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How to manage multiple projects?

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  • How to manage multiple projects?

    A bit of background;

    I found my '59 HT while searching CL for a daily to replace the modern junk I drive now. That search was actually a bit of a rabbit hole because I started out looking for parts for what was then my project, a 1980 280ZX. Being as the Bird was one of my dream cars I instantly decided I would sell the ZX to pay for the Bird and make room for it in the driveway. Well, the Z has been on CL for more than a month with only low-ballers and tire-kickers hassling me. The first eBay listing got no bids, the second got bids from two fakers who had no intention of actually buying it. I'm starting to think the universe is telling me not to sell it.

    So, I've started thinking about fixing the Z back to stock-ish and making it my daily. It was allegedly the lady's daily until it mysteriously overheated one day and was parked. Then it sat for fifteen years in her back yard before I came along. The wiring under the hood and under the dash is a mess, the radiator has a hole, the tires are flat, and it has a bit of rust-through. But otherwise it isn't in terrible shape. Assuming the engine isn't damaged from the overheating I'm confident I could get it roadworthy without very much effort. Of course, y'all know what "shouldn't take much" really means in this hobby.

    My question is how to go about it. I'm not Jay Leno, I can't have Team A working on the Z while Team B handles the Bird. Every penny I spend on one is a penny that can't go towards the other. Obviously the Bird is a long-term project that needs literally everything fixed. So do I put it completely on hold while I fix the Z? The problem I have with that option is that it drags out the Bird build and possibly causes friction since the Bird was supposed to replace the Z. Or do I pick small projects on each and kind of alternate between them? For example, if I fix the underhood wiring on the Z I might be able to get it running. That would be both motivational and prove that the Z was worth working on. Then I could move to the Bird and fix something that might help it pass the pending VTR-68a inspection or would at least get it a bit closer to completion.

    Complicating the question is the fact that my daily also needs work, especially if I want to get rid of it in favor of the Z. The AC doesn't work, the cruise control doesn't work, and the latch on the rear door (it's an SUV) is busted so I can't open the door. This is a car I genuinely do not care about. I haven't fixed anything, other than having to spend $534 replacing the alternator. I don't want to spend money on this car and it's difficult for me to work on because it's a compact, modern POS that's designed to force you to take it to a shop.

    Anyhow, just thought I'd see how others handle this sort of thing. I know plenty of people keep multiple projects afloat and even complete them. I could use some tips.

  • #2
    John when managing multiple projects consider the end result$$ The 280Z in researching and what is restored will bring you anywhere from $6-15,000 depending on the condition when restored . The 59 TBird should yield more just due to the age, restored condition and number left of this luxury classic. I had a similar issue with multiple cars and chose which one I truly wanted to spend $$ on and created a budget using the cash I received on the sold one +\_. Your choice good luck
    Dano Calgary,Alberta Canada
    Thunderbird Registry
    58HT #33317
    60 HT (Sold )


    • #3
      I've found that when I try to work on two projects at once neither of them gets done. The fact of the matter is that doing a full restoration on either car is a money losing proposition. Neither car is considered highly desirable although the 280Z with manual transmission does have the potential to go up in value because it's the more modern car and appeals to a younger demographic. That being said figure out which car would give you the most pleasure to own and drive and put your resources into that one. Of the two cars the 280Z is certainly going to take less time and money to become road worthy if that's your number one priority. One is considered a sports car and one is considered a luxury car so they are completely different animals.

      John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

      Thunderbird Registry #36223 856-779-9695


      • #4
        Resale isn't really a concern for me. I realize selling may be necessary at some point for any number of reasons. But I can't build anything with the goal of selling it. I just lose interest. I have to build solely for me.

        Having said that, I do think that getting the Z running might be the best course of action even if I do still want to sell it. A running car will bring a higher price and is easier to sell. Would it be enough extra to justify further investment? No way to predict that.

        The fact the two cars are different is the primary cause of the quandary. If I had to pick just one it would be the bird without hesitation. The question is whether picking one is the right choice. Like many car enthusiasts I have something of a split personality. I do want a nice cruiser so I can ride to the steakhouse in style. But there are times when I want to hop in a car that feels, as I like to describe it, like I have strapped a saddle to a grizzly bear and just cut loose a bit. One car can't do both.

        But I'm not looking at a full-blown build on the Z. I really just see it as a replacement for the soul-crushing SUV I drive right now. A few hundred dollars for tires, a windshield, a tune-up, and some wiring should be all it needs to be a suitable driver for me. Down the road I could do a bigger build on it, after the bird is finished.