Leftovers, and What to do With Them

The best part about Black Friday isn’t having your face stepped on while you’re on the way to the electronics department.  It isn’t contracting hypothermia while freezing rain accumulates on your pajama pants.  It’s not even the incredibly mind blowing deals we slapped up on Streetside.

It’s the leftovers.

You know what I’m talking about.  Sweet potato casserole for breakfast, served fondue-style with crescent rolls.  Turkey sandwiches on dinner rolls, warmed over with mashed potatoes and stuffing.  And pumpkin pie all day long.  Why?  Because it’s the day after Thanksgiving, you’ve probably just woken up, and you’re not going to shave.  Plus, what else are you going to do with all this food?  It’s going to go bad unless you eat it quick, and freezing it would only kill the flavor.  Right?  Right.

So I thought I’d share a different brand of leftovers for you to browse while you’re not getting up eating taking a break from being extremely productive – awesome stuff made out of old car parts.

We’ll start simple with the race tire coffee table.  This one requires two parts and a little gravity.  The tough part will be getting those two parts.  The tire needs to be wide enough to form a suitable table base when laid on its side.  We’d suggest a drag slick or an open-wheel racing slick.  If you hang around the pits long enough, you’re libel to come across one that somebody’s thrown away.  Then just find a large pane of glass from a thrift store or abandoned office building, and, here’s the tricky step, place it on top.  Just don’t sit on it.

Moving on to a heavier coffee table, try one whose base is an engine block.  The most famous example of this is probably the Jaguar V12 coffee table nestled between the three brilliant British buffoons on Top Gear.  But my favorite, and I’m a little biased, is the EJ25 Subaru boxer table.  This builder bolted the Plexiglas top to the flywheel and left the guts in it.

The transmission sink is a masterpiece.  Why yes, a bell housing does actually have the same general shape as a pedestal sink.  Why do you ask?  Whoever designed this boss even included foot pedals (made from awesome t-grip shifters), so you can tell her you won’t get the faucet knobs all greasy.  Sounds like a great compromise to me.

On the purely aesthetic side, framed head gaskets are a brilliant, classy way to dress up a wall.  I swiped this idea from Clayton at The Life Mechanical.  It’s a work of genius, because every head gasket ever punched, whether for a BMW straight-6 or a Geo straight-3, looks fascinating.  If you’re into abstract art, grab a gasket from an automatic transmission valve body.

Reader e30m3 at Jalopnik makes a cool car-parts project every year.  His awesome camshaft lamp was last year’s.  He even lopped off the top of a piston and installed it as a coaster.  The key to a great camshaft lamp is finding a car with a hollow camshaft so you don’t have a big, ugly cord obscuring your creation.  Look for e36, e34, and e30 BMWs.

Finally, an idea of my own.  I pulled the flattened, fart-infused original bucket seats out of my WRX earlier this year and replaced them with some low-mileage updates.  But I still have the old seats, and I’d like to turn at least one of them into a gaming/lounging chair.  This has been done a thousand times, but I want mine to be a rocking chair.  So will I raid a thrift store for an old, beat-up rocker and try to smuggle the runners out in my coat sleeves?  No.  But I will be swapping out my tired old struts and springs next weekend, and I like the idea of a car seat rocking chair with a full suspension.  We’ll see how that goes.

What are your favorite automotive leftovers projects?




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