Tag: Knowing when to walk away

Knowing when to walk away: Why I decided not to build my 1921 Ford Model T and what I’ll do instead – David Conwill @Hemmings

Knowing when to walk away: Why I decided not to build my 1921 Ford Model T and what I’ll do instead – David Conwill @Hemmings

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Tilly came home on a trailer, but as of this writing is already a running and driving car. She just needs some help to be ready for the roads of her second century.

Last night, I decided I can’t continue with my Model T project. It’s a tough decision. I’ve wanted a Model T touring car since I was about eight years old (that’s 30 summers now) and I’ve now owned two different touring car bodies and a complete car. I’ve tried really, really hard to make a Model T happen, but it never seems to work out.

If you’ve been following my columns, you know that I’ve been planning to rebuild my ’21 into an early-1930s style hot rod, called a gow job. I’ve wanted a gow since I first learned that hot rodding predated World War II—those cars look awesome and because they’ve got improved power, handling, and braking, they’re a lot more usable than a purely stock 1920s car.

Nevertheless, I’m an adult and not independently wealthy. It’s tough enough to have three kids, a house, and two cars for transportation. A purely “fun” car is great but it would be an irresponsible avenue to continue pursuing–I’ll live off ramen to fund a project, but I won’t ask my family to do that. We have more practical needs to look after first. In fact, I’ll be putting my Model T and parts up for sale soon and putting that money into the home-improvement fund

Our ’08 Charger police car. It has 350 horsepower when it isn’t shutting down cylinders at random. That’s my old ’62 Falcon behind it.

This doesn’t mean I’m done with old cars, though. Far from it. It just means that I’ve got to rethink my driver situation. Our current fleet consists of a 2008 Dodge Charger police car and a 1983 Cadillac Sedan de Ville. The Charger we’ve had for five years, and while it’s fun to drive, it has an increasing number of electrical maladies and has been spending a lot of time in the shop. Once it’s fixed, it can find a new home with someone who enjoys working on late-model Mopars.

The Cadillac we got just last week. It is very cool but I can’t see us keeping it—it’s too nice. That sounds weird, but the biggest problem with the Cadillac is that it was purchased new by my wife’s grandfather the same year she was born. A car with that level of sentimental value is something of a white elephant in and of itself. It only has 23,000 miles on it and it’s a perfectly preserved cream puff. Putting wear and tear on it would be heartbreaking, and fixing all the luxury features as they age would be an utter nightmare. Instead, I intend to polish it up (I’ve been spending a lot of time researching paint care), tune it up, and try to find it a good home before the end of the summer.

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