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Old 11-05-2004, 11:41 AM
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finding project cars

As my name reads I am new here, but I have done an extensive search on this site's resources and can't find my answer, although I have found a bunch of other great things.

Here is my question as the subject header states. I am looking for a car to hot rod. I have been an enthusiast since I can remember, but never had the resources or guidance to start a project. I have never been afraid of mechanical work and frequently did my own car repairs. In the last few years I have gotten involved with Offroading and have been modifying my truck from bone stock, to it's current condition of being supercharged, with a solid axle in place of the IFS suspension As well as building a full roll cage and other modifications for that sport. All of this without any formal training, so you can see I am not afraid of getting in the garage and teaching myself or of getting dirty.

Since this "project truck" is almost finished. I find myself wanting, with the support of my wife and step children, to build up a hot rod. From the ground up.

I have always wanted a '40's Willys, but with the three step kids I have thoughts of a building a lead sled '40 ish four door Merc so we call all enjoy rides in it together. The wife and kids would support either, but they really fell in love with "Elenore" from Gone In Sixty Seconds and want to find a '69 fastback mustang to "Shebly-nize". I am sure I could do fairly good job with any of those selections.

But my problem is finding a car to start with? I thought with my recent move to Indianapolis finding a chassis or even just a body in some "ole barn" would be easier than it would have been from where I came from, but It is not. Seems like all you veteran's out there have beaten me to all the great finds.

where are some good places to start searching? I have been surfing the net for two or three years looking (that's how I found this site) I have even been watching the newspaper classifieds but without much success. Care to give a newbie some advice on where to find a car to start with?

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Old 11-05-2004, 12:09 PM
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I assume by "surfing the net" for 2-3 years you mean combing the hot rod/collector car classified sites. Maybe if you listed the sites you have been looking at we could suggest some good ones that you might have missed.

My problem is just the opposite. I go to those classified Internet sites and I find WAY TOO MANY projects I want to buy and/or build.
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Old 11-05-2004, 02:25 PM
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Sorry for my vagueness, when I started this "quest" I was thinking of finding a '68 ford thurnderbird, like the one my mom had when I was a kid so my search started on ford sites such as thurnderbird ranch, and carlynx.

As my desires grew and I began to realize this dream of actually building a car, I decided to go back to what I always wanted, a true hot rod or "kustom". From there I narrowed down my true desires which were to build a Willys (I have always loved that car) or a mercury like I stated just because I have always like the lead sled look and it would accomdate the new family. I have also loved mustangs so my wifes wishes were also considered when she expressed her wishes for a fast back.

I again apologize for straying off topic. Anyway. I have gone to collector car trader, American Dream Cars, Greater Dakota Classics, and R.P entereprises. As well as other sites I have sinced deleted from my favorite's list.

I guess I have limited myself in the fact that I am after specific makes and models. That and the fact that I really am timid when it comes to shopping for such an investment on the interenet and having it shipped. I would much rather be able to phyically see what I am buying.

Back home, I knew a shop that referbished Toyota land cruisers, They had a shop and junk yard full of them. their one shop truck that they used to go into the yard was a cruiser a woman bought off the net and took to them to fix. The vehicle actually had bondo holding the frame together. So with that example I have been somewhat scared off the "net car lots".

Yet I still look. I would much rather learn some secrets to finding cars at a local stand point over finding one across the country only being able to view pictures of the vehicle.

Another thing that I keep catching myself on is price, I know this is an expensive hobby, but having three kids now to feed, I keep telling myself the cars I find are out of my budget, so basically I keep shooting myself in the foot everytime and talk myself out of falling through. But I know if the right deal came around, I would act upon it.

Lately I have been considering (gasp I say it?) a fiberglass bodied Willy's. I found one site today that sales them, but for the body alone they wanted $18,000. Is that a normal price for fiberglass?

Sorry for the long post, I am sure that there is way too much information than you wanted.
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Old 11-05-2004, 04:38 PM
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Hi Wannabnewbie,

I appreciate your concerns in tracking down that elusive hot rod project and want to share a few thoughts with you.

Have you tried Ebay? It is a quick way to window browse and watch final sale prices. The feedback scores on the seller give an indication of their credibility if you are looking to make a bid. I've bought 3 cars ('93 Grand Sport, '89 Camaro and '48 Suburban) through Ebay with complete satisfaction and great success. Also, I found my current project ('35 Chevrolet Master Coupe rod project) on Ebay that didn't sell after 3 attempts. Contacted the owner directly afterwards and looked it over twice before purchasing.

Another source is the antique and specialty vehicle trader magazines. You may generally get a better deal going straight to the consumer rather than a classic car dealer who generally pick their vehicles up from a private seller. The downside is you may be limited by their coverage area and your dream car project may be just outside their coverage in say Columbus Ohio.

Be sure to pick a vehicle you really want and don't settle for something you think will do. The enthusiasm will be stronger to help you finish the car you most desire. You mentioned Willys several times and you have 3 children. Look for a Willys sedan. Still has the cool front end and room for the kids too. I do remember seeing a solid builder '40 Willys sedan in Ohio with asking price of $7,500.

As for the fiberglass Willys, there are probably more fiberglass Willys on the roads now than steel ones. Don't know if the price you stated is good or not as it would be contingent on what you get for that price. A fiberglass build is a major project and I've seen many unfinished ones on Ebay telling me people give up for one reason or another.

My suggestion would be to establish a budget, identify what you want and start getting a feel for the market prices of that vehicle. Go look at some for sale to really see price and condition. Ask others that are familiar with that vehicle problem areas to look out for. Buy as complete a car (or even an abandoned rod project can be a great value) as you can find since parts might be rare and expensive.

Most of all enjoy the hunt.
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Old 11-05-2004, 05:41 PM
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try
www.carsonline.com

Gary
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Old 11-05-2004, 06:52 PM
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I found the best deals by far over the years in either my local "Buy&Sell", or the local newspapers.
I've also "alley whacked", drove countless hours up and down alleys, into small towns, up and down side roads, etc etc etc...
I find Ebay and other big internet sites are good for finding rare or obscure stuff, but you have a higher pricetag usually?
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Old 11-05-2004, 08:15 PM
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I agree. "Alley Whacking" is the best way to find a project, especially when you didn't know that you really like that particular car. I got a running 52 ford pickup flathead v8 for free just for asking about it. My Hupmobile came to me because a friend gave me a 4runner with a bad tranny, and I'd seen the hup sitting in the same place for months, so I found the owner and asked if he wanted to trade, and he did. My 66 Charger I found through the internet, but thats because I knew what I wanted.

Gary
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Old 11-05-2004, 08:31 PM
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Have you tried the hot rods sale on this site?Its where i found my anglia at.Hey advanced design what town in illinois a you from
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Old 11-06-2004, 04:06 AM
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I second the eBay suggestion. It is a great resource to see stuff you are looking for - and discover stuff you never knew existed - even though most of it may be more expensive or too far from home to think about purchasing.

Although I am quite dissatisfied with the way eBay thought they improved their search and notification features, especially the eBay Motors section, with a bit of effort you can utilize the advanced search features to be alerted about cars and items of interest to you.

The eBay search feature used to have an option to be shown only items within your state of residence. They replaced that with an advanced search feature which allows setting a selectable mileage range from your zipcode so that you will only be shown (and notified of) items within a distance you are willing to drive to look at a car or other heavy, big, expensive, etc., item you may be interested in.

If, in the eBay search feature, you input the maximum amount of money you wish to spend on a car and the distance you're willing to travel to view one before possibly buying it, and utilize their notification feature, you are at least going to know of any cars or items that may be listed on eBay in your area. That's at least a good, and inexpensive, start on your search journey.

I've never heard the term "alley whacking" before but my general nature of having considerable curiosity nearly compells me to always take back roads or different routes when driving anywhere, time and situation permitting, to just see something I've never seen before, or, to 'just see what's there'. That does lead to finding all kinds of interesting and sometimes useful or needed things.
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Old 11-07-2004, 01:04 PM
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Also try: www.cruisintimes.org/ This is a mag and on line access to the classified section of the mag and it will have a lot of projects and finished rides to choose from. All price ranges and various stages of a project car's to look at on line...get some ideas........have fun!!


Tazz


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Old 11-07-2004, 01:22 PM
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i third the ebay notion. and i third the alley whacking. they both work well. I like to drive around the country, rubbernecking... you never know what your going to run across. and most people seem more than happy to tell you yes or no as to whether or not they want to get rid of it......

you'll find it.
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Old 11-07-2004, 01:31 PM
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Get in your truck and start driving around back country roads. Drive out into the country and drive through all the little roads between the farms and fields. Take binoculars with you, if you think you spotted something take 'em out to see if it's worthy or even a car and not just a dead cow. Dont get discouraged. You might have to take many many trips before you find it. But with enough patience and a little bit of luck you'll find it! And Farmers usually dont want a lot for their junk either.

Have fun,


Mike
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Old 11-08-2004, 08:14 AM
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Smile Thank you, One and all

Everyone has given me renewed hope. I don't get on the internet over the weekend's so today (Monday) is my first chance to see all the replies.

I never put much stock into Ebay before in regards to this type of item. I have been burned before on other items and dissappointed on the lack of other items I was sure would be there. But I will try them again.

As for the "alley whacking" idea, I had thought about that idea from time to time. Before I moved from Texas, I would do the very thing, but being in a new area, I just feel a little uneasy about getting lost and finding myself in an area best avoided if you know what I mean.

But driving the back county roads sounds fun! My wife and I used to love doing that type of thing before we got married…funny how you loose the simpler things in life once you "settle down to the nice morgage and kid's soccer games" type of thing. But I will definitely try to start taking more time again. Heck it may even rekindal some of those " school kid's feelings" again with the Mrs. and I huh?

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 11-08-2004, 11:48 AM
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Wannabnewbie,

Check your box. I just sent you a PM about a guy on the west coast/canada who is a "rod finder" for serious lookers. He's the guy who handled the entire transaction (including delievery to my door) when I bought my '32 pickup. Very good guy.
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Old 11-08-2004, 12:12 PM
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I got it

and replied, I thought it was a normal posting though, sorry I am still trying to figure out this Pming stuff and all
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