This article is part of the restoration series here at jakesgeneralstore.com. Of the 13 or so restorations I have done on my own cars, sourcing used parts and reproduction parts is paramount to completing the restoration.
Parts List: Making a parts list is a basic function of managing your restoration project before you start. This list is dynamic but provides something more than a SWAG, (silly wild-ass guess), as to what the parts line item in your restoration budget will be.
Used Parts: If you have the space get a couple or parts cars. How do you find parts cars? Read the hunting article I have here on the site. Having a parts car, even a 4 door to build your 2 door and often times even a slightly different model can prove priceless in your build. The $3.79 trips to the hardware store for a bolt or fastener can add up but are also a huge drain on time. Walking out to your parts car and seeing how a part is fastened, and fastened with what, is invaluable. Combing swap meets can prove to be a good value especially for the guy who is cleaning out his garage after his build. Look for that guy if you are buying. If you are in or around Minnesota I was that guy selling parts at swap meets from 1999-2014. This is a great was to serve your fellow hobbyist and put a few bucks in your pocket to fund your build. Moreover an excellent way to get educated about your brand and hang out with your pals.
Parts Hoards: I have scored those hard to find parts off of online ads where a guy is selling one part, when I get to his house he actually has a garage full or parts or an old shed out back full of parts or even better a PARTS CAR. I end up buying all the stuff for the low price of one-time/one-money deal.
Reproduction Parts: For years I would comb the auto-forums for Year One codes and ask for 15% off, free shipping etc. from the plethora of reproduction parts suppliers. They come and go like Paddock and others. I would shop Classic Industries and others for their prices and try and do bulk buys for an even bigger discount. What I found to be the best value is getting your parts from the same small group of suppliers. I deal with a small mom, pop & son reproduction parts house. They also happen to be the closest parts supplier to me so shipping is very cheap and timely. They know me by name and I can trust them with a credit card on file. They also know the car I am building. Often times they will catch duplicate orders and always take care of me on defective parts. If you have to go with the big houses always create an account. This will help with returns and warranty issues.
The quality of the re-pop parts continues to plague our industry but since many of us are cheap “bustards” we continue to buy this crap and deal with the frustrations. The quality is getting better and I have found manufacturers in Canada are turning out great parts.