I don't want to get too far into this but.... I have 2 kids and a wife to think of FIRST the Hot Rod comes second. If it comes down to a decent pair of shoes for the kids or a new set of plugs guess who wins.
The thing that really strikes me is this. A couple months ago I got a whole stack of Rod & Custom magazines from 64-72 and almost every issue has some form of budget concious information, weather it be someone braging about how cheaply they made their rod or articles on scrounging parts and talking down farmers for vintage tin. Budget has always been a primary concern for Hot Rodders. This explains why not everyone has Blown 426 Hemi's in their rods.