Projects: When to drop it and move along?

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Mar 26, 2022 | Project car

When do you know it’s time to cut a project loose?

We’ve all been there–well, most of us, at least.

You’re deep, deep into a project–could be big or small–when something clicks: Am I really committed to this?

When that happens, do you still feel the need to see the project to the end, or do you realize it’s time to pass it on, even if that means taking a loss?

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AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/25/22 12:13 p.m.

This is probably the most difficult car hobby decision to make.

bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/25/22 12:15 p.m.

When it is finished. Sometimes the journey is longer than expected but there is no other correct answer.

MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
3/25/22 12:56 p.m.

It can depend a lot on the project. The '66 Dart was my first car, and my reasons for keeping it aren't entirely rational. It's one I'm not likely to cut losses and sell as long as I believe I have the ability or resources to get it fixed, even if I'm way in over my head.

There have been other projects where I had the car apart and probably could have gotten it back to running condition, but the financial hit from selling it unfinished was worth the frustration it would have taken to return it to working order.

frenchyd MegaDork
3/25/22 1:10 p.m.

Space, time, desire, budget, ability, all are part of the decision and there is no right answer. 
    Over my lifetime I've owned 6 Morris Minor Woodie.  ( Traveler)  each purchased with the idea of restoration.   I loved my first one but time and space got in the way.  The rest I bought with the intention of restoring.  Some were remarkably solid and a couple didn't even need wood replacement. Yet one by one I gave up on them.   Clearly not meant to be.  Yet I still check out every one I see for sale. 

ddavidv UltimaDork
3/25/22 11:21 p.m.

People tend to think they have capabilities (skill, time, money) they really don't have.  I actually just made a video this week about picking a project car that appeals to your skills and not your fantasies. Classic Car Chat - Appealing to your strengths  I've learned over the years I don't enjoy body work, and it's too difficult to find anyone willing to do it. So, I no longer buy cars that need extensive body repair or repainting.

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
3/26/22 7:45 a.m.

I gave up on one not too long ago and that was a first for me. It wasn't that I didn't have the talent or skills to do the work. It's that my life got un unexpected reality jolt and I felt the need to streamline some things. See the thread about not accumulating too much stuff. I have made the decision that all of my projects from here forward will be running restorations. That is, when I wake up dead some day my wife can simply hop in my vehicles, start them up, and sell them. No dead car carcasses for her to deal with.

Brotus7 Dork
3/26/22 8:20 a.m.

I've recently taken an appreciation that a long backlog of projects, some I need to do and some I want to do has been slowly increasing my stress level.  I hate having to drag a project carcass out of the way before I can pull a car into the garage to do required maintenance.

When I cut ties with a project, finished or otherwise, it's usually to free up resources to do something else.  I thought I'd be more attached to the he projects after I sold em, but when I saw my 280ZX LeMons car a clue years after I sold it, I remembered the fun memories with my friends and family but didn't really miss the car itself.

NY Nick
NY Nick GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/26/22 8:50 a.m.

I'm the last year I have gotten rid of three projects that I thought would be really hard. 2 were running and I just tinkered on them as needed and one was a basket case. I had one of them for 35 years (first one I got rid of). I thought it was going to be emotional or difficult to let go of a vehicle I had that long. It wasn't, it felt great, the new owner is giving it a better life than I was. Same for the second one. Pretty rare had it for a decade. It was like Christmas for the new owner when he picked it up. 
Things change, time commitments change, interest change. It's ok to drop a car or a hobby and try a new one. I think making the decision to do it is the hardest part. For me it is time to move on when the effort no longer aligns with the reward emotionally. That can be driven by time, money, loved ones or whatever. 

JThw8 UltimaDork
3/26/22 8:57 p.m.

6 month rule has served me well with projects active and complete.  If I dont wrench on it or drive it in 6 months it goes on the market.

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
3/26/22 10:28 p.m.

In reply to Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) :

I saw a YouTuber that commented to never buy a project car that doesn't run.  Always buy one that is drivable or you may never find the motivation to get it running.  Given that I'm sure 75% of us violate this rule.  

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