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There were two versions of Proud Mary: the original song by creator John Fogerty with his band Creedence Clearwater Revival and the cover by The Ike and Tina Turner Revue.


Both were hit versions of the song, but Tina took the song and ran with it in her own gritty style.


She warned her audience during one memorable moment before she sang the song; “But there’s one thing you see, we never do nothing nice and easy, we only do things nice and rough”.



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Sure Tina’s message had slightly kinky overtones, and it is true future ex-husband Ike had a bad track record for spousal abuse, but we want to apply Tina’s introductory message in a different way and use it as the story behind the car hobby.


The first thing car guys learn about a project? Absolutely nothing is nice and easy when it comes to a build. There will always be very rough moments along the way to the finish line.


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The first issue is nothing will be exactly as it appears on the surface of the old ride. A little surface rust usually means a lot of hidden rust because rust is like an iceberg where most of the ice is hidden beneath the water.


This fact was disastrously evident when the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank in 1912, then became a plotline for a cheesy romance blockbuster movie in 1997. Icebergs or rust, there is danger lurking beneath the surface.


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The rough part only gets worse for rust because car guys will have to cut out the cancer and replace the rusty metal with shiny new metal. You can buy sheet metal replacement from a thick catalog if you own a popular car like a Tri-Five Chevy or vintage Mustang.


That is the easy way.


The rough way is to own a less popular car with plenty of rust and little or no replacement sheet metal available for the vehicle. Ever look for replacement sheet metal for a Studebaker, Rambler or Hudson? Their parts catalogs are thinner than a travel brochure for northern Iraq.


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The restoration of less popular vehicles will require extreme luck (finding rust-free parts from a donor car that somehow avoided the clutches of a crusher for many decades) or extreme talent (a metal fabrication god).


The process get even rougher if the owner decides to restore the vehicle back to its original specifications from the factory. The moving parts on the ride will not be found on the shelf at the local dealership because there may not even have been a dealership for several decades in some cases like the Studebaker.


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The owner of an orphan car will soon learn how rough the restoration process can get when faced with the daunting task of finding replacement parts for a lesser known vehicle built during the Truman or Eisenhower years, let alone the Hoover or Roosevelt administrations.



Things may get a little easier in the future for car guys because we are in the early stages of 3-D manufacturing where custom parts for old rides will eventually be just a scan away.


But right now a restoration can be as rough as Ike and Tina’s marriage when it comes to extinct and obscure car brands.


Jim Sutherland

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