Looking for a Project Car

The search begins for a vehicle to grind, fix, and rebuild

Autumn begins when you notice the arrival of darkness coming earlier, deciduous trees turning color, and football is no longer in pre-season. For gearheads, the garage that sat empty all summer now calls for a new project vehicle to fill the void. There are thoughts of days and weeks spent grinding, fixing, and rebuilding a relic of the past in hopes of restoring it to its former glory.

If I'm lucky, I'll find a car in near-pristine condition that needs little else but a set of spark plugs and wires, a battery and tires, along with a couple of days to bring the finish back to life. Hey, I may be dreaming, but most of us know someone who knew somebody that found a car like that, right?

Looking through photos of cars I saw for sale at shows and events, it was clear most were out of the range of a Metro Pulse columnist, never mind my day job as a marketing and PR strategist. No, it's going to take looking through the paper, the publications you find at the C-store, and possibly a little luck. Observing handwritten signs, driving through the countryside, and seeing vehicles yearning for a new owner—this is the more likely route I'll take to find what I'm after.

So maybe you're sitting there on a cache of cars, a stockpile of steel dreams, and you wouldn't mind letting one go for a song. What I'm looking for is a car or truck from the '60s or early '70s, before EGR and the EPA equaled less fun and a decided downturn in style. Despite a surge in popularity for "rat rods," I have no problem with chrome bumpers and trim in all the right places. I'm more concerned that it has a decent power plant under the hood, but these days you can dump that low-performing, two-speed Mixmaster and instead drop in a crate motor that's ready to run, so that's less of a concern.

I've got plenty of ideas, and next week I have an appointment to go see someone who just might be willing to part with an object of my automotive obsession. It's been too long since I've had a "real" hot rod, and according to Steve Metz, the creator of Muscle Machines diecasts, "If you don't have a real hot rod, you aren't a real hot rodder." I got the message loud and clear, and it's about time to drive something more in line with my interests.

Strangely enough, there are people who could care less about what they drive, and they don't identify themselves with or by their rides. I suppose they're not the readers of Knox On Wheels, either!

Got an idea for local car coverage? Contact Jason at: spdnmotion@yahoo.com.