View Full Version : Cheaper Parts versus buying from our Studebaker Vendors

03-27-2017, 10:04 AM
I see comments in various threads about buying parts from various online stores instead of our vendors. As I am a CASO at heart I truly understand this. But there is something else we should all think about when we buy online from a non vendor. I am not talking about going to the corner FLAPS (if you can find one) and getting the part off their shelf. When you buy from a Studebaker Vendor 95% of the time you will get the part you need and not a generic part someone said should fit. Yes, our vendors are human and sometimes make mistakes!

The thing we need to think about is all the parts our vendor have had reproduced that are not available online elsewhere. We are very fortunate to have such a high availability of good quality parts. I remember back when V8 wheel cylinders were so hard to find. One of our parts vendors went to Wagner and laid out a considerable amount of money out of their own pockets to have a run make. Parts manufacturers will generally not make say 10 wheel cylinders, but they will run say a 1000 of them. Not many of us can lay out the cash required to run 1000 of an item and let them sit on a shelf in warehouse space that also is costly until they are all sold. If the vendor did not have money for this, it would not get done. How do you think they do this?? That part you pay them $50 for and they make $25 on it, that $25 of profit is how they do it. From what I hear now, profit margins have lessened over what they use to be so my example is probably high but you get the point I hope.

I have personally seen a master cylinder from an online vendor and compared it to one our vendors sell. I could personally see the difference in quality. I for one, do not want to risk anyone's life with an inferior product.

If you ever get the chance to tour the facilities of one of our larger vendors, you may see a 20 foot set of shelves loaded down with say, piston sets. Ask yourself, how much money that vendor has tied up in the parts waiting for a customer and how much that footprint costs the vendor in floor space and taxes.

If we all buy from online vendors, how is this going to affect our Studebaker vendors and their ability to reproduce other parts in the future?? Do you think a Rockauto is going to reproduce a piston for a champion engine??? I think not.

My experience has been that our vendors do not buy parts from an online store and mark them up. They only buy quality products.

The online world has affected even the major parts manufacturers like Standard and Napa etc. Most of them will carry two lines of parts like starting solenoids. They will have one that sells for say $15 to compete in the online world and another that sells for say $25 that is of better quality and which is sold to repair shops that want to provide quality repairs on customers cars. If I am buying a part from a Flaps I always try to buy the better quality part. I think most of our vendors will opt for the higher quality part also when ordering from their suppliers.

Thanks for listening

03-27-2017, 10:45 AM
Well said!!!

03-27-2017, 11:17 AM
When we had our performance tire/wheel automotive repair business, we ALWAYS tried to get the best quality versus the cheapest. It was becoming more difficult as China became more dominant in the automotive aftermarket parts business. For example, we used to get rebuilt Chevy small block water pumps (cast iron) from a local re-manufacture and had virtually no problems or comebacks. They closed shop due to offshore competition. Once our main supplier shifted to offshore aluminum water pumps, the comebacks became rampant (they looked good initially out of the box) with massive corrosion, probably due to being made from recycled aluminum containing impurities and hence the porosity and leaks. I heartily agree with Milt on supporting our own vendors at every chance we encounter in our efforts to keep these 50+ year old Studebakers active and on the road.

03-27-2017, 11:43 AM
I agree, besides, our vendors prices are not really out of line. I ordered an intake gasket for my 51 from Advance Auto Parts and ashamedly found it was cheaper from SI.

03-27-2017, 12:05 PM
I try my best to buy as many parts as possible from our vendors. I appreciate having them available with quality parts AND knowledgeable about the part I actually need when sometimes I'm not real sure if it is this or that. I want to save a $$ just like everyone else but I also realize that by spending with our vendors I'm helping to insure we all continue to have this valuable resource.
Thanks for posting!

03-27-2017, 12:10 PM
In 5 years will a few bucks really matter. Support the vendors.

03-27-2017, 02:46 PM
Water pumps for 289 are cheaper through SI. What I like are the kits and discounts. When I start I know I have the correct parts to finish.

03-27-2017, 03:55 PM
Ditto Joe. I recently purchased one for my '57 Clipper from Chuck & Chris-Terrific service & price.
Cheers, Bill

03-27-2017, 04:43 PM
I agree "WELL SAID" ! I have no desire to do the order/buy on line thingy,likely never will. I generally use Two Vendors when I need Studebaker Parts "that need to be what they need to be". though I do use local Parts Stores for little things in general.

Dave Bates
03-27-2017, 04:48 PM
I buy everything from vendors,mostly Myers.They can answer any questions I have unlike flaps or online.

03-27-2017, 04:53 PM
There will always be people who buy on price alone. The idea of a quality product lasting longer and costing less in the long run is something they cannot grok.

03-27-2017, 04:57 PM
.... grok.

It's been quite a while ago since hearing that term...

03-27-2017, 05:04 PM
I must agree with the premise of the thread. I recently got a nice new Carter fuel pump from Rich Gahlbeck, and it worked - unlike the crappy Airtex that failed out of the box :(

03-27-2017, 06:07 PM
I must agree with the premise of the thread. I recently got a nice new Carter fuel pump from Rich Gahlbeck, and it worked - unlike the crappy Airtex that failed out of the box :(

I'll let you in on a little secret....Carter no longer manufactures these fuel pumps. For quite a while they were re-boxed - I think Blackstone? - but for the last couple of years they are re-boxed Airtex. The good news is that the more recently produced Airtex pumps seem to be much better. Once I recognized I was paying more for a Airtex pump in a Carter box, I just bought Airtex in an Airtex box.

03-27-2017, 06:39 PM
... is something they cannot grok.:D "GROK!"
Roy, you are showing your age. Are you a Heinlein fan?
If so, the Studebaker world is enhanced by your presence! :!: I mean, our world is obviously enhanced by your presence but, even more so if you are a Heinlein fan!

Those not in the know MUST read "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein. And grok it fully!

03-27-2017, 07:03 PM
Are you a Heinlein fan?

If not, perhaps a Star Trek fan ;)

03-27-2017, 07:05 PM
Back in the 70's and early 80's I was on airplanes constantly (and people wonder why I am reluctant to travel now). At that time I read science fiction almost exclusively. Now I read WW2.

Heinlein eventually started getting whacky, IMO, always writing about having sex with chubby baby-making females. The first one I chose not to read was the number of the beast.

03-27-2017, 07:35 PM
I buy the best parts, or if I can make a better part work, then I use that. Some things that are strictly Stude I will use the newest and freshest parts. NOS things like rubber, and cork gaskets can be and most likely are not useable NOS. Same thing goes for suspension bushings. Newest is best, so that is what I use. Some vendors make a part available and say that it will work, and then you buy them, and they will not. A for instance is SI made a LED headlight available several years ago, and said it fits all. I had already been down this road in building a custom car, and took one look at the part, and knew by looking at it that it would not fit behind the lens of an Avanti. So by telling Ed, he had to change his will fit description. I do not have the luxury of charging shipping, trial fit, and returns while the customer is waiting for his car back. I don't have enough profit margin to see if something will fit.
I have put NuRelics window regulators in customers cars. There is nothing in the instructions on how to install the regulator itself. Internal bracing must be cut inside the door, and additional motor bracing, and spacers, and bolts are required. Nothing, not a word about that in the instructions. The 50% markup on Stude parts vs the same part from NAPA is hard to justify to a customer. Full fledged paying customers are few and far between that are willing to spend more for a restoration than the value of the car.

03-27-2017, 07:39 PM
Hey Milt, I think I've bought a part or two from you off eBay. Could'a been before I discovered the forum, or about the same time. I've also gotten parts from Bob Peterson, Lionel Stone, the late Don Gay, and even his brother Ralph, who continues to soldier on selling Don's parts on eBay. I can honestly say, I don't think I have ever had a bad experience with our vendors. When it comes to price, having run a business myself, I fully understand the need for markup, in order to turn a profit. Any one in business has to have a good handle on his costs of doing business or he's headed for trouble. Some, have a lower cost than others. Hauling a load of shopworn, dirty, rusty parts around in a beater van, or selling out of a backyard utility shed, will have less cost than a person with a brick & mortar store, full time employees, an organized clean inventory, published catalog, etc.

As I type this post, I'm looking at a catalog from a company called "Northern Auto Parts." I don't recall asking for it. It just came in the mail. Same for a company called Kanter auto parts. I think those guys are big Packard fans. One thing about both of these parts vendors, they have lots of parts for the usual "Belly Button" brands, but the Studebaker stuff is very limited. I don't think the fact that Studebaker has not been making cars for decades is the only reason. I think the fact that our Studebaker specific vendors do such a good job, these catalog companies can't get enough customer traction to compete.

I still buy the occasional part from my local parts store. Especially, the perishable stuff like ignition parts, if I'm in a pinch and want to get going quickly. When you develop a bit of a reputation for working on, or collecting a particular vintage brand, sometimes you get offers too good to refuse. Like last summer, when I was gifted two new 6 volt coils, just to get them out of inventory.:)

I have grown old with my Studebaker obsession. I am still amazed, at the age of 72 as I was at 30, that so much is still available to us. I hope it continues.:)

03-27-2017, 08:45 PM
I put my '63 Avanti back together with the help of many vendors. As I've told others, no one source will have everything, however, among the many they should have what you need. It's great to develop the relationship and gain the knowledge from each because they will impart that knowledge about whatever project or repair that you'll never get from a FLAPS or NAPA. Unfortunately because of the internet generation they now know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

03-27-2017, 09:11 PM
Gentlemen, i agree with most of the prior statements, but also must remind our vendors that we do not always need a expensive kit to do the job at hand. Recently i needed a top radiator hose and a plastic surge tank for a 67 avanti, stop at s.i. Had to buy a 170 00 kit,went to local auto parts and bought the same mfg# tank and gates hose for under 45.00 including tax

03-27-2017, 10:50 PM
I was a happy customer of Newman-Altman/SASCO for several years and am currently a happy customer of Studebaker International (I especially like their catalog, perhaps slightly prejudiced being I have a car on the inside front and the back covers).
I also support my local auto supply stores (Parts City and Auto Value). It's nice going into a store where people know my name and they know I drive Studebakers.
Lastly, I have purchased many used parts from the fine people of the SDC, some of whom are here on the forum. I am looking forward to the May swap meet to make more purchases!

03-28-2017, 11:47 AM
Having done vending for many years with most of mine being used parts I know what Milt is saying and should be taken to heart that our venders do our club a great service with out them we have no club. I am close to Studebaker's West in Redwood City California and in the past some people have come to me and asked me why their prices are so high. my words to them if you don't buy from them there will come a day when they can not or will not be in business then what will you do? both Carl and Hermon are not spring chickens but do work very hard at keeping a lot of Studebaker's on the road and running. they are just one of many that do us a great service by just being our venders. thanks guys all of you...........Candbstudebakers

03-28-2017, 02:35 PM
Some of you know that my 48 Champion has very few Studebaker parts left on it. The only thing I did order from Stude International was a complete set of window and door rubber seals. Most were satisfactory, but the rear window seals, for my Starlight Coupe, were terrible, and it is just too much of a hassle to replace them, assuming something is available that actually fits properly. I have fabricated some metal clips to hold down the puckered areas, but not installed yet. I am afraid this is my only experience with an SDC vendor.

For mechanical and electrical automotive parts in general, I rarely find a better or cheaper source than Rockauto, very quick response and always send me what I ordered.

03-28-2017, 08:47 PM
Ben, Your Champion is not Stock?

03-28-2017, 10:44 PM
We all certainly can and should support Studebaker-specific or Studebaker specialty businesses whenever possible, simply as a matter of self-interest. It turns out that nearly all of those with whom I have done business over the years have been fair, kind ,knowledgeable, decent people. That's worth something, to me, anyway.
The question in my mind is: where will the next generation of vendors come from? Lark Works is the only example I can readily think of someone younger than me (I'm 53) who is a Studebaker-specific vendor. We are blessed and spoiled now with several good parts vendors, many specialist mechanics, machinists and salvage operators who provide so much help to us hobbyists. Time, the great leveler, will change that dramatically in the next ten to fifteen years.
May God bless you all, Studebaker vendors. No one goes into that line of work realistically expecting to get rich. I'm sure you do it because you love it.

03-29-2017, 02:18 AM
I fully agree.
I'm glad that we have some vendors which offers as many parts. When I bought my Commander a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't believe, how many parts on offer for this 60 years old car.
My first choice are our vendors, which have a useable online shop. If I can't find the needed parts, I search for them online.
The problem for me is to contact the vendors by phone. My english is not as well as it should (writing is much easier for me ), and approx. 6-8 hours time shift is sometimes also a "problem".

04-23-2017, 10:25 PM
There is a difference between full time vendors such as SI , Stephan Allen , Studebaker West, Chuck Collins etc. and vendors like me that have many parts but sell parts as a hobby.
I enjoy visits from our local chapter members and people stopping by when they are in our area.
I bought inventories from 29 former Studebaker dealers as a retirement project and find that it is overwhelming.
I am 80years old and am having health issues and am not able to keep up.
Have patience when you request parts.
You can text me at eight one seven 212 2389 with a short description and part number and I can check my inventory.
I have over 20.000 different part numbers on my computer for 1936 up parts but most older parts are used and not inventoried

Robert Kapteyn

04-27-2017, 05:57 PM
Robert, as like you i sell used parts retirement hobby, not got quiet to your age yet but some days i think i am, like you i enjoy talking to people who call to see if i have the part thay need , if i dont i send them to other used venders , been dowing it for 25+ yrs , but have always drove& worked on studies, it takes me time to pull parts to store them clean them , you have to like it cause it is not a big money maker , i am trying to sell down thowso i can build the last cars i want to drive , dan spfd. mo.