Graham Man

Pre War parts are drying up...

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2 hours ago, Ben P. said:

Label everything guys. Don’t make it overwhelming. Roll of masking tape, a sharpie...

 

I always think long-term.  Whether it's for your own use

decades from now, or for other family members, use means

that will still be there.

 

I'd recommend NOT using masking tape.  Tape, and

rubber bands, deteriorate over the years.  The tape will

become brittle and maybe even fall off.  Tags on wires,

as someone else suggested, should work fine.  Containers

that are accurately labeled are good too, as long as the

things stay in the containers.  And don't use a pen whose

ink will fade!

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Redundant maybe, but pertinent nonetheless. Forty years ago my 16yo nephew's friend surreptitiously, loaded a one car garage at a rental house that I own, with car parts. He informed me, after the fact of course that I wasn't going to be able to use the garage for a while, but it would be temporary. Thirty eight years later the parts were still there and the garage needed attention. The garage needed to be emptied, and the perpetrator was no where to be found. Most of the parts were not pre-war, but the process would have been the same regardless. I'm no longer young and my Sweetie has limited vision, but we had to get it done. Called a scrapper with a dump truck. How we culled for that first run is somewhat of a mystery, but at some point the saver in me began segregating stuff. The vast majority was simply unrecognizable to me, but if it looked interesting it went into a pile for another look. I called my car guy nephew to get his a.. over here and help identify the stuff. After all it was his stuff! He dutifully complied, identified much of it, but promptly conferred the title of junk to all of it. Not so fast, I wasn't ready to give up that easily. The world had changed in almost forty years, and someone may by need some of this. 

 

The parts were an array of Japanese, German, English and American-from Honda 600, Honda CVCC, Morris Minor, and 3/4 of a cut up body of a rare Opel Manta Rallye (not an inclusive list but you can see what we were up against). Mary is a car gal and more then joined in the process, she led it. She did most of the networking. She joined the Honda 600 forum, I joined the Morris forum and she made friends with an AACA forum member from southern Oregon, who was instrumental in parts identification. If I couldn't identify a part she would email a picture to her friend in Oregon. He seldom misidentified anything!  Every step of the way she was told to toss a particular part, but she didn't give in. She used Craigslist and eBay and the networking did the rest. She loves the process, all of it-I wouldn't have had the patience, but she never gave up. It didn't make any difference if the part was rare $400 part or a $15 switch, it was all treated with the same diligence. Just over two years later we have moved all but a handful of what we had, but it's not over until everything finds a new home. 

 

Bill

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An auctioneer would have cleared that garage in a couple of days, and with the proper advertisement it would go to people wanting it.

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11 minutes ago, JFranklin said:

An auctioneer would have cleared that garage in a couple of days, and with the proper advertisement it would go to people wanting it.

A lot of our local auctioneers only want better stuff if they are not going to auction the real estate too.  When my wife and I called an auctioneer for a similar clean out we were told what they wanted and what they didn’t want and the didn’t want pile was a whole lot bigger!  We did as Bill did and handled it ourselves.

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29 minutes ago, JFranklin said:

An auctioneer would have cleared that garage in a couple of days, and with the proper advertisement it would go to people wanting it.

 

A parts auction is virtually impossible unless the stuff is already labeled and cataloged somehow. A few years ago, I was called by a guy whose father died and left a big pile of stuff on a farm just south of our shop. You know when you see a hundred cars sitting in a field with trees growing through them? Yeah, that kind of thing. There were two large, dilapidated barns with leaky roofs filled to the rafters with car parts he'd collected. There were more cars buried under the parts but even his kids had no idea what they were and we could only see bumpers and hubcaps to get a guess. It was surely hundreds of thousands of parts, maybe even millions. 60 years of hoarding--the son said his dad had a big box truck and he would come home every weekend from some swap meet with it FULL--that guy wasn't selling, he was buying. Some parts were boxed, some had labels, but a vast majority were just in piles or on rickety shelves. Wheels, carburetors, generators, seat cushions, a mountain of spark plug boxes ten feet high and twenty feet across with the cardboard all moldering to leave it an illegible wad of metal, porcelain, and mush. The cars outside were mostly '60s 4-door sedans and trucks and vans, not much interesting and all pretty well ruined by decades in Ohio weather. The parts were probably for those cars, but who knows?


So what do you do with all that? They needed to sell the farm, but no way was someone going to buy it will hundreds of tons of scrap to dispose of first. The son was convinced there was a lot of money there, he just didn't know anything about cars and figured we would be able to figure it out. He generously offered to split the profits with me 50/50.

 

So I called a friend who owns an auction company to join me and he was just flabbergasted by the scope of the thing. How do you identify the stuff, let alone sell it? It would take an army of experts months to catalog it, tag it, and value it. Who's paying for that when the parts are only worth a few dollars each at best? We discussed selling it by the pound or putting batches of parts in boxes and letting people bid on "mystery boxes" or even letting people come in and pick their parts and charge them as they left like at a junkyard, but who will pay for all that time and effort--just the staff to manage such a thing would be quite significant? How would we possibly attract enough people on a day or a weekend to clear it all out in one shot? How do we even move all those cars buried up to their rockers in dirt and some with 12-inch trees growing through them? Ebay? LOL, who has time to manage that? There wouldn't be enough return to make it worth anyone's time even if we staffed it with volunteers willing to work every weekend for a year. It was a deep, dark hole of despair that absolutely nobody was willing to climb into.


I know some of you will cry that we should have tried or that we missed a golden opportunity or that we were stupid for not getting involved for the sake of the hobby. You may even think we didn't have any vision and that a few Saturdays with a parts book would be all it would take to get that all sorted out and turned into a big pile of cash. You are sooooo wrong. Was there useful stuff there? Absolutely. Was it valuable? Maybe some of it. Was it worth figuring out and selling? Oh hell no.

 

I don't know what became of it, but my friend and I couldn't run away fast enough, I don't care how much money we could have made. Some dollars just aren't green enough.

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Hoarding is fine.....if the stuff goes back into the hobby after the guy croaks. Most all my stuff is marked with year and model info. As far as price after I am dead.........I won’t worry about it. The 30 Pierce Arrow engines in the shop? They make me sleep well at night.

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Just last month I sold a 30-31 Model A Roadster deck lid, one I'd kept for 52 years, decided I didn't need an extra, and made a profit. I need to label the parts for all the projects, getting everything in one place per project would be great. There ae parts here on the desk, by the file cabinet and other open storage spots, I think I know were everything is, someone else would wonder. Sad quote from the guy cleaning out a house up the street "Everyone's life winds up in a dumpster". Bob 

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There is a fellow in KY with two 40’ semi trailers full of Studebaker parts his father purchased when they closed the plant in South Bend. He says he is going to go thru them and sell them as soon as he can find room to organize all of it. I talked with him three years ago. He has yet to open the trailers. 
What  a shame he doesn’t realize what these parts could do for many collectors/restorers and he is a car guy!  He owns a successful body shop, so has some idea of what parts mean to someone. 
just part of a crazy hobby I guess. 
Dave S 

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We have pretty good luck with auto parts auctions in Oregon, they are put on pallets and boxes and sold as lots, I don't remember everything labeled unless it was a car or something obvious. You bid on a box of plugs or a box of filters, and etc. It is too bad the auction scene is getting so picky!

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A good friend of mine just bought a huge collection of pre-war car parts.  Tons of parts. Problem is few are labeled so he has a lot of stuff that’s hard to sell, unless you know what it is.  I’m going to look at the stuff in a few days, I recognize some parts, but it’s going to be an uphill battle to identify..

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It seems to me an enterprising and smart individual could become sort of a parts hub, connecting people with parts and parts with people. Unfortunately I'm not smart enough or physically able enough to do that, but somebody could. Advertising in various local newspapers or getting the word out on Facebook could bring all kinds of stuff out of the woodwork. 

 

There's lots of companies that specialize in reproduction parts but I don't think I've seen anyone who specializes in finding, IDing and rehoming people's leftovers or even just helping people figure out what they have. 

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When I am at Hershey looking around at all the parts there makes me wonder how many of the parts there will never find a car to be used on. Many of the cars being restored today are older restorations that are basically complete cars but needing mainly mechanical parts. The tougher cars that are not highly desirable will most likely become rat rods, parts cars or scrap metal.  The cost also is a big deterrent of restoring an antique car taking away from the parts business. 

So is this going to effect the parts prices if the demand is not there.

Edited by Joe in Canada (see edit history)

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Look at all the DOLLAR piles at Hershey, TONS of stuff that a sane person would take home and drop off at the scrap yard. One swap meet here in Connecticut has two roll off dumpsters that vendors can drop unsalable metal. Club makes a few bucks on the scrap. Bob 

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Hello all.     Try looking for devaux parts,a lot of people haven’t even heard of it,in all the years of going to the swap meets I’ve found a couple of hubcaps a no’s coil and that’s it, I have bought some parts from a friend parting one out,I’ve looked for a parts car for years with no luck,    Dave

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Hello all.     Try looking for devaux parts,a lot of people haven’t even heard of it,in all the years of going to the swap meets I’ve found a couple of hubcaps a no’s coil and that’s it, I have bought some parts from a friend parting one out,I’ve looked for a parts car for years with no luck,    Dave

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Hello all.     Try looking for devaux parts,a lot of people haven’t even heard of it,in all the years of going to the swap meets I’ve found a couple of hubcaps a no’s coil and that’s it, I have bought some parts from a friend parting one out,I’ve looked for a parts car for years with no luck,    Dave

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Hello all.     Try looking for devaux parts,a lot of people haven’t even heard of it,in all the years of going to the swap meets I’ve found a couple of hubcaps a no’s coil and that’s it, I have bought some parts from a friend parting one out,I’ve looked for a parts car for years with no luck,    Dave

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I'll be 49 this spring. I got into my first old Mopar in 2017. I bought another one in 2019. Now I have two cars!  In the past 2 years I have began locating and stashing old Mopar parts. I think it's a natural process as we know we drive old cars. We love them, and we want to look after them. So we see deals, we buy and store the parts. I plan to drive and enjoy my old Mopars for many years. However I am aligned with the idea of selling this stuff before we become too old, or too bothered to deal with it. I am not a hoarder. Any earlier hobbies in my life that I was "really into" at the time, and have since moved on, the stuff is sold. I am not keeping stuff for my heirs to have to deal with. It's all junk to everyone else, as many have mentioned here in earlier posts. My old car parts? Well if one of my sons shows interest, has the space, time and money, he can have all he wants. I'll drive until they pull my license. By then I won't be able to get under my old Mopars so hopefully the cars will have changed hands by then. Best case scenario, my sons take me out for a drive in their (my old) Mopars. Alas, life often brings other plans that we had not planned on. It is what it is. I'll deal with the deck of cards dealt to me as the cards turn over. One at a time.

 

Back to the topic: Pre-war parts. I suppose your perspective depends on the make and model of car you are trying to support. I have a 1938 Plymouth sedan. There's gotta be 100,000 of these rusting in farmer fields still. Seems that way. They keep turning up. Best part is, it's a 4-door. Nobody wants a 4 door. Why would I pour too much money into restoring  4 door? At this point I'm not. I have 2 old cars that I consider drivers, that I love to work on and drive. As the memories stack up, and the work to be done comes to an end,  I may someday be inclined to do a real nice job of paint and bodywork. We'll see....I keep wandering. Back to the topic. 

 

I am having little trouble sourcing parts for my old Mopars. My '38 is pre-war I suppose. I work on it. I drive it. I work on it some more. I drive it. It's been awesome and I enjoy every minute that my any of my 5 senses interact with it. (yes you can taste that old upholstery when you get in it). They made so many old sedans, parts for me are pretty easy to source. Other guys with rare cars...I get it. I bet you have a heck of a time when you turn a tool too hard and break something. The language flows out...

I am not so sure I'd enjoy that old rare pre-war car. Sure I'd like to look at it and drive it. However source parts?...Hmmm. I'll certainly pause before jumping in to ownership.

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Mike Dube said:

There used to be a Hupp Graham parts depot in Auburn Indiana, a little south of the museum, before the RR tracks, a remnant of the A-C-D Auto museum's former life.

I was in the place a few times in the last 30 years.  I believe it was about 10 years ago that the business finally closed up.  Would like to think those parts (they still had a building full) ended up somewhere.  Perhaps others in the Graham ranks will know something.  Good luck.

 

The parts were sold off and they are still available from another vendor.  I forget the name.   I've told this story before,  but back in the 50s there was still a lot of ACD stuff mixed in with the Graham and Hupp parts.  My dad got a ton of NOS Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg parts from there.   We just used up our last NOS Duesenberg Master Cylinder that came out of there back in 1957.  My dad bought 12 of them.

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Not prewar but back in the 80s I met a local guy who was moving a lot of nice and project vettes.  He told me he never threw out any parts for cars he was working on because parts tend to have parts, and what if you needed a certain bolt or whatever.  I do give a lot of thought prior to discarding anything.

 

Of course I sold off a truckload of A stuff in 2009 when we sold our tudor.  Yeah, another A comes along a few years later.  A lot of it went to a friend who is happy to sell parts of the lot back a little at a time for a nice profit! 🤔

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Very first thing I did after buying the Pierce was to find a couple NOS distributor caps, rotors, and sets of points. There’s certain things I don’t mind stockpiling when the price is right. Call it hoarding but that stuff will drive you nuts if you need it and can’t find it. Makes a 4000# paperweight out of your car mighty quick...

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8 hours ago, Gunsmoke said:

Finally I continue to look for a decent CD8 Tail/Stop light and stanchion, am told there are some around at high prices, will have to wait and see if something reasonable shows up (this one is left side mounted, originals were right side only).

I'm in the process of reproducing these lens in urethane.  PM me for details.

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Back in the good old days, 25+ years ago, when I was doing 5-6 swap meets as a vendor I had a standing rule. I'd start at Rhinebeck and end at Hershey, whatever little item that fit in a milk crate didn't sell that year got dumped in a low spot in Mon & Dads side lot. eBay came along and a lot of that stuff got dug up and sold. Bob

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I have experienced finding Parts for my Coles is very hard but I was expecting that.  I am purchasing them as I find them but they are few and far between.  I have seen the knowledge issue with many dealers not knowing what they have.  eBay is also not the easiest thing to search on and you have to spend lots of time looking at every listing.  Through the registry we try to find parts for others and share, but even that has had limited success.  

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2 hours ago, alsancle said:
9 hours ago, Mike Dube said:

There used to be a Hupp Graham parts depot in Auburn Indiana, a little south of the museum, before the RR tracks, a remnant of the A-C-D Auto museum's former life.

I was in the place a few times in the last 30 years.  I believe it was about 10 years ago that the business finally closed up.  Would like to think those parts (they still had a building full) ended up somewhere.  Perhaps others in the Graham ranks will know something.  Good luck.

 

The parts were sold off and they are still available from another vendor.  I forget the name.   I've told this story before,  but back in the 50s there was still a lot of ACD stuff mixed in with the Graham and Hupp parts.  My dad got a ton of NOS Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg parts from there.   We just used up our last NOS Duesenberg Master Cylinder that came out of there back in 1957.  My dad bought 12 of them.

 

American Vintage Parts bought the parts from the family that ran the parts store. I bought lots of Graham Sharknose parts from them (American Vintage) when they first started selling their purchases.👍

 

https://www.ebay.com/str/americanvintageparts

 

GOCI* bought the drawings from the family, paid a dear price for them.

 

*Graham Owners Club International

 

 

As far as hording parts for cars I have, I've tried making tape, stickers, Sharpies, wired on tags, etc. All have issues.....  But I am trying to organize and sell excess stuff now.

Edited by Frank DuVal (see edit history)
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