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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

Best Places to Find Rare Parts for Your Classic Car or Truck


It might seem impossible sometimes to track down a rare part for your classic car or truck.  There are people that have searched for years before finding their elusive part.  Restoring a classic car can often present a lot of challenges, finding a replacement part shouldn’t be one of them.

We often encourage customers to choose a car that has plenty of replacement parts available.  We put together an infographic outlining the 10 easiest classic cars to restore if you are looking for suggestions.  If you already have your classic and are looking for hard-to-find parts, here is a list of places to look when searching.

Where We Source Our Parts

The first places we typically turn to for parts are Classic Industries and National Parts Depot for American classics.  They are both excellent at sourcing parts.  They both have been at this a long time and know where to turn if they do not have the part in stock themselves.  For European classic car parts, we turn to Moss Motors.   They are without question the leading specialists for classic British car parts and can usually help you land any other parts from European manufacturers.

Car Clubs, Shows and Swap Meets

One of the best places to find parts yourself is at shows, car club events and classic car swap meets where all the classic car enthusiasts gather. You just might run into another collector with the same car who might know where to find or even have the part you are looking for. If you have no luck at the car show, you will probably have better luck at the swap meet. These traveling car part bazaars are full of knowledgeable car guys and hard to find parts. Swap meet vendors aren’t going to bring along a part that can be easily found online. They usually have the rare stuff or at least know where to find it.

3D Print Your Part

New technology is helping keep old vehicles up and running. The evolving technology of 3D printing now makes it possible to re-create those near impossible parts to find. Materials like plastic and metal can be fed into these printers to produce parts to such high tolerances and to exact specifications just like they came out of the factory. Check out our full article on this amazing new technology.

Part Stores

With all the online shopping available it might be hard to believe but classic car part stores still exist. These specialty stores are also going to have knowledgeable staff that can help guide you in the right direction if they do not have the part you need. We suggest making a phone call first to see if they carry what you need. It can save you a trip.

Aftermarket Manufacturers

There are plenty of companies out there that sell knock off replacement parts for classic cars and trucks. The problem sometimes comes down to quality. These parts are sometimes made with less desirable materials and craftsmanship than the originals. If you think you can get away with an aftermarket part without compromising the build, then we say go for it. If it has to be all original, then keep looking.

Wrecking Services and Salvage Yards

Both of these businesses are an excellent source for finding parts locally. These guys are usually aware of what parts are hard to find or valuable and will have pulled them for resale well before the car reaches the junkyard. Making a few phone calls can yield you the part you are looking for. Situations arise however where you may need to grab your tools and head to the salvage yard yourself to hunt for the part that you need. The challenge with this is that you better know what you are looking for and be able to evaluate the part’s condition. If you have any reluctance, you are better off leaving this to the professionals. OldRide.com has a great list of salvage yards across America that offer parts for classic cars and trucks.

Online Dealers and Auctions

Our final and most obvious resource is the Internet. A quick Google search for the part you need, and chances are you will find a website or two that are selling it.  Our biggest problem with shopping online is that parts tend to be the more expensive. We are also leery about the quality.  Before you buy anything online, make sure the website has a good return policy in case what arrives is not what you expected. If you don’t have a huge budget and are not pressed for time, we suggest exhausting the options above before searching online. You are likely to get a better deal and probably learn a thing or two from your fellow enthusiasts and other classic car restoration professionals. We also have a great article to help you shop for classic car parts on Ebay.

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