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Have you ever felt really good about the work that you or your shop is producing only to see someone else's project and realize that the junk you've been building is marginal at best?
This one is for all of you shop guys and fabricators out there. When I brought this up to my father-in-law he told me how much he hates seeing other people's work that is nicer than his because he knows that he is good at what he does and doesn't want to be told any differently. Me on the other hand, I absolutely love seeing work that is light years beyond what I am doing. It is what keeps me pushing to be the best that I can be. How are you ever supposed to know how good you really can be if you are never inspired to be better than anybody else's work? That's the beauty of magazines and car shows: They showcase some of the best work out there to inspire us to build better ourselves.
For me, inspiration is the fuel for motivation and it will manifest itself without warning from the most basic of things. The simplest thing I can think of right now is this book I have of old mechanical assemblies that I browse through every now and again just to keep my mind fresh and looking at things from different angles. The designers and engineers of yesterday were amazing. They were especially impressive when you think about the fact that they didn't have schools for engineering back then-you had to just be amazing to start with. Lately I have been working with Pacific Coast Customs part-time building a completely one-off suspension for a Riddler project that they are working on. Being given carte blanche is a great way to get the creative juices flowing, but it can leave you mentally wandering. What do you do to amaze yourself on a budgetless suspension? Regardless how much time you have and money you are being paid to build something, you are still limited to your own abilities, imagination, and in this case a somewhat new one to me, the need to look good first and function properly second. That's just not how my mind works, if it is properly designed and engineered, it will look right on its own, but that's just my personal opinion. Most of the time I've found myself being limited by my abilities rather than my imagination, but this time, my imagination has been the hindrance. How do I design a suspension for someone that works properly and looks conducive to the work that is already there, especially when the existing work isn't my style to begin with? It had me baffled for a little while. What I had to do was essentially learn a new style of fabrication. It took a little bit for me to really grasp the idea, but it has opened a whole new door for me and my work. This isn't the traditional way for inspiration to manifest itself, but it has done a damn good job keeping me motivated.
After being in business for myself for nearly 13 years now, I have met my fair share of fabricators and seen some amazing cars, but I believe that I have only scratched the surface. I have met so many people doing amazing work and seeing vehicles being built lately that are absolutely inspirational that I am in mental overload, and I don't think that I would want it any other way... stay tuned.