DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION

IF GETTING SIDE-TRACKED ON A DIFFERENT PROJECT FEELS SO RIGHT, HOW CAN IT BE WRONG?

STORY & PHOTOS CARLY DALE

> IF GETTING SIDE-TRACKED ON A DIFFERENT PROJECT FEELS SO RIGHT, HOW CAN IT BE WRONG?

WHEN it comes to keeping focus solely on my project car, am like a cop driving past the doughnut store, distracted by of instant gratification instead of concentrating on the task at hand. And Iím not the only one; distraction and temptation seem to plague any enthusiast with multiple projects on the go, fanciful daydreams taking you away from what should be your primary focus: the in-pieces build thatís begging for your attention.

For me itís the í34 Ford three-window coupe project sitting in the shed that pleads for my time and money. Itís an intensive build, as most hot rods are, and Iíve chosen to shoulder the lionís share of the work as an opportunity to learn and know how to work on it once sheís a driving rod. The project is slow going, and itís as much a mental game as it is a physical one.

What I have is a fantastic Henry Ford steel body, which Iíll be chopping and channelling over the original í34 chassis running a í34 straight-axle/split-íbones front end and a Winters quick-change third member supported by a four-bar and an A-model spring. Up front Iím slotting in a 1954 331ci Hemi, which Iíll build myself thanks to Mike Rohal at JH Southcott. Backing that will be a TH400 to help with quarter-mile shenanigans. Sheíll run cycle guards over the skinny 16-inch bigs íní littles; think a Rolling Bones lake-style coupe without the rust.

I havenít laden myself with a deadline, but I make sure Iím always moving forward; whether it be a TIG-welding course, researching the how-tos, or actual work on the project. Day in, day out, the coupe is on my mind as I try to line up both the time and motivation.

And then thereís the guilt. Are we meant to feel guilty for not working on it, or guilty when we are? I just remain permanently guilty to cover all my bases.

Chatting to fellow enthusiasts has my mind running off on new tangents, mentally modifying cars that I should leave well alone. Take today for instance: As I researched Commodore parts for a story I soon found myself looking at the Walky Wheels site, dreaming of their 19-inch VL Calais offerings for my own Calais. And before that, I was checking out Lowe Fabrications bling for my VLís engine bay Ė something Iíve been eyeing off since they first put the range out. Now this is all well and good, but thereís a story should be writing and instead Iím finding goodies for a project that isnít happening.

I HAVE A FANTASTIC HENRY FORD STEEL BODY, WHICH IíLL BE CHOPPING AND CHANNELLING OVER THE ORIGINAL í34 CHASSIS. UP FRONT IíM SLOTTING IN A 1954 331CI HEMI

Of course, when Iím all set for a day of oneon-one time with the coupe, my daily driver Ė a 300,000km, V6-powered VS Stato Ė begins to run like a tractor, therefore sliding itself into top priority. Once the issue is finally located and parts are purchased and replaced, find that my window of opportunity has again disappeared. Yet the time spent in the Statoís engine bay has me pondering the modifications that could be carried out under the bonnet. Maybe an upgrade to the factory supercharged set-up, but with a bit more punch. Or I could a V8, with forced induction to be introduced down the track. Distracted much?

Being that the coupe is in a shed shared with a business and other projects, sometimes thereís just too much shiny paint in close proximity to allow for the work to be done. And researching the ins and outs of chassis building can be downright mind-bending when youíre not quite at that stage of your build. The result is a serious case of big-picture-itis, where the ridiculous number of jobs ahead becomes overwhelming. Sure, itís important to keep an eye on the overall vision, but to mentally download everything that needs to be done is just too much. So, for my brainís sake, I keep to the task at hand. paying that bill or heading off to Europe like the Joneses, but nah. They canít take their fancy holiday down the quarter-mile, can they? Thatís what floats my boat.

In an effort to keep my focus love to visualise the end product: how it looks, how it feels and how it handles. I imagine cruising the wideopen Aussie roads, taking my coupe to the corners of the nation to hang out at a show or give it a blat on faraway strips. My quadcarbied 1954 Hemi wonít be pulling quick times or fast mph, but I plan on having a blast when itís done.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, Googling Ďhow thatís to fit it. 19s s to a VL without tubbingí; yeah, thatís it.