Finding Parts For Your Classic Car

That’s a pretty nice ride you’ve bought; you finally found the muscle car of your dreams. She’s not in perfect condition though, and is going to need some old car parts. The question you have now is how do I find the old car parts I am going to need. Should I buy new or used? I have found that the internet is by far the best place to source out these parts these days. The internet has become a valuable tool in locating these sometimes hard to find parts.

Going with second hand parts from an identical vehicle is usually very cost effective. If you are on a restricted budget, you will find yourself calling around from dealer to dealer, and out walking around all the local junk yards finding the deals. Classifieds are another option, either the old car parts section in the newspaper, or even through local vintage car clubs. Make sure you take care to properly inspect the parts before taking them home

You can usually find new maintenance parts, like brake pads, clutches, etc, but if you are looking for a headlight enclosure, or original hub cap cover then used old car parts is the only way to go When buying online, check the previous transaction history of the vendor. This is always available from any of the major sites. You are better off avoiding any vendors who have a low feedback score. Generally 30 or higher is very safe.

If you aren’t having much luck finding car parts, used parts were not available and new parts were no longer manufactured, then you may have to consider fabrication. This is going to cost you a bit more, but you will get the exact old car part you need.

Use all the resources you have wisely, just try Googling “old car parts” and you will find a wealth of information at your finger tips. Use these resources to save you time and money so you can spend more time in the garage working on your passion! 

Classic Cars: Original, Restored, Restored and Modified

Not all owners of classic cars think in the same way. Some prefer to keep them original (patina and minor issues), some completely restore them and some restore them and also do modifications. All three require the love and attention to detail of a classic car collector. No matter his preference the commitment, effort and knowledge associated with this very involved hobby is admirable.

Original Vehicles

An original vehicle is one that has been maintained so well that it has all of its original factory specified parts. Their parts have been mostly fixed rather than replaced and if they had been replaced at one time it will have been with the original part intended for the model from the exact year of its introduction. To determine the originality of a classic, enthusiasts look for “matching numbers”, serial numbers that are stamped on parts throughout the car that match each other and the number originally associated with the car in its year.

Pros and Cons

Original vehicles are extremely hard to come by. To produce one takes the most time and money because the original parts are as rare as or more rare than the car itself. Because of the lack of availability of models and their parts, many car owner’s claiming “original” are actually restored. A true original and a restored vehicle should look the same and nearly operate the same, but because of the difference in original parts vs. re-manufactured parts, the prestige and value of a true original is significantly higher. The value of the three types of vehicles fluctuates based on the changing demand of collectors just like many consumables, but original vehicles, even in their shabbiest appearances can sell for 35% more than their perfectly restored opponent, a reason why you’ll find a lot of speculation on which route to take.

Restored Vehicles

Restored vehicles are made to look and drive like they did the day they were introduced to consumers. Their owners however, choose to replace parts with factory refurbished remakes of original parts. Using the original as inspiration, a car restorer will match the interior, parts and paint as closely to its glory days as possible.

Pros and Cons

Because restoration parts are easier to obtain and the restoration route creates more of its kind, this vehicle is less rare and often less valuable than an original. This is also the reason a collector can achieve results faster and perhaps joyride in his car sooner and for longer, a pro that’s hard to argue if you’re familiar with the work required of an original. As previously stated, the monetary value of a restored is less than an original in many cases, but there is value in having the most fun in your car and if that’s a high priority for an owner than this is a fine choice!

Resto-mod Vehicles

Resto-mod is short for restored and modified. These vehicles are the furthest from originals. They are restored and often “modernfied” if you will. Some owners choose to enhance the engine, make it more fuel efficient, or add modern luxuries like a preferred sound system or safety features.

Pros and Cons

The sky is the limit for an owner with the freedom of modifications. He can build his dream car! Resell for these cars is difficult though and the return could be even less than was put in it so this is the biggest pit fall. The reward is grand and the risk too, is grand, but for many this is the perfect fit for them. The value of a restored and modified vehicle is very unpredictable because the vehicle has been tailored to its owner’s specific tastes and he’d have to find a similar buyer, something to consider when choosing this method and while choosing each modification as well, if reselling is an area of importance at all.

The debate and judgment of this sector of cars will always be, keeping this art form alive and well, but one thing is certain; classic car owners love their cars and that’s worthy of respect. After considerable research you’ll find that each collector has to make their car collecting decisions based on his own lifestyle and what he plans to do with it, re-sell or enjoy. Judge a collector not by the category of his car, but how well it’s been done and cared for.

How to Find Classic Car Parts

The Classic Car Club of America distinguishes a classic car as those between 1925 and 1948. They note that classic cars are produced in limited quantities and sold at a higher price. They further explain that a 25 year-old car will qualify as classic since the normal shelf life of a vehicle is 10 to15 years only.

Owning a classic car is a great investment for car enthusiasts. The price value appreciates as it ages. The only problem or challenge most collectors encounter is when they need to change some car parts and accessories. The classic car parts are not usually available in typical automobile shops.

Owners can still look for specialty stores that carry car parts for outdated models. Shopping for a classic car part is now easy with the use of internet. They can search the internet for dealers who are engaged in restoring and selling classic car parts. They can look at the classic car classifieds for easy access on complete lists of sellers.

Placing an order through the internet is easy. It will only take a few minutes. The buyer will have to use his credit card to pay. The product will be sent through courier service once the payment is received and confirmed. Deliveries usually only takes a couple of days depending on the courier service provider.

Join groups and organizations having the same interest in classic cars. You will be able to get a lot of tips from them regarding where to go for hard-to-find parts, what shop best restores a classic car, or maybe recommend an excellent mechanic who offers door to door service.

It is also fun to hangout with people of the same interest. You can do things together like watching car racing competitions, going to exhibits, or sharing each other’s experiences on how you got your collection. You might be able to influence them positively in some way.

Some automobile shops are providing catalogs for their classic cars and parts. They could be ordered online and is to be sent through mail. Included in the catalog are photos and specifications of available parts.

Most of these shops restore and recondition old parts. A few manufacturers make new parts for classic cars. Normally however you will find parts that actually came from a dismantled classic car.

Here are a few Classic Car Part Suppliers for your reference:

Speedway Motors

This is the America’s oldest speed shop. This store provides parts for street rods for over 56 years.

Select Motor Car Restoration Parts & Gifts

This shop offers parts restoration for Chevelle, Impala, Corvette, Firebird, Camaro, and Nova ChevyII.

Paragon Corvette Reproduction

It is licensed by General Motors and provides reproduction and reconditioning of Corvette parts.

Dallas Mustang

This shop is involved in classic car restoration for 28 years. It specializes in Mustang parts and accessories restoration. It also offers on-site Dynojet Chassis Dynamometer tuning.

Obsolete Classic Auto Parts

This shop specializes in antique, classic, street rod, and obsolete Ford and Chevrolet parts since 1974. Below are the lists of the car models with available parts:

1. 1909-1927 Model T

2. 1928-1931 Model A

3. 1932-1948 Pass & 32-47 Pickup

4. 1948-1979 Pickup & Bronco

5. 1949-1972 Full-size Ford & Mercury

6. 1955-1966 Thunderbird

7. 1960-1970 Falcon & 60-65 Comet

8. 1962-1972 Fairlane/Torino

9. 1964-1973 Mustang

Heinzman Street Rod Shop

This shop is a supplier of street rod parts and components for over 30 years.

Restoration Specialties & Supplies, Inc.

The company started since 1974 and is now a leading supplier of hard to find car parts. They sell window channels, belt weather strips, rubber weather stripping, rubber bumpers and grommets, fender welt, hood lace, door panel board, and cowl board.

Kanter Auto Products

The company is a worldwide supplier of new mechanical automobile parts for 1930 to 1990 American car models.