Question of the Week: Wrenching or driving?

With this past Memorial Day weekend, many vintage car enthusiasts had an extra day to get behind the wheel or under the hood this weekend. We want to know which you prefer and why.

There can be immense satisfaction in many aspects relating to vintage cars, from the pride in owning pieces of history, to the joy of sharing the road with fellow car lovers as you enjoy a drive. There is also the draw of keeping something so antiquated running perfectly, and the mechanical mastery required to perform those maintenance tasks.

Photo: Hagerty

So tell us in the comments below; are you more about the mechanical mastery or wrenching and tuning, or the passive time travel that is motoring in a vintage car?

I’m more of a driving kind of guy, for whenever I start to wrench I feel my own incompetencies and insecurities coming up to taunt me.

However, around these parts, I think you are better off doing the wrenching yourself most of the time.


I’m not sure I necessarily consider it, “either or.” Driving/riding is delightful. But, I love to wrench on a project as well. I never have a deadline on my projects. This, of course, means they take a long time to complete. But, it also means that I can take my time and dive in, often over my head, to tasks I didn’t think I was capable of. It also means I get to change my mind during the build.
So, in the interest of being indecisive, my answer is, “both!”



Wrenching at this point as the car is not drivable yet.

Wrenching and then driving. Installed a set of plug wires chasing a miss I have been dealing with and then enjoyed the fruits of my work. Nice day for a cruise.


Wrenching leads to driving, and driving leads to wrenching. It’s not an either or…both are great.


let the Tiger run, after adding a 4 bbl!


Love driving but it is a lot sweeter when you know you put the motor in or did a suspension install yourself. Nothing adds to the appreciation of a nice cruise like a few busted knuckles.


There’s a certain amount of satisfaction to be had from driving your car knowing it was your hands that got it to where it is. Some guys like to build. I like to improve, drive, and maintain. This weekend was driving and showing. I did the “dirty work” last weekend.


Detailing, then driving!

I opted for wrenching this weekend, as the Buick National meet is coming up in 2 weeks and I need to get my 1957 Buick ready for the drive from Detroit to Oklahoma City! Overall, the wrenching is great therapy from my desk job, for sure.


I agree with bob, I do both, wrench all winter (snow bound), drive like I stole it during the summer. I love both. It is a great feeling when you set you mind to do something and things don’t work out as planned and you start over again and suddenly, you can do it in half the time it took initially, and you do it better. Learning curves can be a wicked and seductive mistress, so long as she doesn’t break the bank. And then hearing every nuance and feel of the motor and wheels on the tarmac as you convince her (the car), to do what you want. It’s just a fun time.


I have a very understanding wife that allowed me to work on my 1984 Chevy el Camino’s motor most of the weekend. New Cam, heads, intake, carb, etc… Almost ready for the road.

I put 1150 miles on my 66 Mustang Convertible last week with the Freedom Road Rally. Most enjoyable were the laps around the Bristol Motor Speedway. Great Trip!

I wrench to make the car perfect. I drive to enjoy the perfect car!


Wrenching - hate it. Most “one hour” projects take all day, or worse when you can’t fix a part and have to order a replacement. I do the wrenching only out of necessity, as with these old cars one can often take them to a mechanic and still have them returned not running properly. “If you want it done right…”
Driving - every hour spent there is an hour of pleasure!

There you go, very well put. For this reason, I love working on my cars, it seems I never really have enough time to drive them to appreciate the efforts put into it. I’m a purist at heart, I love searching for NOS or quality used parts that I can rebuild and install on the car. I cannot / will not buy parts from the catalog suppliers, very few are correct or quality, many are from China, no China parts on my car. However, when I do get to drive it, its total enjoyment.

I think some people have misunderstood the question. It’s about what you want to do, not what you have to do. So, just because you’re vehicle is not operational yet doesn’t mean you wouldn’t rather be driving than wrenching.

Personally, I’d rather not wrench at all. I’d rather just enjoy the drive. Wrenching exists solely to not have to pay someone else to do it. And if there’s someone out there that loves wrenching so much, contact me–I have a great car project in mind, but I don’t have the time or means to put in the work. But if you love wrenching so much, you’ll happily do it for me, for just the pleasure of it, right? :smile:

I Like driving my classic , but also doing minor maintenance / repairs as needed . Mark