11 November 2014

From Auburns to Studebakers, NAPA offers thousands of parts for your classic

Working on your old Ford and looking for a thermostat? Is the carburetor in your classic Chevy kaput? No need to scour the internet for hours or pay a visit to your local junkyard. NAPA has been selling replacement parts for classic cars for years.

“We haven’t been keeping it a secret, but people are still surprised to hear what we have available,” said Ken Ingram, Director of Catalog and Profile Pricing Services, who has worked for Atlanta-based NAPA for 34 years. “During my entire career, we’ve been a go-to place for car enthusiasts and car clubs. Counting only mechanical products – not windshield wipers or upholstery or a hood, things like that – we have over 400,000 part numbers for passenger cars and light, medium and heavy-duty trucks.”

NAPA has been selling auto parts since 1925, and the company provides replacement parts for cars that were built long before that.

“We sell spark plugs that fit Model T Fords because that engine was widely used for more than just cars,” he said. “Farmers used those engines; saw mills used them. People used them to run the pump in their back 40.”

Oftentimes, something designed for a modern car will also fit a classic. For example …

“Depending on what it is, a part for a 2005 Chevy might be the same for a 1985 Chevy,” Ingram said. “If you define a classic car as any car 25 years or older (the 1989 model year and prior), we have 12 million application records for classic car parts.”

And that includes a radiator hose for a 1962 Chevy Impala, an ignition coil for a 1935 Auburn 653 Six and a voltage regulator for a 1949 Studebaker Champion. NAPA has plenty of Corvette parts too, as Ingram found out. “I gave my wife a 1980 Corvette a number of years ago, and we keep it running almost exclusively with parts we sell.”

Ingram said some NAPA dealers know their clientele so well that they stock up on parts for specific cars, just in case – like the Chicago-area store that has just what the local owner of a 1960s Amphicar might need to get his amphibious vehicle up and running should it break down.

“That goes on every day in every store,” Ingram said. “We help owners of classic and antique vehicles find what they need.”

For more information or to browse NAPA’s parts catalog, visit http://napaonline.com.

16 Reader Comments

  • 1
    JPFLTWD Ca. (Not Cali) November 13, 2014 at 13:34
    I've bought from Napa in the past...and have no note-worth complaints. I now shop at Carquest, again, with no note-worthy complaints. The one thing I've found that makes or breaks a vintage car parts store are the PEOPLE. Did they keep the **books**, do they care, and are they old enough to "speak the language". Remember, most of the parts come from the same suppliers.
  • 2
    Andrew Wallace Van Nuys, CA November 13, 2014 at 13:56
    NAPA has been a great resource for me, though I've found that frequently they don't know that the parts they have fit a specific vehicle, and most of the time they're too busy at the counter to spend time digging around. For instance, they carry wheel bearings that are a direct match for a 1952 Packard but they don't list them as fitting a 1952 Packard. They list the thermostat but not the paper gasket you need for the thermostat housing (even though they do, indeed, carry it). It's unfortunate because at some point, back in the days of paper parts books, they knew all the cross-references. It's not really anyone's fault, pretty much all parts stores have the same problem -- the parts manufacturers provide them the data and that goes into their computer. But somewhere along the way years ago, a lot of the companies stopped listing parts as fitting...even though the parts numbers never changed. And no parts house wants to do the work of researching old listings because once they do, they won't be able to keep the other parts houses from free-riding on their data. The only solution is to know the part number you need ahead of time and to go when the store is quiet so the folks at the counter can take the time to dig around, which is fine by me. But it's a shame that we're keeping this stuff a secret...
  • 3
    Thomas Madere United States November 13, 2014 at 14:16
    Sadly althought NAPA has the parts the knowledge of the counter people now is if it isn't in the computer they are lost. Many times I have to personally go through their parts catalog to find the part I need.
  • 4
    49er Arizona November 13, 2014 at 14:26
    Recent experience with NAPA was they quit carrying information or parts for my "newest" car ('49 Ford) which forced me to go online for virtually everything. In the past, I went to them for parts for cars back to 1925 and they could help. Not so anymore.
  • 5
    D Pete Minneapolis, MN November 13, 2014 at 14:56
    I could not disagree more that NAPA supports classic or collector cars. Most counter people can only look by application. I could not get a brake master cylinder for a '58 Nash Metropolitan, or a fuel pump kit for a '29 Dodge, Gaskets for my '29 Ford. I have found these on line and have learned to NOT depend on NAPA
  • 6
    Chromer Ohio November 13, 2014 at 15:22
    NAPA is always my first stop. They help me keep eight vintage Buicks (1950-65) running. Knowing your part number is extremely helpful. I've found the counter people more than willing to help look up possible interchange possibilities. Get to know them, they will help. At times I merely ask them to do some searching when they are not busy, and I'll come back. Knowing possible interchanges, or other years or models that could use the same part, helps. Our hobby includes solving problems and getting to work with and meet new people. Solving problems and searching for parts is what the folks at NAPA do well.
  • 7
    Nancy Seminole, FL USA November 13, 2014 at 16:17
    I am assuming then that NAPA now carries NOS for both American and European classics? We have a 1975 MGB and have only been able to refurbish with NOS through Moss Motors and Victoria British. Will have to check them out.
  • 8
    Northwoodsguy Omena, Michigan November 13, 2014 at 16:53
    I have a 1963 M37B1 military 3/4 ton truck. NAPA has no info on this very popular truck (over 900 still registered on the internet). It is the military version of the Dodge Power Wagon. Might behoove them to consider military vehicles as there are thousands out there and they all need parts.
  • 9
    John Southgate Michigan November 13, 2014 at 17:39
    The only complaint I have about NAPA is their prices. I'm talking about the same part, same part number and same brand. Example: I needed a transmission tail shaft oil seal (national brand). They wanted twice the price for the same identical seal that I could get at the other parts stores. I don't understand why the big difference. I like the NAPA store as it is right around the corner from me, but I'm not going to pay $18 when I can get the same identical seal for $9.
  • 10
    Jacob Toronto November 13, 2014 at 17:40
    Carburetor kit I bought from NAPA had a main carb gasket that failed after 4 months and 120km. Caused a massive gas leak and stained my driveway. I wonder how old was that kit? Gasket pretty much fell apart in 3 different spots. It was for a Rochester carb on a 1965 Chevy Corvair. Not very happy about that...
  • 11
    Joe Wheaton, IL November 13, 2014 at 19:00
    Will be shopping there for my 1965 Corvette.
  • 12
    steve depke chicago ill November 13, 2014 at 20:36
    My 77 grand Prix runs great and still has the original cat convertor in exhaust system.89m miles and still running
  • 13
    Brakeservo oregon November 13, 2014 at 11:46
    I've kept my 60+ year old Bentleys going on with all sortsbof Napa parts that not even Napa knows fits Bentleys (and Rolls-Royces). Ignition points, condensors, coils, brake cylinder seals and the even efficient paper air filter elements that replace the original and worthless metal mesh units.
  • 14
    1925Franklin United States November 14, 2014 at 03:13
    I've stopped shopping at NAPA due to the negative feeling I got at the counter while trying to order up replacement tune up parts for a 1930's Delco distributor.
  • 15
    Morgan Olson Fruitport Township, Michigan November 14, 2014 at 16:23
    The NAPA store here in Fruitport, MI provides information and assistance for every need.
  • 16
    Don 35Chrysler Lowell, MA November 20, 2014 at 15:28
    NAPA needs to read these comments and improve their service. They are missing out on sales.

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