RECENTLY, I’VE BEEN chasing plenty of parts: Finding components for my 1979 VB Commodore SL/E 5.0-litre V8 manual has been particularly challenging. I bought the car in Queensland years ago and since then, I’ve had to track-down pretty much every component – from tail lights to door handles to the dashboard – that have been messed-up by four decades of sunny summers.
Car-nut pages on Facebook are good for finding parts. A recent score for me was some of the little plastic-chrome trims for my SL/E’s dashboard. These brittle trims are difficult to find but a bloke in Melbourne had a set at the right price so I had my mate Matt collect and pay for them on my behalf. Another important score from Facey was the correct steering wheel: If I remember right, the rim came from Albury and the horn button was posted from Perth!
Plus, of course, I do a bit of greasy-finger scrounging, too. My terrific old-school local wrecker, Classic Oz Wreck, has sold me a complete dash/instrument binnacle, plus other important components such as arm rests, sun-visors and door handles. Another local business, The Commodore Shop, also gets plenty of my money! My car-nut mates are also a great source of now-scarce parts too… for instance, I bludged a great centre console for my SL/E from Morley’s Project Poo hill-climber Commodore when he stripped the interior.
Not everything I buy is second-hand. For instance, I discovered a bloke who was reproducing Commodore carpets. This Stuart bloke has put in the effort to provide a high-quality factory-style carpet kit and as I want my Commodore to be as awesome as possible, I placed an order for his Ausclassics deep-pile carpet and I’m happy to have paid nearly triple the price of the almost-but-not-quitethe-same $200 stuff. I need new door cards, too and I think I’ve found a company in Sydney that can make accurate reproductions.
My VWs gobble up plenty of time in maintenance and parts, too, but being what they are, the parts I buy are mostly new/reproduction or high performance engine parts. That means simply checking an on-line catalogue and ordering from a VW specialist either here or overseas. Buying brandnew parts is not quite as challenging, rewarding (or risky!) as the chase for older, rarer parts.
And that has had me thinking… I’ve realised I enjoy chasing parts as much as I enjoy being in my workshop, actually working on my restorations. I love driving my cars… but when I’ve finished recommissioning or restoring a car I spend as much time thinking about and planning ‘what’s next?’ as I do enjoying the one I’ve just completed.
WHAT DO YOU RECKON? Is it more fun to chase the parts and build the car, or is that simply the path to enjoying it when you’ve finished? LET US KNOW AT firstname.lastname@example.org