When it comes to car guys, pretty much everybody has a project. It provides something to work on during the evenings, and gives us something to talk about with fellow car guys. Let's just say it's healthy to have a project car of some sort to keep your mind occupied. Of course, some folks get carried away and take on too many projects at once. This usually results in very little progress because the efforts get spread so thin. It's hard to find a happy medium, but purchasing a complete running and driving car that simply needs minor updates is a step in the right direction for a beginner. In fact, you'll probably save money with this approach, even if you're a seasoned gearhead.
Building your first Chevy will be a challenge, no matter the car's condition, but that's part of the fun. However, a car that presents too much of a challenge can quickly suck the fun right out of the equation, and give you more headaches down the road. For instance, buying a car just because it's cheap only makes sense if the car is buildable. And if you take a step backward and learn what the term "buildable" means for you, your skill level and budget, then you're more educated than most buyers in this market.
Sit down and crunch the numbers to see exactly how much you want to spend, and base the build around that. Some of the cars you see in Super Chevy are extravagant and wicked fast, but you must consider the dollar amounts and man hours involved with each project. Your first Bow Tie build needs to be simple. It always helps if you can stick to a budget, so lay out the groundwork before you go all in on a project car.
If you're looking for a starting point, searching the internet on sites like www.autotraderclassics.com isn't a bad way to start. There are lots of good deals out there right now, especially on cars that are outdated, or need some work to be road worthy. Beware of deals that are too good to be true, because there are a lot of those on the Net. And don't forget about your local newspaper. It seems like an archaic way to list a car for sale these days, but plenty of people out there still use local print ads to get the word out. Finding a car locally makes for a simpler buying process, because you can physically look at the car without driving hundreds of miles or relying on cell phone pictures to determine its condition. Sometimes these cars have a bit of history among the local car guy ranks, and that's always cool.
Once you find the right car, it's a matter of doing what you can to make it better, whether it's complete or disassembled. If the car is a total basket case, then your best bet is to figure out the parts you need to order just to get it running. A key element to building your first Chevy is making it run and drive. This provides motivation to keep working, and certainly renews interest in a build that has fallen through the cracks over time. For any gearhead, firing an engine for the first time is a moment of many emotions, the two most prominent being excitement that it's actually running, and fear that it might fly apart. Again, challenges are part of a project car, and knowing how to handle them is a benefit of experience. Long-time car guys can give you more tips and tricks than we could ever fit in this article. Having an experienced friend to help along the way is always a good thing. Rarely does a car get built single-handedly, so don't hesitate to invite your buddies over for a garage night every once in a while. If you find it necessary, sweeten the deal with a few pizzas and plenty of cold drinks.