Public auctions (and many other bad ideas)

I know, the title is misleading: I actually think public auctions are a great idea…just not for me. I’d never read a complete enough description to tempt me into the risk. I suspect that all has changed due to an article I read this week. Norman Garret posted an incredibly helpful post at GRM detailing the entire process, soup to nuts, for getting an auction car back into service.


TL;DR: Done wrong, it’s a bunch of trouble. Done right, it’s an entertaining way to save a ton of money.


I have very little experience with the auction side of his technique, but plenty of experience with the restoration part. I’ll be working on this post in the upcoming days, here’s the direct link for you.


Onto the next bad idea…Minivans!

I’ve also been pining after a minivan. First I found this article throwing down the gauntlet (Jalop), then this one (Jalop), then this one (Oppo), then this one (GRM). If you think minivans are lame, you’re missing out. There’s a lot of dudeness inherent in those everyday humdrum boxes. They are unbelievably practical. Take it from me: as a dude that gets stuff done, they have my stamp of approval. I’m looking for a cheap Odyssey or Sienna. Or the clumsy but robust SWB Kia/Hyundai 3.8. Or maybe an old SWB Dodge? I’m skipping the Previa (too rare) and the MPV (too vulnerable to road salt). As much as I liked our little MPV, Mazda’s complete lack of rustproofing has made me very leery of their work.


I’ve just had another bad idea…DIY parts washer!

This one was inspired by quite a few sources, particularly this one at Garage Journal. Build a DIY parts washer out of an old dishwasher. Is it ideal? No. Is it barely functional…enough to be helpful? It seems so. Just so happens that our old noisy Maytag stopped understanding that the door was open. I replaced it with a very nice secondhand KitchenAid and stowed it in my moldy basement front room. Looking for the win-win, I stowed the defunct washer in my moldy storage space and forgot about it for a few months. It was really nasty when I pulled it out. So nasty, in fact, that I didn’t want to toss grungy BMW parts into it. So I ran a few cycles of plain water & dish soap (just a squirt, otherwise it makes huge suds) to tidy it up. The best part of this seems to be the integrated heater. It really seems to work. I haven’t seen any downside yet, I’ll report back later with the results.