I’ll Never Do That Again…
About 20 years ago I was at a local repair shop assisting my wife in dropping her Acura 2.5TL off for some general maintenance. We always used this shop because it was an Acura and Honda specialist shop. The car was older and paying dealership premiums weren’t something we could afford.
An older gentleman sat down next to me pointed at my 1985 Mustang GT sitting outside and said, “Is that your Mustang GT?” I responded “Yes sir, it is.” He commented that it was in really nice shape for its age and I thanked him. I also explained that it was my daily driver at the time. He was a bit taken back because this was circa 2004-2005 if I remember correctly.
He continued the conversation saying he had a 1968 GT Mustang coupe that he had done a concourse restoration on. At that point he introduced himself. It was Dennis the owner of the repair shop. We sat and talked for several minutes while his staff checked my wife’s car in. One specific thing I do remember him saying was “I’ll never do that again.” That brings me to another thought on this. I did a video on paint matching with my Bleakley Saleen Impressor.
I’m not going to paint some kind of pretty picture of this car. It is a good 20 footer. The cameras hide a lot of its struggles. As someone who struggles with OCD I really want to paint the whole car and make it really nice. The current condition of this Saleen kind of bothers me but then it doesn’t. You see, there’s a negative side to perfection. For some of us that struggle is real, for others it’s no big deal at all and I think it has to do with both emotional and financial well being.
The picture above seems to present pretty well at first glance. But if you zoom in you’ll start finding flaws. Like the lower air dam has made contact with something at some point prior to my ownership. And the front bumper cover has some splits up behind the Saleen air dam. I guess my point is that I could easily sell myself into painting this whole car. It was repainted circa 2006 or so and it wasn’t the greatest of jobs. One side of the car is obviously wet sanded, the other is not and looks like the peel of the largest orange you can hold.
You see, what Dennis was referring to in his statement of “I’ll never do that again…” was doing a concourse restoration on a car with a goal of 100 points and a gold medallion. In our conversation he continued with “you’re always worrying about a small scratch or chip in the paint”, anything that starts to age has to be cleaned, and most of all, he said he couldn’t drive it while they were hauling it around to shows working to get the cars provenance recognized and succeed in the goal of getting that gold medallion. Once he received that medallion the car just sat. He had so much time and money put into it and because it was a rare optioned Mustang he just couldn’t drive it. His point of joy for ownership had passed after obtaining the goal at the shows. At the end of the day, he ended up selling it and buying something else with the money to drive.
That’s where I am at my age in life. I want to drive something low stress. If something were to happen to this car while driving it, that would not be the end of the world. The Almost 4 SA10 build is completely different. That car is a ball of stress to drive with all the unique parts on it and not to mention that it has ALL of its original sheet metal and VIN tags. Having built that, I didn’t want this Bleakley Saleen to end up in the same category.
I’ll add that I do believe that this struggle of stress when driving particular cars is personal. I know guys that drive cars that are worth a crazy amount of money and have no issues with that at all. Just look at Whistling Diesel’s channel. However, those vehicles for the most part are modern. It is less stressful to go out in a car you know you can get replacement parts for. It’s the cars that seem to have unobtanium parts on them that get me.
At the end of the day it’s really all about what you want. Having built a stupid nice show car and having to haul it to shows, I decided that I wouldn’t do that with this one. It’s come A LONG way from when I bought it in 2019 and it will continue to improve as I do things here and there to it so that its a bit more presentable when you walk up to it. It presented really well at Ponies in The Smokies 2023 and I got to haul ass in it down the road without worrying about rock chips or a bear running out in front of me.