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Baby, It's Cold Outside

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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No, really. It's cold.

The time for fun in the sun has been over for a while in most of the country, but it's recently gone from "fun time is over" to "get my belt."

For a lot of enthusiasts, I know that means that work will be greatly reduced or non-existent on any projects from now until the world thaws, because not everyone can enjoy a warm, comfortable work environment in which to tinker.

That's okay, though, there are other project-oriented things to do. There's thinking, planning, and a concept that is extremely popular in the home-improvement market: finding inspiration.

Actually, this is a concept that has long been used by designers and other creatives to come up with the latest and greatest products, whether we are talking a car or a toaster, designers surround themselves with inspirational material and create archives of influential things. It's how conceptualization begins and is an intentional, planned part of the process that takes considerable time and is the backbone of any innovative endeavor.

The idea works for automotive enthusiasts as well.

One great site for getting an idea about how to approach getting ideas for your car projects is one for homes: Houzz.com. It breaks the home down into its constituent parts and provides lots of inspirational material for each section. Currently, its inspirational photo section is divided into five subsections, including Kitchen and Dining, Bed and Bath, Living, Outdoor, and More Rooms (which just happens to include a "Garage" entry, great for those of you looking to improve your hobby-digs).

You can do the same for your own projects or other aspects of your hobby. Break down, say a project, into sections like Interior, Engine, Body, etc, then collect photos and other influential ideas that relate to that section and your project, and ponder what you would like to do.

Another great source of inspirational ideas are automotive art and idea books such as Street Machines Idea Book: Classics • Muscle Cars • Modern, which I reviewed back in 2011.

Gathering and considering inspirational material is an ideal activity for these cold winter months, and it keeps you both productive, and focused on a specific task, instead of just random, mindless clicking on the interwebs.


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