Thursday, July 07, 2005

Should I start a clinic… or a TV show?

I have to tell you this, the mere fact that some of you have mentioned that some of my ‘restoration’ stories had you feeling like you’d like to learn about this sort of thing, has been very gratifying. Maybe it’s the old ‘teacher’ in me, or simply the fact that I like sharing what little knowledge I’ve picked up over the years, but I’d really love to be able to teach this stuff to anyone who cared enough to learn about it.

In my minds eye, there’d be 3-7 ‘students’, maybe 2 or 3 additional ‘advisors’, and we’d all work together like a team to restore some old project vehicle. Start to finish, top to bottom, one crew, one restored vehicle. Man, what a way that would be to make a living! Combining two of the things I love doing, sharing what I know and building cars, and then making a living in the process… I know I’d be having a grand old time!

I think it’d make a great TV show too! In the same vein as ‘American Chopper’, “American Hot Rod” and “OverHaulin’”… only with amateurs, not professionals, doing the work. Of course there’d be trouble, mistakes and a lot of ‘guidance’ along the way. I personally think it would make for better shows overall as well.

I mean it’s wonderful to watch the likes of Coddington’s crew, or Chip Fosse and the gang build, or rebuild, a vehicle. But, wouldn’t it be even more fun to see the mistakes, how to avoid them and how to recover from them? I think so.

But, then again, no one is knocking on my door asking me to put something like this together. If they did, I know the computers would be going ‘cold iron’ and I’d be warming up the shop tools!!

Well, enough of that fantasy and back to the realities of restoring an old truck.

I thought I’d share a bit of the overall plan with you folks so that as it’s moving along you actually have an idea where I’m headed.

The concept is to build this truck in such a way, that on an initial glance, it looks like an old Chevy pickup that’s just in real nice shape, on closer inspection however you’d notice some subtle differences, like the altered ‘gas tank doors’ that weren’t available in 1978. If it was running you’d hear the rumble of a 350Hp V8 (also not available in ’78) just different enough sounding that you’d know the factory didn’t ship it that way.

As you looked at her some more you’d notice that the ‘graphics’ on the truck are unlike any you’d ever seen, familiar, yet unique. You’d see some other unique features as well, driving lights built into the front bumper, backup flood lights inside the rear bumper as well.

If you opened the hood at night you’d be surprised at how well ‘lit up’ the engine compartment was, especially considering you couldn’t actually ‘see’ any lights.

In short, I’m hoping to build a this truck in such a way that other car nuts like me, and even a many ‘regular folks’, will notice it’s a little different, but most will just notice it’s in really great shape for an older truck.

Y’all will be the judges as we move forward; I’ll be looking at your comments on the photos I post as we progress to see if I’m actually achieving my goals!

Also, I’ve been asked in emails how much I’m anticipating this project will cost in total. I can’t give you an exact number, as there are a lot of ‘soft costs’ like electricity and some shop supplies, but I’m budgeting about $5,500 for parts and materials. That includes some new sheet metal for the front of the truck, a virtually complete new interior and all of the “junkyard gems” I’ve picked up. It will also cover the complete performance rebuild of the motor and transmission, new brakes, brake hoses, shocks and any steering components we might need.

The $5,500 does NOT include final paint work. I’m still torn between doing all the paint myself and doing only the interior and the engine compartment myself and shipping the body off to a shop like Macco for the finish paint. Depending on what I finally decide to do, paint will add another $500, to $1,500.

So worst case, I expect to have about $7,000 tied up in what essentially will be a new truck. There’s no possible way we could have replaced this truck, with another one, in comparable shape (when it’s finished) for twice that amount of money. Then there’s the sentimental value the truck has to my wife…. Pretty tough to place a ‘cash’ value on that ‘eh?

So here’s where we are, same place as the other night. Last night I ended up working until very late, and tonight, well, ‘Cindy’ is rolling through and the weather is a bit too ‘iffy’ to be out on the side of the garage cutting out ‘donor’ pieces. So, tomorrow I work from home, and if all goes as expected, I should be able to start back in on the truck between 2:30 and 3:30pm…. If I get where I expect to, the fender wells for the bed will be repaired, as well as the rusted sections in the bed, and I’ll be ready to hit everything with the sandblaster and a coat of POR-15 before putting a coat of primer on it and flipping it over to clean up and rust-proof the underside.

Again, thanks for stopping by, and as always I appreciate you reading and commenting on what you see here!


Greg said...

I vote for a TV show..."This Ol' Truck". You will need a cool name like "'Cooter Coupe"...short for scooter since you be a bike rider and all. MaryAn could bring out lemonade to you and your hot sweaty "crew" and everybody could talk with a southern accent(I know you've learned).
Yep, a couple magnolias, some shiny wrenches (wrench not wench!), bubblin' summer asphalt, smell of honeysuckle and grease...yep I'd watch! :-)

Bill said...

Greg - How'd I *know* this post would bring you out of your 'lurk'? Hey, all I need is a producer and a contract and I'm good to go!! Lemonade?? Have we been a continent apart that long... Beer my friend, beer is what the crew would need :)

And... for what it's worth.. the asphalt has definitely been bubblin lately!

Beth said...

I like the idea of having amateurs on the show instead of professionals. My husband loves all the shows you mentioned though!

Scott said...

The TV show is a great idea, honestly. My brother in law is hooked on Monster Garage and Junkyard Wars. I'd love to know how to do that stuff, but I don't think it will ever happen. I admire people who can do it.

Bill said...

Knitter - Thanks, I like them all too, especially "Overhaulin'".

Scott - Thanks for stopping by, it's always nice to see a new face!

I was initially kidding when I made the post, just a silly fantasy that flashed through my head...

With all this encouragement, like I said, all I need is a producer and a contract!

No_Newz said...

You know you really could do that and have the best of both worlds. Years ago I worked with our high school's Key Club to begin a new program. Mechanics. The school was short a few shop type classes so I pitched this idea to them. People donate their non-working or poorly working cars to the high school club. They use it for lessons in mechaniics class. Once the students repair the car, it is sold to underprivilaged persons for the cost of materials.With your know-how and love of this kind of work, I bet you could start up the same thing where you live.
Lois Lane

Trevor Record said...

So.... can I be on your show?

Bill said...

Sure you can Trevor!... All you need is a willingness to get your hands dirty! (and of course drink a cold beer or two)

Bill said...

Lois, that's a pretty good idea! I'll have to check with the local schools and see what opportunities there might be. Thanks!

71buickfreak said...

Bill- My wife, Sleeping Mommy, pointed your blog out to me. I am an avid hot rodder. I am a car audio engineer by trade, and I also write for seveal magazines, such as Mobile electronics Magazine and Muscle Car Enthusiast. I mention this because I bet you could do some write ups on your build and sell them to some magazines. Its alot easier than you think. I started out writing for trade magazines and now i am writing for newstand publications. You might give it a shot. I fyou need any contacts, just give me a holler via sleeping mommy and i will set you up.

Karyn Lyndon said...

I think the show would be a natural for beer sponsors! What Ty is to Sears, you could be to Miller!

Nina said...

Since I finally have power, I have had the chance to sign online and what did I notice?...Your blog site! It's been fun reading all of your blogs...who would've guessed you're such a great writter! Since I'm seeing you and Maryan tommorow it'll be yet another adventure to read about later! Keep up the captivating work-Nina

Braleigh said...

Definitely a tv show. But, unlike Greg, I believe you can encorporate wrenches AND wenches.

Spirit Of Owl said...

Back from my travels so just catching up here, and first off I agree with Braleigh - wrenches and wenches are almost inseperable...

Seriously, I think you should get some guidance from somewhere on how to write up a synopsis and pitch for a program idea, and get it off in the post ASAP to the Discovery Channel - or other of your choice. It seems you have a pretty unanimous response on this. Best of luck with it if you go through with it!

Comfort Addict said...

I think that this is a niche in the TV landscape that needs filling and you're just the guy to fill it. I'm looking forward to your debut on cable!

Bill said...

71BuickFreak - Thanks, I'll definitely let Sleeping Mon=mmy know. I'm more than a little interested in writing this all up!

Karyn - Hey the beer folks spend a lot of cash on aotu related activities, you might just be right. Now all I need is a contact at Miller's!

Nina - I'm so glad you stopped in! Thanks for the kudos, but don't tell too many folks... it could hurt my 'good old boy' image! It was great having you over again today!

Braleigh - So then you should be our talent coordinator!

Spirit - 1st, welcome back! 2nd, my thoughts are with you and your country, 3rd... Well, as usual you're right.. I might just write it up and fire it off, maybe I'll write it up while I'm traveling at the end of the month!

Comfort Addict - Thanks, hell, if it ever happens I'll have everyone on the set for the opening show!