Why do we put ourselves through the h**l
of restoring a car
> After what was one of those one or two days per year when central
> is pure heaven (low 70's, no humidity, blue skies, light breeze)
I spent 7
> hours in the garage with the TR3 from hell.
> Five items I thought were on taken apart again, three previous
> fixed and replaced, one figured out but not yet replaced and
one more new
> broken this time around. I guess you can call it progress.
Any bets on
> whether I live long enough to see this project through?
Been there, did that, been discouraged as H**l. Sometimes left
the project for as much as a year at a time because I needed some
time in my life without that level of discouragement.
It took me 10 years but I'm driving my TR3 again. She now brings
a smile to my lips whenever I glance her way. During the final
assembly I was wondering if I had forgotten something important
or put something on wrong and the car would not work or fall apart
on the road. The car had a slow start up period while I looked
for and corrected numerous little things and went through and
But now that the work is 99% done I remember why I put myself
through the torture of a complete rebuild on dirt without a garage.
If you have not guessed, I do not like spending my time doing
mechanic work. I'm just too cheap to pay someone else to do something
I think I can do.
There seem to be two kinds of rebuilders. One type does it because
they enjoy spending their time making a vintage car like new.
These people spend time on the rebuild project as a preferred
form of relaxation. The process of rebuilding it is at least as
satisfying as driving the rebuilt car.
Then there are those who just want their car to become like new
but could think of many other things they would rather do with
their time. This group takes time out from their lives to go out
and work on the project. When the project goes on longer than
they originally thought it should, tension builds and they just
want the project done so they can get on with their lives.
I fall into the second group and I guess that you do too. We
are not experts at rebuilding. We learn as we go and we make our
share of mistakes while learning. This means lots of doubts, lots
of removing installed parts because you didn't get it right the
This is a normal part of learning how to rebuild a car. I noticed
that you are giving yourself a deadline to raise your level of
anxiety and get you focused on getting the job done within a given
time. It is even more normal to feel discouraged when you give
yourself a deadline.
A time line is a two edged sword. Those of us focused on getting
the rebuild project finished and over with will feel a tension
at how slow the project is going and frequently feel discouraged
by our apparent lack of progress. It is normal. It is also where
many projects come to a halt and many vintage cars die. I think
I read somewhere that four out of five cars disassembled for a
home rebuild never get reassembled again.
The soul of a classic roadster is strong yet fragile. It doesn't
like to exist alone and part of it reaches out to create a shared
existence with its driver. Strangers can get a glimpse of a Roadster's
soul as they pass by but never the true depth that the driver
The soul of a classic roadster slowly dissipates when it is disassembled
and the parts are sitting scattered about a rebuild area. It dissipates
to the point where it exists only within the person doing the
rebuild. When that person looses it, the car becomes a collection
of parts and nothing more.
There were times I thought my TR3 would become one of these casualties.
That it entered into a sleep that would go deeper and deeper then
slowly dissipate into nothing. But luckily for my car my personality
also has a strong tenacity component that kept me going through
lots and lots of discouragement and times of just being overwhelmed
by the scope of the project.
Through this I desperately hung onto the memories of driving
my 3 through the mountains. I remembered the feisty little beast
that was ready to take on the new cars, the smile that she brought
so readily to my lips, the exhilaration of being out on the winding
country roads going through the gears. Sometimes dimly, sometimes
the level of discouragement was so high I almost lost it. But
after 10 years of working through this project I was finally able
to restore that soul back into it's proper body to flourish once
Beware new sports cars, there is once again a feisty roaring
Triumph TR3A stalking you. The flame burns brightly once again.
Never doubt that the end results will be worth the work you
put in today.
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