The moment you realized you had too many project cars?

Colin
By Colin Wood
Aug 8, 2022 | Project Cars, Projects, Discussion, Builds and Project Cars

Yes, we can already hear you typing furiously away, explaining that “there’s no such thing as too many project cars.” While we’d love to agree with you, there’s a distinct difference between working on more than one project at a time and hoarding a bunch of cars that need too much work to run.

At any rate, what was the moment you realized that you bit off more than you could chew–that you had too many project cars–and it was time to thin the herd?

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Project Cars, Projects, Discussion and Builds and Project Cars news.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/5/22 3:23 p.m.

You mean the  first time I realized I had too many project cars? 

 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltimaDork
8/5/22 3:34 p.m.

Haven't hit that point yet, but with three "fun" cars, one of which is out of commission right now, and another that tends to require constant attention to keep running, it feels like I am close.  Being in the rust belt, and hating seeing cars disintegrate while sitting, I think I'd know I have too many if one needs to be parked in the grass for more than a day or so, or parked on the street during the winter.

slefain
slefain UltimaDork
8/5/22 3:35 p.m.

When I run out of parking spaces. I still have yard, so we aren't there yet.

a_florida_man
a_florida_man GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/5/22 3:42 p.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

You mean the  first time I realized I had too many project cars? 

 

rcutclif

For me it would be the first time I realized it, and then actually DID SOMETHING about it.

Right now I have a challenge car project (XKR) A 'fun' project ('65 390 FS Ford), a long term project ('46 CJ2a), a U42T mini truck that will need a clutch soon, a 25' cabin boat in the middle of an outdrive overhaul, a '58 Healey 100/6 that runs and drives but is about to be needful in the brake and suspension department, a late model Wrangler that loves little projects, a 2500 Suburban 6.0 4x4 that is 100% neglected and LIKES to be left alone, and the wife's van (note the lack of description or care lol.)

This is after I downsized recently.....so i don't have a problem, thank you very much.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/5/22 3:47 p.m.

I was already starting to feel like my things were owning me when I had 2, now I'm up to 3...one runs, one ran when parked in the before-times, one mysteriously stopped running in February (probably gas went bad despite having stabilizer mixed in and needs new gas + fuel system cleaning) and is getting a body restoration.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
8/5/22 3:49 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

The first or the final time?    The first was 30 years ago. 
I had 3 Morris Minor Travelers, 2 MG T series,  the Black Jack special, the Jaguar  XKE. V12 racecar. One Jaguar XJ12  sedan  and customer cars. In for restoration or race preparation. ( a Lotus 11 LeMans waiting  for space.  
      The most recent is when  my late Mother-in-law's stuff started filling the garage. 

rustomatic
rustomatic Reader
8/5/22 3:51 p.m.

When the number hit two was pretty much what did it.

SupraFiend
SupraFiend New Reader
8/5/22 4:17 p.m.

My metric, and one I'd recommend to any car enthusiast, is when you exceed how much covered parking you have. If you have to park it on the street or in the yard, you have too many imo. Old cars and collectors degrade too much if left in the sun and rain. If you're that guy with a yard full of cars, then sell em so they can go to someone who can store them properly or they're just going to return to the earth before you get to them.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/5/22 4:22 p.m.
SupraFiend said:

My metric, and one I'd recommend to any car enthusiast, is when you exceed how much covered parking you have. If you have to park it on the street or in the yard, you have too many imo. Old cars and collectors degrade too much if left in the sun and rain. If you're that guy with a yard full of cars, then sell em so they can go to someone who can store them properly or they're just going to return to the earth before you get to them.

Depending on how you look at it, my covered parking spots are somewhere between 0 and 1

nocones
nocones GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/5/22 4:22 p.m.

I feel attacked.  

I am definitely in the to many right now.  If I just got one or two more perfect projects I could justify getting rid of at least one of the ones I have.  In that way those 3 additional projects would really free up mental space.  

In all honesty it's hard to give up on them because I struggle to see them for the reality of what they actually are today.  I see them in my mind as what my plan for them is when finished.  I'm emotionally invested in my plan and my dream, not the pile of parts to make it.  Giving up on that potential that is much harder then giving up on the Rusty Useless shell they really are.    Selling the cars would be easy, they are just cars, I could get more.  But to sell them feels like giving up on the idea and that's painful.  

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
8/5/22 5:17 p.m.

The second I realized "finished" was more important than owning another project. I get little if any satisfaction from owning a project car other than the one I am currently working on. 

msterbeau
msterbeau New Reader
8/5/22 5:44 p.m.

I have the opposite problem.  I don't have enough.  :-(

gumby
gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/5/22 5:58 p.m.
NOHOME said:

The second I realized "finished" was more important than owning another project. I get little if any satisfaction from owning a project car other than the one I am currently working on. 

I'm the opposite. I find less satisfaction in owning the finished product vs figuring it out and doing the building.

The first time I realized I had too many projects was a winter where I was forced to change oil in the driveway. I built more space. Now I get aggravated when I have to change oil on the floor if the lift is occupied for too long, but I haven't had to do it outside since that first lesson, so I did learn something!

SupraFiend
SupraFiend New Reader
8/5/22 6:51 p.m.

Yup, thats me. I've had a 3 car shop for 20 years now, but it actually always was a 2 car shop, with room for lots of benches, work stations and just enough storage. Of course, I've always had over 3 cars, so the shop is always so full that it's awkward to work in. Currently it's filled with 3 cars mid restoration that can't sit outside, so I do my oil changes in the 6 feet of space in front of one of them, with the back end hanging outside.

The obvious solution is to downsize the fleet. So of course, I am instead building my dream shop, which will comfortably fit the 5 long term project cars I have, because I'm an idiot! Yeah I'm not ready to give up on them either. But, retirement isn't really that far away so I figure if I can comfortably store them inside for the next decade or so, whats the problem? They will be too hard/expensive to replace then, and what the hell else am i going to do during retirement lol.

The real downside is I don't feel like a car guy anymore. I've been a construction guy for 2 years now, and it will take another one to get it fully done and usable.

I have always been super envious of my 1 car garage friends, who pour 100% of their money and time into a single car. Some finish it completely, then get another and start again, others just keep making the one car better and better. Meanwhile I have one pretty nice car (that still needs to be restored), and 4 half finished undrivable projects. I see the error of my ways, but I'm still unable to change course. At least learn from me! lol

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
8/5/22 6:52 p.m.
gumby said: "...I'm the opposite. I find less satisfaction in owning the finished product vs figuring it out and doing the building..."

That's me. I enjoy the journey, figuring out all the details, and when the car is done, drive it enough to prove that it works as designed, then lose interest (that, and being a stick, and heavy traffic, and competing interests, etc, etc). 

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 UltraDork
8/5/22 7:28 p.m.

I had a repair shop, and I owned 11 (eleven) cars. If no customer cars were on premiss that ran, I could not go home for dinner. It cured me. August 1986. I have maxed at 4 cars total since. Almost the entire time at 2 total, just where I am now. 

johndej
johndej SuperDork
8/5/22 7:31 p.m.

When you're 14, own 5 cars, and the jeeps brakes are leaking.... I kid.

 

But when driving them becomes a chore.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
8/5/22 8:22 p.m.

I've only ever had the one project car. Having multiple seems like a way to spend more money and accomplish less. Honestly, I'm not sure my Miata even counts as a project car any more. I can't remember the last time I changed anything that wasn't just maintenance and I can't think of anything I need to do.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
8/5/22 10:07 p.m.

In reply to gumby :

Maybe I did not say that right. 

I need project cars to progress to being finished. I need to see steady progress if I am to get that satisfaction feedback loop. 

Once the car is "done" I move on to a new project. Historically, I have kept one "done" project car to drive as one does hobby cars. If a project car graduates to "done project "  and I already have a "done"  car to drive, then something needs to leave cause I want the money and space to do another project.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
8/5/22 10:44 p.m.

I have a friend who suffers from hoarding. It's one of the toughest mental health issues to overcome.

He gets such a high from buying the thing becuase the thing is gonna be so cool. That high wanes and so obviously he has to buy something else. He's got 40+ motorcyle projects that will never get finished.

The stuff owns him; even at fire sale prices he has 35-40K worth of stuff. If he sold it off he could buy several really cool bikes that would bring him so much joy on a daily basis (he retired this year). I sold him my YZ125 several years ago and every time he rides it he has a huge grin all day.  

He had some really m tough years so he bought the projects with the thought that when he got back on his feet he'd have them up and running but now he's over run with them.

It's an easy trap to fall into.

Noddaz
Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/6/22 8:47 a.m.

There are times that I think 1 is too many.

Blasphemy, I know.

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
8/6/22 9:01 a.m.

As soon as I realized I'm more of a driver and tinkerer than a builder of a large project. Somewhere I have cars on jack stands that will run the day I get my checkbook out to have someone else finish my project. 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltimaDork
8/6/22 9:20 a.m.
Tom1200 said:

It's an easy trap to fall into.

I'm borderline between packrat and hoarder.  It's very difficult when you can't help but attach strong emotions to inanimate objects, or want to hold on to something, "just in case".  What helps/hurts me is being aware of some of the stuff I've missed out on because of it, but also being aware of the times my habit has saved time/money on something.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/6/22 11:00 a.m.

I can't say that I really want a project car right now.  All my vehicles run and work as intended.  I play with them some but they're never projects.  I just don't have the time or space.  Hence me selling the corrado, that put my garage at maximum usage....

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
8/6/22 11:13 a.m.

I have a rule that only one car can really be a project at a time.

It occasionally breaks down when a car that was not supposed to be a project becomes one.

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
8/6/22 11:17 a.m.

When I was up to 11 old British cars and was restoring them at about the rate of one per year.  I expect the neighbours  would have said it was the day my 'collection' rose to two....

SupraFiend
SupraFiend New Reader
8/6/22 12:05 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Yes, I think we all know someone like that.

When I see a field or yard full of cars, after the initial excitement of looking for something rare that you are into, I get kind of sad. Because as you said, it's a sign the owner has some issues, but also it's sad for the cars, because they're likely all going to rot away into nothing in that yard. If you can't store them right, pass them on to someone who can. Its one thing if you need to keep a project under a tarp for a season to get a project in the shop out of the way, it's another if you have an entire fleet out there.

ghawbrey
ghawbrey
8/6/22 1:18 p.m.

Does it count if I put a couple parts cars outside til I can get them stripped?  Four Triumph Spitfires, two GT6s, three TR7s (one is a race car) and a Jensen Healey all inside.  I am looking at two more.  Maybe I have a problem.......

dxman92
dxman92 Dork
8/6/22 1:23 p.m.

I think SWMBO would say I have too many Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars that count as one big project..

JeffL
JeffL
8/6/22 1:32 p.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

The wrong question is being asked. You CAN'T have too many project cars. You can be short of time, space and money, but you can't have too many cars, that like saying "too much bacon" it simply makes no sense

billstewartx
billstewartx Reader
8/6/22 2:24 p.m.

i just own manual transmissions instead of whole cars. you can pack ALOT into a small space. like eight right now 

and  five  V12's ... 

again, they all fit in small area... 

someday when the V12's run... i will find a chassis for them... 

 

carguyrory
carguyrory New Reader
8/6/22 2:34 p.m.

I don't understand the question. 

WillG80
WillG80 GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/6/22 2:40 p.m.

The day I started parking cars on my empty lot up the street from the house. The skidsteer and trailer can park there but no project cars. 

humasj
humasj New Reader
8/6/22 2:56 p.m.

When the letter from the city arrived last October giving me until November 1 to remove the excess vehicles from my yard.  So now, my old Showroom Stock car is taking up a prime spot in the driveway and a couple of cool pickup projects had to go away, along with my late mother's Lincoln that needed a transmission.

Geno1
Geno1 New Reader
8/6/22 2:56 p.m.

  I think I was in my late 20's.  I'm about to turn 78....still working on a couple.  Do project cars ever get 'finished'?

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
8/6/22 3:01 p.m.
billstewartx said:

i just own manual transmissions instead of whole cars. you can pack ALOT into a small space. like eight right now 

and  five  V12's ... 

again, they all fit in small area... 

someday when the V12's run... i will find a chassis for them... 

 

5 ? V12's ?!?!? What brand? 

buzzboy
buzzboy SuperDork
8/6/22 3:48 p.m.

This year.

I have 3 "project" cars and a bicycle. Very thankful for that bicycle. One project has been driven 10 miles in 5 years. My ex-daily, now project, I gave up on and took to a mechanic to finish. My current daily is the least "project" but still imperfect with 325k miles and a laundry list of things to do.

I decided my list of priorities can only include one project. So it's now, sell one, finish one, plan to replace one.

Ranger50
Ranger50 MegaDork
8/6/22 6:03 p.m.

When my dad died almost 3 yrs ago. I inherited all of his that were not in my plans to have to fix.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/6/22 7:03 p.m.

When I think about the projects I'm going to get from Dad (hopefully a long long time from now,) I start to get a bit overwhelmed. 
Am I going to get rid of Dad's VW van that he's had for literally as long as I can remember?  Dad's truck, which was Grandpop's truck he bought new from Toyota?  Dad's Porsche that I've heard stories about for decades, but needs a restoration?

I mean...
 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
8/6/22 7:19 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

I cleaned out my In-Laws stuff several years back and that motivated me to thin out my stuff.

 

hobiercr
hobiercr GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/6/22 10:56 p.m.

I'm ignoring this thread.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/6/22 11:28 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

I've been involved in two of those.  I need to get rid of old outboards I have no use for.

msterbeau
msterbeau New Reader
8/7/22 1:25 a.m.

In the cycling world we have a formula for how many bikes is enough:  N+1, where "N" is the number you currently own... 

TurboFource
TurboFource Reader
8/7/22 7:43 a.m.

My driveway is full and I have a F100 at a friend's house that I haven't seen in awhile....I have a 1.5 car garage full of disassembled Europa...one Europa project seems to be plenty...a small car does not mean a small project! And I will finish it!

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/7/22 10:14 a.m.

A LONG time ago, but it really hit home a year and a half ago when I had to move from one shop to another. Man I have a lot of "stuff". I tell people that even if I hit the lottery, I'd have the monies to finish all of my projects, but I won't live long enough to get them all done. 

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/7/22 12:05 p.m.

I am real estate limited.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
8/7/22 12:53 p.m.
ghawbrey said:

Does it count if I put a couple parts cars outside til I can get them stripped?  Four Triumph Spitfires, two GT6s, three TR7s (one is a race car) and a Jensen Healey all inside.  I am looking at two more.  Maybe I have a problem.......

You never hear of the pathological car hoarder answering "Is it for sale?" with "Yeah, as soon as I strip the interior for parts."

darkbuddha
darkbuddha HalfDork
8/7/22 2:13 p.m.

I realized I had (have!) too many when I realized I didn't have room to actually work on them.  Cars piled up so I can't get access to one or another.  Parts piled up so that I don't have space to remove/repair parts on the cars. Everything all piled up in my head that I can't think straight about how to proceed. And perhaps that's the worst part: not being able to figure out how to proceed with either finishing a project, or at least knowing what to tackle next.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
8/7/22 4:38 p.m.

In reply to darkbuddha :

Figure out which projects matter to you. If authorities came and told you mother nature was going to engulf your property and you had to evacuate and could only take one which one would it be? That's you're keeper.

Next is triage; after your keeper, number the rest in order of importance. 

The least important one will need to be sold on so you can have room to work.

After that's done start on the smallest/easiest one to finish. After that work your way through the rest.

It will take an entire weekend just to plan everything out.

It will take another weekend just to organize everything before you can actually get started.

Unless you're Jay Leno owning more than 3 hobby cars quickly becomes a burden. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
8/7/22 6:54 p.m.
preach (dudeist priest) said:

I am real estate limited.

 I'm really not, or originally wasn't.  Over time that filled up. Let's see, 38 years 1800 sq ft  So that's 47.xx sq feet a year. Well to be fair only some of that is all the way to the 10' ceiling. 
 

GM > MG
GM > MG New Reader
8/8/22 12:51 a.m.

How many is too many - one.

I just sold my car, rotisserie, lift, engine stand, every part I collected for the project over the last several years. Even the  garage TV. I was lucky I bought well and got most of my $$$ back.

Old story, everybody knows this one well: my retirement project ended w/ a trip to the doctors office.

Sometimes just got to face that facts its not going to get done, pass the torch, let it go.

 

 

 

 

 

darkbuddha
darkbuddha HalfDork
8/8/22 5:23 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

In reply to darkbuddha :

Figure out which projects matter to you. If authorities came and told you mother nature was going to engulf your property and you had to evacuate and could only take one which one would it be? That's you're keeper.

Next is triage; after your keeper, number the rest in order of importance. 

The least important one will need to be sold on so you can have room to work.

After that's done start on the smallest/easiest one to finish. After that work your way through the rest.

It will take an entire weekend just to plan everything out.

It will take another weekend just to organize everything before you can actually get started.

Unless you're Jay Leno owning more than 3 hobby cars quickly becomes a burden. 

Thanks for the advice and list.  It helps.  It's kinda what I've been trying to do, but as you'll probably guess, it's not quite as easy as it might seem.  Prioritizing based on which matters to ME is fairly easy, but given that some of it is about people other than me (like my kids, or my father, or friends), it makes it a bit tougher, especially if adding in sentimental attachment.  Then there's the listing of things in order of importance, which often changes as different deadlines and opportunities come and go, like which gets priority for the upcoming GRM Challenge.  And prioritizing which is "smallest/easiest" is difficult when they've all reached a certain level of requirement: A LOT.  And we'll just ignore the hassles and responsibilities of maintaining the aging daily drivers in this equation, or that I've allowed other hobbies to interfere with cars; something I'm actively trying to rectify. Anyway, for all my self-serving excuses, I really do appreciate the reminder/reality check.  I turn 50 this year, and it occurs to me that if I don't start getting these projects sorted ASAP, it'll only get worse and never better.

One last thing: it's more like two hobby cars is a burden, 3 is borderline unmanageable, and more (like I have) is outright overwhelming.

Thanks again.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
8/8/22 10:21 p.m.

In reply to darkbuddha :

Trust me I know; I turn 60 this year. 

I sold my vintage motocross bike (running project) earlier this year becuase it was a distraction.

Note I consider my tow vehicle as a hobby car; if it weren't for the race cars I wouldn't have it.  

Patrick
Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/9/22 9:33 a.m.
Tom1200 said:

I have a friend who suffers from hoarding. It's one of the toughest mental health issues to overcome.

He gets such a high from buying the thing becuase the thing is gonna be so cool. That high wanes and so obviously he has to buy something else. He's got 40+ motorcyle projects that will never get finished.

The stuff owns him; even at fire sale prices he has 35-40K worth of stuff. If he sold it off he could buy several really cool bikes that would bring him so much joy on a daily basis (he retired this year). I sold him my YZ125 several years ago and every time he rides it he has a huge grin all day.  

He had some really m tough years so he bought the projects with the thought that when he got back on his feet he'd have them up and running but now he's over run with them.

It's an easy trap to fall into.

I chased that high for a long time and just dumped 20k of stuff at pretty close to fire sale prices in 5 months and bought one really good nice car that takes up way less room and brings me so much joy to drive. I'm dumping 2 more projects(one is a done project but always a project) very soon and am looking forward to seeing my space get cleaner and cleaner. I really need to pull the plug and dump my bike and 3 wheeler projects 

Our Preferred Partners
SX0ol94CnyOSBX0SfWSjhts3HzVBoRrciTLm2NJnJL48NvSG4gGj2vIiaJEgldix