Car frame without doors, windows, or wheels mounted in a garage

Your guide to sourcing parts for your next passion project and how to safely transport it when it’s complete

Key Takeaways:

  • 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 places where rare parts can be found. It will also 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.

Sourcing parts online

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.

Buying on eBay should be done with care, just like any other online transaction. In some cases, you need more than an isolated part. Some projects may therefore 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 parts, 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 color of your project’s original spray paint isn’t available anymore. If this is the case, your vehicle will need to be remixed using current techniques.

Only paint professionals 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. 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).

When it comes to tires, equal care is important and required. Not just any rubber can be added to a restored vehicle. This is 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

A good rummage may lack the glamour of the finished product. Nevertheless, in these locations, it 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. This will reduce the chances of damage from other vehicles in transit. 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 the 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 for more information.


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What Our Customrs Are Saying


We feel it’s important for you to know how we determined your quote. Quotes are based on what the market demands for cars to be moved at a given time. Each quote is compared with the current rates on the National Load Board before being sent to our customers and will be reviewed periodically through the process.

Other companies might offer you a lower price to obtain your business. This method is ineffective because if the car does not pay the correct amount of money, it will run the probability of not getting loaded or transported on time. You will not get this information from our competitors. Truck drivers always take the loads that pay the most first, leaving the loads that are mispriced to be moved last or not at all. We try very hard to avoid this with our customers by quoting a fair but realistic quote up front. Visit our How we determine your quote page for more information.

Understanding auto transport insurance is important and we think it’s valuable to explain how it works. As part of providing a great car transport service, it is our job to guarantee that the carrier we assign to pickup your vehicle is licensed and insured. Click here to check out our license.

When you go with Mercury to ship your vehicle, you can rest assured that the carrier assigned to move your car is fully insured and licensed with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Saftey Administration).

Your vehicle is covered by the carrier’s insurance policy that is doing the shipping. Depending on the type and size of the truck/trailer that is shipping your car, the insurance policy can cover from $100,000 to $1,000,000 of damage.

We have also provided a checklist to explain what you need to do at both pickup and delivery in case there are any issues so, you can file a claim and know that everything will be taken care of.

It is rare but, time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit and it is good to know that your carrier’s insurance will protect your auto shipment in that event.

To view a sample BOL (Bill of Lading) and learn what to do in case of accidental damage, please check out our Condition Report and Procedure checklist.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible.  

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determine your quote.

When you’re looking for a car shipping rate, you want to understand how auto transport works. Prices are based on seasonal market demands for cars to be moved at any given time. Each quote is prepared based on the season and the current national rates.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible. Not all brokers are created equal in this talent.

Mercury does a thorough background check with each carrier for every shipment. We verify their ratings, references, and in addition, we obtain a certified copy of their insurance certificate, directly from the government agency that it is on file with.

You can have peace of mind knowing that the carrier shipping your vehicle is the very best and that there are no surprises guaranteed.

Mercury Auto Transport is licensed, Bonded and Insured. Our FMSCA Motor Carrier Number is MC647319.

While we do our best match your auto shipping needs with the most responsible carriers with the best track records, from time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit, it is good to know that the insurance of the carrier we locate for you will protect your auto shipment in that event.

Shipping a vehicle can be stressful if you don’t know what to do.  This is why we believe it is paramount to have our highly trained agents be your main point of contact from start to finish.

They will go over everything you need to know so you can relax.  In the meanwhile, we prepared this checklist.  This includes everything from pickup to delivery and how to make sure your car is ready for pickup.

When it comes to car moving, we want you to be ahead of the game!  For any questions and further assistance our agents are standing by, (800) 553-1828.  Please read our checklist to prepare your vehicle to learn more.

There are several ways you can ship a car.  The options include enclosed trailer, open carrier transport, flatbed truck, door-to-door shipping services, and to or from a terminal as well.  The most popular of the options is a 7 to 10 car open carrier.  These large trucks can accommodate almost any size vehicle including carsSUVstrucksjeeps, and vans.

Open car transport, door to door is also the best way to get the cheapest auto transport rate possible.  To learn more and see what transport method is best for you, please fill out our free quote form and one of our representatives will respond to you within minutes.  You can also call us at (800) 553-1828.

We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service, and 100% bumper-to-bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.