"I equated my project the same as an automobile purchase."
Carl, if you have a very reliable income stream, are absolutely certain that you will want to maintain ownership of the aircraft over two decades or more, can cover all of the associated costs involved, then this argument may be valid. Keep in mind though, that unlike your car, you effectively will not be able to trade-in or sale your airplane for decades.
Automobiles and airplanes are in completely different categories unless flying is your business. When justifying cost, a reasonably priced automobile is more of a must then a homebuilt aircraft. A Sonex kit runs about $15,000, add in the engine and instruments and you are way up there in the Escalade price range. I am in the Corolla/Saturn category not Escalade. Effectively, it is less costly to buy a ready made, airworthy 140, 152 etc. around $20,000 - $25,000 rather than build your own LSA. Of course the aircraft would not be new, as fast or fancy as the new designs, but liability would no longer be an issue.
The experience of having to take care of ailing relatives, the unpredictability of the economy and life in general, has made me skittish. What happens if you are suddenly unable to fly or afford your aircraft? Cutting it up to avoid liability is simply too costly. The shinny new car you speak of in your example will be worth
$500 if and only if you retain ownership for 20 years or
so. Say that your homebuilt originally cost $50,000, you need or want to sell it after 5 years, you sell what parts you can for $10,000 and cut up the rest. That is a $40,000 loss! The Escalade would be still be worth around $20,000.
In my case, I would want to build an aircraft strictly for the
experience of doing so. Helping someone else with a project is
something I have done in the past, but it is not the same as fabricating
one's own from start to finish.