Never throw anything away - What Do You Reckon? 452

By: Glenn Torrens

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vw door vw door

Glenn Torrens again proves junk 'will come in handy one day"!

As I have shown recently in Our Shed, my 1979 Holden Commodore V8 farm-find resurrection is rusty. After its rotten left sill and boot floor were chopped-out, I kicked the chunks of old steel into a corner of my backyard until I could dispose of them during the local council’s rubbish day.

About two days after the council garbage truck visited, I discovered more rust: To repair the Commodore’s driver’s side sill, I could have used a section of its old passenger sill! *Big Groan*! Luckily, I had an old VW door to take metal from for the repair, but being the same shape, the old sill would have been ideal for the fix.

Based on this and other situations with my car projects over the years, I reckon it’s a good idea to retain the old parts – all of them – from your restoration or modification project, even if you think you absolutely, definitely, positively won’t need them. I’ve heard of people throwing stuff away – such as window rubbers – after assuming that everything for their project/restoration is available repro/new. That horrible sinking feeling when you realise that a part can’t be bought, and you’ve already binned the old one, is not much fun.

On the other hand, who doesn’t love the happy high-fives when a mate says: ‘I can’t find a widget… and I’ve looked everywhere!’ and the cartoon light bulb above your head blazes bright before you scramble into a rickety garden shed, climb over a lawn mower, squeeze past a stack of crates, reach into a battered old ice-cream container perched on a pile of rusty rims and pull out exactly the widget your mate needs?

Buying an unfinished project is often fraught with danger, too. My first-ever ‘big’ project – a 1956 VW Beetle that I rebuilt while I was at university – was bought as a stripped-to-nothing shell so although I knew that I had to buy everything for that car, I didn’t anticipate how much money would be involved. All those little parts, together, can result in a big bill!

Two years ago, I restored a 1992 VP Holden Commodore V8. During that six-months-part-time process, I reckon I added about 2000km to my daily-driver chasing parts: a driver’s seat in the correct blue (the original had a cracked frame), a nice standard steering wheel, decent headlining, good-condition bumpers, bonnet and grille and the badges. Chasing all those components is part of the fun of restoring cars… but the money I spent on fuel while collecting those parts was sweet cash that I could have splashed on – for instance – a nice holiday weekend!

The rainy day I collected my backyard-buy 1980 VC Commodore SL/E, the seller couldn’t find the headlight wipers, promising he’d ‘look for them when the rain stops’. I knocked on his door several times over the next few months and I sent half a dozen text messages chasing those bits… he was never home and he never responded. So, I never received the wipers.

The rest of the car was there – and a terrific project – but I had to pay hundreds of bucks extra, elsewhere, for those now-rare headlight wipers.


From Unique Cars #452, April 2021

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