1306 5 0 Bench Racer June 2013 Project
Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
June 1, 2013

We see a lot of incredible project Mustangs here in magazine land. We have the benefit of watching professionals spin wrenches on in-progress cars, and we feature about 50 cars a year that have seen the build process and come through the other side. Naturally the cars we feature have turned out so well that we have chosen them to appear on these pages. Beyond those cars we see hundreds of cars a year that are in various stages of their modification process.

As I've often said, these cars are never finished until you sell them and move on to the next one. I don't throw the word never around lightly, so it's something I believe. Sure some folks achieve their dream level of Mustang and maintain it.—I've done that with Project Vapor Trail—but even though it's finished, there's always an odd or end that could use an improvement or upgrade. As such, it's finished, but not really finished.

Occasionally I come across in- process project car builds on message boards and such. Some of these rides are really ambitious, and the talents of their builders are far beyond my modest bolt-on abilities. More often than not, these cars are completed for the world to enjoy them, but every so often I read that someone is throwing in the towel. Some are looking for a little positive reinforcement to get them back on task, and others genuinely fell out of love with their projects and are ready to move on.

There's really nothing wrong with either choice. Sure, it's disappointing not to finish your car, but life's too short to soldier on with something if your heart's not in it. Likewise, sometimes it's not a matter of desire to finish the car, but a case of life getting in the way. Maybe you started a family, or changed careers and lost that extra income you needed for car parts. Whatever the case, the car becomes less of a priority.

Now, we have a hit-and-miss history with project cars here at the mag. They always start out with the best of intentions, but sometimes other priorities just get in the way. We have had some real success stories, like KJ Jones' T-top coupe, and some base hits, like Project Real Street. Yet, there are others, which shall remain nameless, that have either faltered or lingered on far too long. It happens. Even to us.

We're pretty fortunate to have gigs doing something we love. On many days, it can be the greatest gig in the world. Driving a cool car or running into a reader that you truly inspired can make your day. However, there is a downside to turning any hobby into a career, and it is that it's still a job. As such, you begin to associate the hobby with the grind. In my case, there are times that I just need to get away from Mustangs. It's not that I don't love them or enjoy them, but sometimes I have to take a break from them to recapture the passion I had when I was just a fan.

This can translate over to my projects. I've had Fox 500 hovering near the finished level for quite some time, but I haven't worked on it much. It's become the Axl Rose of project cars. People still ask about it, but no one's seen it. As I've said, that's because I want it as close to my vision as I can get it before I can enjoy it. However, it's also because I've found myself striving to enjoy life's non-Mustang offerings on my off time.

Now, I'm not giving up on that car—don't worry. However, I have questioned what I might handle for the next project. I've been down that road on this page before. However, since we mostly see completed cars on our end of things, it made me wonder about all those in-progress Mustangs in garages around the world. Have you given up on a project? Do you have to work to stay motivated? Or is staying on task easier if it's still a hobby? I'd really love to hear about your experiences, so hit me at 5.0mailbag@sorc.com.