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Old 08-18-2012, 10:35 PM
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Starting from ZERO

Here is my situation. I'm planning on buying a house in the next 0-3 months. As soon as I get in I'm buying a project. I'm am looking at some 1930 - 35 trucks or sedans that I can resto-mod. The catch is I know nothing about cars, like everything else I plan on learning as I go.

So what I'm really looking for is a starting point. After the vehicle do I decide on an engine and build around that or what? I do have a friend who has a body shop and another who does interior, so that is not as much of an issue. Right now I am in the planning stage, and still waiting on getting a house. But it's never too early to get started. Thanks for any suggestions or help.

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Old 08-19-2012, 12:28 AM
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Id make sure your new home has a reasonably large garage for all the tools and car parts you are about to collect. Possibly even a heater if you live in a northern climate.

There are many books available on how to build a Hot Rod, Id pick up a few and start reading them at your leisure.

Same things with how to build a motor. If you know which brand and size of motor you want to use, reading about that type of motor will familiarize you with its layout.

You should put your entire project down on paper. Get a plan together, put prices to parts you want. Figure out for sure what youre gonna have to farm out(paint/body, engine machine work, axle assembly, frame welding, etc.) Be realistic, cause planning on doing everything your self is gonna mean a lot of expensive equipment, and some tech classes, which is not a bad idea anyway, check your local community college for adult education classes in welding, body work.

If youre planning on buying an aftermarket body and frame(original stuff costs big bucks), find out what your state or province requires you to do about title and registration.

Good luck, now go find a big garage with a small house attached.
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:45 AM
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HA! Thanks, yeah the house is first. We are looking at a few that actually have enough garage space. Some have an extra shop built on. I can actually do a lot, if not most of the metal work. I do have experience with that stuff. It is all the working parts. Since I have nothing but time I have thought about classes or even a course at a trade school like UTI or WyoTech. I live in California so the weather is not really an issue.

As for vehicle planning, so far I have found a 1935 Chevy 1/2 ton, shed stored with just surface rust. The floor looks good & solid, easy to see since the cab is empty. No glass but no big deal since I would replace all the old stuff with new safety glass. Engine wise I'm thinking a GM 454. That is about as far as. Have gotten so far.

Thank you for your input & insight.
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:42 PM
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You think the car will be your first project?......oh no Senoir, I'm assuming your married so the NEW HOUSE will be your first and only project for quite some time. It's called "honey do's" ....then when you're done with those (which never end by the way) will you be able to work on YOUR project.

Word of advise, use the famous old KISS system....."keep it symple stupid" there are probably thousands of half finished project cars sitting in garages all over the world because the owners went nuts and got way in over their heads on the build.

These things cost a LOT of money no matter how much you can do, anyone of the members on this forum that has ever built a hot rod from the ground up will tell you the same thing. There's always something else to buy...which usually cost several hundred bucks. If you look around you can probably find a project that some guy is tired of, can't afford to finish and is getting ragged on by the wife to get the f*&$%^#* thing out of the garage..... and can be bought for a fair price.

As FmrStrtracer so wisely said, make up a plan that also fits your budget AND stick to it. Don't over judge your ability to do everything and you'll be surprised how may thousands and I mean thousands of little things you have to buy will add up. So have fun but keep it simple.
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:56 PM
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consider a kit car. all the parts are available or some can be fabricated,it comes with instructions,others have already built that, options are listed and it still is very easy to customise to your likings
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:07 PM
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I would read detailed builds on forums like this one and check out Hotrod magazine, Rod and Custom, Hot rod deluxe, Streetrodding and others for ideas. From a practical point starting with a glass body and an after market frame may be the less expensive way to go. Real steel from the 30s is scarce in even halfway decent shape.
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:48 PM
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@327Nut - I'm actually lucky that my wife is totally cool with this project. I am recently retired @ 35 and NEED something to do. I am lucky enough to have a pension so I have that going for me.

When it comes to the actual vehicle if it becomes too much trouble I might go from resto-mod to more of a rat rod, especially if I need to start cutting steel out and replacing it. I might buy something pull the body off the chassis and end up with just a chassis. If so then I will go with a fiberglass body, or I will just buy a casket and build the Dragula from the Monsters!

I am looking forward to this whole process. I expect problems, frustrations but also some fun and education on the way. Thanks again.
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