Friday, September 26, 2008

The Power of Cheapd

Yes. Cheap = awesome + personal satisfaction. With the winter months coming, Elisha and I need two cars - motorcycle riding in Oregon during the winter isn't very fun. Wet, nasty and relatively unsafe, I'd rather just avoid it. When a friend of mine started looking for a new car (it was time) it awoke in me a desire I've had for a while - to own an AWD Subaru. Of course, if I had my way, I would have bought one like Ben did - a $20~k 2008 WRX. Alas, I just can't afford it, my budget was much lower. Much. Lower. However, Craigslist prevailed as it always has, and I picked up a beauty (ok, an ugly duckling) of a 1993 Subaru Impreza wagon for $1400. It came with a roof-rack (essential for the snowboarding trips it was destined for.) Other than that, it had few endearing qualities, short of it's subaru & awd-ness. Elisha and I dubbed it the "Mountain Goat."

What was so ugly you ask? I'll show you:

Yes, this is the roof. Sun+ice+snow+negligence = nasty paint. :( Poor Mountain Goat. So, gearing up with my trusty tools (and many of my father-in-law's that I couldn't afford) I set out to fix this problem myself - given that professional paint jobs run $1000-$20,000. Yeah, not going to spend the value of the car on it's paintjob. Anything looks better than what it is.

Trusty Tool!

Sanded to a glossy, err, shine. More of a luster, actually.

All taped up and ready to go!

All primered up.

All shiny after it's first inaugural wash as a black car!

I learned a big lesson about painting cars - fiberglass bumpers do not like 80grit sandpaper. I scratched the crap out of my bumpers. Oops. However, an ingenious idea to the rescue! Spray-on truckbed liner! This stuff is fabulous - I 1/2 wish I had painted the whole car with it!

Preppin' the booty for some truck bed liner:

Pretty bumper.

Nice 'n shiny after it's first wax job this morning:

All done and ready to take on the world!

Now, it's not the best paintjob in the world - I didn't spend 80-zillion hours on it like I should have to achieve a super-duper paintjob. However, for the $100 and 15 hours of work, it's pretty nice. To do it properly would have required another $50 and another 50 hours (Seriously - it's incredibly labor intensive.) Would I do this again? Most likely not - unless I had another junker car that desperately needed a paintjob and I didn't want to spend any money on it. Some neighbors of mine came by while I was painting and asked what I would charge to paint their car - I had to laugh. This job is ridiculously difficult, and I will never question how much a bodyshop charges for painting - it is amazing how much sanding it takes to get it right, and I just stripped it - I didn't go through the sanding process properly (because I honestly didn't care.)

Now I have a car I'm not embarrassed to drive down the street in, and I'm excited to take to the mountain! Yay for cheap solutions and internet-how-to's!


Carrie said...

WOAH Andy -- I am super duper impressed. That's really amazing.

yes...officially wow-ed....

Allison said...

Seriously, that's incredible. Good, safe color choice too. No one questions a black mountain goat.

Keenan said...

Funny that I should read about your "mountain goat". I just had pizza with feta cheese on it. Mmmm, yummy. I think I like mozza a bit more, but both are muy bueno. Good job on the car, but I don't think I ever could have skipped Bridgetown to do that.

Ben said...

You know, honestly, looking at it from a few feet away, that new paint job makes it look almost as nice as mine (for the uninformed, mine is the WRX he's talking about). Nice job. You win!