Do You Have A Stalled Car Project? I'm Here To Help

Jason Torchinsky
Jason Torchinsky
Image: David Tracy

This pandemic has been a real asshole to us all, especially during the winter. But if you’re stuck in your house with a stalled car project, looking for a way to bring a little more joy into your life, allow me to implore you: Just get that damn car on the road. Just do it. I’m here to help.


I can’t promise that I’ll help you wrench, but what I can do is lend you my advice. It’ll be like Car Talk, except I’ll keep my advice budget-oriented, since, remember, you’re talking with a cheap bastard, here.

Whether you live in South America, Europe, Asia, or here in North America, I want you to get your car on the road again. Hell, I’ll even write articles about your journeys if they’re interesting enough.

I’ve been working on my brother’s 1966 Ford Mustang lately, and I just know that the happiness I’ll experience while behind the wheel of that pony will be a much-needed change to what have been 12 months of, well, garbage.

I want to do what I can to help you all feel that same happiness. Email me at

Sr. Tech Editor, Jalopnik. Owner of far too many Jeeps (Including a Jeep Comanche). Follow my instagram (@davidntracy). Always interested in hearing from engineers—email me.


Hi David. I have a project that started 24 years ago. To make a very long story short, I acquired a 1990 Toyota Celica All-Trac (known as the Turbo 4WD in Canada) in 1997. It’s a fully loaded model 5 speed manual and it has 60 kilometres. That’s actually 60 and not 60,000 kilometres. It’s still a brand new vehicle. It still has floor carpet and seat plastic protectors. It was never licensed. It was damaged in 1990 and warehoused. Through a negotiation with the company I work for, I was able to buy the vehicle. The damage is not that bad ... hood, fender, bumpers, rear hatch and right quarter panel. Most of the body work was completed in 1999. I planned on having this as my everyday car. I was then was provided a company demo at work so the project was shelved. It has now been sitting idle for 21 years. I worry about the mechanical parts. I’d like to restart the project but I’m unsure of the steps to follow to get the car running. Obvious services such as flushing all fluids, new tires and alignment would be required. Perhaps suspension parts??? What about the main concern ... the engine? What to do about an engine that has been sitting for so long? What about the transaxle and differential? Any other suggestions? This project will result in a 31 year old car that’s still new. I’m excited and willing to get back on the project. Your advice is welcome.