Sourcing Classic Car Parts
Image: dave_7, 2011
Cars need parts. It's simply a given. Even the most reliable of vehicles need replacement parts at various junctions of their operating life. It's no different for any classic car, especially one you're in the middle of restoring or repairing. If you're trying to put things back together after an accident or a catastrophic failure, or if you're just putting the finishing touches on a lengthy restoration project, chances are you're gonna need to source some classic car parts.
Parts availability can make or break a restoration project. When production of a certain make and model ends, so can the production of replacement parts for that particular vehicle. Unless that car has proven to be extraordinarily popular like the Ford Mustang, finding original or even aftermarket parts can be difficult. It gets worse if the part you're looking for happens to be an intricate or rare part that will most likely never again be manufactured. Add scores of fellow classic car enthusiasts looking for the same parts and it becomes a wonder that your classic car restoration hasn't already fallen through.
Where to Find Classic Car Parts
Sourcing classic car parts can be pretty difficult if you don't know where to look or what resources to use when finding the parts you need. The resources below can be your best bet for finding those special parts:
The World Wide Web should be your first and foremost destination when it comes to finding classic car parts. With major search engines offering millions of results for a wide variety of parts suppliers and private sellers, it's easy to find exactly what you're looking for, even if that part happens to be extraordinarily rare.
Most auto salvage yards specialize in providing newer, mainstream cars for parts, but there are always occasional classic finds that come along periodically. In many cases, you might be better off finding a salvage yard that deals mostly or exclusively with classic iron.
Classic Car Restorers
Many large outfits specializing in auto restoration often have vast databases and special relationships with parts suppliers at their disposal. If your search for that special classic car part turns up empty, you may want to give several of these outfits a call and see what they come up with.
Online Classifieds and Auction Sites
Places like eBay and Craigslist often turn up some of the most unexpected finds and that includes classic car parts. Running a simple search of the part you're looking for can turn up some pretty interesting finds. In the case of auction sites, you're often bidding against fellow restorers who desperately want the same part you're looking at. This can easily result in some pretty serious bidding wars that dramatically drive up the part's price.
Forums and Message Boards
Online venues dedicated to your particular classic make and model are always great places to source well-needed parts. Members often sell or swap parts with one another, many who are also in the process of restoring their own classic cars. The asking prices can be a bit stiff and sometimes it takes building a rapport with fellow members to source the parts you need, but the end results are often worth the effort.
Fetching parts for a restoration project doesn't have to be a painful experience when it comes to ClassicCar.com, no matter how common or rare they are. With the above resources at your disposal, you won't have to abandon a project until that all-important part is finally found.