It’s easy to find a part you need for any modern vehicle. But what do you do when you need to find parts for classic cars? There are many resources out there, but you will have to put in some effort. Here are 11 of the best places for sourcing what you need for your passion project.
Join Car Clubs with Enthusiasts
Ever since Karl Benz changed the world with the Motorwagen in 1886, a new industry, sport, and hobby were born. Enthusiasts all over the world collect and restore classic cars. From a 1908 Ford Model-T to a 1980s Japanese Hot Hatch, there are collectors all over the world. Fortunately, most collectors are also “gearheads” and horde parts for use later on. But joining clubs of like-minded car collectors means you have access to a Porsche 928 transmission for sale or a Chevrolet Bel-Air suspension. Collectors don’t mind selling to other enthusiasts.
Contact the Manufacturer Directly
Some car parts are tough to source. Even modern cars can have sourcing issues, but classic car parts can be almost impossible to find. But one of the things people overlook is that the original manufacturer might have spares available. You will need to do some research to find out who manufactured the part. The vehicle maker might not make all parts, and they might also not be around anymore. But if the original manufacturer is still around, there’s a chance they can send you a spare part. Just be aware that the part you need might not come cheap.
Find Parts for Classic Cars at Junk Yards
If you are any kind of car collector or restoration expert, you probably love nothing more than getting your hands dirty. And there’s no better place than in-vehicle junkyards. In the UK alone, over 1 million cars per year are scrapped. But many junkyards have piles of old cars. They might charge you a small fee for entry or a nominal price for each part. But if you look hard enough, you can bag a bargain and find the part you need for a relatively little cost. You just need to make sure you have the time since you will probably spend more than you planned.
Ask Your Local Auto Dealer
While auto dealers sell cars, you might not be aware that they often have access to spare parts. So it’s always a good idea to call or pop in and just ask. Typically, they won’t have the part readily available. But they have all the necessary contacts to track a piece down or ask at their warehouse. Of course, most of their parts will be for newer models. But specific manufacturers often keep spare parts for vehicles they know are collectible or considered classics. The Japanese manufacturer Toyota is an example of a maker who knows the value of their cars.
Visit Car Parts Stores on the Off-Chance
Alternatively to auto dealers, if your local dealer cannot source a part for you, try car parts stores in your area. Unlike auto dealers, parts stores trade-in car parts. And while they, like dealers, typically stock parts for new models, it’s possible they have something in the back. They might also stock parts for cars they know collectors want. Or they might be able to order what you need from another store or a business partner. You never know unless you pop in and ask them. Just be prepared to pay a premium since it is a business, after all.
Use the Internet to Source Parts
The wonder of the internet never fails to amaze. If you are having trouble finding a specific [art for a beloved vehicle, simply use the web to find what you need. Of course, Google and eBay are the obvious choices, but here are some of the best car parts sites on the web:
- MACs Antique Auto Parts
- Classic Car Database
- Kanter Auto Products
- The Chevrolet Website
- Fossil Cars
- Classic Spares
Of course, there are many more class car parts sites out there, but these are some of the most reliable. If you have trouble finding a part, try searching for a specific specialist. For example, a car parts business that deals only in parts from German car manufacturers.
Subscribe to Vehicle Magazines
Of course, you could go old school and check out enthusiast car magazines. Magazines often have sales pages, wanted ads, and classifieds at the back. Therefore, magazines can be an excellent source of classic car parts or the cars themselves, which you can deconstruct to find what you need. Hobbyist magazines also offer additional incentives such as expert advice about specific model restorations and more ways you can find what you are looking for. In short, a magazine provides much more than simply trying to sell you something like an online business.
Keep an Eye Out for Auctions
Auctions aren’t just for antique tables and ridiculously priced paintings by dead guys. You can find specific auctions for just about anything these days. And classic cars are no different. Car auctions offer many types of vehicles, from new models and restored classics to used vehicles. But you also get classic vehicles in a terrible state. So this is what you should look for. You may spot the very car you need a part for. If you’re lucky, you will be able to bag the entire vehicle at a low price. This means you might have access to all the parts you need for your classic.
Find Parts for Classic Cars at Swap Meets
Attending swap meets is likely your best bet of finding something specific. Car swap meets move around, so you need to keep your ear to the ground when one is close to where you live. Or you could take a road trip if it’s not too far. But you will probably get lucky and find what you need. Swap meets are made of many car enthusiasts looking to sell their vehicle wares. And thousands of guests will likely attend. So even if you don’t find what you are looking for, it’s more than likely you will bump into someone who knows where or from whom you can get it.
Attend Vehicle Shows and Festivals
Vehicle shows and festivals are a little more glamorous than swap meets, and they aren’t made of people looking to sell stuff. However, they are similar in that the people there are just as interested in classic cars as you are. So, you can meet some great fellow gearheads and spend the entire day talking about cars and restoration. You can make new friends and find business contacts. Therefore, it’s likely someone will point you in the right direction for finding the classic car parts your baby requires. Or you might get lucky, and they have a part sitting there.
Consider an OEM Replication Part
If you’ve exhausted all avenues, and you cannot get the genuine and authentic spare parts you need. If it’s out there, it’s not coming to you anytime soon. But you can consider a replacement replica part. Sure, a replica part isn’t authentic, and it will lower the value of your project. But what if it’s a party no one ever sees or even thinks twice about? And if you are restoring the car for driving, a replica part will make sure your car starts. Which is better than having it sitting there for years while you look for a piece.
Restoring or maintaining a classic car is a love affair. But sometimes, there’s an elusive part that you need. Of course, you can find pieces online at trade shows, junkyards, auctions, and festivals. But if you want your car to start when you turn the key, consider a replica.