A year ago I was in the middle of restoring Pantera 7195, a late "74 model. I had completed most of the metal work on the chassis when Hurricane Harvey paid Houston a visit. High water did not reach my property and thankfully, my cars remained dry.
Unfortunately, other Space City members were impacted by the flooding. At the time, I was helping install an new AC system in a very early Pantera, 1642, that was concluding a multi-year restoration. The Pantera, only a few miles from my house, was partially fresh water flooded. Water was high enough to cover the engine, but not the roof. The car has the well known engine built by Dan Jones that Dynoed at $500+ HP with less then 10 miles on it. Immediately after the water receded, we took appropriate action to save the power-train and were successful. However, at this point the owner was tired from one restoration and had no interest for another. I purchased the car from the insurance company with a salvage title and completed it's restoration in July 2018. I intend to tell the tale in Profiles.
I now need a breather on Pantera restorations. So, before starting back on 7195, I am restoring an 1987 Reynard FC 2000, that I raced in the 1990s. Another Space City member had been generous enough to store the racecar and trailer at his Ranch for almost 2 decades! As the car now qualifies for the CVAR & SVRA vintage racing scene, I have brought it home to refresh and compete with it once again. However, I needed to find a way to make space for the effort in my garage.
I tell this back story as garage space has always been one of my bigger challenges. The old adage that one always needs 125% of existing garage space, has always felt applicable! I saw a double wide version of a 4 post lift designed by Advantage Lifts at a Mecum action and thought it may be a partial solution for me. After lots of measuring and and concerns about various pros and cons the lift would introduce, I pulled the trigger and bought one. My wife's reaction was that there would finally be enough room in the garage for her car. Her friends were no help as they would all comment asking if the new lift meant that she could move her car inside. Of course, I knew that was never the plan.
One challenge was preparing my garage for the lift. My garage has only a 9' high ceiling, so I needed every inch I could scrounge between the floor and ceiling to not only fit the cars ; but also, the lift's four corner posts. Unfortunately, I would not be able to utilize the lift's full height capability which would have made it helpful for undercar repair. It would be necessary to modify my garage doors to open as close to the ceiling as possible. This meant eliminating the traditional garage door opener that required precious space between the garage door and the ceiling. I learned that high lift garage door mechanics is a well guarded secret to help local installers control the market and I suppose, reduce liability. I am to much a do it yourself guy. Fortunately, there are a couple of internet sites that will give constructive insight on spring and drum requirements and I learned the science of high lift garage doors. To raise and lower the garage door, I ended up installing different torsion springs, drums and a Liftmaster 8500 that mounts off to the side and operates off the garage door's torsion bar. This application allows the door to rise and park within an 1" of the ceiling. With limited lift due to ceiling height, I can at best stack cars about 48" tall. The Panteras are closer to 43" tall. Not a lot of extra clearance, but it works.
Upon finishing the Reynard, I'll bring back home 7195, that is currently engaging the goodwill of another friend with ample garage space. As you can see, there is one remaining space for her.
The second challenge is convincing your wife that her car can stay outside. Fortunately, our house has, what they call in Texas, a porte-cochère that at least provides her car overhead coverage from the elements. Even so, I am grateful for her understanding.