Restoring a Dodge M37.
Some creative accounting may be necessary to preserve your marriage.
Taking on a total restoration project can be a very good deal or a very bad deal depending upon how you account for your time and expenses. Take my M37 for example. I bought the truck for $2,600, spent another $600 to get it to New Jersey (from Minnesota), and $274 to transfer the title and get insurance. Now, do I count the transportation and paperwork as part of the vehicle cost or don't I?
Stripping off the first layer of paint Some of the thousands of parts
after sandblasting and priming
It is a given that when you restore a vehicle from scratch, you inevitably spend more money on the restoration that the vehicle will ever be worth. The cost of the M37 plus out-of-pocket expenses for vehicle parts and services came to more than $12,000. Add in the cost of labor (myself and friends) at minimum rates, and the amount I had in it was $18,000 plus, far more than anyone would pay for it, even if it were the best M37 on the planet (which I like to think it was).
Painting the beast All finished and parade ready
Here, for your edification, is what restoring my M37 cost over the two years it took me to do the job.

1963 M37B1 -ton truck$2,600
Transportation home (because friend who offered to tow it sold his trailer) $600
Sales tax, title, registration $176
Insurance (2 years)$98
Superwinch locking hubs$125
New body parts (door, hood, tailgate, bumpers)$464
New canvas (cab, bed, seats, straps)$550
New window glass, latches, weather strip, felt$248
Fix flat tire$16
Five new Denman Coyote tires$650
Tubes, mount five new tires$159
Handbrake drum, lining, and brake handle$88
2nd Handbrake drum with lining (because normal humans can't rivet a lining to a drum)$42
Labor to install handbrake$50
New screw extractor, two taps, and wrench (because truck ate old ones)$18
Set of 6 spark plugs$42
2nd set of 6 spark plugs (because water poured through holes in hood and rusted 1st set)$45
Rifle mounting kit, 2 replica rifles$489
4 dinners out with wife (because "truck is taking over your life")$118
Bed bows, corners, seats from 5-ton truck$156
Lumber for seats (because seat boards from 5-ton truck were too narrow)$38
Lights, wiring harnesses, disconnect switch$132
Gallon of Liquid Wrench (not enough)$14
Spare tire mount for bed (because door mounted ones not available)$70
Spare tire mount for door (became available one week after purchasing bed unit)$245
Chemical stripper & primer, respirator, goggles, labor for stripping$852
Sandblasting, bodywork & priming (because chemical stripping missed too many spots and because rust spots were showing where primer wasn't put on soon enough)$2,283
Goldeneye (James Bond) Videotape (to take mind off M37 for 2 hours)$15
Pioneer tool rack, tools, fuel can, spout$121
Antenna, antenna mount$55
Paint, primer, prep cleaner, labor for prep & painting$991
Weekend away with wife (because time spent on M37 is totally appalling)$129
Bright yellow circular bridge weight plate$55
Forest green bridge weight plate (because yellow is wrong for vehicle)$13
Other stuff$537
Additional garage bay (because existing four garage bays are full)$15,000
Rebuild winch, parts & labor$300
Hernia operation (resulting from lifting and fitting winch alone)$4,782
Gas, oil, grease, routine maintenance (to drive 300 miles)$81
  
The Bottom Line 
Brag to friends that military vehicle hobby is cheap; M37 cost only$2,600
Restored vehicle with direct vehicle-related expenses only$12,403
Lost earnings by pretending that 600 hours of time spent on M37 could not have been spent at minimal wage flipping burgers at McDonalds$3,600
Cost of time in future owed to friends who helped me$2,500
Grand total real-world cost of owning & restoring M37 for two years$36,147

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that restoring a vehicle isn't worth every penny, every skinned knuckle, every broken stud, and every argument with the wife. It is. But if you want to justify the time and expense, be prepared to do a little creative accounting.
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