Sourcing vintage car parts is easier than ever before but knowing where to look is half of the battle.
For decades, the only way to obtain restoration parts for an antique car was to scour junkyards. Today, thanks to innovations in technology, it’s easier than ever before to maintain, restore, and restomod vintage automobiles. At the same time, knowing where to source those parts can be a huge part of the battle. With that in mind, today we’re going to sort out the best places to find vintage car parts.
While it might feel a bit antiquated today, junkyards and scrap yards are still a decent source for many vintage car parts. They’re especially useful if you live in an area where vintage cars are prevalent. On top of that, many parts found at junkyards are available for pennies on the dollar.
At the same time, it’s getting harder and harder to find vintage cars or vintage car parts at junk yards due to age and condition. Finally, it’s worth noting that many junkyards have gone digital so your search area can extend far beyond your personal travel distance.
Beyond junkyards, it can also be well worth the effort to attend vintage car part swap meets. National automotive clubs of just about every kind put on swap meets across the nation throughout the year. Additionally, it’s worth checking out Facebook for local groups that might be putting on vintage car part swap meets.
One final way of blending old-school and new-school methods is to search online forums specific to the vehicle one is working on. Not only will most regular users of the forum have some authority and knowledge of the vehicle and parts, but most users will have similar vehicles. Even when they can’t provide a part directly, they might be able to provide new leads on where to obtain a component.
It might seem counterintuitive but many mainstream online sources have vintage car parts. For example, RockAuto.com carries parts for brands like Amphicar, Checker, Delahaye, Marcos, Edsel, and many other very niche brands. Just to drive the point home, they have two different differential gaskets available for the 1959 Edsel Ranger with a 4.8-liter V8. That’s how deep the parts catalog goes.
RockAuto isn’t alone though. PartsGeek.com offers similar depth and both sites are well respected and reputable. While sometimes less reliable, it’s also worth searching on eBay when you might be looking for an original part. It’s not too much of a stretch to consider eBay sort of a worldwide swap meet of sorts.
In addition, those who are searching for extremely niche parts can sometimes find them there because they’re made in too small of quantities to be sold on larger sites like RockAuto or PartsGeek. All three of these resources can prove to be invaluable when it comes to sourcing vintage car parts.
There are a number of websites that specifically sell vintage car parts. These sites often won’t carry modern car parts at all. When they do it tends to be only in very specific cases so you can be sure that when dealing with them that they’ll also be likely to have the expertise to ensure that you come away with the right part or parts for the job.
One such website is Ecklers.com. The team there specializes in classic car restoration and performance parts. It’s also connected to a complete network of vintage car parts supply businesses that focus on Ford, Chevrolet, GM, Mercury, Edsel, and Buick. In fact, it’s not too hard to find other sites that cater to specific brands as opposed to a wide range of all vintage cars.
For Ford Mustang parts CJ Pony Parts is considered to be the authority. Likewise, Lincoln and Mercury owners can find many components at Lincolnoldparts.com. It’s not just domestic cars that have such focused websites either. JDM-Car-Parts.com is full of classic parts and pieces to complete an old-school Japanese car restoration.
With all of these resources, you now have a globe full of potential places to find vintage car parts. We recommend starting wherever you might be most comfortable but if you don’t find what you’re looking for don’t give up. One or more of the sources above is very likely to have the part you need. If none of them do then it’s possible that a machine shop or custom shop could still build the component. That project car is closer to being finished than ever before!