Last post on Feb 05, 2002 at 10:23 AM
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Sep 10, 2001 (8:45 am)
Thank you jg, for the useful posts!
Shiftright the Host
#10 of 17 Quarter panels
Feb 01, 2002 (4:54 am)
Something that didn't make sense to me..... A year or so ago, I was looking for a rear quarter panel for a 1977 Firebird that I owned. GM had discontinued them, so I searched all of the usual Pontiac parts houses, as well as some of the above mentioned sources.
None of these places had panels, despite the fact that this quarter fit the 1974-1981 model years. HOWEVER, they were all rejoicing that quarters were now available for the 1969 models. This is a one year only part, and to be quite honest, I haven't even seen a 1969 Firebird in many years.
As a side note, I looked through Hemmings, and located some NOS quarters in the Chicago area. A former GM employee had retired and opened up a restoration shop. He had found out that the panels had been discontinued, and hit the GM parts locator and bought up ALL of the available stock. They had listed for $375, and he wanted $1000 plus shipping!! Needless to say, I passed, and several months later sold the car, so the point had become moot. Had I been able to locate a new panel at a reasonable price, I probably would have wound up keeping the car, as I had owned it for 24 years, but wasn't happy with that one quarter.
#11 of 17 Re: quarter panels
Feb 01, 2002 (8:32 am)
I own a pretty much original 71 firebird...and try to keep up with the parts scene. I know what your talking about, there are a lot of parts for a 69 bird available. 70-73 parts are quite scarce when compared to 1st gen or late 2nd gen cars. Sorry you had to sell the car.
Feb 01, 2002 (9:54 am)
Maybe it has to do with how they are made. We've talked before about how difficult it is going to be to restore cars with hard-to-remake parts, like special obsolete computer chips or in the case of your car, perhaps these vacuum formed, foam-plastic panels that cannot really be re-upholstered or repaired. It's like trying to make a new head for a Barbie doll....not easy!
#13 of 17 example...
Feb 01, 2002 (11:50 am)
The potmetal nose emblem on firebirds was a 70-71 only feature. Common problem is the red on the plastic inserts fade. No aftermarket...extremely hard to find NOS(the few I have seen went for 300+ bones on ebay). I was able to get a new handcrafted plastic insert from a company in Ohio that specializes in emblems. It took 6 mos...but turned it out pretty good. Cost was reasonable compared to NOS seen on ebay.
Even in your example of vaccumed formed parts, while some parts may not be available, I know other parts such as dashboards and arm rests can be re-skinned. It's not easy, and cost for this service is higher than aftermarket or nos replacements(if available).
Feb 01, 2002 (11:57 am)
Also some of those "plastic chrome" parts that flake off over time, those are not easy to reproduce correctly.
#15 of 17 Firebird Nose Emblems
Feb 04, 2002 (4:33 am)
Those emblems wee pretty shaky right from the start. I remember that the red plastic insert fell out of my car when the car was about 6 months old.
Fortunately, the car was still under warranty, and a new part was readily available.
I almost cry when I read the magazines, or watch the old car shows, and they "just go down to the recycler" to get a part that they need. I've spent most of my 49 years living here in the "rustbelt", and cars much over 8-10 years old are already scrapped or sometimes rusted beyond use.
Feb 04, 2002 (8:09 am)
If you plan on restoring a car, you'd better pick a car that has a good parts supply, or you'll have a very frustrating experience. Chevy Si, Studebaker, No! You get the idea....
For vintage foreign cars, the very best parts supplies are offered to VW, MG and Alfa Romeo owners. You can buy just about anything either repro or used or NOS, and get it fast, too.
Feb 05, 2002 (10:23 am)
OEM/aftermarket parts by and large are much easier to find for american muscle cars than they were 10-15 years ago. I purchased my vehicle(71 firebird) from the original owner. There were several cosmetic parts that he wanted to replace but there was no part available at the time(mid 80's). I was able to find many of these parts with ease. I located several emblems/trim items thanks to year one, classic industries, etc.