Life Updates: Haven’t touched my ‘68 in months

Isaiah Estrada

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Santa Maria, CA
Well, I figured I should let you guys know I’m still alive here! I know it’s been a minute. Lately I’ve been feeling really down and discouraged with my project. I should be feeling quite the opposite, but every time I go to see it - I don’t see much. I see an empty shell and a car that in my head is still a pile of junk.

Hard to explain it, but I definitely just lost the momentum I had! I started a new job recently. Got hired on at Okonite Cables here in Santa Maria. The job at hand is LOADS better than the other job I had at Vandenberg SFB. I am now enjoying a full time position with EXCELLENT pay and great benefits. This is good for me because as some of you know I’ll be getting married in a few short months.

On the contrary, starting the new job REALLY put a screeching halt on my project. I am supposed to be working the 3rd shift (midnight to 8 AM) but I’ve been training on days. I have 2 months left of training. I’m working as a forklift driver but this is NOT your average forklift job! I drive 15,000 lb trucks and 30,000 lb trucks and move these enormous reels of cable and do other crazy / tedious tasks that I didn’t know were possible with a lift. Everything is made in house, which is pretty cool! All U.S.A. made.

Working the day shift has been wild and leaves me very little time if any to make it out to Nipomo (the next town over) to work on my car. Also, CA has been getting DRENCHED with rain. In my area alone, I’ve seen our Santa Maria river flow for the first time in my life, AND our beloved Lopez Lake is at 100% capacity for the first time in 20 something years (longer than I’ve been alive.)
Thankfully, it looks like we have some sunshine in the future. I’m hoping maybe even going for a few hours after work a couple times a week to at least get SOMETHING done to the car. I was there last Thursday and noticed a leak coming from an exhaust manifold stud and it about gave me a heart attack. After a lot of research I realized the problem isn’t as big of a deal as I thought but it definitely isn’t nice to see. She needs a coolant flush anyways, and an oil change. Haven’t fired her up in months ever since the break in / when we tuned the carb up. Hopefully soon I can go, take care of our leaky stud and put new coolant, new oil and let her run for a good while. Maybe hearing that 440 run might reignite the fire inside of me!

I get pretty bummed to think the NY won’t be at my wedding in June. It’d be a miracle if it was, but I’m highly doubting it. As much as I love old cars (they’re seriously my life obsession) - I would’ve hoped I could’ve had something cool there! We will see.

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Good to hear from you again.
Hang in there. You have had a lot of changes lately and had been hitting it pretty hard on the car. Sometimes you need a break. During my restoration there were numerous times when I had to take a break because it seemed monotonous. After a break you will likely be refreshed and ready to go again.

Yes it would be nice to have it ready for your wedding, but don’t force it at the expense of your relationship and what pays the bills.
I have spent times where I was so focused on completing a goal that I likely missed some quality time with my family.
Take a step back and analyze what is most important now that will guide a successful future.
 
Feel your pain, been sorting the hardware mess the shop I hired left me. Found two more, 6 of the eight I need for the fender extensions on my 69 plymouth. Have the last two on a donor car fender. Claimed a victory towards reassemble, small steps will equal victory.
 
there is a reason they call them projects. take your time . ive been working on my wagon on and off for probably 7 years or so since i dove in to it. finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. since you are a young dude you have lots of time. good luck with both of your projects. cheers
 
You’ve done an incredible job with it so far, but it’s ok to take a break. Mine was supposed to be at 3 proms and a wedding over the years, but life kept getting in the way. 13 years and counting….
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I've had two job changes, first one really set me back, finally got back to where I needed to be financially, then bought a new car! Money's tight, but I have enough parts in my stash to work in my cars that money isn't needed to much. I didn't do much last year when Wyatt and Manny worked on my wagon, but now I have all the cars here at home and in storage blocks away. I'm hopeful I can get four cars on the road this year, most of them don't need much. I've been in your shoes before a couple of times, and I've never made any set deadlines when I wanted a car to be done, they got done when they got done. You'll be fine, and happy when that time does come.

Congratulations on getting a good job, with good pay and benefits at a young age, it certainly can't hurt!
 
Hard work and patience is its own reward. If you can't make it out to work on it, research parts. Do a little something each day to move the needle in the right direction. If you think this slows things down, wait til children come along! It took me twelve years to finish my El Camino. I thought it was ridiculous, but you'll find most really good cars took quite a while to finish. Keep a stiff upper lip. It'll work out. : )
 
next on your list: children. sell the car. manage your finances wisely. in less time and money than it would take to finish your car, you could buy a done car, drive it and enjoy it. oh yeah, love your bride because that's all that really matters.
 
Good to hear from you again.
Hang in there. You have had a lot of changes lately and had been hitting it pretty hard on the car. Sometimes you need a break. During my restoration there were numerous times when I had to take a break because it seemed monotonous. After a break you will likely be refreshed and ready to go again.

Yes it would be nice to have it ready for your wedding, but don’t force it at the expense of your relationship and what pays the bills.
I have spent times where I was so focused on completing a goal that I likely missed some quality time with my family.
Take a step back and analyze what is most important now that will guide a successful future.

Thank you so much for the kind words! It has been nice to take a little break away from it. I am hoping that I can hit it hard again and get the rest of the small projects out of the way that will entirely complete the car enough so I can at least drive it around.

Your advice is very much appreciated!

there is a reason they call them projects. take your time . ive been working on my wagon on and off for probably 7 years or so since i dove in to it. finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. since you are a young dude you have lots of time. good luck with both of your projects. cheers

Thank you! I too am starting to see a bit of light at the end of this dark tunnel I’ve been in. The car runs great, now to make her drive.

You’ve done an incredible job with it so far, but it’s ok to take a break. Mine was supposed to be at 3 proms and a wedding over the years, but life kept getting in the way. 13 years and counting….View attachment 589925

Glad to know I’m not alone! She’s a beauty, I know you’ll have her out when the time is right.

I've had two job changes, first one really set me back, finally got back to where I needed to be financially, then bought a new car! Money's tight, but I have enough parts in my stash to work in my cars that money isn't needed to much. I didn't do much last year when Wyatt and Manny worked on my wagon, but now I have all the cars here at home and in storage blocks away. I'm hopeful I can get four cars on the road this year, most of them don't need much. I've been in your shoes before a couple of times, and I've never made any set deadlines when I wanted a car to be done, they got done when they got done. You'll be fine, and happy when that time does come.

Congratulations on getting a good job, with good pay and benefits at a young age, it certainly can't hurt!

Thanks for the kind words!! It’s been a breath of fresh air at this new job, knowing I am secure and that my wife will also be secure too. The car is just a luxury and I know in due time, it will be ready and I’ll get to enjoy it with my best friend. Your words have always been encouraging to me!

Hard work and patience is its own reward. If you can't make it out to work on it, research parts. Do a little something each day to move the needle in the right direction. If you think this slows things down, wait til children come along! It took me twelve years to finish my El Camino. I thought it was ridiculous, but you'll find most really good cars took quite a while to finish. Keep a stiff upper lip. It'll work out. : )

Thanks for the encouragement and advice!
 
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It certainly doesn’t feel like work at times, I’m like a little kid driving this big huge thing around LOL.

I should be getting my freshly upholstered seats back within the month! So I’m excited for that. I know seeing them finished will be very exciting.

Not sure whether or not I’ll have the car ready for West Coast Kustoms again. I don’t know if my deal with the guy to buy that 62 Chrysler is going to come through after all either. A bit of a bummer, I had my hopes up but hey - I wouldn’t sell the car either LOL.

Seemingly out of nowhere though, a beautiful 64 Dodge 880 coupe has come into the picture and I may even be able to snag it for half the price. Guess I gotta wait and see!
 
Keep on pluggin' sir, that's all I can say.... set your sights on small victories, not the entire project.

You are right about all the rain dampening efforts on automotive work. With about 40" so far this year it's been going slow for sure.

For perspective, I am on year 29 of my first project car. I bought it when I was 16 and in high school. I got it running and driving by the time I was 18, but not yet street legal (no glass, bad tires, etc). I did body work on it over the next five summers in between years at Cal Poly, and while working.

I finally got it painted and good enough to drive legally in 2001 when I graduated, and was able to drive it the 200 miles down to SLO. I didn't have a garage at home so I rented one up the street for a brief period. Then, I bought my house, although it, too, did not have a garage.

So then I built a garage over the next three years, little by little each night and weekend. No work happened on the car hardly at all. By the time I got the garage finished, I decided I had had enough of the SLO life (and the ex-GFs here) and moved to Orange County.

Over the next 14 years, as a renter again, I moved several times, with each hooch having a little garage which enabled me to keep working on that car little by little. I finally met a gal and had a wedding date in the fall of 2014, and wanted to use the car in the wedding, so the summer before I spent finishing the interior. It was a hard press, but got it done.

Fast forward a few years - got into C bodies, divorced, moved back to SLO, and now that same car awaits a new 700R4 transmission, a front seal on the engine, and jacking instructions placed in the trunk.

THEN, it will be done!
 
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I don’t know if my deal with the guy to buy that 62 Chrysler is going to come through after all either. A bit of a bummer, I had my hopes up but hey - I wouldn’t sell the car either LOL.

Seemingly out of nowhere though, a beautiful 64 Dodge 880 coupe has come into the picture and I may even be able to snag it for half the price. Guess I gotta wait and see!

Take on one project at a time otherwise you'll have several cars that are not road worthy and if you don't have your own place to keep them you will be paying some place to store them.

No matter how good an offer sounds from a friend of family member to store them for free, sooner or later they will tire of looking at them and want them gone.
 
Very wise words....one at a time, finish it, have fun, sell it, onto the next one.

Ive restored a couple of C bodies and always found I made progress by having no more than 2 jobs on the go at any one time. One thats a pain but needs to be done and one thats fun for a break. Finish both jobs, onto the next two. Before you know it its coming together

Cheers Steve
 
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