Sentiment. It can be a good reason and sometimes a bad reason for restoring a classic car, and over the years I’ve seen countless examples of both. The bad is when a loved one passes away before their dream car project has been completed, but the project requires intensive amounts of work to complete yet their loved ones feel compelled to complete the process spending tens of thousands of dollars over the value of the car.
I have always advocated that any restoration should be well thought-out and make sense on paper as well as in your heart. The good is when bringing a loved one’s car back can be accomplished without extraordinary expense and using the skills of friends and family.
One great example of restoring a classic car for all the right reasons is Jennifer Gardner’s 1956 Ford F100. Her father Tim and grandfather Jim years ago built this great little truck. Both worked as heavy diesel mechanics for a large local truck dealer. This father/son duo worked well together and also built another ’56 Ford F100 as well as a 1940 Ford coupe.
Like any good mechanic, they believed more power is better and the stock Ford Y-block engine was replaced with a huge Ford 460 cubic inch engine. Jennifer recalls memories of riding with her father in the truck and attending numerous car shows and events together. Shortly after completing the interior in the truck, Jennifer’s father was trailering the truck home when a deer jumped out into the roadway, severely damaging the front of the truck.
Distraught, Tim did not have the time or resources at the moment to repair the truck right away so it was pushed into the corner of the shop. Unfortunately he passed away just two years later, never having the opportunity to enjoy his F100 again.
Years later Tim’s friends came together and insisted on putting the 1956 F100 back on the road in memory of Jennifer’s father. The group worked tirelessly to restore the F100 yet keeping the truck as close to Tim’s dream as possible. His friends even created their own personalized front license plate inscribed with the words “For dad”. Yes, sentiment can be a good reason to restore a car and Jennifer’s ’56 is a shining example of this, as in her way, she’s passing the classic car torch to her children now and keeping them connected to their grandfather.