I had just gotten my first project car and I needed a garage space to work on it. The HOA rules in my condominium strictly forbade automotive work in the garage and I was getting tired of doing oil changes on jack stands on the side of the street. My parents saw it as an opportunity to have their son around the house on the weekends, I viewed it as free garage space. Win-win for everybody!
I started out with simple tasks like oil changes and brake pad swaps. My Dad joined in to help me, I imagine he was eager to share his experience (he had wrenched on his own cars for a few years when he was younger) with his son. Those simple maintenance tasks led to bolt-on installs and over time slowly gave way to more complex work like widebody installs and engine swaps. I even painted an entire car in my parents’ garage (I do NOT recommend you let your kids do this…).
Most of my weekends consisted of me being in the garage from Friday through Sunday night. On the weekends I wasn’t wrenching on the car I was at the racetrack. I was averaging more than 40 track days a year and loving every minute of it. I would spend one weekend installing a part in the garage and the next weekend testing it out at the track, seeing how the part effected the car’s performance.
I continued this cycle for a few years and met a lot of different people at track events along the way. Occasionally I would get asked “which shop built this car?”. It was always fun for me to reveal that the car was built in a 400 sqft, 2-car garage with my Dad. We didn’t have a lift; just basic Harbor Freight tools and jack stands.
As I, and the car, got faster I began to get asked “can you work on my car?” and “how much would it cost for you to build me a car like this?”. The first time someone asked me that question I quickly brushed it off as a crazy idea. I was a full-time software engineer working for Amazon and cars were purely a hobby, albeit one that consumed an extremely large portion of my time. Besides, it was my parents’ garage and they were doing me a favor by allowing me to use it to work on my own car. There’s no way I could work on other people’s cars in their garage for money…