Cruising is only tolerable for so long before you have to race. And as much as we like to only run heads-up, there's always bracket racing. In bracket racing, you can win with the slowest car at the track as long as you're consistent-or, at least as long as you can consistently borrow the keys to mom's car. Once you get caught for that, spend $200 on anything that runs, make it consistent, and spend every weekend at your local dragstrip. You might win your money back and get a smoochy from the trophy babe. Cruising is only tolerable for so long before you have to race. And as much as we like to We know-it's the dead of winter. That's no excuse not to be planning capers for next summer, because if you're anything like us, winter ain't long enough to even come close to finishing the dream project that's currently staining the garage floor. Think we're wrong? We'll even bet you a bill that it won't be done by April. Meanwhile, we'll take that same 100-spot to Vegas, parlay it into a cool G, and spend the thou' on a cool cruiser. A killer beater. Chump-change turned Spanish Fly on wheels. In recent months, Car Craft has pretty much beaten you to death with the low-buck stick. Sure, we're all for spending our every dime on a project, but we're also out to prove that you can have fun with a car even if your every dime adds up to less than the rent. So take some of the ideas spilled here, cruise your boffo summertime wheels for cheap, and park it out front. Your landlord will understand. We'll say it again: station wagons. Buy one now while they're still cheap, because even the real car builders are figuring out that stawags rule. They usually take all the same hop-up goodies as two-doors, and lots of repop items are available. This fer-real Vista Cruiser was offered at a recent Pomona swap meet for $800. Irresistible! We'll say it again: station wagons. Buy one now while they're still cheap, because even th Four-doors is four-doors, of course, of course. But quadraports are also a penny-pinching way to score the bodystyle you've always wanted, but with a few more emergency exits. Lower the thing by cutting some coils, adjusting the torsion bars, adding rear lowering blocks, or simply loading it with your every pal. Throw on some cool wheels, drill a few holes in the muffler for deathtone, and call it cool. Just don't ever expect to get your money back out of a four-door at season's end. Then again, keep it for when the snow flies-they make great winter beaters. Four-doors is four-doors, of course, of course. But quadraports are also a penny-pinching We don't normally swing earlier than about '55 for the cars we cover, but that isn't because they aren't cool. Take this '53 Chevy with a serious haircut, for example. We'd never cut the top off a car that's old, original, or desirable-but if it's already done, why not take advantage of the low price? Stuff like this really deserves long life outside the wrecking yard. We don't normally swing earlier than about '55 for the cars we cover, but that isn't becau Trucks aren't generally the Car Craft gig, but they can be had for cheap and built with just a paycheck or two. We could hardly pass up this '69 Suburban at a negotiated price of $900. We'd fix the body damage with a '67 front clip (better looking, in our opinion), give it cheapy paint, lower it by cutting some coils, and leave the dog-dish hubcaps. Let the 292 straight-sick engine brap all summer, and you'd probably sell this thing for a profit come summer's end. Trucks aren't generally the Car Craft gig, but they can be had for cheap and built with ju It pains us to point this out, but we'd be remiss if we didn't alert you to the fact that old cars are rust-free and cheap here in the Southwest. You suckers sitting in 10-below right now should consider a winter vacation to Cali where you can score something like this $1,200 Camaro (at the Pomona Swap Meet), then head for home laughing all the way. Make it run, and you'll have a solid cruiser you can joyride all summer and restore next winter. It pains us to point this out, but we'd be remiss if we didn't alert you to the fact that Buy the most gi-normous, gas-guzzling old convertible you can find for the lowest price possible. Then drive it. Don't tune it up, don't put wheels on it, don't paint it. Don't even hose it off. Just cruise in windblown bliss till your hair falls out. Charge your buddies gas money every weekend and this thing will pay for itself in no time. At the end of the summer, throw one of those ugly blue tarps over it to minimize the mold buildup during winter weather, then break it out again next year. Buy the most gi-normous, gas-guzzling old convertible you can find for the lowest price po Here's another option: Don't buy a new beater, just drive what you've got. Shed all those lame notions that your project can't be seen until it's done and drive the thing. Get your money's worth now because the credit card debt will last well beyond this summer. This gray suede Charger is a good example from readers David and Coyette Stuart in Liberty, Mississippi. Here's another option: Don't buy a new beater, just drive what you've got. Shed all those People need something to do at a cruise night other than listen to those omnipresent oldies and stare at the same cars they've seen every weekend all summer. Make 'em participate in your fun! If your ride is primered (and why shouldn't it be?), strap on a whole mess o' Marks-A-Lots and get people to sign the sheetmetal. We've seen this a couple times on Hot Rod's Power Trip...er, Tour...and it always makes for good fun. Clearcoat the hood and you'll have a mongo keepsake for the living room. People need something to do at a cruise night other than listen to those omnipresent oldie Take a tip from the Marlan Davis school of vacations: rent. It's unusual that we'd advise actually paying to spend time in a wrong-wheel-drive econobox-or worse, the Chuck Schifsky signature-series minivan-but Marlan's done the math and proven a rental is a good bargain if you're out for extended road-trip fun. At least once in your life, you have to spend the summer touring the country. A rental gets better mileage than your big-block whatever, has air conditioning, and-sad to say-reduces the chances of a breakage adventure. You can dirt-road 'em at will, coat the floorboards with Snoballs wrappers, park them at the Bates Motel without worry, and bid good riddance at road's end. Take a tip from the Marlan Davis school of vacations: rent. It's unusual that we'd advise Mooch. It may be possible that you don't have the coinage to even scrape together the few hundred smacks needed for the most remedial summer cruiser. That means you probably don't have a license, either. But you're not out of luck-time-honored tradition dictates that neophyte gearheads get to ride along with older buddies to learn the ropes. Throw in for gas once in a while and break your curfew plenty. Just don't get arrested-it looks bad when you're trying to get a job. Mooch. It may be possible that you don't have the coinage to even scrape together the few By David Freiburger Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!