Today I have a gripe that I would like to discuss with you all. The topic really irks me on some cars and I feel it needs to be addressed because I see it too frequently. Maybe I need to stop getting emotionally attached to rolling heaps of metal. I don’t know, just peruse this and let me know your thoughts on the subject, because I may be the crazy one. This gripe of mine is known as “parting-out” your car.
Here is the way it works:
- You purchase a decent car, but it needs some work here and there to be a great car. Luckily, you are handy, and the guys and gals on the automotive forums will help you out if you need it.
- You then add X dollars worth of new parts onto it, replacing all of the old crusty stock parts. In many cases, you invest more money into the parts than the car is actually “worth”. You usually trash all of the original parts because they are in fact old and ….you guessed it…..crusty.
- You then drive the car for a few months, maybe even a year if you are really dedicated. Fun times are had.
- One of two things happens next. 1) You see a shiny new toy for a great price (it’s always a once-in-a-lifetime price btw), and you completely forget about the great car that you just built for yourself. 2) The credit card debt that you racked up buying all of those new parts catches up to you and you are surprised when you can’t afford it. OMG! “Watch for the part-out.“
- You are now left with two options: 1) Sell the car for whatever cash you can get for it, which is often only slightly more than what you paid for the car itself, never mind the parts. 2) Take all of the new parts off the car one by one, and sell them individually. You will often get more money this way, but it takes time, effort, and then you are left with the non-rolling shell of a car in your driveway. It is now too parted-out to ever put back together again. Now that it is 100% worthless, the once great car is sent to the crusher.
- You have some extra money in your pocket now, but sent a great car to be crushed even though it didn’t need to be.
Now, as with everything, there are always exceptions which make it perfectly acceptable to part out your ride in my opinion:
- If the car in question is just an average every day car, I don’t have any issue with parting it because there are thousands more out there that could be had.
- If you wrecked your car beyond the point of reconstruction, I again, have absolutely no issue with it, because it was no longer a usable car.
- If you are 100% sure that it will be rebuilt by somebody you know, and you are just trying to get the car to be cheap enough to sell it to your buddy.
If you buy a limited production car, I feel like you have a responsibility as an automotive enthusiast, to keep it alive or at least somewhat together, because if you ruin it, it will be gone FOREVER. Nobody else will ever be able to enjoy it again, ever, ever, never, ever. Twenty years from now, you won’t magically come up with more matching number 1970 Hemi Cuda’s because they only made so many. They were abused, cut up, wrecked, and recycled into refrigerators. That means that about 6 people get to enjoy them now. That’s wonderful for those 6 lucky people, but what about the rest of the 307 million people in the country? None of them will ever get to sit in, feel, listen to, drive, or probably even look at a Cuda with a factory Hemi because there are so few of them left. The Cuda is obviously an extreme example, but in the 1970’s, people weren’t thinking about their value in the future, and how they would set the bar for that particular genre of cars. People back then were swapping in smaller engines and taller rear end gears to get better fuel mileage because that was the issue at the time. We look back and think of how crazy that was, but we are doing the same sort of thing with part out’s.
The R32’s, R/T’s, T-types, GN’s, Aero Coupes, VR4’s, SS’s, Z06’s, SVT’s, and hundreds of others may or may not be the shiniest object in your driveway today, but once you part them out to a shell, you are removing one more special car from history and for every single automotive enthusiast that comes after you. It jack’s up the prices of these cars because of rarity, and gives the next generation of car enthusiasts less chance of even existing. Remember, somebody has to take care of and enjoy these cars once we are gone, and if we destroy them all, there won’t be a new generation of gearheads.
So that wraps up the part-out gripe. Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this. I would love to read them! If you are a perpetual part-out’er, please chime in because I want your side. We’re all enthusiasts, let’s save as many as we can!
NOTE: All of the above is the opinion of Jeremy Nutt.