Your guide to sourcing parts for your next passion project and how to safely transport it when it’s complete
- Restored cars are enjoying increasing public demand
- Online and offline sources provide multiple options for sourcing parts
- Paint, oil, and tires can be tricky to match
- Enclosed auto shipping can help protect your investment after completion
Restoring a car is one of the most personally satisfying journeys any automobile enthusiast can take. It can also be among the most financially rewarding endeavors. America is home to the world’s largest classic car market, worth $16.5 billion in 2022, and that figure is set to rise significantly over the next couple of years.
You’re in for a lot of hard work whether you’re making a dream come true or restoring a car to capitalize on growing buyer demand or income from collector shows. Sourcing parts can be particularly challenging if you’re restoring a classic. This guide will look at some of the places where rare parts can be found and highlight how auto shipping can save you time and trouble.
Contact the manufacturer directly
Going straight to the source can save a lot of time, but it can also prove more expensive. They may have some of the original components available or be willing to construct them on request. Porsche embraced modern technology four years ago to supply collectors with 3D-printed classic parts. Manufacturers such as BMW offer a factory warranty on restoration parts available through their licensed partners while Mercedes Benz also has a dedicated Classics department for collectors.
eBay is the world’s second-largest marketplace. The platform caters to over 180 million global buyers and sellers in 190 markets worldwide. It has a dedicated motors section for both parts and accessories and collector cars that could help you source everything from brakes to electrical systems.
Purchases from eBay must be made cautiously just like any other online transaction. Sometimes more than isolated parts are needed, so some projects may require buying a whole out-of-commission vehicle to cannibalize the parts you need. We recommend a thorough review of eBay’s Vehicle Purchase Protection page before making any financial commitments (vehicles aren’t covered under their standard money-back guarantee).
Other noteworthy online vendors for sourcing parts include Andy Bernbaum Auto Parts which is great if you’re into old Chrysler cars and trucks. Another popular site for sourcing parts is Hemmings, a good source for finding classic parts from other collectors and suppliers near you.
Sourcing paint, oil, and tires
Assuming you’ve already gone through the process of prepping a restored car for a repaint, then it’s time to source the paint itself. Will it be enamel, lacquer, or waterborne? Sometimes the shade your project was originally sprayed in isn’t available anymore and will have to be remixed by modern methods.
This is truly a job for the paint professionals who can help a collector select the right shade and application method. The pros will be grateful for any pictures you can provide of the desired color or a sample of paint from an original model. This doesn’t always mean an exact match since paint fades over time, so follow the advice of experienced restorers when color hunting.
Running a restored car may also require very particular fuel. The lack of ZDDP in modern oils doesn’t sit well with some restored vehicles, meaning this now almost defunct ingredient may have to be factored in as an additive. It can also be found as part of some modern motor oils, so follow best practices for safer performance (and a better understanding of today’s oil options certainly helps).
Equal care is required when it comes to tires. Not just any rubber can be added to a restored vehicle unless you’re also willing to upgrade its wheels and suspension. This makes companies like Coker Tire a good port of call. Speaking to the vehicle’s manufacturer and discussing tires with other restorers are two good steps toward gaining traction.
Check scrap or salvage merchants and junkyards
It may lack the glamor of the finished product, but a good rummage in these locations can often reveal just what restorers are looking for at a very reasonable price. Just remember to dress appropriately for such potentially dirty work and to wear protective eye, head, and hand gear if you plan to visit a Pick N’ Pull.
Ship your restored vehicle safely and securely
Once you’ve put the car back together, it’s time to consider two very important factors: shipping and storage. You may be relocating to a new home, for a new job, or moving your restored vehicle from place to place around the country to show it off to other collectors. Every case requires the safest method of transportation possible.
Choosing enclosed transport is the safest way. It’s more expensive than open transport, yet it earns those extra dollars by protecting a restored vehicle (especially that hard-won paint job) from on-road damage like grit, dirt, and the elements. The chances of damage from other vehicles in transit are also greatly reduced, especially if you opt for a single-vehicle enclosed carrier.
It’s also important to consider how exposed a restored vehicle will be before pickup and after delivery. Terminal-to-terminal and door-to-door shipping are two options with associated pros and cons.
Terminal-to-terminal can mean a vehicle is stored under the carrier company’s roof (at added expense) while it waits to be picked up by the carrier and by the owner at the other end. It may alternatively see it left out in the elements, so be sure to ask about the carrier’s methods. Door-to-door will have your vehicle driven right into and out of the carrier transport, but also with associated expense.
Contact our auto transport experts with any questions
Mercury Auto Transport is here to make the entire auto shipping process transparent for you. We connect customers with carefully researched carriers for the most confident, cost-effective shipping service possible. Call us toll-free at 800-553-1828 or email email@example.com for more information.