Modified Mustangs & FordsFeatures
I Canceled Cable TV and Bought a Muscle Car: Here’s Why
I am guilty of project-car neglect. There's no tear-inducing Sarah McLachlan commercial to that effect, but it, too, is a situation in need of remedy. Too many times, I've brought home a stray vehicle, a model I've always wanted to build—but a cheap and wretched example of the breed. The price was right; the condition was wrong. It's a cycle as vicious as it is round, but one I've finally broken.
Let's be clear: I'm not saying I have never finished a carI have, severalbut more often than not, I bring home a project with a trunk full of odds stacked against me. The advanced rust, missing trim, and drivetrain maladies all handicap the project from the start.
I buy it more on emotion than reason, ignoring all of the blemishes with starry-eyed optimism and tow it hometow is the key word, as these cars rarely run. Once in my driveway, I start picking at the rusty scab that is my new project. I tear it down in preparation for the build, filling boxes with labeled Ziploc baggiesyou know, so it'll be easier to reassemble one day. Under the skin, my sub-$1,000 project cars are consistently worse than expected. Surprise! My serotonin-fueled, pre-purchase inspection missed a plethora of problems. Off come the bigger parts; body panels and a drivetrain clog my shelves, cabinets, and hang precariously from the rafters.
After months of tripping over parts, stubbing toes, knees, and various other appendages, the realization sets in that this is a car I don't have time to resurrect from the dead. The rotisserie restoration that six months earlier seemed a breeze isn't aligning with the few hours a week I have to wrench on the car. I find a more fitting home for the project and sell it, vowing to be more practical in the future, which I wasn'tuntil now.
I recently bought another cheap project, only this time cash was dispensed as a down payment and not a total sum. Coupled with a small, classic-auto loan, I brought home a car that is rust-free, has a solid running engine, and a body 100 percent the same color. I canceled my cable TV subscription and took on an $85 monthly payment for a car that is at a restoration tier I can realistically take on. The new ride is a 1972 Ford Ranchero GT. Big '70s cars are rad, and it's nearly impossible to beat the practicality of a bed. The car is far from perfect, and the list of things to be fixed has already rolled over to a third page of notebook papermost notably its inability to do a burnoutbut that's OK. Changing a leaky trans pan, installing brakes from this century, and coaxing more horsepower out of a tired V8 are things I genuinely enjoy doing. Besides, who needs cable TV when you can be driving and working on a muscle car?