This past weekend, I drove one of my projects the farthest I had ever driven it. Now it was only about 300 miles each way, but still something I had never done in the car before. As I was cruising across the hot California desert with nothing in sight, my mind started wandering.
As I’m passing cars, or they are passing me, I’m getting thumbs up and excited smiles. At the bare minimum, they would be staring down the car. We all know that driving an old classic brings lots of attention. When cruising a 1962 Cadillac Limo, it draws even more. But that’s not what my mind wandered to.
What I was thinking about is the sad state the car was in when I bought it. The 5,200 lb. tank would barely make it down the street and back, now it’s comfortably cruising down the highway doing 80MPH while getting triple the gas mileage it use to. During that thought process I recalled all the hard work I had put into the car. While thinking about that, I started thinking about how far apart I’ve had this car.
That was a scary thought. At one point this car was a body sitting on a frame. I personally put in the engine, bolted on the suspension, and torqued down the wheels. Cruising at 80MPH, if something went wrong – it was all my fault. But that also meant I get to take all the credit for this bad ass ride too. I’m the one who did all the work on the car and now I’m getting to reap the rewards of hours of hard work. That’s way too cool in my book. My sense of pride was growing and growing as I thought about every nut and bolt I turned and every war I waged on this car to get it to this point.
Not many can say that nowadays. Most people don’t work on their cars. Even if they do, it’s basic maintenance to their new daily drivers to keep them on the road. But most can’t say they completely restored a car or even have a car that they bought to that level. If you remember one of my other articles, “Why Built Not Bought Is Bullshit,” then you know I don’t care if you bought or built your car. That’s not my point here. My point is that cruising down the highway with the wind blowing my beard all over the place, it was pure bliss. I felt the sense of accomplishment from years of hard work finally paying off. For the record, I don’t care if that means you turned a wrench or wrote a check – we all earn our rides in different ways.
These thoughts flowed through my brain and made me remember a few years back when I had a very similar experience taking my ’66 Chevelle on Power Tour. That car is a frame off build, all built with the blood and sweat of my own hands. Only that time, the car drove 5,000 miles in only 8 days. The car was practically brand new with only 120 miles on it before I drove it literally across the USA.
To be blunt and pardon my french, Drive Your Shit. Get it out there and experience it. You won’t find a better sense of accomplishment and pride than driving your classic car down the road.