Discussion: Turning Professional <br /> Pay or DIY?

My imagination far outstrips my ability. I know this now but it took a while for the realisation to sink in. The simple fact is, all those projects that I thought I could build, I never will. Not that this is a bad thing; no, far from it. Because with the reality check comes a beautiful dawn to a new way of thinking: pay somebody else to do it! I’m going to come clean here and be honest: over the years I have bought, started and subsequently sold more projects than I can count. Right now I have three which will never be done, so I’m selling them and focusing on what is realistic.

Intergalactic Custom Shop-1

This was all prompted by reading Mike’s latest project car update. I genuinely believe that the reality of keeping the Supra donor car as an on-the-road distraction will slow down his wagon build, leaving him with two incomplete cars instead of one. Why? Because I’ve been there and it’s ultimately a frustrating place. We all know somebody who owns *insert really cool car here* but in reality it’s a partially stripped shell, in a workshop miles from home, that will get finished ‘one day’.

With this in mind I went over to see a friend this afternoon. The pictures you see here are an hour or two old and taken at the workshop of Wayne Allman, who’s a one man band going by the name of The Intergalactic Custom Shop. I can’t do what he can, so I go there for inspiration and know that paying to get the work done is sometimes the best way. There’s a lot of factors at play here: money versus ability and so on, but I know there’s a lot of you out there that could probably afford to pay somebody to do something that you haven’t done yourself… so why don’t you? Or maybe you do already? Have you seen the professional light shining in the distance? Or is that an avenue to be avoided?

What do you think?

Bryn Musselwhite
Instagram: speedhunters_Bryn



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My philosophy is, learn and do as much as you can, but never be afraid to pay someone for help. Also, don't skimp when you do pay someone else, because cheap work can be the most expensive decision you end up making if it needs to be fixed.


When I know I can't do something I try it first, if I fail I start again until I get it. I'll pay for professional work when it's truly worth it and is something that's just absolutely beyond me or it needs to meet serious sanctioning body requirements. Meeting safety spec's is worth having an expert do the work.


I guess I should have included something about time as well, that's my main problem. But your point about getting what you pay for is totally correct! Scrimping on outsourcing is a dangerous game...


Where regs are required yes, totally. But I look at how long it would take me to make an exhaust and realise I don't have the skill, maybe it's more about inclination?


That's true, time is an even more important resource than money in some cases. Even if one can afford all the best components, it doesn't mean anything if they never get installed because there's no time.


I hate the whole "Built not bought" mentality. In my opinion i wouldn't mind paying someone with a great skill level to craft me something that I need. It's the same story with me, my creativity is greater than my current set of skills. Don't get me wrong, I always appreciate it when someone creates something amazing and i wish I could do this, but at the moment I can't.


either. i would love to do it myself. i would love to mimic the whole hilux build and build a different car however i dont own a huge garage and i have no welding skills. there comes a point where there are things on your car that can't be bolted on yourself and you need assistance of people who do installs on stuff for a living.


I would honestly love to work on my RX-7 myself but I simply don't have the skill set and tools to do so.  Unfortunately I'm at the end where I have to pay deep into my pockets to get it professionally done.


as in the wize words of master yoda , do or do not , there is no try , try it if you fail miserable , try again  next time it wel be half decent , try again  it il be good , an the next time youd master it


I think it is a very subjective question. I personally do everything my self but that's because I like building stuff my self. Also i do not have nearly enough money to pay to have it done. But i can understand why some people get professionals to do it. Weather it be for safety (roll cage) or quality (body work) or simply the fact that they have the money and would rather just get it done with not having to worry about it. all this being said I would always encourage people to try and do stuff themselves because you might be surprised at what you end up learning and the skills you will acquire. In a few short years I have learned to do everything from weld to completely re build an engine with a custom turbo setup. and at the end of the day I can say I did it all my self which is a quite rewarding experience.


For me it has always been about doing it myself, for two reasons,
A) I have never had the money to pay someone else to do what i would like to achieve
B) I am young, so i would rather buy tools and equipment and teach myself than pay someone else to do it, that way i see it as a long term investment, plus i get the enjoyment of doing it and the satisfaction of knowing i have built something entirely myself .
If anyone wants to check out what i do please check out luckynutsmotorsport.co.uk


TheRobotCow well put. Also, to the craftsman who is doing the work, perhaps it is their skill and their passion and they would do it for free if they could, but they have costs for their own dreams and their own lives, so hiring them and paying them the best you can is a great service to them as well. Makes the world go 'round in fact


TheRobotCow actually, let's just be real...if we didn't hire skilled professionals to do work creating our dreams, we might as well just throw away a hundred years of automotive innovation and technology! If humanity really truly only rode in vehicles we'd created ourselves then really clueless people (Jeremy Clarkson for example) would be riding horses :-D


As someone who had a 74 Super Beetle sitting in the garage for two years awaiting a simple resto - and then selling it when I realized I didn't have the time or skills - I'd lean towards paying someone else to do the work.
Not that I had the money either, but I'm the sort of person who enjoys thinking about projects and driving them afterwards far more than I enjoy the project itself. It's demoralizing having a cool car sitting in the garage that you can't drive, but not having the ability to do anything about it.


personally, i'd prefer to do it myself for 3 main reasons:
you can say "i made that" when showing it off...

you know the quality of the workmanship that's gone into it
you have more control over the direction of the build/resto


My 2 cents, while you get what your pay for, sometimes you'll learn more from what you dont pay for. My whole life ive tinkered with stuff because i had a nack for wanting to understand things, why and how they work, from hotwheels and legos, up to motorcycles and now cars. Ive never had the money to have pro-shops put things together for me, and i want to learn as much as i can, while i can.
My vice is Subarus, i dont think there is a better car for your dollar to have fun with, year round. Ive swapped in 3 motors over the 301,000 miles thats on the car, and with my timing belt slipping, im onto number four. Now ive saved tons and tons of money by doing the work myself, regardless of how long it takes (sometime even how much) ive turned every bolt by myself, cut every wire, spun every bearing. I first swapped my car 3 years ago, it took 4 months to do, outside, no garage, no help, by myself. Since then, ive done the same with a friends car and at this point i find that everything i learned is invaluable, theres no price you can put on knowledge. Ive never let anyone, anywhere, work on my car. Not even changing oil or rotating tires. I do everything by myself because i want it done right the first time, and i know every time i work on it, i may learn something new that can save my ass down the road.


The way i see things, is if i feel i can do something a shop can, ill do it myself. Ill save the money and learn something in the process. Sure theres plenty of people throwing money at their cars, but they didnt build them. EFI logics did, ECS did, IAG did. They may tell the shop what they want done, and have a sweet car but at the end of the day, it was me and my car going through our paces getting things done, and no one can take that away from me.
Now with my car off the road, its time to try something new, bodywork. I cant afford the $5-6k to get my car pro painted, so i bought a garage and im stripping the car down as i type this. In the end it may cost me 3-4 grand, but again, ill have that much more of an understanding not only about my car, but me. Theres no shop in the world you can pay to get that.


On my current build which has been going on a year or so now, I've done whatever I can to help it move along but I'm also paying my mechanic to do what I can not.  There are many aspects I can tackle, but far more I can't.  I can't weld, I can't build an engine w/o instructions, etc... but what I can do is lend another set of hands and help out here and there--really get involved in the build process.  We're nearing completion now and I'm totally amped knowing that I have contributed as much as I can.


DIY for the win, if you really want to have bragging rights, do it yourself. It takes a long ass time even when you make decent coin. My 2002 sat without an engine for close to two years before I finally got time to put into and fabricate the things I needed and the acquire the parts I wanted to use. If you have any sort of social life, bills, family/spouses, and barely enough time to unwind, a project car will indeed remain a project car. 
I have bought my lift, my mig welder, tools, parts, and just spent hours on end researching and trying to find the best things to fit my budget and goals. I originally wanted to just turbo the 2002 with a holset hx35 on the M20 im dropping in, but thinking about it and the way I want to use my car, I felt N/A was the way to go, and a little shot of nitrous for when I go play with my buddies at the strip. 
In the end its all up to the person and how dedicated they are. You will always experience hurdles and usually take longer and cost more than originally anticipated, but it is not for the meek. Those who keep pushing and doing what they can will almost always finish sometime down the road. Its the sacrifices we make that get these cars done. You wouldnt believe how many times I have had to decide between car parts and taking the woman out for a weekend


I'm kind of in the middle. When I had more time then money, I've shelled out for work, but that usually isn't the case, so I do the work myself most of the time.
I spent two years on the garage floor patching/welding/installing parts on my project car. When it was road worthy and I was working full time, I did visit my local shop to address some small issues here and there. When it came time to do an engine swap, I chose to do the work myself. Right now I have over a 100 hours into just the swap, paying a shop that would be 8000$ O.o which is an insane amount of money in my mind. Granted 40 hours or so was spent on scrubbing/sanding/painting engine parts, but at the end I think I couldn't get the quality of work that I put into the swap so far for anything near what my spare time was worth. 
Plus at the end of the day, you have a whole bunch of tools and knowledge. I think I learned more in the two years on the garage floor on my back, cutting/grinding/welding/wrenching, than I had my whole life till then, reading and watching. And if something goes wrong, I know I can diagnose and fix it. Plus, if someone needs help I usually have the tool to do it or the knowledge to help.


I'm one of those who have a "one day" in the shed, continually pushed back by more old car projects that just keep on entering, and departing the shed. Only to be replaced by another. Which pushes back the "one day" project more and more... I could pay a professional, in fact I could probably pay and have the car completed by someone else within a few months to the standard I want it. But I just can't bring myself to do it. Partial tight fistedness and the majority factor being basking in that satisfaction of having fabricated your dream with your own two hands I define as contributing to not sending it to a shop.
Having also been disappointed by work I have farmed out to "professionals" in the past too, I'm eternally wary of things not being up to my standard. That's not to say I have ultra high standards, but I have a way I just like things done... hard to explain really. I'm really lucky I have some very good friends, who are very skilled in their respective engineering fields to help me along the way, and are on the same wavelength when it comes to expectations of quality - and of course the overall feel/character of a build which I feel is really quite important to the final product. There is just something about the soul of a vehicle (or any inanimate object) forged by the hands of it's owner that sits well with me.
But hey, every man needs a "project" of some sort in the shed, right? At least that's what my dad said when he purchased a '32 Morris Twenty upon moving into their country property 26 years ago, and that car hasn't moved an inch in that time...


I say, if you can't do it, or don't have the time, drive or skills; then pay someone to do it for you. But if you have the motivation like some of us that just "have" to be working on something then just go out there and DO IT. There's lots to learn and that's one thing that motivates me. Knowing that I can DIY and learn a lot at the same time helps tremendously. People have to have a deep down drive to want to get these things done that burns inside of them. All I think about is cars....all kinds. It could be anything from working on them to hot rodding or drifting. I am by far no mechanic or body man but I enjoy working on cars as much as I do driving them. So I say, if you have the will to get off of your ass and do it, then by all means, grab a wrench and get to work!


im a DIY guy, ive had several projects over all the years of playing with cars. some i have sold as half stripped shells, others i have sold as running and driving and 100% complete. and there have been a few in the middle too. for me the enjoyment is in crafting and building and i try and keep most of my projects mobile and driveable with only a few going down the strip and restore path, and only one of those getting sold before getting it running. 
I think for every one the equation is fundamentally different, I enjoy the process of working with the car so i am more apt to attempt something my self and only turn it over to a professional if i am completely out of my league, don't have the required tools or have completely bunged it up my self already.
for me if i could i would like to turn into a pro that got paid to play in the modding game. the genesis of ideas and trends from the professionals is amazing, but it never means that the guy working in his backyard shed will never be able to achieve the same thing. after all quite a few critical inventions were invented randomly. 
in the end to answer your question Bryn, the real truth of the matter is do what ever makes you happy. if building your car makes you happy then go on and build it, they will come (or so ive heard) if your a driver and not really into working on your car then pay someone else to do it and enjoy the fruits of both of your labors (yours for making the money, and the builders for their talents and skills)
The other side is i think there are a lot less of out here who can afford to pay someone to do it than you think..


Personally I'm all for paying someone top dollar to do the things that I can't. Not to say I wouldn't love to learn but there's a reason they get paid to do it. You're not just paying them for their time but also the skills they've gained over years of doing what they do (Painting, bodywork, welding etc) 
Good for those who have the ability to create with their own hands but why would I want to practice on my pride and joy and likely ruin it by doing a noob job?

Seeking Perfection

Have you ever thought that it depends on the car you are going to tune? 
After observing the well deserved e-fame of Nigel and a few other skilled privateers, everyone likes to act like a self-proclaimed expert/ mechanic by fixing/tuning cars. The majority of those DIY project cars are in junkyard condition and mainly cheap/affordable automobiles like 240Zs, S13s, Civics, Miatas, old Beemers etc. The same thing applies to other aspects related to automotive culture. You go to a car festival/show and every single hippie carries an expensive camera trying to capture pictures like the pros do. However, no one comes close to the results that experienced professionals produce.
Imagine having a high-end car with a double-clutch gearbox. Can you apply the DIY approach? No. Furthermore, track-oriented builds from Gatebil might be fun and feature the refinement of a turd, but they cannot be compared to the ones that eminent people like mr. Brilliant design. All things considered it becomes apparent that DIY is romantic but useless when you drive a modern performance car like a Nissan GT-R. I know there are a few exceptions like a modern Mustang, which can be easily repaired by some guy named Bob with a hammer, but let's entail a broader range of modern performance cars in order to provide validity to my arguments above.


@Seeking Perfection you must think people who work at performance shops and high end dealers are godly engineers with 150+ IQ. Home builders gotta start somewhere, and everyone usually has a strict budget. Yeah gatebil has insane cars people built in there garage, but refinement is missing... Last time I checked these cars were mainly built to get thrown around at a track a few times a year, Furthermore look at half of the feature cars that were built by people with OCD on custom suspension and chassis designs.

Just because something may be complex does not mean you cannot learn how to do it, or make it better. It will take knowledge, alot of time, and who knows how much money to refine higher end cars. Look at the companies that are pushing GT-Rs into the 7-8 second range. I bet almost all of the staff that work on refining and tweaking those cars, go home to there own car and play with it. 

As for the people who walk around taking pictures of cars trying to be like the pros, where the hell do you think the pros came from! We who take part in any sort of hobby and past time, be it music, art, fabricating, writing, etc should always try to push ourselves to become better, and not let people like you spoil it. You dont like getting your hands dirty building something, thats fine, in the end there is nothing wrong with that, but to look down on those who do. We are the ones who should be laughing at people like you for being a sucker and paying someone to do the same work you can do at home. 

Go find something you are passionate about and lets see how you react to people who mock you for trying


TyPetersen Not sure Seeking was mocking anyone for trying but rather pointing out that there are some cars home mechanics shouldn't cut their teeth on. I've seen plenty of well meaning people try to learn body work on daily hacks and bodge it terribly (but learning all the same) but there's no way I'd try and teach myself on a car as important to me as my FD RX7. Things like tints, flares, paint, exhaust fab, tuning, etc on my car, are best left to the pros rather than ruined by a beginner attempt. Anyway I'm sure Seeking Perfection was trying to convey a similar point that it'd be rather pointless for a self taught forum warrior to try their hands at removing a Lambo engine or tune a Veyron or do bodywork on a Huayra (stretching the idea but you understand)

Seeking Perfection

TyPetersen Calm down brosef.  AMS and Switzer make 7-8 second range GT-Rs. Is there any average Joe that can accomplish that in his garage? Let me know dawg. Are we cool, yo?

Seeking Perfection

Brett Allen TyPetersen Thank you mr. Allen.


@Seeking Perfection TyPetersen  
 I suppose I came off a bit hot headed, so my apologies for such an out of the blue and irate  response. I myself am a tradesman and I look at a good 90% of the stuff I do and if it wasn't for my tools and the fact I do it everyday (and get payed for it) I would not be surprised that anyone who took there time to learn, and attempt it would do just fine. 

Given enough money and the desire to go that fast I wouldn't be surprised. Look at the people who run at the salt flats, you have a variety of home builders to high end tuning companies. The faster people are usually the company backed cars because they can afford to continually refine and invest in making the machine better. 
I look around today and I see so many people paying others to do simple things, sometimes its the lack of time, tools, space, etc. But I feel this leaves such a negative impact on society, you have people who are completely oblivious on how to change a damn tire! This strays a bit far from my point, but you would be surprised what some people would be capable of in there small sheds given time and money to refine there skills. Its not easy, and with trying to have a life outside of cars most people will never come off as great tuners, or produce great machines, but the passion inside of them to make something absolutely awesome is what we see as a final result on places like Speedhunters. Look at Jesse James, he started out just learning to weld as a kid, and with a lot of hard work and luck he has made quite a living off it. I dont think for a second he or anyone like that ever got into to make money. Its to make kick ass machines because nothing is the way you want it so you might aswell build it. 

Hell we went to space on less computing power than an iPhone, and no real idea of what would happen, but it happened!


I think what really matters is the passion to get it done.  Whether you write a six figure check to have your '56 Maserati restored to perfection, or spend years building your car yourself, or anything in between--the important thing is that you make it happen.  I think it takes just as much dedication to shell out the money that professionals require as it does to spend the time to do it yourself.  Either way, it is important to realize your limitations and take on projects accordingly.  There are just as many half finished projects languishing in shops due to lack of funds as there are unfinished home builds due to lack of skill/interest. 
I spent six years building my car, and was honored to have it featured here--but I tell everyone who asks that I would have paid someone to build me a car if I had the money.  But what I had was time and skill (also a  lot of dedication)--so I did it myself.  Sure it is not as refined as  a professionally built car, but I also take a lot of pride in having the intimate knowledge of the car that I can only have by building it myself.


Nothing beats the lesson of paying $5000-6000 for a
professional custom paint job, only to have to redo every single bit of it
because it was done wrong.

I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on paint, body,
and restoration work, only to discover that the jobs were done negligently and
Car One: Replace right front fender skirt.Result: No seam sealer used, water leaked in
whenever the car was driven on a wet surface.
Car Two: Full custom paint, shaved lamps, etc.Result: Super shiny paint began falling off
in sheets after six months.
Car Three: Rust restoration (cut out rust, make replacement
panels, seam weld), rocker panel replacement, and full paint.Result: Rust was cut out but no metal
replacement panels were made.Instead,
rubber patches and body putty were applied liberally to floor pan, wheel wells,
and tailgate.
Car Four: Repair to hood, roof, windshield, hood had opened while
driving and broken out windshield.Result: Paint washed off, roof now has a rust hole.
99% of paint and body
shops do only collision repair, and most not that well.Of the small percentage that will take in
custom body work, classic restoration, and rust repair, most are in the
business because they can not get a job in a collision repair shop.Unmotivated, unqualified, slapping crap
together.They do not apply the same
standards to paid work that they do to their personal vehicle or the shop’s
show car.
The people who have the show quality cars have done all
their own work on their own cars, and refuse to do the work commercially,
because they know no one will pay for the level of labor and expense it takes
to accomplish top quality work.That
leaves the frauds and con artists to hang out their shingles, promise top
quality, and deliver bondo-queens.
The same goes for most engine and mechanical shops.The money and steady income is in assembly
line work for the mass market.The only
people willing to take money for one-off, custom, out-of-the-mainstream work,
are going to be the undependable, unqualified, unemployable people, who can not
get a dependable and good paying job doing mass market, assembly line work.
As has been stated here already: You want the job done
right, you have to do it yourself.


Sorry, additional note about the Result for Car Three: Original rocker panels were cut out, new, OEM replacements were lined up in place, and attached with a dozen plug welds each, instead of one spot weld per two inches of seam, as originals were.  When the nose of the car was jacked up to change the wheels, the doors would no longer close.
These results are from four different shops, one acclaimed for show winning custom muscle cars, another for Pebble Beach Contours winning restorations, a third for building the Batmobile for the 1989 Batman movie.


I fervently believe real gear-heads will always want to do the work themselves. That way you have complete control of your project and know exactly what goes on in your car. If you just "pay" someone to do the work for you you obviously don't care enough about the process and are essentially a "car enthusiast" because you just want something cool that others will look at. I guarantee that the guys who work to the wee hours in their shed don't give a hoot what most people think of their car, its a passion and its all about pride and fulfillment. I really don't want to sound crass but to a degree I think those who just pay are a bit poserish. On that note I built my track prepped 67 Mustang with my own two hands and with the help of good friends who thoroughly enjoy just working on cars. I continuously beat cars with triple the budget at my local autocross events. When they later ask me which shop built my car I just laugh. You will NEVER have the same connection with your car if you drop off a shell and a check and pick up a finished product a few months later. Patience is a virtue.


since all sides of the topic have been pretty much covered, I'll just say that's a pretty cool skull! would love to see whats going on in Wayne's intergalactic world


since all sides of the topic have been pretty much covered, I'll just say that's a pretty cool skull! would love to see whats going on in Wayne's intergalactic world


If you possess the skill to perform a COMPLETE build totally on your own (blueprinting and assembling your engine, spec and tuning your suspension, welding/fabricating, paint & body, the list goes on and on...) then this is probably the most ludicrous question you've ever seen posted on Speedhunters.  As a matter of fact, if you can do ANY of those things with skill then odds are very good that people probably pay you to do that stuff to their cars for them. But that's honestly maybe 25% of you out there reading this.  I think a common thread in these comments is that a lot of you confuse "removing and installing parts" with "building a car".  Two completely different things.  Anyone who knows how to turn a wrench and is smart enough to know that installation is the reverse of removal can "build" a car these days, have you guys tell it.  
I'm a professional in this field, and I know my limitations.  Sure, I'll rebuild my 13B if it quits (420whp for 30k+ miles and counting!), but if I wanted a 750whp, semi-p-port monster I would pay to have it done.  Not only do I lack the tooling to make such a build possible, but I'd have only theoretical knowledge guiding the build.  400hp is easy if you can turn a wrench.  Factoring the cost of fixing all the mistakes I'd almost certainly make in pursuit of my goal, it would make far more sense to spend that money on a professional and focus my talents on the stuff that I am capable of doing.  Even if I could build said engine, I'd STILL have to pay someone to tune it, because that is not my area of expertise either.  Built or bought, you're still a car guy in my book.  
if you've built your own car (and I mean something worth feeling proud of, not the POS's that I know like 60% of you drive), you already know the club you belong to.  You've been a member for a while, you know the secret handshake, we give each other 'the nod' in race paddocks, so on and so forth...  You know what an achievement it is, regardless of what others may think.  The guys who simply "buy" their way into this lifestyle will never get to know what that feels like.  Doesn't make them any less car guys though, just different.


I love this line "We all know somebody who owns *insert really cool car here* but in reality it’s a partially stripped shell, in a workshop miles from home, that will get finished ‘one day’." Ha! That's my car. But when a race car team builds your motor you have no choice but to wait, or pay 30 grand. I'll wait. But the time off gave me time to build things. Lots of carbon things like a whole carbon tilt front end. Luckily for me I have the talent and know how, but waiting sucks. Eventually there are some moments where you change your setup. Ditch certain things for more reliable and practical things and outsource certain things like wiring the car to professionals. In all builds you may start at radically wild and over time you will have to reduce it to mild. Practically takes over with time. You'll still have a badass car but sometimes you have to start figuring a plan to get it back on the road and that includes adding in professionals to get it done. After all being apart of the jack stand club sucks. Because after away that club is like the mafia... "Just when I thought I was out... They pull me back in."


Brett Allen TyPetersen Reading this conversation between you guys made me think of the time back in 2006 when we had a brand new Ford GT in the shop. The owner was fiberglassing on the vehicle and spraying the rear of the vehicle with gunmetal spray paint from Autozone. His car before was featured in a Motortrend article versus Hennessy, Lingenfelter, and a few other shops to see how they compared to the then new Z06. We all stood around in horror as this guy went to work on his car. He was rich. He even told us if we needed another car to work on he would just go buy another Ford GT. He could have afforded to pay someone to build an aerodynamic front end and to repaint the back of the car to a darker color with spare money in his pocket, but he wanted to try his hand at it. He wanted to do it. So I guess the car's worth on whether a car should not be a diy is all relative. I'll never forget what the head engineer said to me that day: "If he does this with his car, imagine what he would do to your car." Yah he is fiberglassing and spray painting a brand new $160k car. Yah, my car would be pieces of metal and plastic laying on the floor. Should this guy have done a diy? Probably no. But you if he kept at it, trained in composites, he maybe could've learned a new skill. So I guess it is all debatable. 

My name is also Brett.


Speedhunters_Bryn  'Shop tour!


I use to be a big believer in DIY but it got to the point where snapping bolts all the time due to incompetence gets really old really quick. 
I dont mind having a shop do some bigger things at the expense of not decking out the car much in the short to medium term. 
It allowed me to be content with my car/project and if you arent happy about something it creates conflict in the ownership. 
My 2 cents any way. Besides these shops need work and they know what they are doing.


I do what I can myself, and leave the things I most probably will screw up or would do very very slowly, for the shop. I guess it depends on many factors: ability, money, connections, space, time etc...


I find this discussion hits home in more ways than one. I work for a company that took all of it's machine shop and production line out of the facility, as it was more efficient to have the product built by someone who specializes in doing that (electronic assembly is done in one, while machining and plastic injection molding is done at others).
To come from the ability to do this all on your own, and then farm it out hurts a little (waiting for someone is the worst part), but in other ways, you get to focus your attention where you need it. We consider this the maturing of our business, and not a loss.
I feel it's the same with project cars... I am slowly working on one at home, and don't want to farm out the work I can do myself, or want to learn to do myself. If I was in a hurry though, and wanted it to grace the pages of Speedhunters, then I might be inclined to enlist some help. The question really needs to be "why are you doing the project" . If you are trying to get your new rocket ready for next year's Gatebil festivities, then maybe the DIY isn't the best option.


if you are building a car, building a house, or running a company; you want to do as much as you can yourself but know your weakness and hire the right person for that task. it will be cheaper, quicker and a nicer end product in the long run.


I come to this site regularly and this is the first time i have been quite disappointed in the article you have written. 
This is what i think "You lack resolve and can't see yourself finishing the car", I have 3 project cars; A 1972 plymouth fury, a 1962 plymouth belvedere station wagon, and a 1986 toyota mr2 all with dreams larger than my current skills. The fury is my daily ride and the other 2 are in the middle of being restored and modified. I just finished rebuilding the motor for the wagon and the mr2 is getting a custom exhaust all built by me a my friends expect the only thing i haven't done myself is the machine work for the wagons engine. 
It has by no means been easy my wallet has and continues to be stretch beyond the limit of what it can manage and there have been battles with friends but it will a be worth it in the end, our friendship has depend and i can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Getting someone else to do the build for you maybe easier if you have the budget but the reward is not the same. WITH TIME, PATIENTS AND PRACTISE SKILLS ARE EARNED AND DEVELOPED and the reward of saying I BUILT THIS has all the more meaning.
Just stay focused please and get it done!!


Simply P Correct


I've been on and can honestly say that there's something to be said for both sides of the discussion. There are those exceptional individuals out there who can and do complete DIY builds with their own skills in their own garages and shops. Look at the ETS drift ute. That is a full on tube frame car built almost completely by one person in their own (admittedly very impressive) garage. That said, he lives and breathes this stuff and has a rare, and almost unheard-of level of focus and determination.
I would bet money that many of those in here that are deriding the idea of paying to have things done are somewhere's between the ages of 18 and 25, maaaybe 30, are single or not in serious relationships, and probably rent wherever they live. I hate to be stereotypical, but the fact remains that those of use in our late 20's to early 30's and beyond who have stabilized our lives out tend to have enough draws on our time that the time to spend wrenching on our vehicles is a luxury. Not only that we have houses, families, and a million other financial draws that tend to turn projects into a long drawn out and often never finished process.
Now all that said, I still have my cars out in the garage on jack stands in a never ending succession of work. I AM that guy with the awesome car that hasn't actually been driven in five years. I'm also quite tired of it. I love my project car, but I can see the day coming where either I will have to turn it over to someone else or move on to something less serious.


IanBange This.  I wanted to mention the age thing, but didn't want it to turn into a separate debate.  But you're absolutely right.  Adulthood sucks.  When I was younger, I had access to a full garage of tools (my Dad's), endless time to wrench on my car (living at home, working part time), and I too had a distorted view of those who paid to have work done versus those who did their own work.
Then I had to become a grownup.  Between work, school, and a social life I had absolutely ZERO time for a project car, but that didn't stop me from liking fast, customized vehicles.  I found a shop that I trusted to do the same job (or better) that I would myself, and I didn't feel the slightest bit ashamed to pay them to do work that I didn't have time to.  My build was a simple one, and I was only without my car for close to two weeks.  There was nothing done that I couldn't have done myself, and I probably would've saved close to $3k if I had done it myself.  But to do it myself would've meant sacrificing nights and weekends (after working full-time) over maybe a month (or longer) to get it done.  Considering how valuable my off hours are to me (and my girlfriend) that was $3k well spent.  
Not to mention tools cost money.  Lots and lots of money.


Simply P IanBange  Add kids and all their wants and needs, and parents who are aging and need your assistance to keep up their home, and you start noticing that the free time is far from free... you are willing to pay for it!


azmedajif you're on facebook you can follow his page. He always has cool stuff rolling in and out the doors.


I know I'm a little late to the party here, but I found this article yesterday and as that's our (my girlfriend and I) truck in the top picture getting built by Intergalactic Wayne, I feel qualified to give my 2 pence.
I love working on my vehicles. Well, sometimes I hate working on my vehicles, but I still love it later when the skinned knuckles have healed, broken parts replaced and jobs done twice have faded from memory.
I constantly have ongoing garage projects, ranging from a ground up resto and customisation of my '65 split (been working on that one for too many years now), servicing my T4 transporter, building furniture, building interiors for my van/caravan etc etc. 
I enjoy many aspects of working in my garage, and have tackled a lot of jobs over the years, improving my skills as I go. If I can do a job to a safe standard, in a time frame that works, then I'll give it a crack.
I accept my limitations though, so there were several reasons for asking Wayne if he'd build our truck:
1. Just look at it. 1950 GMC COE cab on '82 Chev G30 RV chassis, 350 chevy v8 on LPG and turbo 400 box with a completely custom rear pod. This is obviously no run of the mill project, and the range of skills involved in the build far exceeds my capabilities. My knowledge of yank machinery is limited at best - I don't have time to learn all that for one project. And rolling compound curves on aluminium panels - that's a skill that takes years to perfect. I'm willing to bet there are less than a handful of you reading this who could do everything that Wayne is going to do on this truck. If you follow the build on the Intergalactic Custom Shop's fb page over the next few months, you'll see where I'm coming from.
2. We want it finished by next year - not in 10 years which is more my work rate...
3. My girlfriend will be driving this truck by herself some times. I don't want her to break down in the middle of nowhere because of something I neglected to do. 
4. When I conceived this project, Wayne was at the top of my list of guys who could bring that dream to reality, and my first choice to build it. I'm pretty amped to be getting a truck built by someone whose work I've followed for so long. For me it's the equivalent of commissioning a piece of art by an artist I admire.
6. For the people who criticise "chequebook builds": my gf and I are working our asses off overseas for 9-10months of the year to pay for this thing. We're making our own sacrifices to get it done. It's costing WAY more than any of my other DIY projects, but I know it's going to be done right and I won't regret a penny spent.