When Do You Stop Encouraging Your Friend's Crazy Project Car?

When I heard my friend was considering buying a completely disassembled early '70s Alfa Romeo GTV I told him he was crazy and he should get something more reasonable. He bought the old Italian coupe anyway and is in the process of building his dream car.

I doubted him at the very start because, well, even trained workers at Alfa's factory could hardly put a GTV together right, let alone him, just a guy. I didn't want to see my friend get wrecked by an impossible build. Well, he's becoming a pretty good wrencher and his car is made of pure amazingness. So I'm eating my words for suggesting a route of caution and sanity.

The question came up today when we were talking about life lessons we've learned from our cars. GatorEight had his own sensible/crazy conflict.

I drive an '00 Civic. It is not fast. It is not flashy. It is barely comfortable and it's old. But it gets incredible gas mileage, costs very little to maintain, and will last another 100k miles at the least.

As a huge car entusiasts who still owes student loan debt, I've learned that who cares what people think about you based on what you drive - it's how you get around and get things done and shame on anyone who judges you. I love cars but I won't put myself in a financial ditch just to drive something better. My car suits my current needs, and although I spaz out everytime I see a BRZ or an s2000 for sale, I look at the reality of my situation and I feel very fortunate to have the reliable transport that I do.

Now someone convince me that I'm an idiot and I need to get a 5 year loan to drive something way better, pleeassse I'm begging you!

PaulJones, voice of reason, exercised caution.

No, I won't try to convince you of that. As it stands, your philosophy exactly right. Love cars and everything that has to do with them, but never let the car define you. You define the car, and that's all there is to it.

I'm with PaulJones on this guy's Civic, but where do you draw the line with your friends? Have you ever told a friend to give up on a project car? To never buy a particularly cool yet difficult beater in the first place? Where did you draw the line?

Photo Credit: Porsche Club of America