When taking on any major form of automotive project whether it be a motor swap, classic restoration, or even just a major repair; one constant remains and that is a lot of parts are going to be needed. As most people may come to realize lots of parts can equal lots of money, so what is the most cost effective way to get a lot of parts for little cash?
The answer is parts cars.When most people take on a big auto project the first thing that comes to mind is the major and large ticket items that are required. Using an engine swap as an example most people take into account for the main parts needed such as the engine itself, motor mounts, and maybe other pieces like a different radiator etc. However what we often forget to include in our costs are all the very little parts involved. Bolts, wires, harness clips, hoses, screws, plugs, the list can go on. Usually when dealing with a large project the sum of all the little nickel and dime parts can often be equal or greater than the large parts themselves.
A great way to avoid the unwanted experience of getting nickeled and dimed to death is buying a parts car. Now when most people hear the words "buy a used parts car" the first reaction may be to think of high costs and complications. However like most things in the world buying the whole package tends to be the more cost effective solution. Lets say you are looking to upgrade your engine to that of a higher model from the same brand. Instead of locating just the engine which even complete turnkeys tend to still need a few more parts and are expensive to begin with finding a wrecked car or truck that has an undamaged engine you want may cost the same or even less. Often times finding a complete car especially if it is not running due to problems unrelated to your parts needs can cost much less or the same as a drive train by itself. Vehicles with junk or salvage titles are great sources that are always cheap as well.
The important aspect of a parts car is that all those little hoses,belts,bolts,clips, etc. discussed earlier are most likely going to be all there and in the correct location saving you very important time and money by not having to source them all individually. Best of all is that there are always going to be others out there looking for the individual parts you didn't need and willing to pay for them. If you want to go to the trouble of taking the vehicle apart and listing and shipping the individual parts there is a chance you could make your money back and have some profit to boot. Otherwise simply putting what's left back up for sale or if its totally stripped place it up for scrap.
Always keep in mind that buying a vehicle is one purchase and one trip to make, but buying little parts one at a time requires multiple purchases and valuable time you could be spending getting your project finished.