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Art & Inspiration It’s the melamine, the smell of the dust, the one good guy left back there...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by VANDENPLAS, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. The slightly greasy melamine or plexiglass counter.
    The smell of the oil and grease on the shelves.
    The stupid “I fix it” blister packs of hinge pin kits and trim clips, old window winders in yellowed packages.
    The Lukas oil display thingy with the gears and the little handle .... why do I always play with this stupid thing ? ...... every damn time !
    The tool flyers .
    And if you find a good parts place the knowledgeable people behind the counter.
    I have a parts place I have been dealing with for years.
    And in the last two week bought a bunch of stuff for my merc.
    I know I could have saved a bit buying online from rock auto or other places.
    But I like dealing with people.
    Asking stupid questions,
    Being brought into the back to match. Up coolant hoses or go through the weather head bins looking for fittings or crush wagers or what ever.
    Asking if they have a “ thing with a tube that bends with a bracket?”
    Ain’t gonna use it for its intended use but for.... blah blah blah....

    Being a real parts person is the same as getting into the trades,you gotta learn it and understand it.
    It’s no where near as simple as some cheese eating high school kid punching in “make, model and year please”

    I dunno I would much rather spend a few bucks more and go to a real parts house.
    And not the chain places but the old school “ mom n pop shops”

    anyways rant over.
    Wadda ya all think about this?
    Save a buck and get it on line
    Or be traditional and lean on that slightly greasy counter and ask for your whatsit in person?

    A15638B1-2656-4EFA-B48C-C006516006DF.jpeg 8B945F14-5B09-4E4B-944D-AE0FCF3EEDFE.jpeg 36768A87-E30A-41FB-B44A-0384140DB6B5.jpeg BC9C4F42-EF5E-4E23-8020-A13BF2D0EF4E.jpeg 8A7308C6-DA3F-448B-AC24-816B1DF03DC0.jpeg
  2. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 6,477


    A real-live honest-to-goodness knowledgeable parts guy is worth his weight in gold. I gladly pay more when I can find someone like that. Had a couple of go-to guys when I lived in central Arkansas, but haven't found anyone in northwest Arkansas that knows beans.
  3. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,535


    There are a couple of stores here that still have old farts working part time, but it's a crap shoot as to whether they'll be there when I go to the place. I wish they still had the books on the counter so I could look the stuff up myself.
  4. lumpy 63
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
    Posts: 1,432

    lumpy 63

    The chain store's around here are all staffed by window lickers who rode the short bus. Used to have a guy at Napa who knew his part #s But has since retired...But now that I think about it there is a guy in east county who works for Orielly's , This guy is old school and his Dad raced a hillborn injected early vette at Carlsbad. Worth his weight in gold and super helpful . Thanks Joel:cool:

  5. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,277


    Another thread on this, but I agree completely. I live in a somewhat urban area and I haven't seen a real parts house in years. About 7 years ago, there was a young woman in an Advance A/P that would help me match parts while the others went around shaking their heads and drinking coffee. The manager jumped ship to O'Reillys when they opened and took her with as assistant manager. Unfortunately, she is gone now.
    Nothing left here but air freshener,oil change, and LED BS stuff stores.
    Even if I gave a part # some of these stores couldn't bill it without an application to punch in the computer.
    I miss the days of the Monroe stools, Spark-o-Matic shifter displays, Hurst shifter displays, shock displays,glass ashtrays with the tire rim, and Sears with the re-built flathead six engines on the display floor.
    Damn, I'm old!
  6. alumslot
    Joined: Mar 5, 2008
    Posts: 493


    I have tried to buy anything I can from Hardin's speed service a real speed shop in Hobart, IN. The owner Wally had been in business for about 50 years or so and sadly passed a way from a stroke. He would help you get any parts or what you need. I pass his shop and miss him every day. What a good guy. RIP
    OG lil E and VANDENPLAS like this.
  7. BuckeyeBuicks
    Joined: Jan 4, 2010
    Posts: 2,313

    from ohio

    I worked in real, honest to goodness auto parts stores from 1968-1994 (except for when Uncle Sam called me and a few months after I got out of the service and tried factory work) I found out factory work was not for me so I went back to the auto parts trade. We have lots of farmers around here that are prone to patch things up as cheap as they can so they weeded out the real parts men from the jerks that were just taking up space behind the counter. I loved the job but the $ was not the best and benefits sucked. In 94 I had taken the post office civil service test and got a call to be a city mail carrier, starting pay was almost twice what I made in the parts store with all the benefits, retirement, and every thing else I needed. I didn't like the job much but I stuck it out and was able to retire at 62 six years ago with 21 years in after I bought back my military time.
    I am lucky enough to have a local pretty much real parts store to deal with, they even have some old parts books that they let me look through to give them part numbers when their computers can't find what I need. I get pissed off every time I go into a chain "parts store" , I am pretty sure most of the counter people have an IQ to match their shoe size. To be fair, a very few of the kids in the chain stores try their best, but I still avoid those stores when ever I can.
    Sandgroper, OG lil E and VANDENPLAS like this.
  8. This does get old real fast.
  9. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,401

    from illinois

    As time marches on we're slowly but surely losing our support systems , my buddy that ran the welding shop , the one who did driveshafts , the guys who ran the junkyards ,( and the yards) the parts guys who new the numbers off the top of their heads , the buddy with a hoist . When something goes wrong I catch myself thinking of one guy or another that will help , then remember he's moved to Arizona or Florida or sold out of passed away , things aren't like they were , that's for sure get ready youngsters , this is what happens after 60 or 70 ...
  10. Daron Craig
    Joined: Jun 28, 2018
    Posts: 79

    Daron Craig

    Lately the entire staff at the chain stores are a bunch of mongoloids who move like molasses. It’s enough to enrage you just watching them exist in the same space as you.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,208

    from Michigan

    It's a language only we speak. Few places to find people who speak it anymore.

    I don't know of any old time auto parts stores around here anymore.
    I do have a buddy who inherited an auto repair shop from his dad. He and his late brother basically grew up there. It's still just an old greasy shop. The only place I know where we can still just hang out... smoke if you want... maybe use his floor jack and tire machine...

    Sent from my VS835 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  12. I know I don’t need to mention it and take no offense - he ain’t gonna keep the lights on by loaning his tire machine and jack. Hopefully you’re a loyal customer that spreads the word to other customers too
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  13. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,277


    Sorry, I had to steal this
    Johnny Gee and VANDENPLAS like this.
  14. Sadly enough, time marches on and I don't always appreciate where it's going. Used to be a great auto-electric shop in nearby Upper Marlboro, Maryland where the staff of older gentlemen knew all of the parts, numbers and interchange capabilities. They would happily bench test your starter or generator and always seemed helpful, albeit a bit grumpy at times. The place is long gone now, replaced by those chain outfits that have no soul or usually no knowledge of what you are asking them about.
  15. My parts store still uses books to look up parts.
    Baumi, williebill, OG lil E and 3 others like this.
  16. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 7,545


    I've been lucky through the years, first place was local small parts house with a inhouse automotive machine shop, owner owned/raced local stock cars, his #1 man was a drag racer. These guys helped me out many times with their knowledge/parts, another place back then for me was local junkyard, bought engines, trannys, rear ends axles, etc. again knowledge and patience with us kids. Behlings racing parts started up in early 70's and Hot Rod Shop in Milwaukee, Sesco racing engines ( worked part time there for a few years) Zima racing engines So..... back in the day I always had sources, contacts., In fact All through the years I've always found a supplier, sources, knowledge for whatever I wanted/needed, later years in my retirement (Northwoods Wi.)I had to search out a parts store, ended up at local O'reilly's, manager is a car guy, he will take the time to help me get what I'm looking for, example, brake job on my Merc, brought in a caliper, rotor and we looked at pics/specs in computer to determine that I have Granada brakes. I have dealt with Speedway, Summit, Jegs, Yogis, Rock Auto and others with very few problems through the years. Today using the internet with Youtube you can find anything, I've used Youtube for help fixing my drivers, amazing what you can learn. IMO if you can't find parts/info in today's times, It's YOU, The answers/sources are there just like they have always been, maybe even more so.
  17. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,322


    Local parts counter is still exactly like the one in the second pic. Sadly a few years ago they cleaned out and sold all of their NOS stuff but I still get a good bit from them.
    OG lil E likes this.
  18. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 5,496

    from red oak

    My guy makes me battery cables to the right length and puts air line fittings on for me. Just ordered $850 dollars worth of parts for my daughters car yesterday. My dad saved 25% off of strut assemblies by ordering online. But I know what I am getting. Name brand parts. There is a difference between 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch plywood.
  19. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 991

    from NH Boonies

    There are a couple NAPA stores near me with knowledgeable guys behind the counter, but most of them always seem to have rotten attitudes, and look at you like the asshole for asking questions. It can be annoying as hell, but they are the only guys in my area that know anything. I have an account in the closest one, but some of them still treat me like I'm just a pain in the ass for bothering them. Thankfully there a couple guys that are friendly, and I always try to get them when I walk in, but it's a crap shoot with who you're gonna get. I don't let it stop me from going, and I always try to be pleasant, but it can be trying! :(
    Sandgroper, VANDENPLAS and OG lil E like this.
  20. khead47
    Joined: Mar 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,762


    I know of a real old time parts shop with the required old fart in Melvindale, Mi. If anybody wants the name, PM me.
    Rickybop and VANDENPLAS like this.
  21. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,192

    from Burton, MI

    Northwest Automotive in the North End of Flint, MI (YIKES!) is my go-to place. Weasel (great name), Kevin, Keith and Matt really klnow their stuff. All car guys from birth, a couple race car guys, good old-fashioned hot rodders that know their shit. It's a 20 mile drive for me but I go there.
  22. KevKo
    Joined: Jun 25, 2009
    Posts: 592

    from Motown

    The Auto Value in Allen Park, MI is like that. They even have stools! I went in to get a pan gasket for a Turbo 350. The guy says I'll need a filter too, comes in a pack. Turns around and gets it off the shelf without looking it up. And they made custom battery cables for me. They know me now when I walk in. I won't go anywhere else unless they are closed and I can't wait.
  23. rusty rocket
    Joined: Oct 30, 2011
    Posts: 4,249

    rusty rocket

    I've been following a husband and wife team for years. They owned there own store before the city said the road in front of there store would be widened basically forcing them out after that I have followed them to two other stores. They have become friends and mentors. The table was turned also, being a carpenter I have done work for them on the house so it's full circle.
  24. We're all monkeys after that one banana. I stole it from my Son's FB page.
  25. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,989

    from Berry, AL

    I’m lucky to have one 2 miles from me. Owned by 3 brothers, the youngest is about 5 years younger than me, oldest is in his early 70’s. I buy some stuff from them, but can’t stand the prices they have to get on some things so I have to go online. I have free roam of the back when I need it, if they’re busy I’ll go get what I need and then pay. The middle brother is a good friend, a car guy like me, has helped me a lot. Even he gets stuff online, said he can’t afford his own prices, LOL!
  26. Ah, the good ole days. I am with ya. I wish there were some real parts stores left around here. After Clemons auto parts sold out and closed here, I have not discovered another real auto parts store. I have to order nearly every damn thing I buy because either the franchise stores don't have it, can't get it or its made by 10 year old girls in a Chinese prison.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  27. joeycarpunk
    Joined: Jun 21, 2004
    Posts: 4,445

    from MN,USA

    All shops (Napa,AutoValue, etc) can order parts for you but they are only as good as the people who work there. Fortunate to have a couple in my home town but they are feeling the squeeze of internet sales.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  28. Anderson Auto Parts was the last family owned auto parts business here in town, the Anderson's sold out a few years ago.

    I did business with them since I was in my teens and had gotten to know the old man & all his son's plus a bunch of my friends worked here over the years, the entire staff was super knowledgeable and didn't use computers, they had rows & rows of parts books and went that extra mile to help you find what you need.

    They would let me roam around in the back looking for belt's and hoses or odds & ends parts, I basically had the run of the place and did 99% of my business there, they even set me up a account, they were great people to do business with,but all good things come to a end and due to age the family sold out to NAPA'

    Today that store has been remodeled, they have computers and kids that spend more time on their phones than helping customers, if they can't look at the computer and get the number for a part, they say, sorry we don't carry that part but we might be able to order it from out warehouse in Atlanta.

    Customer service at the parts counter doesn't exist at this old establishment anymore, sadly or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, O'Rileys has now become my go to store but there are no old timer countermen there. HRP
    earleg and wicarnut like this.
  29. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,312


    I lived in Atlantic Ia for 30+ years, the NAPA store was great with knowledgeable parts guys, I miss 'em. Here in Council Bluffs IA I really haven't found a good parts house with knowledgeable staff, they may be there, I just haven't encountered them. The other day I was in a parts store and wanted a fuel filter and the guy took me back and showed me what he had (all stock factory stuff), nothing there, I went back a few days later hoping they had found the upper radiator hose that their inventory showed, while the same guy went back for the second time (and couldn't find it) I spied a Mr Gasket?? "will fit fuel filter" hanging on the wall with the other "hot rod" parts. I bought it. I finally ordered the top hose from Amazon and saved about $6 and didn't have to start the car. I miss the old days:( I was visiting a friend of mine in Georgia and I saw stacks of Amazon boxes (over ten years ago). I asked him about that and he said he would go into Macon GA and spend all day trying to find things he needed and come home empty handed, that's when he changed his shopping to "click, click" and had it in a couple of days with no wasted time.
  30. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,659

    Atwater Mike

    Actually, our O'Reilly's has a knowledgeable parts mgr. The 'old parts house' is still stocked with some elders, but the region is known for subterranean intellect.
    It was a culture shock moving here from the San Jose area...(1989) but the Silicon Valley had taken hold there, and the old parts houses/auto machine shops that we frequented had mostly succumbed to the 'new order'!
    Cook's Automotive, Les Joseph Speed shop, Automotive Engineering, Harrington & Wilson, Tomasello Race Engines, Kaeding Enterprises...all gone.
    Merced was the highest in number per capita of registered 'street rods'. We used to come over here for the NSRA weekends on Mothers' Day, at the Fairgrounds.
    Great meeting place for rodders...That sealed it. We'd move over here.
    We did, but the 'good parts houses'? Few and far between.
    Our NAPA is pretty good, I know the owner and his two countermen.
    They are now on computer...:rolleyes:
    lothiandon1940 likes this.

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