We're now a decade into the 21st century, and while it still remains to be seen how we'll fare once this recession's behind us, all things considered, our hobby and the hot rod industry that supports it are both doing quite well. That said, things aren't what they used to be-not by a long shot.

In this day and age, whether it's the need to run a successful business or wanting to build a hot rod from scratch, people have had to rethink their strategies and game plans. The majority of us simply don't have the flexible income to spend on a project like we used to, and many aren't able to justify much above and beyond making their monthly ends meet. But even with the financial hurdles, not to mention the varying regulatory restraints (state issues such as titling/registration), there's still plenty of room for growth in our hobby, especially if we're willing to adapt in certain areas.

Of all people, I'm the least likely to adapt to much of anything-once set in my ways, I tend to get comfortable and thus find it hard to even rationalize why I'd want to disrupt that comfort level. That changes to some degree the older I get, but I rarely give in without putting up a fight. Ten or so years ago, I'd have willingly-and eagerly-pursued taking on a ground-up hot rod project if all the variables were in my favor (having the time, the right parts, and the money to afford it). Today, taking into consideration the above-said, I'd be way more reluctant. While time wouldn't necessarily be a big issue, the other two variables would be. Unlike it was a decade ago, those "right parts" are now way out of my reach-you don't come across many $1,500 '29 Model A roadster bodies anymore. But that's precisely where the adapting comes in.

Even though I'd built a fiberglass-bodied T-bucket back in 1995, the thought of doing 'glass cars back then didn't really appeal to me-I preferred real steel, which is one of the reasons I stayed "across 49th Street" more often. But that mentality is starting to wane, as I've realized that stubbornness rarely has positive results. I think it's that type of mind frame, the willingness to adapt to certain conditions, that will help carry this hobby of ours as far as it can go.

To see how flexible I have really become, I'm toying with the idea of taking on a new project-a fiberglass-bodied one at that! The old me would have never considered following the guidelines set forth by the state of California that determine how to title a special-construction vehicle, so if I do in fact undertake a build, I've definitely got my work cut out for me. But if I can do it, anyone can!