When it comes to restoring your Mopar, there are several distinctly different ways to get the job done. If you have more money than time, having the car completely refurbished by a professional restoration shop is a nice way to go. You simply drop the car off with a deposit, then the shop does all the work for you, and you pick the car up when it's finished (which usually involves writing a big check). At the other extreme, if you have the skills, knowledge, and tools you can perform all of the work yourself, replacing or rebuilding each part of the car until it's perfect, and saving money in the process. If you're like most of our readers, however, you fall between those two extremes, performing much of the work yourself, but farming out certain items like perhaps the engine, transmission, or bodywork and paint. But whether you do the job yourself or pay to have it done, and whether your car is being restored to stock specifications or highly modified, you'll need to know where to obtain quality parts to do the job properly.

Having the right restoration parts for your Mopar really can make or break your project. No matter how much you spend on your car's paint job, it just won't look its best if the trim, chrome, emblems, and mirrors are worn, or pitted originals. Additionally, items like original marker lenses and taillights might look ok before your paint job, but can look faded and discolored when next to new paint. Seals, hood bumpers, window felts, and numerous interior items also need to be replaced during a restoration, and if your car is a specialty car like an A12 Road Runner or a convertible, there are many parts that may be specific only to your car, making them even harder to find. While we used to enjoy scrounging around the scrap yards and swap meets, or finding a donor car to obtain parts from, the fact is these original parts are just as old as the ones on our car, and they're getting harder to find. Luckily, there are more parts being reproduced for our Mopars now than ever before, so it's a great time to restore your car to new or even better-than-new condition.

Back before muscle cars were considered classics, our choices were limited when it came to finding parts. We either had to clean up the original items on our cars and make the best of them, or try to find used items in better condition than the parts on our car. Alternatively, we could search the dealer networks for NOS pieces, but most of those have long since been purchased by savvy resellers, making NOS stuff expensive and hard to find. These days, Mopar enthusiasts have a different problem, as restoration parts are readily available from numerous sources, making it hard to decide where to get the parts we need, and whose parts are best for our project. This month, we'll discuss the pros and cons of purchasing restoration parts from a high-volume warehouse distributor, your local restoration shop, or straight from the manufacturer to help you decide which source is right for you.

The Big Guys
As the automotive restoration hobby has grown over the past couple of decades, so has aftermarket support for those of us refurbishing our cars. Companies like YearOne, and The Paddock were quick to realize the scope of the muscle car restoration craze, opening up early-on to provide both NOS and aftermarket parts for our cars. Since then, these companies have grown dramatically and now nearly every available restoration part can be obtained through either of these sources.

Both The Paddock and YearOne also now carry factory style and high-performance drivetrain, suspension, and brake parts as well and are a great option if one-stop-shopping is your style. Since their facilities are large, these companies keep lots of parts in stock and likely have the parts you need on the shelf, ready to be shipped. They've also done their research well, generally know what fits and what doesn't, and which suppliers to avoid. The larger companies also buy in volume and because of that can often offer discounts, especially if you purchase a large number of parts at once.

The Smaller Shops
While one-stop-shopping is right for some enthusiasts restoring their Mopars, there are also those who take their time, only purchasing parts for the area of the car they're working on, and prefer to deal with smaller parts dealers or local restoration shops that also deal in parts. Businesses like P.G. Classic Restorations, Herb's Parts, Dante's Mopar Parts, Van's Auto, Stephens Performance, Tony's Mopar Parts, and even Mancini Racing and Glendora Dodge are among the plentiful suppliers of restoration parts for this type of customer.

Even if one of these shops isn't located in your immediate area, don't think you can't get good customer service. Most of these sources have websites with internet ordering, and ship parts to customers worldwide. While they may not have the inventory that warehouse suppliers do, they often offer customized service, and can order the parts you need, even drop shipping them directly to you in some cases. There's also a good chance the employees at these shops have performed the same work you're doing, so they know what fits and what doesn't. And if you happen to get the wrong part, it's nice to be able to deal with the same person who sold it to you, not another sales person who may or may not remember your project.

Straight From The Source
While not all manufacturers sell directly to the public, there are a good number of specialty parts manufacturers and suppliers that can provide quality parts for your Mopar, often at very reasonable prices. Businesses like Auto Body Specialties, Auto Metal Direct, Auto Rust Technicians, and Sherman and Associates manufacture and supply sheet metal for most Mopar body styles, and are a direct source for replacement panels. Just Suspension and Performance Suspension Technology deal specifically in suspension components, so when its time to perform that part of the restoration it can pay to call them directly.

When it comes to the decals and graphics for your Mopar, either Graphic Express or Phoenix Graphix are good direct sources. Legendary Auto Interiors offers great upholstery for most Chrysler products, and JC Auto Restoration and Auto Instruments.com provides dash and instrument restoration services. When it comes to stopping your Mopar, either Stainless Steel Brakes or Master Power Brakes can supply not only new parts, but kits to upgrade your car to disc brakes. For all the brake and fuel lines, either Right Stuff or Inline Tube will have what your car needs.

Wheels and tires are an important part of your car, and either Wheel Vintiques, or Stockton Wheels has all the popular Mopar styles, some even available in larger diameters or made from billet materials. Coker Tire can shoe the new wheels in the proper vintage tires to complete the classic look of your restoration, and if your Mopar is a convertible, Hydro-E-Lectric has tops, latches, and hydraulic components to make your top look and function its best.

  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • View Full Article