Both of these guys are extreme examples of DIY fortitude, but you can partake in their success on your own terms, and at your own depth. These guys have inspired me to take my own baby steps into areas I've typically left to other, more qualified folks. I reasoned that if they can do something really hard, then I should be able to do easier stuff. The best thing about this approach is that if you do screw something up, it's in the seclusion of your own garage.

Just remember that you're looking for small victories here. As a kid, you change the plugs. Then dad lets you rebuild the carb. Next thing you know, you're pulling the motor in your first car and rebuilding it. Every goal you achieve is the bedrock for the next bigger thing. Guys who build this kind of incremental knowledge about their own cars have a confidence you can't buy with a checkbook.

When I was younger, I had a lot more of this confidence, though it was mostly because I was poor, and had to do the work myself. Honestly, the magazine environment spoils that because everybody is reaching out their hands to help you, and it's hard to refuse, being on a deadline. But things are changing at PHR Central. Whenever I can, I'll be doing stuff myself. Bottom line is, if I can do it, then so can you. Yeah, there will still be times when I'll wuss out, and let a pro with a better set of tools handle something that's over my head, but I'm going to try to get my hands as dirty as they let me. For instance, just last month, I even align-honed my own block.

As the Chevelle project enters the final stages and gets ready for the track, I'll be thinking about another car and another challenge. Maybe it will be something farther off the beaten path than the Chevelle. Maybe an Oldsmobile? A Mopar? A Mercury? Some magazines call this daring to be different.

That kind of sounds like cross-dressing at Halloween to me. We'll just call it daring to be confident.

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