Ever start a project with a simple premise and then find yourself making excuses as to why it's taking you ten times longer than it should? This, my friend, is the snowball effect. And while there are multiple reasons as to why this happens, for me, it's simply because I can't leave well enough alone. When I started my F-1 project, it was going to serve as my daily driver / shop truck that would replace my '92 Ford Ranger (almost a classic according to a few sources!). Well, one thing led to another and soon it was obvious that the old Ford needed to be treated with equal parts gratitude and respect that a constant, daily flogging just wouldn't yield. I found myself going from building a truck built to go to a truck built to show.
Changing direction halfway through a project is a classic recipe for disaster, this I know well as I've seen it countless times over the last six years in the magazine business. But sometimes it's just unavoidable. As you tear into a build, oftentimes you find things that just can't be left alone and demand attention, such as rusted out and damaged panels. Fixing these commonly leads to fixing an entire fender or door, which takes that 20-footer angle and cranks it up a notch. Now it wouldn't make sense to fix one fender and leave the other three rough now would it? Pretty soon, you taken the entire truck down to bare metal, massaged every square inch of sheetmetal, and covered it in primer. Heck, a few more hours worth of work and the whole ball of wax could be blocked out nice and straight. Now, do I really want to do all that work and shoot the thing in single-stage paint? Naw, let's do it right so that the clear can be cut and buffed to perfection. And so it goes.
What started as a real-world truck has quickly turned into a puss mobile simply because of the fact that once you start, you just can't stop. I've managed to add a handful of modifications to my F-1 that I never intended to do in a million years given the fact that I was building a purpose-built hauler. One of them is in this month's issue; the bed side pipes. While not the most appropriate exhaust setup for a daily driver, given the turn in intention, it seemed like something that suddenly made sense. The aesthetics of the build were taking precedence over the nuts and bolts that make for a good truck. Suddenly, it was more important to add something that made it better fit the criteria of the build style in which I was going for than simply getting it finished and down the road.
More and more I find myself staring down that same road on other projects around the house. My roadster is a perfect example of that. Built on a stock chassis with a small-block Chevy, it could have been done ages ago. Instead, I decided to build a tube chassis and install a Potvin blown engine to ensure that I never get it done. My RD400 motorcycle project is the same way. The stock parts were sold off on Ebay to make way for all the trick ideas I had up my sleeve and now it sits, as it has for the last year or so, waiting patiently.
But with all these snowball projects, I've promised myself that the next project won't turn out like all the others. No, this one is going to be a legitimate, low-buck driver. How I'm going to ensure this is simple; I'm not going to tackle anything that can't be done in an evening or over a weekend's time. That will keep me from turning it into a ground-up, frame-off project and keep it on the road, so that I can drive and enjoy it instead of tripping over it in the shop.
That said, it's time to start perusing the internet and dare I say, the classifieds (they still have those?!) searching for the next addition to the CCT family. I have an idea as to what I'd like to build, but I'm really looking for input from you guys, our readers, as to what you'd like to see us build next in CCT.
Log onto the CCT forum at http://forums.customclassictrucks.com and go to "Magazine Topics" and respond to the post entitled "Next Editorial Project for Custom Classic Trucks." I'll give it a few months to generate some buzz before revealing the results or you guys can keep up by checking the forum from time to time.
See ya on the highway, the information superhighway that is!