Yeah, you noticed on that T-bucket which was built for under $1k... it took him 6 years and he's not finished right?
I know exactly how you feel, man. Five years ago when I was shopping for a car I bought the very first car I looked at, the '69 vette in my avatar. I spent wayyyyy too much for it and got much less than I expected.
If I could do it again, I probably wouldn't change a thing, but in retrospect I should have talked the guy down... A LOT.
My best advice is never buy a car with some sort of deadline or expectation about when it will be ready to drive. Unless you know the car really really well, it's impossible to know what little thing is going to keep you grounded until it gets fixed.
It really pays to have knowledge more than anything else in the automotive world. The more you know, the better off you are.
I like that idea of "interning" at a speed shop somewhere. If only I were younger... DO IT WHILE YOU ARE YOUNG AND HAVE THE TIME.
Good luck and may the hotrodder spirit grow stronger within you!