Quick - what do you do when you see an old trunk in the alley? Answer: drag it home, let it sit outside in the elements while you think of what to do next for a couple of months. When inspiration hits, refinish it. I was also spurred on by the worry that it would become so decrepit that it would be beyond salvage.
I wish that I had had the foresight to photograph it before I started "restoring" it. It was a big pile of peeling rust, but I could see that it had great potential.