Classic cars have been an American passion since the 1950s, and as anyone who works on these automobiles can tell you, it's a hobby that demands a lot of time and attention. Tracking down replacement parts, repairing the body and rebuilding the engine can all be labor intensive. Ultimately, in an art that includes a lot of self-teaching -- for many, its own reward -- it can be hard to let go of all that effort and investment if the car can't be saved.
Unfortunately, sometimes a car is a goner, and there's little you can do to save it. There are some obstructing factors and undeniably harsh facts that can be hard to recognize when you've spent time and money on what may not seem to be a dead end.
Let's look at some rules of thumb and warning signs you can use to help discern the hard-won victory of a beautiful showpiece from a never-ending money pit.