You have to be persistent and know your end goal.
ON (NOT) WALKING AWAY.
We all find ourselves doubting the current project from time to time. As we continue learning our trades, our knowledge increases. This can lead to different perspectives and interests.
The old project could get boring, or maybe the potential of a new platform just seems too good to pass up. You have to really know what you want and what it really takes to get there.
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I asked Scott, “How often do you find yourself with the desire to walk away, to take a clean slate approach? Has there come a time you’ve come close? And what’s kept you true to the Talon vs jumping on a new opportunity?”
I would say as it gets faster, knowing what you know now, and what you do differently, I find myself wanting to do something more. And that’s the interesting thing, because I could actually stay with the Talon chassis—kind of.
I’m actually looking, and I’m tempted by other things that I can’t do. I could go build a rail car. I could go build another DSM. I could mothball this one and, I dunno, enjoy my life; travel, and do those other things. I could just be happy. (laughing)
I’m not saying I’m not happy. Frankly, I really love the car. And as a matter of fact—this isn’t really well known—I actually got into an accident with this car in 2015 and smashed the front end of the car in pretty good at the track.
That was another instance where, you know, maybe I pack it in, maybe I call it a day and do something else. And so I think that temptation is always there. It’s perpetually there.
I think that, even from the beginning of this conversion to RWD, you’re basically taking a perfectly good car and your taking a Sawzall to it. And you’re not just taking a Sawzall to it to make it a little lighter. No, you’re cutting the frame out of the car. It’s a weird feeling. It’s a weird sensation. It’s kind of, like, am I doing this right?
Even from Day One, when I think one of the first things I cut out were the wheel wells. Those are the milestones. You get to those places and you’re like, “Should I be doing this? Am I doing this right?”
Some of those are benign. “Oh, wheel wells. Big deal.” If you really wanted to you could fashion up new ones, weld those back in, and that’s kind of insane, right? But when you get to where you’ve cut out the entire car on the inside behind the driver and passenger seats. That is irreversible action.
You could go one of two ways. You either end up with a successful conversion where you have a back-halved car—or you have a car you kinda have to throw away. Which is weird—to say you just have to throw this car away. It fell off the jackstands or it wasn’t level or all this stuff got bent up while you were doing this or you cut one inch too far and now you have to replace so much more.
But those are microdoubts where you have these things that are amusing to look back on—and I’m smiling as I’m saying it, but at the time, when you’re doing your first car, it’s all new. Everything is new, so you don’t know if you’re doing it right or doing it wrong.
When I say walking away, you know, when you have a long-term project, you have these instances where you get ebbs and flows. For me, in the Talon, the initial conversion, I spent about nine months working on the car, and in that time frankly got to a point where I couldn’t continue to spend that kind of time on the car—especially with this car.
I borrowed my friend’s garage to make this car rear wheel drive. I didn’t even have my own garage and had to borrow a friend’s garage. I took it over for nine months and I spent I spent two or three nights a week after work, I spent all weekend there. He was so gracious to allow me to do that—to let me work on the types of things that we did there was crazy—but I basically got the car up in the air all apart replaced all sorts of things and got it so that it was actually a rolling car again in this nine month time.
And then I was like, “You know what? I have to walk away. I have to walk away.” It’s not so much burnout as it is the project is so large. And there was a lot of scope creep on this on this car for sure, but I moved to a new city. I got married. I bought a house.
All of those things where you have life and life still has to happen. Sometimes life happens in weird ways you don’t expect or you don’t plan for. For me, the unplanned for part was meeting a girl and moving to another city and and buying a house and all those things. I had to stop, walk away from the Talon, and then pick it back up after those things were completed.
I say those things like it was a checklist, but it really wasn’t. It was just day-to-day stuff and life happened and then I met my wife. Those types of things make the Talon take a backseat to everything else that’s going on, so there are definitely times where you have to be persistent and know what your end goal is because otherwise you’re going to give up.
And that was maybe 10 minutes of our 80-minute conversation.
Scott’s got one of the nastiest DSMs in the world these days. And his journey with this machine has lead him in directions he never imagined all those years ago when he and a friend sketched out the build on napkins in a restaurant over dinner.