What is it that you’re chasing?
The perfect paint job? Flawless upholstery? The no-compromise time attack monster? Or simply, a mechanically sound, roadworthy vehicle? Reaching a finish line seems like a relatively simple task; evaluate your new project, define a scope of work, compose a reasonable cost sheet, build and stick to a schedule, then voila, the project is done.
But for those of us who have been there, we all know the naïveté of the statement above.
Project vehicles are strange beasts.
Seemingly falling into our lives by a shot of fate, these ill-considered purchases promptly transform into magnificent pipedreams that are too often destined to never again see the light of day. Enthusiasm and inspiration are cursed by scope creep, financial strain, underestimations of time, obsessive attention to detail and conflicting priorities in life, foreshadowing the abandonment of these builds before we even get the opportunity to crack the head of that first bolt.
The vehicle is pushed to the corner to collect dust, the burning light of passion fades and fantasies of completion are surrendered.
Sometimes, though, a hump in the build is reached. Your proverbial bicycle pedals don’t fight back quite as hard, you’re able to take longer, slower breaths and you start to coast down the hill of success.
Suddenly, those 3:00am nights spent setting the ignition timing appear to be worth it. The cuts, bruises and heat wrap skin irritations illuminate a light at the end of the tunnel. Buckets of hardware become empty, fluid leaks become a distant memory, the engine inhales its first breath of air in years and coughs out the initial backfires of life.
No comment on the air quality in Loose Screws, given my diet in 2020…
Much like watching your favourite Pokémon evolve, the project unexpectedly morphs into something more powerful than it once was, ready to take on its first battle. Ah yes, the evolutionary candies needed were ample amounts of dedication and commitment!
It’s heavily patinaed but mechanically sound and purring healthily; perfectly imperfect. Each crack of the throttle, music to your ears, as the engine warms and the revolutions descend to a factory recommended idle. The electrical system is stable, providing sufficient charge to the battery while the new bulbs shine brighter than they ever have.
The new tires display their factory stickers with pride as the pressures are set and double checked. The leather wrapped around your hand-formed seat foam is tight, waiting for the eventual sweat of two thick cheeks to soak its stitches and break it in.
It’s finally time to break out the polishing compounds and remove years of neglect from each crease and crevasse of the vehicle, shining what is now your favourite trophy to a mirror finish. The license plate is finally affixed to the chassis, each rotation of the bolt inching you closer to your maiden voyage . You sit on the ground, accompanied by what was once a cold beer, smiling uncontrollably in admiration of what you just built.
You’ve made it.
June 24, 2017 to August 5th, 2020.
3 years, 1 month, 13 days.
My definition of complete.