Our other vehicles need love too

True Confession time: It’s not all vintage vehicle fun at the Three Lions Garage.  Our newer vehicles need care too.  While I’ll admit that I’ll rarely decide to sacrifice any of the few precious hours I can manage to dedicate to the garage each week on projects as routine as oil changes or tune ups on our Prius, I’ll often make time for performance upgrade projects and repairs.

I guess I just spilled it: yes — we have a Prius.  For those of you who don’t drive one, you should know it’s a terrific vehicle which comfortably seats all 5 of us.  More importantly, it offers Linda a daily opportunity to offset my substantial carbon footprint.  But I digress…

Now that Jack has been building confidence (and expertise) on his 1969 Mustang project, I often have time for my own small projects which I can complete in a couple of hours. In my experience, when working on long, complex vehicle restoration projects it’s important to setup small interim goals to stay motivated.  I suspect this is why so many restoration projects start with an enthusiastic hobbyist and a totally complete, perfectly good project vehicle but end up as a collection of unorganized parts in several boxes that are sold off to the next enthusiastic victim (I mean “hobbyist”) for a price which validates the “greater fool” theory.

Great intentions are simply insufficient.  In order to maintain focus and effort on any extended project, I find it helpful to break up the project into smaller, stand-alone components. On Jack’s ’69 Mustang, for example, we break up the work into smaller “sub-projects” that can be finished in a day (e.g. remove interior, remove wiring harness) or a few weeks (rebuild the engine).  In this way, as we complete each sub-project, we celebrate small interim victories which keep us motivated to continue down the very long road which comprises the full restoration.

In addition to breaking the long complex restoration project into smaller, more digestible chunks, I also sometimes insert very small, completely unrelated projects on a different vehicle altogether.  This helps motivate us in much the same way.  We get the satisfaction of completing another small project and these projects are easy to fit in while we working on our much longer-term vintage vehicle projects.  Because we perform these small projects together at the garage, we also get the pleasure of each other’s company (and access to that invaluable “spare pair of hands” that really seems to comes in handy a few times during each shift at the T.L.G.).

Here are a few examples of the side projects I’ve fit in over the last few weeks:

  1. K&N High Flow Air Intake system (F-250 turbo diesel pickup)
  2. in-dash battery cutoff switch (London taxi)
  3. OBD-II diagnostics and trouble light reset (Porsche Carrera 4 & F-250 turbo diesel pickup), and
  4. two so-far unsuccessful attempts at fitting a passenger seat in the London taxi–perhaps the third time will be the charm?

back strengthening exercise while installing K&N Air Intake