Map analogy Part 2: You are here

Some people can be dropped on a random corner in an unknown country and find their way without a conscious thought about it.  Others need one of those language neutral maps with a big red dot -YOU ARE HERE.  When that project car you bought turns up, there’s a good chance you are effectively on that corner in that unknown country.  What are you going to do?  Where are you?  A map is useful because it shows you where you are, where you’re going (if you know it) and based on those, how to get there.

It looks something like this when you get all the fasteners gathered up from all those boxes are clean and in one place.  Most of you will be thinking ‘oh god -good luck’ but some of you are saying -‘hey, there are 7 drop link bolts there and a car only needs two!’ You will all agree that if you can identify quite a few of these, you know where you are.  In case you are wondering, I took this as a sanity check so I could identify what I sent to the electroplaters.

The previous installments in this series were meant to help you figure out your map reading skills,  what city you’re in -that is, what map you are looking at, and where on that map you are going.  This one is meant to help you find that big red ‘YOU ARE HERE’ dot, for only when you’ve identified where you are can you intelligently proceed.  But what does ‘YOU ARE HERE’ look like in the context of a project Sprint in your garage?

It’s quite simple really -it’s the state your car is in.  The state is made up of components such as functionality (if you’re lucky) and finish at one end of the spectrum, and completeness, rustiness, useability of present parts -viability even- at the other end.

Another group of parts you may encounter.  You should have a pretty good idea what these are if you know where you are.  Like a bucket of chicken, Powdercoating gets cheaper per piece the more you do at one time, so I threw some extras in with the parts I need for the current project.  I may get this stuff back tomorrow!

So you’re standing there in your garage, beer in hand looking your Sprint over -from the now-organized or at least secured boxes of parts to the reforming coating of dust you so earnestly removed a few evenings earlier, to the contents of a coffee can full of screws currently spilled on your work bench, your standing there and it occurs to you, you need to start, but you don’t know how, so you pick up a screw from the pile spreading out cone-shaped from the can and look at it for a moment, it’s about 1/4″ long, the chrome is flaking off the head and it’s slightly bent -where on the car could this possibly go you ask yourself and so you carry it over to the car, open the door and have a look around -there are screw holes all over the place, in the bare floor, in the window surrounds -in fact you spot a few more just like this one captured in the bottom of the door and then it hits you -the screw doesn’t really matter so much as what it holds onto the car -once you have that the screw becomes obvious, so you put the screw with his comrades in the bottom of the door and pick up something more substantial -you think it’s the air filter housing -a lid seems to be missing on one end so you have a look around for it and find it in another box -it slips right on the end and you get this rush -I know what to do you say to yourself and you dig out the big blue parts book that came with the car and find this part in it, it’s there along with a list of all the fasteners required to hold it together and to hold it to the car, so you get out a pad, make a list and start searching the boxes for little parts which an hour later come together as a complete airbox, minus some washers, that you set aside with a sense of accomplishment and then pick up what must be part of the generator, a hollow cylinder with some thin coils on the inside diameter…

Imagine it was this one occupying your garage!  Wonder if a start has been made on this car…

Another group of parts you should be able to identify when you know where you are.

You’ll know definitively where you are when you’ve made an inventory of the car, identified what work needs to be done to the car- engine and parts, what parts need to be sourced or replaced, and feel comfortably familiar with these things.

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