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The Thing About Cars - New Year's Resolution

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fitness_center_large.jpgbusyfitnesscenter.jpgThere are over 50 million people who have fitness center memberships in the United States. Six
million of those signups happen in January as part of a New Year’s Resolution. By the time you read this, 80% of those people will have stopped going. Thinking of New Year’s resolutions, fitness centers and our promises to ourselves and others for what we are going to accomplish or change begs the question – What is your plan for your car, or cars, this year?

January1Calendar.jpgI don’t make resolutions as a matter of habit, is that a resolution? I don’t think that much of New Year’s as a holiday, the 1stof January feels an awful lot like the 31st of December. This year, against my better judgment, I am going to make a few resolutions, related to cars only. I certainly don’t need any improvement, ask my wife or kids…on second thought, just take my word for it. Not only will I make resolutions, I am going to go one step further and foolishly share with all of you those plans.

I have two vintage BMW’s. The first, Ivory, is near perfect but after 4 years of ownership and driving her on a regular basis there are a couple of things that I need to do. My second, Ebony, is not quite so nice. She is characterized as one of those blind dates that have a ‘nice personality’ and ‘a lot of character’. She too could use some work. She will never be beautiful or pristine like Ivory, but she can be a driver that others can be envious of.

So here goes my list:

  • This year she will have her wheels powder coated to look like new and have new tires installed
  • I will strip all of the wax and other dirt on her and make the paint shine better than new
  • There are a couple of small oil and transmission leaks that will be fixed
  • She will make it to Mid-America 2002 Festival

  • She will have new sport shocks, sway bars and springs installed
  • Replace a rear CV joint
  • Install the larger carburetor that I already own
  • Add a front air dam and turbo fender flares
  • Fix all leaks (ever hear of the Titanic?)
  • Convert from a 2 headlight system to a 4 headlight look
  • New front seats and a radio
  • New door cards
  • She will make it to Mid-America 2002 Festival

Many of you are looking at the list and thinking.
Confused-Man.jpg‘What is he going to do in February?’

For those of you who think that, I congratulate you on your mechanical skills.

baby_powder.jpgOthers are asking.

‘What is a CV joint and why do you want your wheels covered in powder, especially after all that cleaning?’
You may think I own and manage my own mechanic shop. Well, I am neither, a mechanic nor born with two left thumbs. Somewhere along that continuum is where I sit. Not sure which end but hopefully more to the mechanic side than the thumb side, regardless of my skill level, my plan is to attempt, and hopefully complete, all of the above.


Only one issue, it is called procrastination.

Fear.jpgI admit, I procrastinate when it comes to fixing my cars. I would like to blame it on a busy work and travel schedule, limited funds (which has some truth to it), wanting to spend more time with my family and other well worn excuses. Being an open tool box, I hesitate to start a project because of fear. I am afraid that I will get the car apart and not get it back together. Maybe get it apart and back together but ruin something along the way. Maybe I will only get it half-way apart and get stuck. Finally, I don’t know how to do the job and don’t even know where to start.


To get started, I remind myself, short of just a bolt and a nut going together, most work performed on a car, much less 40 year old cars, will not be easy. Maybe some bolts will get rounded. Maybe make a scratch. Maybe I will have to take it apart again because I did something wrong. In any case, the first time I attempt something more complicated than changing brakes, plugs and oil, there is a high chance that I will take something apart and it won’t come apart, I will break it or it won’t go back together. Then just dig in!

As I try more things and attempt difficult projects I am learning that few things are irreversible. If I strip threads, well they make something to fix that. Break off a bolt, drills and other tricks easily fix the problem. If I can’t get something together, the internet, YouTube, and friends are wonderful sources of information and help.

Working on and finishing cars shouldn’t be, and is not, as scary as your mind and soul might think. For my mechanic friends out there, I know this sounds simple, but for those of us who are not so good with tools attempting a big job on a car is intimidating but going in with the mindset that anything can be fixed gets you a long way!

Go out there and fix those cars, start those projects, help each other out and hold me accountable to my own goals.

Finally, the same is true with life. Not everything will go perfectly, most things will fail the first time, and often goals are hard to reach, but go out and try anyway. Just like cars, there are few things that can’t be fixed and I find as I tackle more projects on my car I tackle more things in life.

That is the thing about cars, they can impact your life more than just getting you places.


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