It's taken a long while but we got her put together this spring. Her name is Bettie. She ran so well that we chose to take her to the Hot Rod Dirt Drags in Monte Vista, Colorado. Won 1-3 against a big black merc. Blew up a second flex plate and found out the steering column needs a new bearing. Even with that she drove there and back home without a complaint! Woot!
I find that guys like me, on the DIY sites, never seem to think anything is rare or as valuable as stated on Craigslist or EBay. It might be guys like me are not the ones to ask. I can fabricate, paint, tweak, locate or trade whatever I need when it comes to the 48-53 dodge trucks…I got friends too. So maybe it just seems easier for me, which somehow translates to cheaper? Maybe less valuable? I have to look at a recent event that made me think about my attitude.
Why pay a mechanic 500 bucks when you can do it for 20? This just happened to me. I fixed Mom's 2004 Grand Marque for 12 bucks. The Light Control Module had failed.....the dealership wanted 650 bucks (replace the LCM), the other shop (2nd opinion) wanted 560 bucks. I was like "What??? Let me look at it" I did the research on the internet, found the common problem disscussed on a forum, and fixed it with improvements recommended by the thread starter. A failed relay needed replacing; 12 bucks in parts....took me maybe an hour. It’s not original, but using wires to relocate the relay that has problems, outside the module, makes it easy to replace when it fails again. The price of a new Light Control Module ranged from 100 to 400 dollars.....the relay was 3 bucks (wires, etc made up the rest of the cost). Of course this was Mom, but I got to thinking.....why don't I see what I did as valuable? Did I just want to prove those wrench heads are overpriced???? If it wasn't Mom, would I have charged 90 bucks for the time and 12 bucks for the parts? I don’t know, I did take a free lunch and the satisfaction of knowing I saved my Mom from the wolves. Or did I? The shop was charging for the part and the labor. It seems my default is to undercharge based on some moral dilemma I created in my head based on the fact I personally can do things cheaper for myself. I paint cars on the side, but do it cheaper because my overhead is lower etc….but how is that my fault? Again, I think it’s a Do It Yourself mentality that’s skewed my interpretation of value.
Looking at Craigslist, I see 48-53 trucks that are clearly over priced….uh….that I think are overpriced. And the crooks on EBay that have NO idea how to price a damn vintage fender….err…I FEEL are uninformed of a reasonable price for classic steel. It’s there that I wonder if I should take a closer look at how I’m applying said worth to the stock pile of parts I sometimes give away or sell cheap to fellow vintage truck owners to help them out. Not that I want to change my practices (I know you’re reading this Mike aka Trampsteer, lol) but maybe bring myself into the 21st century and give the guys who are charging possibly the “right” price for these trucks and the parts a break from my attitude, and maybe give myself a bigger pat on the back when I make a what I consider a good deal.
Okay….so maybe this is where it really started. It’s been a few months since I fixed Mom’s car, when she calls me and says she received a notice in the mail. Ford sent her a letter stating that her year car has been having troubles with the LCM. They would like to extend the warranty to have the problem fixed. If it has already been fixed by a non dealer, etc… to provide the bill to Ford and they will reimburse the money…….damn. Ford owes Mom 12 bucks and a lunch, lol.