If you love to work on cars, or are just starting out with modifications and builds, there is one thing everyone from classic cars to tuners has sitting in the garage, driveway or side of their house – a project car. It might run and drive when you buy it, or it might have a blown motor, whatever your skill level and goals are shape the type of project car you want to buy. Projects cars can be a good, productive hobby, and they can be a great way to afford cars that are way out of your price range in perfect condition, but are project cars a good investment?
Projects cars as investments
I like projects cars as much as the next person – or, I would dare say more than the average car enthusiast. We have made the occasional profit on what people refer to as ‘flipping cars’ but what we call ‘purchasing a car with the intent to keeping but finding a cooler car and deciding to sell the first project car’ – gasp.
Depending on the amount of work the car requires will really dictate how much money you will need to spend. When it comes to project cars, however, it’s not about what it will cost to repair a car, it’s about the costs it will take to build the car into whatever is you want the car to be.
Project cars are also an investment of time, unless you prefer to have someone professional work on your car. Any car builder worth their salt knows that what we intend on taking 20 minutes to complete usually ends several hours later, somewhere around 2am with more things broken or taken apart than you started. Project cars are not for someone with a cramped schedule.
The money side meets the fun side
This is where non-car people get confused – what do I mean by ‘whatever you want the car to be’? For many people, a car is a vehicle that is meant to be practical, or sometimes even just fun. It gets you to work, the grocery store, and your kid’s soccer game. For car enthusiasts, cars can be a much different experience.
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There are a number of ‘sports’ and activities that people build their project cars for. Car shows can range from high-end exotics that need to be modified tastefully, JDM cars modified extensively, drag cars for racing on your local track, or even drift cars. The possibilities are endless, but depending on what your intentions are with the car will drastically change your project process.
Once you’ve decided what you want your car to be, this is where the fun comes in. With enough time and effort, you can make your car into anything you want it to be – unless you have a Fiero and you are trying to make it into a Ferrari (or, Fauxrarri), seriously please stop.
At the end of the day, a project car is a project of passion, and if it’s something you love to do, or you at least build a car that you love to drive, it’s never a waste of time or money.