Classic Car Auctions
Classic car enthusiasts and restorers are a meticulous bunch. Nothing but original parts will do for an accurate, correct restoration. Unfortunately, for pre-1980 American iron, that's a job that's getting more and more difficult. eBay and owner's clubs have helped fill that need to a certain extent, but imagine trying to find a correct set of dashboard knobs for a '62 Dodge sedan, or a heater core for a '71 Oldsmobile 442. If anything, it's almost easier to find parts for long-gone makers like Hudson, Studebaker or Kaiser, as there are owner's clubs and networks that can help locate and track down parts for such cars. But the best option available today is a classic auto auction online.
Most of that Detroit iron from salvage yards got sent off to the crushers years ago. And as time goes on and the cars become scarcer, things like four-door sedans, pickup trucks and station wagons are starting to become just as desirable and valuable as their muscle-car, two-door or convertible counterparts were at one time.
Fortunately there are salvage yards that are aimed specifically at the classic car restorer, with acres of pre-1980 iron that's in various states of completeness. Some yards will even sell entire cars in rolling-chassis, partially restored or fully restored condition. Other cars are parted out, or are sold as a whole but in partial, non-restorable condition. These whole cars and their parts are then sent to an auto auction broker site like AutoBidMaster.com.
The better salvage yards for classic cars are located in southern or southwestern states like Texas, New Mexico or Arizona, where their cars are not subject to the ravages of rust and the elements. It's important to remember, though, that cars from hot, arid states are likely to have sun damage to carpets, dashboards and upholstery (rather than body or surface rust). These salvage yards are now networked together though internet salvage auctions so that it doesn't take hundreds of miles of road-tripping to be able to find the cars and parts you're looking for; like everything else, the Internet has changed all that. So if it's rare and desirable parts you're looking for, you don't need to try to buy classic cars from reluctant owners who still intend to fix them up.
You may wind up paying a premium price for some of those parts, of course. But fifteen years ago, nobody would have thought that a '73 Oldsmobile Delta 88 would have ever been a desirable car for a collector. Now these models are hugely popular, because the old full sized family cars make great hot-rods. In some ways, it's a better time to be a restorer of classic cars now than it ever has been before. If it's easier to locate the parts, then you're halfway there. Then you only have to worry about things like how to make the retractable headlights on that scarce '71 Chrysler Imperial work properly, or how to correctly rig the vacuum lines, amplifiers and canisters on your '66 Lincoln Continental so that all the power accessories work.