There is a lot of winter looming ahead of us and many car guys look forward to the cold months because they can hunker down in their garages and work on a new project.


It sounds good in theory, but there are many questions that need to be asked to avoid a winter project turning into a soul-crushing winter nightmare.


First Question: Are you up to the challenge in a financial, skill, and matrimonial sense of the task ahead of you. A difficult build has the potential to leave your life with nothing but scorched earth if it proves to be too hot for you to handle.




Second Question: Did you have to use a chain saw when you removed the car from its former home? Nothing says “I am in way over my head” than an old ride overrun by mature trees (that can support a fat guy in a hammock) growing around it and worse yet–in it.




A need to use a chain saw to free a car from a stand of trees–followed by a rust-locked, flat-tired, drag to a car trailer is not a great way to start a project for car guys.




Third Question: Is there light at the end of the transmission tunnel? Light at the end of a transmission tunnel means there is either no power-train in the car or a lot of rust on the car. These are big enough red flags to be used as a club to beat some sense in any car guy with delusions of grandeur about the task ahead of him.




Fourth Question: Do you have enough crucial skills, financial resources, spare time, and a patient spouse to pull off a major project? Answering “no” to any one of these key components of a successful major build will make the task difficult, while answering “no” to two or more will make your project the automotive equivalent of wind-sprinting up Mt Everest in a deep sea diving suit (the old bulky metal kind).




Fifth Question:  Do you have enough years left on your life odometer to finish the job? Bear in mind that a tough build will likely shorten your lifespan if you started the restoration project with a chainsaw to remove the vehicle from its former home in the enchanted forest.




Sixth Question:  What is the basic reason behind your winter project? The worst answer is boredom because most of the work behind a successful major build is not typically exciting for anyone who is not currently in a coma. However, the work behind a completed project is absolutely necessary-along with repetitious, frustrating and, you guessed it, mind-numbingly boring.





Brief moments of excitement from actual progress are hidden by countless hours of tedium in a major build.




Final Question: Does a cold winter in your garage really seem like a better choice than a warm winter vacation in a tropical paradise? There are only two answers to this question. The sane answer is get on that airplane, go someplace warm, consume too many rum drinks, and forget about an old car winter project that will kill your will to live by Valentine’s Day.





The car guy answer is hunker down and ride out that winter storm in your garage doing something spectacular when you save an old ride that had to be cut out of the bush.


Jim Sutherland


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