A couple of weeks went by before I needed to touch the HotRod again. it had been over four years since I had a life that didn't involve being stuck in a leaky, draughty, damp garage and I was enjoying not being in there.
But with everything done there was just one more thing I felt I needed to do, take it to my friends workshop so he could give it a good looking over, and make sure that I'd managed to get everything tight. Then, once he had done that he would take it for a MOT.
I think he was fairly impressed with what I had created, and he gave it a thorough going over before taking it for its first MOT in it's current form. The MOT inspector picked up a couple of small problems that needed to be rectified, the worst of which was my new brake master cylinder had a leak. So, back to my friends workshop where a new brake master cylinder was sourced, and put into place. Then the couple of other niggly things were fixed, and it was back to the MOT station where it got a clean bill of health. Then that was it, it was done, it was tested, it was ready to drive. Finally the build was over, and maybe now I could relax a bit. The HotRod was loaded back onto the transporter and I headed back off home again. Once back home I unloaded it from the transporter, and backed it into my garage, the build, and the adventure of the build were over. But there was a problem.
The problem was that I was just not that into it anymore. The need to get out there and hit the road in it has somehow evapourated away during the four year build. My friends who were building budget HotRods too had moved on. M.C. had sold his as an unfinished project as he didn't want to waste any more time or money on it as he thought it was never going to end, and was perhaps a little bit detrimental to his marriage. M.R. had completed his, and it looked and drove great. But pretty soon after getting it done he sold it to fund his newly re-kindled love for motorbikes. A love that would eventually, and very sadly be the cause of his life being brought rather abruptly to an early end. So that sort of just left me, and I was kind of fed up with the whole thing.
In the end I just left it in the garage, and got back into living a life outside of the garage, seeing friends again, going out, getting (and managing to keep) a girlfriend, and all that sort of stuff. I did have a quick drive up and down the road in it once, and it drove pretty good, and is quite nippy, but that was pretty much it. Even when I moved away, I left the HotRod in the garage back home for when my interest was re-kindled, and I returned for it. But that never really happened. The girlfriend I moved away with didn't go particularly well, but she was always a bit of a psycho, however not even in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine she was going to try and beat me to death one night with a vacuum cleaner! But you live and learn, and I eventually healed and moved on. In the end, like many of us I found myself married, with children, and with no time to play at HotRodding. So since pretty much the beginning of the century my little budget HotRod has been slumbering in my garage.
Every once in a while it does get a trip out for a MOT when I find myself thinking that this is the year that I'm going to get this thing out and drive it. But I usually find myself putting it away after its MOT, and still never having the time to drive it. I think that part of the problem is my garage is far from home, so I have to drive there, get the HotRod out, and put my car away before driving it, and this all seems too much of a faff for me. Another part of the problem is I've eaten too many pies, and frankly I don't fit in it as well as I used to! My last excuse is that actually, I'm just not that into it anymore. When I started this project I was umming and ahhing about if I should build a HotRod, or a Beach Buggy, I think I was more on the Beach Buggy side, but because my friends were doing HotRods I figuered that I'd join them. I wondered, even during the build if I was doing the right thing, and in the two decades since I finished it I have found myself wondering if I should just sell the thing and
build buy a Beach Buggy, but currently I have still got it, slowly turning into a 'barn find' in my garage.
So why don't I just sell it? Well, I don't know, but I think there's a very big part of me that does want to drive it, it is epically cool to look at. But with other things to do, and other toys in the box I never find the time, but hopefully at some point I will.
So here it sits, waiting patiently to be taken out for a drive. But despite me not driving it all is not lost. I say this because as an experience to build a car from scratch(ish) is incredible. I really didn't think that I could do it. I was/am a guy with very little mechanical know-how, and yet here sits a car that I built in a garage with hand tools. That being said, there's no way I can claim to have built it myself, from the very beginning I had lots of help from lots of friends with far more of a clue of what to do that I do, but not only that as well as having the knowledge of how to put it together, they also knew how to do it well. This thing would have not turned out anywhere near as well as it did if it wasn't for my little circle of friends, and if the truth be known, without them I'd probably still be building it. I am very grateful for their help, but even more grateful that they stuck by me while I was building it, listened to my excuses, and helped to keep me going when it was all getting to me.
Added to that, not only did I learn a lot about building a car, but I also learned a lot about myself. I learned about what I would put up with, how tolerent/intolerent I was/am. What I could do myself. How much stamina I had. In all I would say that I learned as much about myself during the build of this little car as I did about building a car. I learned about friendships and relationships, and how some are just golden and should be cherished and valued, whereas others are just toxic form the start, and should be nipped in the bud as soon as possible (I'm looking at you, you vacuum cleaner weilding wench!) But I guess that one of the most important things I learned was that it didn't matter how badly I thought that I had funked something up, there was always someone who knew how to rectify the problem, and make it right for me. Just knowing this has helped me a lot. I used to suffer from a lot of analysis paralysis whereby I had an inability to do something due to over-thinking a problem, and worrying about what if I messed it up. However, since building the HotRod, and learning that there was always someone who knew how to rectify my mistakes I tend to just have a go at it. The weird thing is nine times out of ten I do it OK, and don't need to get anyone to help me out, and put it right for me.
So would I do it again? Ha Ha!! Are you kidding? Absolutely not! I am grateful for the experience, and for the most part despite the hardship of working on it in every spare moment, I quite enjoyed the build. But back then, as a late twenty something I coped fairly well with the cold and the damp. I was able to crawl around on the cold, uneaven concrete floor all day. I could even lift heavy things, and hold heavy things for long periods of time. These days, as a fifty something I'm not saying I couldn't do these things, but I just don't want to, as Sergeant Roger Murtaugh would say in the late eighties buddy cop action films Lethal Weapon, I'm too old for this shit. But that being said, if you find yourself wondering if you could build a car I would encourage you to have a go, you'll be amazed at what you can build, especially if you've managed to surround yourself with a great group of friends.