So, I had this crazy idea. I wanted to find a project car that I could restore and take to the local Friday Night cruise nights. Also, I wanted to make a blog to document the process, the challenges I encountered and ultimately the result.
I knew I wanted something different as a project, rather than the Mustangs or Camaros that you see the “real car guys” drooling over at the shows. I always gravitate to the uglier cars, the bigger cars and the forgotten grocery-getters of my childhood or before. I love the huge Continentals, the ’70s wagons, the Torinos, Darts or Cougars. They speak to me because no one ever thinks to save them. They were the dime-a-dozen cars of their era, the ones that no one wanted because they weren’t “cool”. And now most of them are gone and the rest aren’t looked upon as being worth saving. One day they’ll all be gone.
Now, I’m the first to admit that I have very limited mechanical skills. A few years ago I did change the head gaskets in my wife’s 2003 Chevrolet Impala, and that was a daunting task considering the most I had done before that was spark-plugs and brakes. Also, I don’t have a garage. Or real tools. Or tons of money. Or a project car.
This is where things get interesting…
My father had a blue 1987 Plymouth Reliant 2-door coupe. I made fun of my dad’s car constantly when he got it. At the time, I was happily zipping around in my 5-speed Mazda3 sport hatch with 17″ rims, sunroof and tinted windows. Why would anyone want a k-car when just about any other car was better? I was sure he had bought it as a joke. But he drove it around happily for years, kept it well-maintained and even entered it into a car show.
It was his daily driver for years, until 2014 when he got a replacement vehicle – a Ford Focus wagon. He didn’t have a reason to keep both vehicles on the road so the Reliant was relegated to a storage yard, where it sat.
My dad really wanted the car to live on, but he didn’t know what to do with it. He didn’t have the heart to scrap it. I thought and thought (and thought) about taking it, just as a spare beater car originally. I weighed the pros and cons, and as I did the idea of fixing this car grew on me. In June 2015, I towed the car to my house to begin restoring it.
In the end I have decided to love the little Reliant like the good little car it is. But I’m going to make some modifications to make it a bit cooler, a bit faster and a bit more acceptable as a “classic” car. Then I’m going to take it to every car show I can find – not to compete, but just because I want to be part of the group that saves old things instead of throwing them away.
So what’s next?
Well, I will post my progress on the car here on the blog. Some posts will be major things, some minor, and some may just be my rambling thoughts. I’ll add photos when I can, but probably not many step-by-step instructions since I really don’t know what I’m doing yet. Post frequency will vary depending on time and activity, so don’t get mad if I miss a week. I may even post photo sets to my Flickr account.
In short: I hope that this blog is entertaining and that the project turns out to be a success. Maybe it will encourage someone else to save a car or try something new in their own life.
Over and Out,