Bringing the Dead Back to Life – The Junk Yard Body Restoration – Part 2

Personally the order that I use depends on the car I am building. I will spend hours refining the look I want to achieve through photos of countless cars of the same type, even before the first bolt is removed. From there the first consideration is the frame as it is the critical foundation of the car. Making sure the car sits correctly on the frame, the doors open and close with the correct gap, fenders line up, and the body sits securely to the chassis are all part of the steel bite pro process. Again, the key to this process is to consider your inventory, make lists of things that need to be done, and prioritize the action item list. Action items may read something like “remove body from old frame”, or even a subset of that like “brace body and door in preparation for body removal”. Once the steps are logically written and well thought out, the process will move forward with military precision. The key to it all is to write it down, think it out, and micro-manage the steps into small bites.

Just like mom told you to not stuff your mouth at the dinner table, when you walk into your shop have in mind the one goal you want to accomplish during that session. You will feel great when it is done, and one victory will pile on the next to give you a sense of pride that you cannot get by buying a finished car. Additionally you will avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed with the magnitude of the build. Your sense of progress is assured with each small victory, so don’t get in a hurry. Keep in mind that if you don’t feel like doing something that day – DON’T DO IT! I am not ashamed to farm out some tasks to other people, as the point of building the car for me is one of artistic expression. That being said, I still critique my work and if I am not satisfied with the overall quality of the job I feel it is okay to trash the project and start again. Maybe I wouldn’t redo the job the very next day, but after some time has passed I may have a different perspective and the results will reflect that. Stay focused on the task at hand and the car will magically come together with time. It is not unusual for me to spend 2-3 years on one project, and even pull some 12 hour days without a break, or I may leave the project to sit for a time until I fee inspired. I will often ponder a particular challenge over some days before even attempting it, and often an inspiration will just come to me as if by magic.

Final thing to consider is the WHY. For it is the why that defines us, drives us, and gives us purpose. If the WHY is solely for financial gain, I would advise you to forget it. It would be more profitable to work at McDonalds. It is always less expensive to buy a completed car that it is to build one from scratch. In most cases, depending on the car, the cost of the materials is what a completed car will actually sell for on the open market. Rarely considered, which often numbers in the hundreds of hours, is the actual time and talent it took to put a car together. Multiply this exponentially when discussing a rusted junk yard hull that has suffered the ravages of the elements for decades. For me the WHY is one of artistic expression, as I mentioned, and simply having the patience and talent to do the job correctly. I have made the decision not to sell any of the cars that I have built for the simple reason that they cannot be replaced. They also represent hundreds of hours spent in an artistic meditation as I see the project take shape. Its captured effort formed in steel.

In conclusion I would encourage thoughtful consideration before attempting a project, because anything worth while is worth doing right. Also keep in mind my mantra of “what everyone else thing is none of my business”. Do what your spirit tells you to do, and invest your best effort in its completion. Remember it is the journey that is most important.

Curt Baker is a Charlotte NC based consultant specializing in foreclosure mediation in the commercial market. Curt works with Asset Solutions Group Inc and is focused on the Hospitality Industry in mediating debt, and restructuring financing for distressed properties. The company website is:

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