It takes a certain kind of guy to meet a tough project head-on. You only have to read the story on Mike Korecz's '69 AMC Ambassador to be reminded of that. (See "401-K Plan," page 42.) A story like Mike's is good medicine for those guys trawling a Super Chevy swap meet looking for a trim piece for a '69 Camaro, and cryin' because they couldn't find it the first time they went looking for it. Even if you don't like AMCs, you need to read Mike's story, if for no other reason than it won't make your quest for a '67 Mustang center console seem so bad.
We can all learn a thing or two from Mike, like how to keep an open mind and find alternatives to seemingly impossible problems. I just looked online, and I could only find one decent '69 AMC Ambassador for sale-anywhere. Finding N.O.S. parts for a car like this must be like trying to find Spanish treasure. Still, Mike found the solution in the tight-knit AMC community, and when all else failed, he built his own parts from scratch.
But you don't have to own a rare breed of car to approach a problem with the same mindset as Mike. It helps to have a passing familiarity with the raw materials and the tools that shape them, but even if you don't, there are people hidden in the nooks and crannies of even the smallest town who can help you. The day I discovered my neighborhood waterjet job shop was an epiphany for me. The idea of designing a part out of cardboard, then bringing it to someone who can make it a reality-and make it better than the original-is a liberating thing.
Last month, we brought you the story of John McBride and his '67 Chevy II. In spite of the huge aftermarket supporting these cars, John decided to set all that aside, and build a truly world-beating supercar in his garage. Like Mike, John met the challenge head-on, learning a whole new skill set in the process. How cool is that?