QOTD: Built Not Bought?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
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qotd built not bought

There is definitely a sense of pride piloting a machine — be it car, pickup, or an off-road rig — that you built up with your own tools and your own two hands. We’re not talking about Factory Five levels of build-it-yourselfness, however, but rather the satisfaction of putting in the wrench time to either restore or modify something to your own liking.

YouTube is rife with channels of gearheads doing just this, so when the DIY Gang Family completely rebuilt this barn burner of a Hellcat, it got your author thinking: what’s the most-ambitious project you’ve ever attempted?

Having a garage helps, of course, as does access to a yaffle of tools and a phalanx of family to help move the project from Rescue 911 to Concours Quality. This (re)build took nine months but produced a better-than-stock Hellcat, at least from a power measures perspective. Leaving aside the obvious metallurgy questions about stiffness and strength after being exposed to high heat for a long period, this Hellcat from Hell looks great once again.

What’s the most ambitious project into which you’ve decided to jump? A rust repair that was a lot worse than it seemed at first glance? Some sort of oddball engine swap that sent all the car’s systems into an electronic snit? Attempting a clutch replacement on a 1992 Ford Escort and getting halfway through the job only to find you don’t have the tools to complete it so you need to roll it soundlessly down a hill to your buddy’s garage to finish the job there?

(In case you’re wondering, this author has experienced all three, including that strangely-specific last example).

Sound off below, gearheads.

[Images: D.I.Y Gang/ YouTube]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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2 of 32 comments
  • JaySeis JaySeis on Oct 29, 2019

    I was home the summer of my freshman college year and Dad asks me “Say, I picked up a 283 with a four barrel, mind putting in the GMC?” Hell yes. The ‘53 Jimmy was a ton and a half long frame used for hay bales and cranberry totes. It’s straight 6 292 was a gutless gas hog and it was a cinch dropping the V-8 in after moving a few items out of the way. With dual glass packs on short pipes it was a hoot to drive. And with a 2 speed rear axle it’d blast down the highway. I’ve found summer and fall memories hauling hay and cranberries to the sweet sound rowing up through the 4 speed.

  • Todd Priest Todd Priest on Oct 30, 2019

    This video series was pretty misleading if you missed the middle of it where he got the donor car. This car is not the same car as the burned out car. The whole body is different. The only thing he saved from the burned out car was the floor boards and engine. He still did a ton of work but the car isn't the one pictured that is burned out.

  • Lorenzo A union in itself doesn't mean failure, collective bargaining would mean failure.
  • Ajla Why did pedestrian fatalities hit their nadir in 2009 and overall road fatalities hit their lowest since 1949 in 2011? Sedans were more popular back then but a lot of 300hp trucks and SUVs were on the road starting around 2000. And the sedans weren't getting smaller and slower either. The correlation between the the size and power of the fleet with more road deaths seems to be a more recent occurrence.
  • Jeff_M It's either a three on the tree OR it's an automatic. It ain't both.
  • Lorenzo I'm all in favor of using software and automation to BUILD cars, but keep that junk off my instrument panel, especially the software enabled interactive junk. Just give me the knobs and switches so I can control the vehicle, with no interconnectivity of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts Modern cars detach people from their speed too much. The combination of tall ride height, super-effective sound insulation, massive power, and electronic aids makes people quite unaware of just how much kinetic energy is nominally under their control while they watch a movie on their phone with one hand and eat a Quarter Pounder with the other. I think that is the primary reason we are seeing an uptick in speed-related fatalities, especially among people NOT in cars.With that said, I don't think Americans have proven responsible enough to have unlimited speed in cars. Although I'd hate it, I still would support limiters that kick in at 10 over in the city and 20 over on the freeway, because I think they would save more than enough lives to be worth the pain.