Here's the thing about car parts: There were more cars built than are currently on the road. And the parts that were in these cars last a long, long time. This means that somewhere -- maybe down the street or maybe on the other side of the world -- is the part you need for your classic car restoration.
Knowing where to look can save you hundreds of hours and maybe many times that amount of money.
The best place to get parts comes down to cost, time and expertise. If you have the money, a quick Internet search will turn up the part you need, professionally restored and ready for installation. If you're not rolling in restoration dough, where you find your parts depends on what you know.
If you've got the expertise, consider trolling for cheap parts in local or specialty junkyards (but if you have the expertise, you probably already knew this). If you have neither money nor expertise, you're going to have to spend some time searching. You can start today by checking out online forums that are discussing your make/model/year. Then consider going to trade shows and swap meets -- in addition to finding the parts you need, these are great places to talk to dealers. Also, talk with local wrecking services. Then join a club and subscribe to a classic car magazine.
Finding parts is as much a part of the process as learning to rebuild a transmission and acid wash a fender, and along the way, you'll develop the expertise you need to move away from perusing expensive online click-and-order sites to finding pieces on the cheap. Eventually, finding classic car parts that you can afford is a system built of people -- wreckers, restoration buddies, dealers and collectors -- and there's nothing like diving headlong into this car culture to find the parts you need.
For more information on classic cars, check out the links on the next page.