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Thread: How to Decide when to move on from a project car...

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    Default How to Decide when to move on from a project car...

    I have a 99 miata that I built up from scratch. It's a supermiata car with a 6 point bfw gt3 roll bar in lieu of a roll cage. For all intents and purposes... it's the perfect HPDE and TT car. It's a dream to drive and every time i get behind the wheel I have a great time in it.

    Buuuuuttttt... Life has changed a bit and so have my priorities. I bought a house last year and had back surgery. Both items made me re-evaluate my priorities for hobbies to do while young and for cashflow. I haven't touched my car in 2 years, and I mean literally. I got it put together enough to drive to my new pad and haven't really touched it since. My plan was to get it together and do an event or two this year and make the choice then, but I'm having a hard time even getting the motivation to do simple tasks and then comitting to a 500 dollar weekend of track time.

    So at what point do I decide to move on and move it down the road to some one that will love it. When I get back into this hobby this will still be a great car to do it in, but by then (2-4 years), there may be other better or different platforms to try. I guess what I'm asking is, when do you decide you can/should move something down the road. This is of course a very subjective topic... but I'm interested to hear your thoughts and what goes into your decisions as I am right in the middle of making this choice.

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    The Real Captain Slow Red_5's Avatar
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    It always makes me a little sad when I read posts like this but I certainly understand. Having sold my race car 2 years ago I haven't missed racing too much. I definitely get the itch and I'm working on another car but I'm also not in any hurry. The BBQs are what had me continue racing for a time and they're what I miss most I think at this point. I haven't found anything to replace that camaraderie.

    There are lots of adventures to have in life and if your heart really isn't in tracking/racing, sell the car and move on. Miatas will still be great track cars 5 years from now but you might enjoy building another just as much as you enjoyed building the one you have. Or maybe something different, who knows?
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    I'm a big believer in racing what you can afford, whether it's in time, energy, or what's financially feasible. It always comes back to the person, and what sacrifices you want to make, and what's the value to you personally. If it's not fun anymore, or if you don't have a desire to flat out, then why flat out?
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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Blackbird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johns_EvoIXSE View Post
    If it's not fun anymore, or if you don't have a desire to flat out, then why flat out?
    I often wonder how many people will enjoy driving a lot more if they ditched every timing device or dick measuring contest.
    My gut feeling is that a lot of people sacrifice much of the sheer joy of driving in the name of lapping a track faster.

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    My soap box:

    I am old enough (older than most here) that Iíve gone through many life stages while tracking a car.

    Pre- marriage = pretty free on weekend, other than keeping gf happy. So both weekend days are out of the question. Only 1 day per weekend. This rules our w2w, as those are almost always a 2 day effort. You are usually poor, but it is your money to waste. You save money by tracking in t-shirt and shorts, skimping On safety. You drive a 2 seater. Usually convertible.

    Getting married - finance becomes an issue. You are usually young and relatively poor. But it is no longer just your money. There is a house budget, family budget, vacation budget, etc. this makes track events difficult.

    Baby (0-6) - once you have a kid, your life changes. If you die, your kid wonít do as well both financially and emotionally. So you start buying best helmet, suit, cage.

    Young kids (6-12) You need to be home on weekends. Zero time for track. You are shopping for best minivan. Your track life sucks, but your kids are cute and best behaved. So family life is good

    Teenagers (13-17) surprisingly this is your best track life. You no longer need to deal with child seat. You sell the minivan and Shops a 4 door sedan. If you die, your kids are old enough to handle it, so you start w2w. Your teenager kids donít wake up till 3pm on weekend, this means you can go to track, make 3 sessions, drive home before they are up !!! (I always wondered why cars and coffee are so early when I was younger, I understand now).

    Kids in college - you are usually at your peak earning power. Kids gone. You got time for full w2w weekend !! Thatís why you see a ton of w2w people age 50-65.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbird View Post
    I often wonder how many people will enjoy driving a lot more if they ditched every timing device or dick measuring contest.
    My gut feeling is that a lot of people sacrifice much of the sheer joy of driving in the name of lapping a track faster.
    I couldn't agree more.

    My Miata has gone back to street trim with OEM 14" wheels and all season tires when I moved out to Texas last year.
    Been enjoying the back roads around here and really missed the fun of a street driven Miata.

    I've been on and off the track for going on 25 years now (different stages of life, like William mentioned) and have back-burnered track time for the next two to three years while I focus on other areas.
    I will say that while there will be other platforms to track with in the future, it'll be hard to duplicate the sheer fun of a Miata, especially when you factor in the running costs.

    But, nothing that can't be replaced if you do decide to off-load things.

    In my time there's only been one car that I regret selling, my twin turbo Z32. Can't afford to replace that one anymore, but selling it was the right thing to do at the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ebruner View Post
    had back surgery. o t:
    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    Kids in college - you are usually at your peak earning power. Kids gone. You got time for full w2w weekend !! That’s why you see a ton of w2w people age 50-65.
    I think William's assessment is accurate depending on disposable income. I think the corollary to all that including the back surgery is "time is wasting". It looks like you have a long life...you don't! Your body will increase it's suckage starting about 30y/o and continue until you die of a heart attack or are sitting in a wheel chair a broken shell with a catheter hanging out of your weenie and a urine back hooked on your wheel chair arm. Your back surgery is just one of many shots across your bow of how lame life can be, but when young you heal. When old you just collect new inconveniences. I say seek opertunity and enjoy your life. If that means tracking then do it before you can't. . .

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackbird View Post
    i often wonder how many people will enjoy driving a lot more if they ditched every timing device or dick measuring contest.
    My gut feeling is that a lot of people sacrifice much of the sheer joy of driving in the name of lapping a track faster.

    blasphemy!!!
    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatbillybob View Post
    I think William's assessment is accurate depending on disposable income. I think the corollary to all that including the back surgery is "time is wasting". It looks like you have a long life...you don't! Your body will increase it's suckage starting about 30y/o and continue until you die of a heart attack or are sitting in a wheel chair a broken shell with a catheter hanging out of your weenie and a urine back hooked on your wheel chair arm. Your back surgery is just one of many shots across your bow of how lame life can be, but when young you heal. When old you just collect new inconveniences. I say seek opertunity and enjoy your life. If that means tracking then do it before you can't. . .
    This and what William said. We all have plenty of time to be old later in life. Don't be old when you are young. With that said I know the economic realities of having just buying a house, etc. But I still push to experience life. Every decade has its own unique form of Win.

    I want to be like Andy Porterfield and drive a GT1 car at 200 MPH into Turn One and Two at ACS when I am 75 years old, or like Tom Eddleman who at age 91 was still racing a Bug Eye Sprite in H Production in SCCA.

    "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body but rather skid in sideways steering wheel in one hand and the checkered flag in the other, body thoroughly used up totally worn out and screaming 'WHOO HOO!'"
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    Sounds like you built a great car. I'd sell it to someone who will enjoy it and drive the snot out of it. I had a wrx awhile ago that I built into an amazing car, but never drove it since I had a better daily as well as a dedicated race (a-x) car. I hated to see it go, but hated more seeing it in the garage never being driven.
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    Moti is right.

    I sold my NA because I was no longer enjoying the flat-outness of it. I was too emotionally attached to it. Things changed and it became my DD and I was really not enjoying it's 'charms' for a car this old.

    I sold it, but I replaced it with an NB. The NB has far less 'retard' in it and I have enjoyed it much more than my NA for what I need a car for these days.
    Yer pal,
    Force

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    I just went through this and finally moved to a new platform this year (17 Toyota 86) after 8 years with my Miata. I too found priorities have shifted and the time I have to invest in heading to the track has changed over the last few years.

    It took a lot of nights thinking about what I enjoy the most about going to the track and focusing my efforts on a tool that does exactly that. I like BBQs and turning laps with friends, I do not need a competition or a crazy car to movtivate me to get to the track. I also share a lot of track time with my wife now and we co-drive events so a more HPDE focused car was important so she can learn faster. Not having to wrench on a 30 year old car is a bonus.
    Last edited by Lincoln Logs; 03-14-2018 at 08:50 AM.

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    I appreciate the insight. So a little background information on my particular situation. I am 36, double income, no kids and no plans for children in the future for my wife and I. Disposable income isn't exactly an issue... and my wife couldn't be cooler about my habits taking on hobbies that cost too much money.

    However, with the home ownership it's tough to justify spending 2-5k a year doing track events when my wife and i have goals for the house and I have goals for other hobbies. The back surgery also made me realize that there are certain hobbies i can do now when I'm young (mountain biking) that I may not be able to do when I'm older. I know that I'll be able to do HPDE events when I'm old and busted even if I have to pay some one to wrench for me.

    I digress... the problem is that I just won't be doing this hobby enough over the next 2-5 years to justify having a purpose built car for it. I'm in a fortunate position because my wife likes nice cars, and she has a bmw 135is that I could get some wheels/tires for, basic suspension and brakes and do 1-2 hpde events a year to still hang out with my friends. I'm still sorta torn on it as I love my miata and I feel like i've built nearly the perfect car, but what's the point if I'm not using it.

    I'm certainly not getting out of this hobby entirely. I was raised doing this for fun and that won't change. However I feel like the priority shift I had last year with the house and surgery, precludes me from being in a position that a purpose built car is the answer. Part of me thinks that the smart play is to keep this car for the eventual reality of me getting back into it... but another part of me knows that by that time maybe my priorities will have changed or there will be another (maybe faster?) car that will fit my needs better. I guess the question is... disposable income now and heavy up front cost later when i change my mind vs, sitting on a depreciating ASSet in order to save myself headache down the line.
    Last edited by ebruner; 03-14-2018 at 09:12 AM.

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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    I, too, am saddened by posts like this. Consider this thread your TrackHQ intervention.

    One important thing to consider is this: a paid-for racecar in your garage on jack stands doesn't cost you a dime. If you don't want to register and insure it, just cover it and leave it in the garage.

    If you sell it, you will need many dimes to replace it, and odds are good that you will have spent the money you got when you sold the car. My point is, think really hard about selling, because replacing it will cost more than you think, and it won't be starting over again from scratch. It'll be starting over again from a deficit position because of things you have to do to the car to make it "yours." The car you buy is hardly ever as good as the car you've built for yourself.

    What Moti said makes a lot of sense. Back in the late 1990s, I worked for a company that published WaterSki magazine. The editor there told me that the day you ski around your first set of slalom buoys is the day water skiing stops being fun. So, if/when you return to the track, leave the AiM Solo at home. Just go and drive.

    Your back will heal. Take up hiking in the interim. It's free and good for your back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ucfbrett View Post
    I, too, am saddened by posts like this. Consider this thread your TrackHQ intervention.

    One important thing to consider is this: a paid-for racecar in your garage on jack stands doesn't cost you a dime. If you don't want to register and insure it, just cover it and leave it in the garage.

    If you sell it, you will need many dimes to replace it, and odds are good that you will have spent the money you got when you sold the car. My point is, think really hard about selling, because replacing it will cost more than you think, and it won't be starting over again from scratch. It'll be starting over again from a deficit position because of things you have to do to the car to make it "yours." The car you buy is hardly ever as good as the car you've built for yourself.

    What Moti said makes a lot of sense. Back in the late 1990s, I worked for a company that published WaterSki magazine. The editor there told me that the day you ski around your first set of slalom buoys is the day water skiing stops being fun. So, if/when you return to the track, leave the AiM Solo at home. Just go and drive.

    Your back will heal. Take up hiking in the interim. It's free and good for your back.
    You hit the fork in the road right on the head. it will cost me 2x what i sell the car for to get back into the hobby, easily and I can assure you by that time the money will be gone. Fortunately, without kids, it doesn't take all that long to save up money to get back into it, but it is a burden.

    Regarding my back, yes and no. I have a severe case of disc degeneration disease and 4 severely herniated discs. The short term injury will heal some what over time... but this will be a chronic condition for the rest of my life that will lead to spinal fusion in the next 5-10 years or a synthetic disc. Either way... this is a condition that will not ever improve over time.

    Right now, I can ride my mtb and I ride it often, hard and reasonably well. That has been my focus since the surgery for many reasons, one of them also being time constraints at work.

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    The Real Captain Slow Red_5's Avatar
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    I agree with Brett here about not selling your car Erik. If you're happy with your car, hang on to it. Part of why I sold my old race car was because there were a few expensive items I wanted to change and I wanted a fun car to drive on the street. Your car likely isn't depreciating much if at all at this point. Yes you might need to get a new seat and harness when you head back to the track but you'll need to do that for a new car too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebruner View Post
    You hit the fork in the road right on the head. it will cost me 2x what i sell the car for to get back into the hobby, easily and I can assure you by that time the money will be gone. Fortunately, without kids, it doesn't take all that long to save up money to get back into it, but it is a burden.

    Regarding my back, yes and no. I have a severe case of disc degeneration disease and 4 severely herniated discs. The short term injury will heal some what over time... but this will be a chronic condition for the rest of my life that will lead to spinal fusion in the next 5-10 years or a synthetic disc. Either way... this is a condition that will not ever improve over time.

    Right now, I can ride my mtb and I ride it often, hard and reasonably well. That has been my focus since the surgery for many reasons, one of them also being time constraints at work.
    Take glucosamine chondroitin daily and add some powdered collagen to your coffee each morning. Stretch. See a chiropractor for adjustments and maybe traction treatments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ucfbrett View Post
    Take glucosamine chondroitin daily and add some powdered collagen to your coffee each morning. Stretch. See a chiropractor for adjustments and maybe traction treatments.
    Yeah, my initial injury was in 2011 so I've been a healthy diet of that since then, plus many other things. I woke up on march 9th last year and had no control over my right leg, it was completely dead. Part of one of my herniated discs had torn off and was crushing my sciatic nerve. After a period of time with no improvement, the decision was made to have emergency surgery to remove the portion of the disc and hope for the best. I've recovered to around 80% of where I was before surgery, which is just enough to enjoy life to it's fullest extent.

    At this point, there just are no guarentees for me. I do all of the things you're supposed to do to stay healthy. Quite frankly, the doctors that see my medical imaging are amazed that I live daily with minimal pain and still am still active.
    Last edited by ebruner; 03-14-2018 at 10:14 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebruner View Post
    I appreciate the insight. So a little background information on my particular situation. I am 36, double income, no kids and no plans for children in the future for my wife and I. Disposable income isn't exactly an issue... and my wife couldn't be cooler about my habits taking on hobbies that cost too much money.

    However, with the home ownership it's tough to justify spending 2-5k a year doing track events when my wife and i have goals for the house and I have goals for other hobbies. The back surgery also made me realize that there are certain hobbies i can do now when I'm young (mountain biking) that I may not be able to do when I'm older. I know that I'll be able to do HPDE events when I'm old and busted even if I have to pay some one to wrench for me.

    I digress... the problem is that I just won't be doing this hobby enough over the next 2-5 years to justify having a purpose built car for it. I'm in a fortunate position because my wife likes nice cars, and she has a bmw 135is that I could get some wheels/tires for, basic suspension and brakes and do 1-2 hpde events a year to still hang out with my friends. I'm still sorta torn on it as I love my miata and I feel like i've built nearly the perfect car, but what's the point if I'm not using it.

    I'm certainly not getting out of this hobby entirely. I was raised doing this for fun and that won't change. However I feel like the priority shift I had last year with the house and surgery, precludes me from being in a position that a purpose built car is the answer. Part of me thinks that the smart play is to keep this car for the eventual reality of me getting back into it... but another part of me knows that by that time maybe my priorities will have changed or there will be another (maybe faster?) car that will fit my needs better. I guess the question is... disposable income now and heavy up front cost later when i change my mind vs, sitting on a depreciating ASSet in order to save myself headache down the line.
    So, CLEARLY your location is the issue. I suggest moving somewhere that a) has a lower COL b) still pays salaries comparable to LA c) has better access to more tracks.

    I suggest moving to Atlanta.

    My wife has the same mindset as yours, she knows I NEED to do this stuff, and her patience about my time working on old cars, goofing with car friends, only to risk it at the track is incredible. We bought a house last year, too. I gotta admit, dollar for dollar, our home here is freakin' fantastic compared to the one we bought in OC.

    If you do consider a move here, a close friend of mine is a back/neurosurgeon.
    Yer pal,
    Force

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    Quote Originally Posted by Force McCocken View Post
    So, CLEARLY your location is the issue. I suggest moving somewhere that a) has a lower COL b) still pays salaries comparable to LA c) has better access to more tracks.

    I suggest moving to Atlanta.

    My wife has the same mindset as yours, she knows I NEED to do this stuff, and her patience about my time working on old cars, goofing with car friends, only to risk it at the track is incredible. We bought a house last year, too. I gotta admit, dollar for dollar, our home here is freakin' fantastic compared to the one we bought in OC.

    If you do consider a move here, a close friend of mine is a back/neurosurgeon.
    Ironically, I moved here from there. Back in 2007 I lived in Johnson City TN and was working in Atlanta and Perry GA. Good area tbh and great for mtb riding and track day stuff. That being said, I love california (for now) so I'll be sticking with the madness until I've absolutely had enough of it lol. That area is one of few that I could see myself living in, just not TN, not again, not ever.
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