Finding the right part for your classic muscle car can be difficult. Fortunately, aftermarket and OEM part resellers are starting to catch up with the times and are improving their online shopping channels. When rating a place to find parts for my goat, I used the following criteria: usefulness of their Website, prices, knowledge, staff, online content, quality of parts and reliability.
Here's my preferred list of sites to find replacement parts for my 1968 Pontiac GTO, with my favorites listed at the top.
Best resources for finding Pontiac GTO parts
- Original Parts Group, Inc.
http://www.opgi.com | Free print catalogs? Yes | Website rating: A | Prices: $$$
OPGI offers parts for multiple classic GM brands: Pontiac, Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Oldsmobile. Their mission is "To offer the finest reproduction and aftermarket parts and accessories for GM A-bodies at the very best prices anywhere, with outstanding service to boot! Your Satisfaction Guaranteed!" Through my own experience, I can say that they can back up this statement. I can usually find the part that I'm looking for. The Website is especially useful and content is well organized, categorized and presented with pictures and descriptions. The site also contains an active restoration blog and other editorial content. They have regular promotions and discounts, including a points program that allows you to earn money back on future purchases. The quality on the parts they offer is generally good. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. OPGI is located in Seal Beach, CA and has been in business since 1982. Stop by the showroom to check out some of the cars they've restored too.
- Ames Performance Engineering
http://www.amesperf.com | Free print catalogs? Yes | Website rating: C | Prices: $$
Ames claims to be the "nations largest supplier of classic Pontiac parts". They've been selling Pontiac parts (and only Pontiac) for 30 years and it shows in the care and expertise in describing the parts in their catalog. The quality of both the content on the site as well as the products and prices offered make up for the '90s throwback Website and black and white catalog. Case in point: they offer hard to find parts, like restoration parts for the hideaway head lamps (actuators, hose kits, springs, seals, etc) that are not found in the OPGI or Year One catalogs. They also sell stuff like the rattle can paint that can be used to restore a set of rally wheels. These guys are located in Spofford, NH.
- Performance Years
http://www.performanceyears.com | Free print catalogs? Yes | Website rating: B- | Prices: $$
I really like the team at Performance Years. They know their stuff, have a huge inventory of parts and are quick to ship. They're great communicators as well, even following up with me by cell to make sure I was taken care of. PY specializes in parts for classic Pontiac cars - GTO, Firebird, Grand Prix, Le Mans, Tempest, Full Size and Grand Am. They also pass the litmus test, carrying hard to find parts, like glovebox nuts, casings and hideaway headlamp restoration parts. The Website isn't visually stunning but it is fairly easy to use and very well organized. They also have an active technical forum, which will help you find answers to questions like what kind of paint to use on your dash, how to fix an endura bumper. Performance Years is located in Hatfield, PA.
- The Parts Place Inc.
http://www.thepartsplaceinc.com | Free print catalogs? No | Website rating: B | Prices: $$$
The Parts Place has been selling GM (Pontiac, Buick, Chevy and Olds) reproduction and restoration parts for 20 years. Their Website is very easy to use. One of the things I like best about this company is some of the hard-to-find parts they offer, like a dash panel for a 1968 Pontiac GTO. This was the only supplier of this reproduction part. The panel was very good quality, not concours perfect. But considering that the only other alternative is to pay hundreds restoring an original, it was money well spent. They're located in Chicago, IL.
- Year One, Inc.
http://www.yearone.com | Free print catalogs? No (still waiting) | Website rating: B | Prices: $$$$
Year One used to be the place I relied on for my Pontiac resto needs but not any longer. When I started back into restoring my 68 goat a year ago, I hit up all the sites mentioned here in this post and Year One was the only one that didn't send me a free copy of their catalog. I've also been turned off by their sometimes ridiculously high prices on the same or similar items that other suppliers offer. I can see getting away with charging a premium for an item that was very rare or where you were the only one to offer it for sale. But charging $30 for door u jamb seals for a 1968 GTO when every other supplier charges $16-18 is strange. At least be in the ball park! It got so bad when I price-compared that I simply stopped searching their site. All that said, Year One is mentioned in the top 5 because they do have a large inventory and a lot of expertise and history. The shopping cart section of the Website is pretty much unchanged for the last 10 years but they do have a lot of other good technical information and other interesting blogs. Year One also offers parts for Chryslers and Fords as well as other GM A-body cars.
There are other alternatives to shopping online with a retailer or from a retailer catalog, like the Pomona swap meet and eBay. Watch for a future post for tips on how to take advantage of these two great resources.