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What cost excellence?


So often with a project car we find ourselves asking if the next expenditure is really worth it.  At what point do you cork the flow, put a bandage on the bleeding, or otherwise stem the tide of rising project costs?  They say the happiest two days of a boat owner’s life are the day he buys it and the day he sells it.  B.O.A.T. doesn’t stand for “bring out another thousand” just because its etymology comes from Proto-Indo-European “bheid”, which means “to break or split”.  No coincidence whatsoever.  So on to the project cars (which never break).

 
 

God, why do I keep pouring money in this thing?  (Yes, that’s me in the picture.)

Sound off in the comments; how much are you spending keeping your favorite transportation running?  If you had it to do over again, would you?  If you would, would you do it differently?  For me, the answer is ~$18,000, yes, and yes, respectively.  I bought my 2001 Audi S4 in May 2006 (Mother’s Day, actually), when it was bone-stock and had 50,000 miles on it.  It still had a certified pre-owned warranty good to 60,000 miles that the previous owner paid to transfer to my name, which restricted my modification for about nine months.  The warranty expired in January 2007, and on went the mods.  At first it was little stuff, mainly maintenance upgrades.  The big purchases have been ECU reprogramming, wheels and tires, turbo-back exhaust, and coil-over suspension.  Maintenance has been a biggie, with two timing belts, a dose of exhaust gas temperature sensors, primary oxygen sensors, and the auto-dimming rearview mirror (hundreds of dollars; I kid you not).  At first my attitude was to keep it perfect; let no quasi-failing part be allowed to live.  I preemptively replaced several engine sensors and components to keep the car at 104%.  The next step, as you have seen in previous posts, is to upsize the turbos.  This is where the nova question comes in.  “No va”, Spanish for “it doesn’t go”: do I continue to spend big dollars on this vehicle, now ten years old and with 125,000 miles (and counting, quickly), or do I start to save for my next automotive victim?  In short, is it worth putting more money into this big blue quattro bucket?  Is it worth it?  Well, that’s the question I asked the rest of you at the beginning.

(Nova Schin; for pregnant bitches that just can’t quit.  Why does she appear to be handing it to the viewer?  I’m not drinking that shit.)

The answer is: depends.  As I alluded, I would have done things differently.  The big change in my private life since May 2006 is that I had two kids.  Let me tell you, that hurt.  Man should not have children; that is woman’s work.  Puns aside, the loss of my wife’s income and the increase in domestic expenses put a cramp on my mod budget.  The loss of time control that comes from having children?  Tolerable.  The loss of income from the stay-at-home mom?  Planned for.  The increase in health care insurance premiums?  Highway robbery.  Double-digit percentage premium increases every year, and work does not subsidize dependent coverage.  My advice?  If you’re going to have children, move to Europe or Canada.  Kids complicate the modification justification equation (aka modification accounting justification equation complication consternation, or majecc).

Majecc, pronounced \’ma-jik\, is what it’s all about.  (Can you believe I make this shit up?  Isn’t linguistics fun?)  You “majecc-ly” find time and money to continue you hobby.  Usually this involves either living vicariously through your single or DINKY friends or teaming up with similarly-encumbered SITCOM friends.  The majecc continues, but so does the magic that got us into the hobby in the first place.  So bring out another thousand; excellence is made in leaps (of the wallet).

(500 AWHP?  Well sure, if you’re asking.)

P.S.  What would I do differently?  Here’s your bonus advice: if you have a range of modification expenses (assuming the cost of the upgrade is directly proportional to the value of the upgrade), save up and get the most expensive stuff first.  If that means saving $5000 for a turbo kit, at least when you’re two years into it and change your mind or move on, you can move on knowing you haven’t already committed big dollars to a stalled project.  That’s what I would do differently; I’d trade the $5k I’ve spread out over the car and focus that into the big $5k single upgrade.  Sure you can take bites at the project and it’s fun to do a small upgrade each year instead of nothing for four years or whatever, but I’m just saying that if your plans call for a $5,000 upgrade sometime in the future and $5,000 in other distributed upgrades, get the big one out of the way first.  The others will still be there.

Yeah, so BOAFT.

 – Jeff, internet profit…prophet…whatever

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Categories: Cars, Jeff
  1. Jeff
    August 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Excellent! But at what cost?

  2. Manuel Canut
    August 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Put the kids too work. Simple.

    • Mediocre Steve
      August 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      I concur, child labor is only bad if you’re paying them, and considering they’re your own children they count as “dependents” instead of “slaves.”

      Fun fact.

    • Jeff
      August 3, 2011 at 5:32 am

      That’s a good idea; let me run it past the wife. I love leveraging resources.

      • Jeff
        August 3, 2011 at 5:32 am

      • Jeff
        August 3, 2011 at 5:32 am

        Wife said no, and now she’s all mad at me for some reason.

  3. alexg57
    August 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    This post goes well with Steve’s from a while back about having a modification plan in place before you begin. I say… to hell with both. I’m just going to keep pecking away by making smaller purchases toward an unknown goal. Although getting new wheels and tires was always a plan, and that’s happening (blessed by the wife!) at the end of this month. Woot!

    Also, as for child labor: Evan brought me a beer out of the fridge for the first time last night. And you wonder why we’re having another one….

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