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BangShift Question Of The Day: Do You Keep A Tally On The Cost Of Your Project?

BangShift Question Of The Day: Do You Keep A Tally On The Cost Of Your Project?

When I first started building the 1981 Dodge Mirada I scored for $650 in the fall of 2009, I decided to keep a running total of the money I spent on the car. I didn’t have any reason to…I wasn’t working for BangShift, I wasn’t going to keep the Mirada long-term (in fact, the goal was to kill the car as violently as possible and move on when I dragged it home) but the car persisted, mainly because I was having too much fun with it. And up until the original 318 packed up and started turning into an oil pan full of metal chunks, I had sunk over three thousand dollars into the car. Some heavy cost items like a set of tires and a front-suspension build that was desperately needed took a heavy toll on that cost, while other fixes, like new seats to replaced collapsed ones, stereo work, and exhaust were extras. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate…exhaust work on that pile was desperately needed.

And since that car, I’ve found it a good plan to keep track of money spent on a beater build. It reminds you that no car is ever going to be cheap, but it also forces you to prioritize what’s important versus what’s not. Case in point: look at the Rough Start Mustang. I would like new door mirrors and some carpeting, but for now those costs don’t make sense. The money needs to be spent on hard-point items that are keeping the Mustang from moving on it’s own, like brake work, engine parts and the like. Keep it simple, right?

So, do you keep track of the money spent? Or is that the kind of thing that just makes you want to start slamming whiskey shots while shedding tears?

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10 thoughts on “BangShift Question Of The Day: Do You Keep A Tally On The Cost Of Your Project?

  1. Weasel1

    I kept meticulous records for 1 build, bringing a 65 impala back from dead. The idea was to get it mobile and safe, then turn a profit. If the deal is to sell, keep a log. If it is for you, don’t bother because you will be amazed on how fast money goes out

  2. Tedly

    I’m doing that with my Suburban. There’s all kinds of stuff that needs to be done, and every dollar spent is a dollar less to spend on something else that needs it. It forces me to prioritize, be resourceful, and do things in a logical progression. I like the challenge of it. Like your Mustang, there’s no sense in having new carpet in a truck that doesn’t run.

  3. orange65

    I just finished restomodding a 66 Chevy C30. I have spent close to $19K doing all the work myself. It kind of surprised me how much I spent and definitely not something I will tell my wife.

  4. Robert

    I always start a file on any vehicle I have and keep track of all the money spent. Sometimes it just makes you sad to look at later though!

  5. john

    when oil used to come 24 qt cans in a case and in the early 70’s racing nhra, I filled that empty box with receipts. one day I figured I would add it all up……..started to get depressed and then just burned the box and receipts. lol. never looked back at doing that again.

  6. jerry z

    I restored my 1966 SS396 Chevelle back in the late 80’s/ early 90’s. Spent around $20K including the purchase of the car. Sold it for half the price in 1995. Last time I restored a car! Ended buying a house in 1996, that was a better option!

  7. Mark R

    When I buy something for a project the receipt goes in the garbage. I don\’t want to know how much it\’s adding up. I wouldn\’t finish anything if I knew.

    1. nathan lee

      never keep score, if it is a resale you may get your parts money back , but you never get your hours back .

  8. Dan

    Never the build cost, but I kept track of how much it cost per run for my Camaro at the strip one year. Just using the expenses, it was around $50 per run. I never did that again!!

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