Call for better parts support for wagons from vendors

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CaliWagon83

Royal Smart Person
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Nov 12, 2017
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Orange County, CA
I don't want to come across as a whiner, but please indulge my brief rant/plea to the aftermarket to improve support for G-Body wagons. I know they're a much smaller market than the coupes, so from an economics/business perspective, I understand why the coupes get the lion's share of attention and parts support, but surely there's enough of a market with the wagons to have a handful of companies make a decent niche business of offering wagon-specific parts. Here are some specific areas I'd like to see more support for wagons:
  • Fuel Tanks
  • Fuel Systems (sender units, pumps)
  • Interior Trim (aside from dashboard, mostly interchangeable with coupe)
  • Exterior Trim (moldings, air deflector caps)
I'm sure there are other areas that could use more support, but those are a few that immediately come to mind. Thanks for listening.
 
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ck80

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 18, 2014
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The problem is in the prototype, tooling, and initial production run costs.

I've been friends with some parts guys who started out selling used parts for these cars in the early 90s (back when I did) and kept in touch in later years as they partnered with some of the businesses bringing repop to market.

Manufacturers of these parts have minimum orders for a production run. They give a slight discount as batch numbers increase, but on the low end figure needing to buy several hundred of an item just to get a factory to set the production run.

To get prototypes made up and tooling, you might pay 50,000 to 75,000 for just a single uncomplicated part, more for a part that had multiple materials or different components.

So let's do the math. Say one single tiny trim piece. Say $60,000 just in development, but easily more the more complex the part.. Then you need to order the production run, factories chare you for the down time as a production setup fee to swap out the tooling, that's thousands more on top each time you order a production run... if you bought say 1,000 units, which could take a LONG time to sell if ever on a niche vehicle, and it cost $28 a piece for a tiny trim item, then you're at another $28k. Then you've got to pay for freight, import taxes/duties, and inventory/excise taxes on holding the product till it sells. That's easily a few thousand more. Businesses being businesses, to make a profit, cover overhead and expenses, you need to expect a 40 to 100% markup over cost.

So. To get a tiny trim piece for a wagon to market, just one piece, you're at about $90k or $100k just getting the product into your warehouse for 1000 units. At 40% markup, that tiny trim piece cost the end consumer $126. (90k/1k, time 1.40 for markup.)

Would you pay $126 plus tax and shipping for a tiny trim piece?

That's why there isn't market support for the wagons. Far too few on the road, with even fewer being restored.
 
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CaliWagon83

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Nov 12, 2017
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ck80, like I said, I get the business case, or lack thereof. I was just letting off a little steam. This is one case where I think the 3D Printing/additive manufacturing revolution could have a positive effect for low-volume or niche products.
 
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Ribbedroof

"That wagon guy"
Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2009
4,192
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Wellston, OK
You can't even buy decent sail panels for Malibu coupes, which almost EVERYBODY needs. I really don't see wagon-specific stuff being done, especially stuff like moldings, which were different for each carline.

Probably the most asked-for pieces for wagons are headliner boards and tailgate trim panels...both large and expensive to ship.

Wagon owners have to go old-school hotrodder and find /modify/ fabricate stuff to work, as opposed to today's world of "where do I buy a kit to" mentality.
 
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Ribbedroof

"That wagon guy"
Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2009
4,192
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Wellston, OK
As for fuel tanks, at least 2 major suppliers offer them, and as we discussed in the other thread, there are ways to make the OE style work for pretty much any application other than all-out competition (see above post re: hotrodding), where you'd want/need a cell anyway.

OE style senders would be nice for the stock guys that have issues with fuel level signal
 
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Longroof79

Rocket Powered Basset Hound
Oct 14, 2008
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Gainesville, Fl
Due to the limited number of wagons out there, the demand for aftermarket parts are not as high as for Monte Carlos, Malibus, Cutlasses, etc. Therefore, it's not cost effective for these vendors to produce many of these parts.
I personally would love to see a better aftermarket supply and production of needed parts. But I suppose I'm being optimistic. CK80 pretty much put it in a nutshell.

For example, window channels. Door seals are already being repopped. The upper tailgate to lower rear hatch seal are just about impossible to find and are always in lousy condition. Then again there's the plastic interior pieces, trim clips, etc.

I must say though, I find wagon owners to be a resourceful group of people.
 
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Bonnewagon

Geezer
Sep 18, 2009
8,060
113
Queens, NY
It's just our bad luck. We have rare cars that are getting rarer every day. You practically need to buy a good parts car just to get anything and those are drying up fast. Just a heads-up, Rock Auto sent me a close-out notice for the wagon. Lots of great parts dirt cheap and I loaded up on stuff I know I will need. Like Wagner rear brake shoes at $4 a set and windshield wiper blades for $1.26. When on Rock Auto look up your car, hit the RSS icon, and you will be registered with them for closeout alerts.
 
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Longroof79

Rocket Powered Basset Hound
Oct 14, 2008
11,393
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Gainesville, Fl
Thank you Mark,
That's good to know regarding RockAuto. You are correct about good wagon parts drying up. We're always on the hunt for good usable replacement parts.
 

Bonnewagon

Geezer
Sep 18, 2009
8,060
113
Queens, NY
That's for sure Jack. My motor, transmission, console, front seats, steering wheel, steering box, front springs, head pipe, and Rally 2 wheels are all from Firebirds. You really gotta improvise!
 
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CaliWagon83

Royal Smart Person
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Nov 12, 2017
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Orange County, CA
I still think my idea discussed in this thread might have some merit. As long as we can get the schematics and measurements for obsolete parts, as small-batch manufacturing technology improves, it could really help out availability on rare and hard-to-find parts.
 
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