel, 450SE. The last one I sold after 20 years of diving it. Then I decided on Jaguars. Had an 88, was fun to get it working. Though it was an electricians nighmare. I lost count after 40 or so relays in the thing. Sold it.

Next, my current is a 95 XJ6. A California car with no rust, got it cheap as the owner was clueless in automotive problems and maxed his credit card at the mechanics. Spent a month getting all the problems fixed. IMHO it is the best looking and most pleasurable car I ever have had. Last three years only work is changing oil and swapping winter tires for summer and reverse in the fall.

My next may be a 97 XJR, we'll see.
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:54 PM   #8
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My car tinkering goes in cycles. Buy cars cheap with good bodies, but lots of mechanical problems. Sort them all out then just drive them. Had several Mercedes 220 Diesel, 450SE. The last one I sold after 20 years of diving it. Then I decided on Jaguars. Had an 88, was fun to get it working. Though it was an electricians nighmare. I lost count after 40 or so relays in the thing. Sold it.

Next, my current is a 95 XJ6. A California car with no rust, got it cheap as the owner was clueless in automotive problems and maxed his credit card at the mechanics. Spent a month getting all the problems fixed. IMHO it is the best looking and most pleasurable car I ever have had. Last three years only work is changing oil and swapping winter tires for summer and reverse in the fall.

My next may be a 97 XJR, we'll see.
We sound like kindred spirits! I picked up a 2005 Ford Ranger last year for hauling and discovered it's a nightmare to work on compared to the Mercs and BMWs. I had to pull out a fender liner to change the right bank of spark plugs.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvalley View Post
I grew up around cars, tinkering with them, racing them etc so I always find it therapeutic to work on them. My garage is also usually the first 'room' I fix up when I move/buy a place. Lately though I haven't been able to do a whole lot in that area due to not having too much free time but one day if I ER I would love to scratch-build a car or restore an old one or two....provided I don't retire too poor

Just curious if any others here have retired with the same hobby/passion.
It would be great to build a classic street rod, but we have a dinero deficit here. It is going to be just going to the rod shows and looking at the pictures, I am afraid.
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:54 PM   #10
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Had a 1965 Vette that I restored and sold a few years later. Numbers matching roadster with hard top. I was a fool to sell it .

Now into German diesels/cars. Current ride/project is 2005.5 Jetta TDI sedan with lots of upgrades. Needs some suspension work which I am currently collecting parts for. Has a Malone 2.0 tune with dynamic idle and EGR delete. This car is very torquey and quick. It's also equipped with the DSG gearbox.

I have visions of a BMW convert and if I stumble on the right one, that's my next project. A correct year MB diesel is second choice.

I have done a lot of paint work over the years going all the way back to the lacquer days.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:38 AM   #11
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After I retired... I dove head-first into several home renovation projects. It didn't take long before I - A: completed them... and... B: grew weary of home renovation projects.

So last year I decided to change things up and purchase an old vehicle to tinker with. Having helped friends both find and work on THEIR 4-wheeled hobbies... I felt it was time to indulge myself. After a long hunt, I finally found one of my 'bucket-list' cars; a 60's Land Rover, with just the right balance of finished/unfinished work needed. 9 months later... I finally have her 95% complete - to my taste.

I've had a blast joining the Land Rover "community"... researching, hunting for and refurbishing parts... and, generally, using my brain & hands In new ways.

One thing I didn't foresee was the dissonance resulting from two conflicting desires:

- The desire to simplify my life and reduce belongings.
- The desire to have a hobby vehicle & all the accouterments needed for it.

Oh well... I guess I'll just enjoy the ride for now and come to terms with its hidden trappings later.


Below are 'finished' pictures of Gracie - in her bikini & ready for summer!
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File Type: jpg Bikini SideB.jpg (204.1 KB, 14 views)
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:56 AM   #12
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Not retired yet but I'm sure we'll keep up with our car hobby. Had to laugh, when we talk about downsizing we are talking about the house not the garage. We have sort of a 8 car garage, 1 bay wood working/office, 1 bay metal working, 1 bay 1 vehicle storage/repair area, large bay 5 vehicle storage and hydraulic lift. Unless we run into serious health issues I can't see us giving up this hobby in retirement.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:23 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mr._Graybeard View Post
We sound like kindred spirits! I picked up a 2005 Ford Ranger last year for hauling and discovered it's a nightmare to work on compared to the Mercs and BMWs. I had to pull out a fender liner to change the right bank of spark plugs.
Try 57 Chevy with v8, Drill a hole in the firewall to change rear spark plug.

I find most mechanics are leery of European cars. I find them more intuitive than many American ones. Never worked on any Rice Burners.

Once did a favor to Tranny shop owner friend. A hapless chap with some year of Saab had it towed to his shop. It turned out that the throttle linkage had several set of ball knuckles, one of which broke. His mechanics could not figure out how to get the rusted broken ball out of the socket. They already had the ball linkage.

This too had to pull the fender liner to get to it. Major PITA. 2 minutes to drill into the knuckle and knock out the rusted ball with a drift punch.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:27 AM   #14
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After I retired... I dove head-first into several home renovation projects. It didn't take long before I - A: completed them... and... B: grew weary of home renovation projects.

So last year I decided to change things up and purchase an old vehicle to tinker with. Having helped friends both find and work on THEIR 4-wheeled hobbies... I felt it was time to indulge myself. After a long hunt, I finally found one of my 'bucket-list' cars; a 60's Land Rover, with just the right balance of finished/unfinished work needed. 9 months later... I finally have her 95% complete - to my taste.

I've had a blast joining the Land Rover "community"... researching, hunting for and refurbishing parts... and, generally, using my brain & hands In new ways.

One thing I didn't foresee was the dissonance resulting from two conflicting desires:

- The desire to simplify my life and reduce belongings.
- The desire to have a hobby vehicle & all the accouterments needed for it.

Oh well... I guess I'll just enjoy the ride for now and come to terms with its hidden trappings later.


Below are 'finished' pictures of Gracie - in her bikini & ready for summer!
Nice Rover.
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Old 05-11-2014, 04:24 PM   #15
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It would be great to build a classic street rod, but we have a dinero deficit here. It is going to be just going to the rod shows and looking at the pictures, I am afraid.
Nine times out of 10 you're better off buying someone else's completed project. Twenty grand can get you a pretty nice rod, although it's not going to be a showstopper.
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Old 05-11-2014, 04:40 PM   #16
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Try 57 Chevy with v8, Drill a hole in the firewall to change rear spark plug.

I find most mechanics are leery of European cars. I find them more intuitive than many American ones. Never worked on any Rice Burners.

Once did a favor to Tranny shop owner friend. A hapless chap with some year of Saab had it towed to his shop. It turned out that the throttle linkage had several set of ball knuckles, one of which broke. His mechanics could not figure out how to get the rusted broken ball out of the socket. They already had the ball linkage.

This too had to pull the fender liner to get to it. Major PITA. 2 minutes to drill into the knuckle and knock out the rusted ball with a drift punch.
As I recall the Vega-chassis Chevy Monza V8s were the same way with the inaccessible spark plugs. That's why I prefer my domestic vehicles to carry the blue oval. At least the fender liner was relatively easy to remove.

There was a pretty big Saab following up here in the Badger State in years gone by. A few people I know still like to tinker with the old 99s. The local Saab club morphed into an ice racing/rallycross group. Few things are more fun than driving in anger on a frozen lake!
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Old 05-11-2014, 04:45 PM   #17
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After a long hunt, I finally found one of my 'bucket-list' cars; a 60's Land Rover, with just the right balance of finished/unfinished work needed. 9 months later... I finally have her 95% complete - to my taste.

Below are 'finished' pictures of Gracie - in her bikini & ready for summer!

Great truck -- it reminds me of that '60s television series "Wild Cargo."
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:25 PM   #18
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Not a tinkerer, however my cars are my hobby.
I love nothing more than introducing the public to them and spend hours talking to groups or individuals about them.
Car shows, renewable energy events, drag racing, track days, or driving people around for Uber. No other hobby beats it for me
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:27 PM   #19
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Nine times out of 10 you're better off buying someone else's completed project. Twenty grand can get you a pretty nice rod, although it's not going to be a showstopper.
Unless you enjoy working on cars this is true. Buy the vehicle complete or as far along in work. I bought a 1970 Chevelle/Malibu for $300. after body work, paint, engine work, new interior, new frame and convertible top. We spent around $7000. on parts.......needed patch panels for the rear quarter panels.......rust behind rear wheels, ya know. That was doing most of the work ourselves, except the convertible top. It was beautiful when it was done. It was restored with all NOS parts and we sold it to a friend for $9000. We had another project car by the time this one was done, ya know. The last three we restored we kept.
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:00 AM   #20
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Now into German diesels/cars. Current ride/project is 2005.5 Jetta TDI sedan with lots of upgrades. Needs some suspension work which I am currently collecting parts for. Has a Malone 2.0 tune with dynamic idle and EGR delete. This car is very torquey and quick. It's also equipped with the DSG gearbox.

I have visions of a BMW convert and if I stumble on the right one, that's my next project. A correct year MB diesel is second choice.
A friend had a 2004 Jetta TDI 5-speed that he had modified. Nice car. I think he said it had produced 160 hp on a dyno. IIRC, highway fuel economy was in the 50s on a good day.

Those TDIs are light years ahead of the MB turbo diesels from the early '80s -- much better handling, power and economy. Still, there's something charming about a 70-hp non-turbo 240D with a stick shift. Basic, but extremely well-engineered.

I've loved my E30 chassis BMW cabrio. Try to find one without the motorized top. And of course it will leak. Maybe the latter chassis cars are better with regard to that.
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