January 14, 2019

Should you be stockpiling parts for your classic car now?

If you run a classic car or are in the process of restoring one, then you’ll understand how important spare parts are to keep your vehicle on the road. But, if spares are the heart of maintaining your vehicle, should you start bulk buying them now before they run out? We’re not talking because of political push factors, more due to supply and demand.

Classic car parts, for this example, are either new-old stock or reproductions that have been remanufactured and are available off the shelf. Footman James talks to the experts about whether you should be bulk-buying parts, or only purchase when you need.

“We purchased our classic car parts business to keep cars on the road, specifically MGs and Rileys,” explained John Lomas, Managing Director of Blue Diamond Riley Services, based at Bicester Heritage. “For vintage Rileys, we find that the number of spares available will always be low and are looking at new ways to make them, including 3D printing. The other side of the business, the MG parts, is less of a concern as more cars were produced so the ‘pool’ of spares is wider.  For both brands we have a number of specialists that we work with to copy, design and re-manufacture original items. 

“The reality is – parts will always be available, and if they’re not, there are clever engineers out there that can make them. My best advice is to think ahead about what you might need – if you’re at the start of a restoration or thinking about pre-emptive winter maintenance in 2019, making a list and talking to expert shops or car clubs now is a good place to start.  By doing this early you can make sure you avoid the often well-trod path of a job being held up awaiting parts.”

John Lomas from Blue Diamond Riley Services has been working with classic Rileys and MGs for three decades and recently brought the parts, service and restoration side of the business to the famed Bicester Heritage site in 2016.

He continued, “Keeping cars alive is a full-time job for so many businesses, not just us, and between online parts catalogues, autojumbles or even just specialists here at Bicester Heritage, we don’t ever panic buy parts. There’s enough out there. We’re always thinking about what our customers might need – from Riley engine blocks that are becoming very rare, to off-the-shelf MG J-Type steering wheels or radiators, but we try and pre-empt it rather than rush out and bulk buy. We don’t want to have a monopoly happening, where owners can’t afford to keep their cars on the road because one person has all of the bits to keep it going on their shelf, all unused.”

While you could stockpile parts, there doesn’t seem to be a need to. The key to keeping your classic on the road seems to be timing and research rather than buying up all the bits you might need, thus making sure there’s enough for everyone.

Are you restoring your car or thinking of buying parts for your classic soon? Let us know your experience of buying parts for your classic in the comments section below.