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Projects Shrinking faster? Hobby or Vendors?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by jim1932, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. been thinking lately of the departures from the hobby... Dick Spadaro, Roy Nacewitz Lebaron Bonney.... I am trying to decide if there is opportunity for enterprising people to create businesses? or is the hobby shrinking faster?
    Cyclone Kevin likes this.
  2. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,219


    Been thinking the same thing. Maybe I should not be putting off buying parts while they are still available.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  3. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,593

    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    This has been beaten to death, the number of young people who focus on our era cars is not enough to replace those of us who are aging out either thru passing on or health concerns. That said there is still a demand for some quality products, but it is challenging to say the least to get started. What type of product line where you considering?
    dsiddons likes this.
  4. Colonial Coupe
    Joined: Dec 22, 2010
    Posts: 74

    Colonial Coupe

    Noticed at Hershy that Honest Charlie had everything discounted and no new in inventory, couldn't get an answer from the guys as to what's up with that. A lot of folks got some good deals, me too. Sure hope that they aren't bailing on this event.

  5. 48 Indian Rag
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 78

    48 Indian Rag
    from conn

    Maybe it's because the innovators are aging/passing away or maybe the people that are doing the buying are looking for price over quality. When a guy spends the time to think up, research, and develop a product, bring it to market and then within six months have some guy copy it have it made in China and sell for less the the originator can produce in his/her shop. Very few of the younger generations believe in brand loyalty it's all about price and if it breaks they sort of expect it and just email Amazon for another.
  6. quick85
    Joined: Feb 23, 2014
    Posts: 2,135


    After over 50 years of owning some very righteous cars the so-called "hobby" has pushed
    me out of the door and left me lying at the curb. The name of the game now is
    money. Most everyone wants to either get rich or recoup the money they've poured
    into cars. The days of super deals and quick buys of cars are long gone. There have
    to be buyers out there to purchase new offerings or reproduction parts. If you can't
    afford a car you don't need parts. From watching the car shows on tv, the super
    builders can make damn near anything they need themselves.
  7. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,410


    It's pretty simple as with any comes in product goes doesn't come in company goes out!
    AHotRod likes this.
  8. KevKo
    Joined: Jun 25, 2009
    Posts: 441

    from Motown

    I've been going to NSRA Kalamazoo for many years. The vendors have dropped off a lot. Maybe half what it used to be. Yes, some are retiring, some have passed. But even those still in business seem to have cut back. Obviously it costs a vendor a lot to haul stuff to a show, and if we aren't buying, they stop coming. I don't know if the chicken came first or the egg. But the result is the same.
    AHotRod and mario711 like this.
  9. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,170

    anthony myrick

    the shops I visit are busy.
    Most builds couldn’t be posted here.
    It’s changing. The purest is the only part shrinking.
    Add that to the rising cost to set up at shows for vendors
    AHotRod, VANDENPLAS and Cosmo50 like this.
  10. UNSHINED 2
    Joined: Oct 30, 2006
    Posts: 994


    One good thing is that some parts will be easier to reproduce with the gains in New technology and 3d printing. I think things will be ok.
  11. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 2,987


    I don’t see your logic, Spadaro and Nacewicz left us, they didn’t expect to close up shop. I may be mistaken but I believe the next generation didn’t want to continue in L-B’s business and the new owner ran it into the ground. In the situations you mention Spadaro’s closed with no one to take the reins. I don’t recall if it had been offered for sale or not. Nacewicz’s business has been sold and is up and running again and L-B’s failure to complete orders, incorrect shipments and lack of support for customers is well documented.
    I think the market is still strong overall but can it support any newcomers marketing the same items as everyone else?
    That wouldn’t be a prudent business plan, unless you were building a better mousetrap. The hobby has no need for another Lucky 7 or Hoffman Group and the days of Pete & Jake’s Hot Rod Repair are long gone. I mention P&J because when I was there with a friend in ‘76 they had two welders heli-arcing parts in the shop right here at home.
    It might prove interesting if we could know where some things are sourced today, are they coming from home or overseas? Borgeson is an old business that saw an opportunity and went into steering boxes as a natural outgrowth of their u-joints. Their steering gear is made in the USA on the original Saginaw (GM) tooling yet how many knock off box stories have we seen here? I guess shopping can be tough for the uninitiated, what is a good part and what is junk? Some shop price and can get burned, but everybody finds a bargain sometimes.
    Maybe it means nothing, but I look at magazine ads and when I see no address for a brick and mortar building I wonder just where their stuff is coming from. But then again even the major players are sourcing some things off shore, many rag on Speedway but don’t kid yourself it happens more than we imagine.
    JMO, flame away if you think I’m just an old crank.
  12. Dusty roads
    Joined: Nov 29, 2016
    Posts: 139

    Dusty roads

    I have walked this yard and know the owner. On the West side of the yard are classic vehicles and the East side modern vehicles.
  13. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,056

    from so-cal

    In business, the first priority when you buy/takeover an existing company is to recover your money. you have do that by either reducing costs or raising prices, there is no other way. So that's why some just disappear when the product is hobby based clients. The other reason an old established business closes without a buyer is that the inventory is not replaceable, when its gone ,its gone and all you wind up with is the name
    AHotRod likes this.
  14. Cyclone Kevin
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,010

    Cyclone Kevin
    Alliance Vendor

    I believe that this road has been traveled before. The likes of Gene Scott-PSI components and Joe MAC filled the needs for many a young/old Rodder by selling many hard to obtain parts even back in the 60’s. Look back at selected R&C mags and you find shop tours which provided many readers a place to find these elusive parts.It’s always a good time to contribute to this industry in anyway a potential vendor can.
    We’ve been in business for 80 years and the business address is at the same place that is on the side of our QC, with the same # to Cook’s. Nearly 22yrs ago I became involved in it and have the calls come to me via the # on our website. cycloneracingequipment.

    @48 Indian Rag, I think perhaps you’re on the right tract re: much of the time research and marketing involved maintaining a hobby driven business. some years things are good in this industry others are not.
    The other thing is when manufacturers in the same industry copy a part that is in your catalog even having the Gaul to even use your name on that product and not getting back to you on perhaps a licensing agreement if they’ve made substantial investment in their additional tooling required to make this part.
    This business has changed over the 80 years of this existence and mfg costs have exceeded what one could use for continued existence. Luckily we own all of our tooling, So the tooling isn’t a problem, raw material can be as can foundry time.

    Wishing the best for all in this industry and it’s continued existence.
  15. I follow the S.E.M.A. shows & pictures & various articles about it. There are still street/hot rod cars being built but these aren't usually done in the traditional sense & nowhere as many as there once was. As most of us have seen, the majority at large seem to be updating OT muscle cars, whether vintage or late model versions. It is understandable to want the luxuries of modern technology & more horsepower then the average person can count. The days of a high dollar ride :rolleyes: like $3,500 for a well done rod are gone. If I'm going to put out $45,000 for a car, it better have some comforts & power. I've seen parts prices costing more than some cars I've built. Where will it end? I don't know but I'm enjoying what I have.
  16. thintin
    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 223


    When I was just getting old enough to think about driving (as a legal, card holding junior operator, in ny state), In my town my best buddy's older brother had a deuce; five window, primer grey, stock except for later model tires and wheels. As newly minted legal operators, we were always looking for any and every opportunity to drive.....anything, anywhere. This coupe mostly sat in the yard, being the early sixties, nobody cool wanted to drive it anywhere.....too slow, too small(couldn't put nine people in for the drive-in run) " geez' I gotta new galaxie, what the hell I wanna drive that coupe for"....etc. So, we jumped at the chance to drive that baby when ever we could talk the older brother into lettin' us,fighting like cats and dogs over who drove it next and for how long. The point in all this round-a-bout ramble is this: This lifestyle/hobby/religion and all that comprises it.....vendors, hot rod shops, builders, and yes, all the cats with the cars, ebbs and flows, just like everything else. That same ebb and flow deal has happened before, it's happening now and it'll happen again. Each time, it's rage and ruin....all the good guys are gone.....the latest" golden age " is over......etc. and it is.......except somebody forgot to tell that one guy in a one stall garage....standing there looking a rusty pile he dragged in ....with nuthin' more than an idea, that it's over.....and here we go again
  17. choptop40
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,656


    That's what I'm gonna do...enjoy what I have......Oh ..and I'll have a 3D Printer making just about anything will be possible once it's scanned and put in a slice file....
  18. choptop40
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,656


    3D makes on demand production of parts , custom name it...F..the China crap and glad the U.S. Is placing tariffs on their products..
  19. realsteeler
    Joined: Mar 30, 2012
    Posts: 38


    I'm a bit sceptical about 3D printing. My old school mentality doubts the strength and durability of such components?
    Is it possible to make a stainless steel bumper? Or a bonnet hinge that will actually hold a bonnet up? Or is the technology not here yet?
  20. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,542


    My shop does nothing but sell parts and I'd say business has never been better in 15 years, but it's all online. I only go to swap meets to buy, the economics of selling there just don't work out.

    I'm less concerned with the hobby shrinking (which I don't see happening) and more concerned that the supply of old parts is quickly drying up. The low scrap price is helping at the moment, but old junkyards and private collections disappear every year and most are never replaced.

    I think if you want to start up a business, start by dealing in old used stuff. Go to the estate auctions and the old junkyards and buy up everything you can and offer it to the world. There's money to be made there, and does the hobby a lot of good. Everything that isn't saved is lost.
  21. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,850

    from California

    I'm sure going to miss old cars when this hobby peters out. should be any day now since it has been petering out since the 70's. yes, I do have to say the same thing on every one of these threads that gets posted.
  22. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 2,118


    I had a Friend Girl that would go the 'lake' every weekend. Living in the desert the lake was down to 17% of it's full capacity and I ask her about that....
    Her reply; " yes it is, but that is still a lot of water"
  23. It's not Just the vendors/people that carter to our want's it's the same way in just about every consumer product, I guy see's some one making a buck and the next thing you know you got 10 others selling the same product and your targeted market is drying up and your profits go down due to trying to be competitive.

    Sears is a primer example, huge business and they had the lions share of the business then combines with Roebuck and they started a catalog business also., in 2019 they are dead. nothing last forever. HRP
    rpm56, OLSKOOL57 and VANDENPLAS like this.
  24. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,552

    from Colorado

    The traditional hot rod owner is a a very small segment of the automotive high performance equipment market. There are 130,000 buyers in Las Vegas at the SEMA show this week. There are still people out there catering to this market. However, most of them are doing it out of the love for the hobby and to satisfy their personal goals.
    AHotRod and jnaki like this.
  25. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 3,422


    That Honest Charley's thing is interesting. I believe they were owned by Coker. Coker was recently bought out. Are the new owners dismantling Honest C's and then do the same for Coker?
  26. Pats55
    Joined: Apr 29, 2013
    Posts: 414

    from NJ

    Things always change. I started my business 32 years ago and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I loved going to the different shows all along the east coast, made a couple of bucks ,and met alot of really nice people. I looked forward to my trips every year. The problem I had was the misinformation and how it becomes gospel. Anybody start a business today should have products that can be used on all the cars not just a small part of the industry.
  27. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,358

    from kansas

    Part of it does come down to price.

    New parts have gotten ridiculous price wise. Cam kits, pistons etc have exploded in price in the last 20 yrs.

    Up into the late 80's early 90's a high school kid could build a decently fast street car on a part time job salary, not anymore. I went to school with guys who did exactly that.

    One old gent said alot of what happened was most companies expected a 5 yr return on most investments, be it r&d, production etc. He stated that most got to the point where they were trying to see that same return in 1 yr.

    I also remember when trw basically raised the price on their engine kits over night and almost doubled the price. In fact my parts guy called me and told me it was happening in case i wanted to pick up a couple kits. The ones i was buying were 320 to 380, 1 week later the went to 540 to 590. I asked him if he knew why? His answer was the trw rep said they were trying to maximize profits.

    Companies like walmart etc got big by not gouging prices but by keeping those prices down and selling butt loads of product. Sure the car market is smaller but marketing works the same.
    AHotRod likes this.
  28. OLSKOOL57
    Joined: Feb 14, 2019
    Posts: 469


    You are so right. Sears/Roebuck had their catalogue for many a year. You would have thought they would have transitioned to Online Sales easily, maybe even before Amazon. But no, Sears is about done in my area.
    koolbeans likes this.
  29. Pats55
    Joined: Apr 29, 2013
    Posts: 414

    from NJ

    Greed will kill it every time
  30. realsteeler
    Joined: Mar 30, 2012
    Posts: 38


    I have built old hot rods for other people for many years now. In the course of doing so, I have run up against the problem of parts unavailability. So I have had to make the parts myself. Luckily, I have the means to do this.
    When I tool up to make a particular item, I figure that there must also be someone else who needs the same part, so I prepare to make multiple items. This takes considerable effort. (two years development for 37-39 Ford windshields) A labour of love, really.

    I then go ahead and knock a few out.
    Having then achieved a quality outcome, I head for the market!
    Oh dear!!
    Because I am a small time operation, making very small unit numbers, out of a small country workshop, I have no credibility in the market place. That will come eventually. But it demonstrates to me how difficult it must have been. initially, for all those industry names to get off the ground. Hats off to those old guys, Spadaro, Winfield etc, etc.
    AHotRod and williebill like this.

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