Even after 40 years of not being in your favorite classic, when you test drive this future project car of yours a wide grin will envelop your face. What is old feels young, despite the tell tale signs, like wrinkles in your skin and rust on your car.
Unfortunately, perception of the physical world, or reality as you may call it, is a funny thing when it comes to buying an old car. What is worn and shabby is camouflaged by the sheen of patina - as if patina is a state of grace blessing a hopeless wreck.
A frequent source of delusional automotive decision making is when we become hypnotized by the color of the car, especially if it is the same color as the one we owned in our youth. For me it was Colorado Orange. Back in the sixties BMW went through a phase of an unusual palette of colors that could be associated with Psychedelic art. In the dull automotive landscape of the times, orange, bright green and turquoise, was the spark that the baby boomer generation could associate with. Maybe you should never buy a car that is the same color of your car in high school, until you have it inspected by a person you did not go to high school with.
Perhaps one of the first considerations in restoration is the amount of money you are going to need to cut the rust out.
"Rust?" You say incredulously to the body shop.
"That quarter panel is a combination of fiberglass, cardboard, and sheet metal from an old coke sign" he says.
"But it looked perfect when I inspected it in the rain, at night, after a tall cold one."
Why would you buy a car that is riddled with rust? Usually, the answer is that you could not find an affordable, un-restored, rust free vehicle or one that didn't look rusty in the pictures. This I tell you will be the first of many miscalculations to come.