Is your garage too big?





Old-car people are, in fact, like most other folks. Well, maybe there are a few differences and idiosyncrasies.


            For example, there are things OCFs (old-car folks) will never be heard saying—the first is “My garage is too big” or “I have too many tools.” Sometimes these opinions may differ between husband and wife, especially since she thinks a new dryer is more important than a new drill press. You must forgive some people’s sense of priorities.


            It is better if you start out by planning ahead when building your garage. First of all, your cars—your daily driver, your wife’s car, the pickup truck, and, of course, your pet LaSalle or Cadillac. That makes a four-car garage right there.


            Of course, you need one more bay for a workbench and your hand tools and one more for spare parts. This makes a six-car garage. From this starting point and good management on your part, you can make this size garage work for you.


            Now it is time to start acquiring the needed special tools and equipment. Assuming, of course, you have the basic hand tools—wrenches, screwdrivers and the like. This is where planning ahead is real important. The first basic equipment piece you need is an air compressor. Don’t hedge here and waste money on a small one; the difference in cost is small compared to the value and use you can get from a bigger one. You will be surprised at all the air tools and equipment you can use with a good compressor.


            You are going to find you need a parts cleaning tank to clean up those dirty parts and a filing cabinet for manuals, parts catalogs, receipts and the like—and guess what—it’s getting crowded.


            No problem. Park the wife’s car in the driveway and you’re back to a garage that is big enough. It doesn’t take long to realize you need a sandblasting cabinet and there you are, crowded again. Solution: also move your daily driver into the driveway.


            Soon you realize that when you really get into restoring your pride and joy, you will need a parts car, and once you start dismantling it, you can’t leave it outside to rust and ruin valuable parts.


            No problem. Move the pickup to the driveway with your daily driver and move your wife’s car into the street. As your work progresses, you will find you need a 12-ton shop press, a drill press and a heavy duty grinder.


            By now, you should have enough parts off your parts car to move it out into the driveway under a cover and you can park your daily driver on the street with your wife’s car.


            It has come to the time you realize how important it is to have a lift in your garage. If you have trouble making your wife agree to this, explain the logic of how you can lube and change the oil in her car so she doesn’t have to sit around a lube shop to get this done.


            Everything is going well, until you find a nice LaSalle coupe at a swap meet and convince her how nice it would be to have “his and hers” and that this will be “her car.” If you still have problems convincing her, tell her you will get rid of the parts car and park the pickup on the street and she can park in the driveway again. It works every time!


            After you are into restoring “her car,” it is easy to convince her you need a parts car to finish “her car”—wife’s car goes back to parking on the street.


            By now, you need a new house with a bigger garage and more driveway space. As you are looking at new houses, the last thing you want to do is let your wife hear you tell the real estate agent, “Never mind about the house, how big is the garage?”


            Of course, there is always the ultimate solution. You know that Safeway on the boulevard that closed down and the building is for sale? Plenty of room not only for your cars, but lots of space to store many of your friends’ cars. You can convert a small corner to living quarters—after all, a single man doesn’t need much living space if his garage is big enough.


            Gotta run now and buy a lotto ticket—see ya next month.