My twin boys will be old enough to drive soon. Sometime last year, I was asking them about what kind of car they might want to drive when they finally get their license. Hunter was interested in a truck “like yours, Dad.” That’s cool, I love my truck. Dillon’s interest went the other way. “I want a muscle car.”
My first car was a 1974 Camaro that was handed down to me from my big brother. When he got it, sometime around ’81 or ’82, it was a horrid lime green color with green interior. Dad had it painted – green again, to match the interior – but more like a dark emerald with gold flake. He also added a rear spoiler, Cragar aluminum 5 spoke mag wheels, and a Cherry Bomb glasspack muffler. He had the engine rebuilt by a guy down the street who was into hot rods. The earliest conversation about cars that I can remember was with Dad explaining to me what “small block”, “bored .030 over” and “high dome pistons” meant. I was 11.
I’ve missed that car and have wondered what happened to it. Was it ragged out, wrecked and abandoned or did it end up painstakingly restored and in the possession of a collector? Most likely the former. I had a dream once, a loooong time since I had last driven that car, about sitting in the driveway revving the 350 engine. I could even smell the gas and exhaust.
It shouldn’t be hard to imagine what was going through my mind when Dillon mentioned a muscle car. So, I asked…
“Really? What kind of muscle car?”
“Like, one of those new Dodge Chargers.”
“Ahhhh ha ha ha ha ha. Sorry, dude. You’re not getting a $30,000 car.”
But that got me thinking. Dillon wants a muscle car…I’ve wanted to restore one. I could buy a junk car (with potential) for cheap and do a budget rebuild. Dillon would have a cool muscle car, I would have the enjoyment of restoring a classic and in the end, We will have spent no more, probably less, than we would have spent on a half-decent used car.
I’m now 10 months into the restoration of a 1969 Mustang Coupe and I’m nearing completion. I should be done in less than a month, about 7 months ahead of schedule and slightly under budget. From the very beginning, I’ve kept a spreadsheet documenting everything – cost estimates, actual cost, parts list, daily journal of work done, tasks to be completed and I’ve taken lots of pictures. LOTS of pictures.
I’ve benefited from others who have documented their builds so it’s appropriate to share mine as well.