Friday, March 27, 2009

Classic Car Parts - Don't pass up your local salvage yard when searching for that hard to find part

That's right. In this business they like to be referred to as "salvage yards", rather than "junkyards". Even if you think your part may be hard to find, don't skip calling your local salvage yard. They may not have it, but thanks to the computers and databases, chances are they are on one of two computer networks most salvage yards use. They can view other yards inventory, and order the part delivered to their location for your purchase. Here's what you will need to remember.

Two Different Inventory Networks
There are two main inventory databases shared by salvage yards, and they are run by Hollander and Pinnacle. Each network has over 2,000 yards full of inventory, but most yards are on only one network or the other. You will want to call different salvage yards until you find one on each network, having them check the database for that part. You have essentially checked 4,000+ salvage yards across the US within 15 to 30 mn's time. You will need to calculate shipping fees and other surcharges to decide if ordering the part is worth it, but most of the time it is on those hard to find parts.

There's another advantage than just being able to check 4,000 yards inventory at once. The search they do will also show what parts interchange with the part you are looking for. Many parts used by automobile manufacturers are the same parts used in other model lines at the same time. An example of this is the fuel pump of a 1980 GM van interchanges with the fuel pump of a 1969 Camaro. Many other Firebird and Camaro parts interchange also. This will help you find your part easier, and possibly make it cheaper to purchase.

One word of caution on used parts; Sometime it's best to use new parts or rebuilt parts for your classic car, especially when it comes to safety. Brake calipers, pads, steering wheel/column parts, etc. were sometimes not built as safely as they are now, and newer materials available today may even give you better performance if used. You will want to do some research weigh the benefits before deciding.

If you cannot find your part by contacting a salvage yard on either network, you may want to check out ebay and other online forums geared toward your model of car. Local car shows and auto clubs in your area may have someone either selling the parts you need, know who may have them for sale, or just be able to help you with any problems you may have. You may find an easier way to replace your hard to find part.

Classic Autos For Sale

Classic Auto Parts For Sale

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Muscle cars - why did the fad die so soon?

Muscle cars refer to the small and intermediate American automobile model lines in the late 1960's to the early 1970's, that had large V8 engines. These models were designed around a midrange motor, but some manufacturers allowed the option of some rather large engines, including the Chevrolet 454 ci. It's no coincidence that the muscle car era coincided with the WWII baby boomers becoming legal driving age. After WWII, hot rods were born when guys wanted to have more horsepower and go faster. Hot rods are rebuilt or modified cars to create more horsepower. The problem was, it was expensive and you had to do a lot of the work yourself if you didn't have the cash, so it was a small market.

Pontiac started everything with the GTO option on the 1964 Pontiac Tempest. The GTO option included GTO badging, trim, and the larger 389 engine. Planning on selling 5,000, Pontiac got bombarded by selling 32,450 models, and the race was on when Ford released the Mustang in 1965, selling more than 1.5 million in less than two years. Other muscle cars include the Buick GS Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Chevelle SS, Chevrolet Nova SS, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Daytona, Dodge Superbee, Ford Mustang, Mercury Cougar, Oldsmobile 442, Plymouth 'Cuda, Pontiac Firebird, and Pontiac GTO. Some of these models are technically "pony" cars, but they can fit in the muscle car definition. Pony cars are smaller sized models, and muscle cars are midrange models.

Safety lobbying groups caught on early that squeezing such a large engine in a car designed around an engine much smaller was a bad mixture, not to mention that they were being marketed to younger drivers. The lobbying groups also opened the eyes to insurance companies, and quickly there were severe surcharges on muscle cars. This helped a new niche grow, the "stripped down" muscle car. The Plymouth Road Runner and Dodge Super Bee were good examples of this, where a lot of the options are stripped out and the lavish interiors are plain. Not only did this help keep the cost down, but it kept the weight down as well, which kept increasing each year on most models.

In 1971, auto manufacturers had to detune engines to run on unleaded fuel under new EPA guidelines, which brought the horsepower down substantially. The OPEC Oil Embargo in 1973 basically was the last hit that ended the muscle car era. With gas shortages, there was no way anyone could sell a car that got such poor gas mileage, and the options weren't even there if someone really wanted to get a large engine.

For more muscle car information, visit these links:
Muscle Car Information
Muscle cars for sale
Muscle car forums
Muscle car history
AMC Muscle Car History