There is no question car projects can often take more time to build than a mid-size hotel.
Most car guys are well aware of the fiction that spews out of TV car shows because you simply can’t build a decent ride in a week.
Some guys give up, others power through and a few go to a backup plan like this ’56 Dodge–Wayne Raymond opted for Plan C.
Wayne was in the middle of a long, drawn-out restoration on a 1956 Dodge and this car came up for sale as he recalled, “I was building one at home and a buddy saw this for sale. It’s been a long haul on the project and this car was available”.
Wayne didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on the deal, “I said the heck with it, why not buy this old Dodge and just get in and drive?. It was a pretty easy decision because I’m a Mopar guy and a half”.
Wayne is no stranger to serial ownership of these finned Dodges, “The ’56 Dodge is my dream car-I’ve owned a few of them but I liked the idea that I could get into this one, turn the key and drive away”.
This ‘56 Dodge made the decision easy for Wayne because it is, in his own words, “a really nice car”. “Nice” is important because the last thing Wayne wanted was another ’56 Dodge project car.
Wayne explained, “it’s a West Coast car so that definitely helped” but like virtually every old piece of iron the shakedown run wasn’t completely flawless.
The old Dodge’s first run had a few setbacks, “A few things happened because once I started heading uphill it started to overheat but once I got to town it wasn’t overheating”.
Admittedly, there was a little antifreeze puddle under the car when he got to the show that night in June but the worst part of the adventure was clearly over for Wayne and his Dodge.
Wayne has spent a lot more time behind the wheel of his dream car and the experience has been extremely positive for the Mopar fanatic. The car hasn’t been sidelined since the ill-fated early run.
The key to success is based on Wayne’s complete understanding of these 1950s Mopars. They’re pretty basic cars and the lack of high-tech plumbing under the hood is definitely an asset.
Wayne also understands how these cars are supposed to drive so the road feel isn’t scary, unfamiliar or the least bit intimidating because he grew up with 50s iron.
Basically, this story is a parable for other car guys because it defines an alternative strategy when you’re in the middle of a lengthy and frustrating project. Most often the car will soldier on and the only thing that keeps him motivated is the dream of a finished ride.
This one had the alternate ending because a car guy could see the logic behind a little bench strength and Wayne said it best.
“You get tired of working on them so sometimes it’s nice just to jump in and drive”.