While I've always had an appreciation for refinement, I've discovered that the more white-collar my job became, the more I needed to get my hands dirty to burn off the energy. Vintage Jaguar ownership checks both of those boxes. Two and a half years ago, my 1963 E-Type (also known as an XKE) had its engine expire due to internal corrosion.
Since then, what could have been limited to a straight-forward engine rebuild instead moved forward as a rebuild of every item inside the engine bay all in the name of efficiency and long-term (very long) cost savings.
Today she roars! Actually, she purrs. I have to keep the engine speed down until it's broken in. I just stare and listen, still awestruck that I did everything myself and it works anyway!
Throughout the oddyessey, I learned to electroplate nickel, refined my paint skills, rebuild transmissions and myriad other skills, all without training, but with a desire to learn. I think that's what I enjoyed the most, finding the agility required to pick up skills to get the job done to your own high standards. In the end, the only jobs I contracted out were the machine work on the engine, and the powder coating due to the massive equipment required being beyond the scope of the hobbyist.
The above really doesn't convey the hidden cost of DIY to professional standards. I had to rebuild some parts twice as a consequence of not having experience to fall back upon. Every job took longer than paying a professional to do it. Yet, every job cost less than paying a professional and I personally know the quality of the work. No shortcuts.
No shortcuts does not mean there are no errors. While I yearn to set out and find twisty roads to explore, the reality is that I have to treat the engine and every other component with great care as I ease it into service and see where the weaknesses are. I've already discovered that the exhaust contacts the body somewhere and produces a disconcerting vibration. My timing chain is noisier than I'd like. I'll tackle each one of these problems one at a time until I've racked up some local miles and have to confidence to let the car stretch it's legs like it was meant to.