Re: [MV] Original or Repo

Rob Root (
Sat, 02 Jan 1999 19:00:56 -0800

Hi List:

I have given a LOT of thought to this topic, and there are no absolutes,
but I did want to throw my two cents in...

I have dealt extensively with original and repro parts suppliers. As
others have said, there's a lot of crap out there, so buyers beware. At
the same time, there are some real craftsmen who have taken the time to
fabricate reproduction parts equal to or well beyond the quality of OEM
parts. The availability of repro parts puts the restoration hobby
within reach of a large number of people who otherwise would be unable
to even consider a project financially.

I have also been a victim of unscrupulous vendors of New Old Stock (NOS)
parts, so sticking to NOS is no guarantee either. I purchased a "NOS"
radiator which looked like it had been through a fire when I got it, and
I purchased an expensive original kingpin repair kit from a large
antique parts supplier in the original box, and the parts inside were
rusted beyond any useful life.

Another consideration might well be safety. When one considers that we
are talking about vehicles manufactured some 55 to 60 years ago, it's
foolish not to recognize how much we have learned in that time. For
instance, heat treatment methods took a quantum leap from the beginning
of WWII to the end. If I was replacing a critical part like a steering
knuckle, I would want the benefit of what's been learned.

Cost is certainly a factor, no doubt. I purchased beautiful
reproduction door handles and bumpers for an antique car. They are
absolutely indistinguishable from the originals, and were purchased for
about half of what I was quoted to re-chrome my originals.

A final consideration (at least for me) is the chance to learn. As I
have gotten a little older, I have learned that this restoration hobby
is actually as much about the journey as the destination. I am SLOWLY
repairing an original GPW tub myself. I have taught myself to use a MIG
welder (actually not that hard), and to fabricate my own patch panels.
In terms of the time I will spend doing this versus buying a repro tub,
financially I am stupid not to just junk the original and buy a repro.
But by struggling with an original, I will have learned some neat
skills, and will be a lot prouder of the finished product.

Whether or not to use repro is a personal choice and there's room for
all of us to do whatever we'd like. The great thing about this list is
that we can pass on info about the quality of reproduction parts and
hopefully avoid some of the shoddier stuff. In that vein, I am most
pleased with tires from Wallace Wade, seat cushions from Friday Canvas,
and a lot of miscellaneous stuff from Brent Mullins. Peter DeBella has
been prompt, accurate, and courteous on NOS parts. Thanks for the
chance to sound off.

-Rob Root
1942 GPW

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