How do owners of very old or rare vehicles find replacement parts to keep it running?

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How do owners of very old or rare vehicles find replacement parts to keep it running?

In: R2 (Narrow/Personal)

17 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Jay Leno has talked about this at length on his channel.

If you are not familiar Jay Leno formerly of the Tonight Show, has a massive collection of antique and unique cars.

You buy whatever parts you can get from wrecks and scrap

Some parts you have to refurbish and rebuild

Some parts you have to manufacture yourself

And some parts you replace with modern equivalents

Anonymous 0 Comments

One way is to have custom parts made. Its often not that hard to find a metal shop that can fabricate a replacement part for you, even many people who have these old cars may also do some of the work themselves

Another option is that many parts don’t change alot, you may be able to use versions of a part made much later right away or with some modifications.

One more, but theres many, is that many old or rare vehicles may already have many parts replaced with newer ones. Its pretty common for old vintage cars to have their entire engine upgraded to a newer more powerful version, along with plenty of other parts, but the exterior will remain the same, but the insides might be a whole different car. Ship of Theseus vibes.

A one off example. I knew some people that were part of a hot rod crew. Most of their cars were orginally from the 20s-40s, some a little later, but were generally heavily modified versions that still looked like the original car, but were basically suped up versions. There’s nothing wrong with that, even people in those times with those cars were upgrading them and such too! They may not be the out of the factory car, but that was never the point

Anonymous 0 Comments

these people also can have extensive networks, just like any other intense hobby, of people across the country that can try to source parts or donor engines and such.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I had a car that was 1 of about 200. I remember my mechanic calling other mechanics all over the country looking for one, specific part. He found 12 in the entire country. If he hadn’t been able to find the part, we had two routes that we could go. First, there were other similar cars that were manufactured. We could scavenge from these cars – there were scrap yards made for these, specific, cars and we could have called those scrap yards to get a used part. Another route would be to have the part fabricated. That can be an expensive route but at least it ensures you can get a part you need.

Anonymous 0 Comments

So I am going to say this up front – I don’t know much about cars.

That said, my Father-in-law is retired and has his own business where he rebuilds things for old cars that you can’t find anymore….and he makes bank. People send him the broken parts and he fixes it up, sometimes creating his own parts to fix the broken part.

One of those hobbies he turned in to $$$ and now makes tons off of it. So I’m not 100% sure how to answer your question other than I’m sure there are many others like my Father-in-law that do stuff like that.

Anonymous 0 Comments

My family member bought 6 whole vehicles while restorating his. 2 of the frames and bodies were rusted to shit but the interiors were perfect.
He stripped everything off all 5 made an inventory list.
He had a numbers matching vehicle but the interior, dash, headliner and wiring were shot. Pieced everything together.
He took his inventory list to car meets to see if he could trade or sell parts for what he needed.
Eventually it was done.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Manufacturers still make a lot of old parts. Whether original or third party. In the UK we have no end of brand new spares for handovers and British classic cars.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Most car parts are interchangeable. A tire that fits a Honda often times will also fit a Toyota for example.

Even rare super cars, a lot of parts are interchangable with more popular cars.

https://www.hotcars.com/surprising-examples-of-supercars-sharing-parts-with-beaters/

Oftentimes, a super car may have part where it’s impossible or very expensive to replace. 

Often in those cases, some owners will swap out that part of a more readily available part. 

A popular mod will be a an engine swap, where an engine from a more modern car is placed in an older or much more rarer car. 

Anonymous 0 Comments

My friend’s dad has a few pre-WWII cars. Based on what I’ve seen him do:

– If the part is for the body – like say a door panel or a seat – you just make it yourself from scratch.

– If the car is really really old, like pre 1910s, you use wagon or tractor parts, or have them made by a blacksmith. He had a wheel made by hand by a wheelwright who normally makes wheels for the sorts of very fancy wagons used in horse shows at state fairs and the like.

– If the car is like Model T old, you can usually find parts through specialists and there are even a few companies that make them.

– If the car is like WWII old or newer, you can definitely find parts. It just takes a long time and they’re expensive.

Apparently there are still tires made for virtually every car ever made, if you know who to ask.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Not sure if you consider a vehicle built in 1968 old, but this catalog has just about anything I need for my ’68 GTO.

https://www.opgi.com/catalogs/1961-73-gto-lemans-tempest-restoration-performance-parts-catalog

Original Parts Group also has catalogs available for many other GM makes/models.

Other stuff, I scour GTO forums and salvage yards.