Get That Project Car Started: Here's What You Can Do In Just One Day

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Deep down we all know a project car is a dangerous proposition. But the “ran when parked” siren song can be hard to ignore when you’re looking at a rusty version of your dream car. Let us be the devil and the angel on your shoulders here... Do it. Here’s what you’re in for.

I don’t know what classic car you fantasize about, but for me it’s the International Scout. I’d been half-assedly looking for one, not really wanting to spend the money but increasingly keen to put some kind of wacky truck in my driveway when I stumbled on a couple blurry photos and a Craigslist ad.


That led me to the legally-titled derelict you’re looking at here, which made it’s way to my lawn as a mouse hotel for almost a year before my friend and mechanical advisor Tavarish was kind enough to pay me a visit and help me get started.

Watch us break down the process of taking your barn-find beater with an unknown history from lawn art to... potentially operational. Hey, you might not be driving your project car any time soon but you can definitely have a good time playing with it.


Basically; you’ve gotta start by checking out all the engine’s fluids. Then you can see if it spins freely and the pistons are pumping uninhibited. After that, check your compression status, see if you’re getting fuel and air and spark, give the old electrical system a gander, drop in the battery and see what happens when you turn the key. But all that’s explained in the video.

Before you start swinging wrenches I’d like to remind you practice safe garage etiquette, dispose of automotive fluids legally, have fire suppression handy, and recognize that getting the engine started on a car as rough as my Scout is just the first step in a very long road to actually getting the thing... on the road.


This video will either inspire you to buy that crapcan you’ve been eyeing or send you running for the hills, but either way I think you’ll have fun watching us suffer.


Andrew P. Collins is Jalopnik’s off-road and adventure guy. Shoot him an email or hit him up on Twitter to talk trucks.