Regarding cost-- before I bought my first speedster, I bought a "Hot VWs" magazine and thumbed through the ads, thinking I'd found the perfect hobby for a cost conscious and sensible gearhead.
The parts that get you to 80 hp are ridiculously cheap... but they are gateway drugs-- because really, how can a God-fearing car guy not feel like a wannabe-weenie when he's piloting a plastic clown-car with an 80 hp roto-tiller engine that says, "SPEEDSTER" right there on the side of it? It feels ridiculous.
That's the point where the whole thing starts unraveling. "More" is revealed to be more. 80 hp becomes 100. 100 becomes 130, and after 130 or so, each and every pony comes at about a $50 premium. After 150 hp, that $50 becomes $100, and after 180, the bell curve goes straight up. You stop talking about how cheap these cars are when you realize that the guy with the '69 Camaro with the LS crate-motor spent a quarter the money for 4x the power.
But you are in too deep now to climb back out. Money gets shoveled into the boilers of progress. Receipts are hidden from less understanding spouses. Accurate accounting becomes irritating. Parts are acquired, installed, and discarded without fanfare. That friendly 1776 grows into a serious 2110 before it becomes a barely-idling 2387 with a dry-sump and 1-3/4" headers. Your browser history contains searches for "Type 1 nitrous oxide systems" and "heat management in turbocharged air-cooled engines" (if you forget to clear your cookies).
You talk your car down at cars and coffee or down at the gas station to avoid having to say out loud what all this stuff costs. If you say it-- it becomes real money, and not the Monopoly money you've been spending. You burn precious vacation time driving across several time-zones to get together with people who don't need to have the entire thing explained to them. You enjoy their company, much in the way junkies tend to congregate at crackhouses. Since you are out there anyhow, you look at their cars. You can talk freely about crank-fired this and billet-milled that. You make the mistake of driving somebody's Raby T4 car and think, "I don't know-- $35K isn't so much for an engine, is it?" You drive back home wondering how to install a lift in the garage.
You delay retirement so you can keep going. You get beat off a light by some kid in a 5.0 Mustang, and you seethe. You get on Pat Downs' waiting list. You call Carey Hines while your wife is at book club and ask him to quote a coupe (you know, for a second car). Dean Polopolus' 911/4 is something you know the cost of. You go to the JP Motorsports page and think about a Type 1 with 4" cylinders.
Yeah. It's a cheap hobby
in the beginning.