port hope: amc parts dried up

Updated 2015. Doc passed away several years ago. It is well worth reading. Since then we have seen $150 a barrel oil, $4.00-$5.00 gallon of gas, there is not SHIT in auto salvage yards anymore AMC wise (and sadly thru the decades, when a AMC got to a junkyard it was the FIRST TO GET CRUSHED.) And sometimes wea re own worst enemy,


Doc, of the BaadassGremlin Yahoo group 
"Eddie has preached for years about sheet metal parts drying
up so when Davis parted out the Hornet coupe he had I bought extra sheet
metal I really did not need."

Ironically, this below appeared in my emailbox on Independence Day 
2005.....from Canada.
Date: Monday, July 4, 2005
Time: 9:42 AM EST
Submitted by: Wilson Sousa
Subject: Planet Houston AMX Guest
city: Port Hope
state: ON
country: CANADA
theWay: Word of mouth
comments: Like your website. Spent many hours reading. Wish more people had 
your attitude re: prices of cars, and sentiments for cars being crushed, 
etc. Up here in Canada (near Toronto), cars crumble into a pile of rust. 
We're forced to rebuild cars much worse than those being crushed in the 
southern U.S. Thanks for the work you've put into providing info for the 
'average joe' AMC fan."

Even more ironically it is from port "Hope". For whatever reason, I just 
found that strange. For the better part of two decades I have preached, 
jumped up and down, whined, barked, and looked like a resident on the Jerry 
Springer show in a attempt to get people to change their mindsets, when it 
comes to AMC. That soapbox collapsed from usage a lot time ago.

When you look at your American Motors vehicle, please remember that 90% f 
what you are looking at will never be made again. Sheetmetal is the biggest 
item, followed closely by chrome, stainless, glass, grills, tail lights, 
soft/hard interior moldings to name a few. Sure, you can get stuff fixed 
like steering wheels, dents pulled, dashes redone, carpet and so forth. But 
to simply think that there is some sort of bottomless pit of AMC parts out 
there.....available when YOU need them is unrealistic.

Steel has been selling at record prices the last 3 years. And as more and 
more people move into more and more areas with more and more housing, laws 
are changed, and many places that might have been on edge of city/county, 
suddenly find themselves at odds with 'new' enviromental laws to literally 
force them out of business. Happy Independence Day on that one.

I have often wrote about places I personally know of that this has happened 
to, like City Wrecking in Waco, 15,000 old cars crushed, many of them a hell 
of a lot more collectible than anything AMC produced, like convertible 
Camaro Pace cars, Olds W-30 ragtops, even two Shelbys. And of course 2-3 
Machines, 2-3 SC/Ramblers, over a dozen 68-70 AMXs, and over 2 dozen 68-74 
Javelins. All now in the side of several of the Olympic Stadium in Greece or 
the monster Three Gorges Dam in China, or in the hyper growing city of 

Specializing in "used" parts for more than two decades, I believe what has 
surprised me the most is that it took this long for everything to vaporize. 
I predicted this would happen in the late 1990s, so was not that far off. 
However, could have never forseen $60 a barrel of gas, nor would have 
predicted the emptying of old car salvage yards simply because the price of 
steel...and demand, from foreign countries. This has what surprised me the 

The apathy (for lack of a better term) with AMC owners gose back decades 
however. Most are content to have their one or two cars, and have the parts 
associated with those two. However, for years I have sqwauked about 'the 
apathy' out there with AMC owners. This is not a condemnation on all, nor do 
I advocate people turning their civic organazations against them by turning 
their residence into a AMC pick a part yard. But I have however told people 
repeatedly however, to pick up what they can, while they can, if they will 
continue to fool with AMC and Rambler products in the near future.

This stuff has disappeared at a tremendous rate since roughly 1997. In a 
recently conversation with old buddy AJ at South Texas AMC, we talked "about 
the good old days" which was less than ten years ago! Ten years ago??? Yes, 
10 years ago, when we could commonly walk into self service wrecking yards 
like Pick A Part or Pick and Pull www.houstonpickapart.com for instance, and 
there was 3-10 AMC any models there, especially mid 70s-80s. No 'older' 
stuff like 60s AMCs however, that stuff dried up in the 80s.

So gone are a majority of last gen AMC models like Pacer, Spirit, Concord 
and Eagle, which are, at least right now, the easiest to find parts for. 
Won't be like that in 5 years.

There is a big file on my website that dates back to when Al Gore founded 
the internet :~P called "Altered AMCs" under the growing "parts" file. Worth 
reading, but also shows a time frame of concern, and depletion of parts, 
when it was written in the mid 90s!

Gone are places that used to look like Peirson's Auto Wrecking:
*updated, Peirson's crushed all 5000+ classic cars including Hurst Olds, convertible
Camaro Pace Cars, Rebel Machines, SC/Ramblers, GTO's since this article published
and a large gated community is being built on all those acres*
"Piersons NOT Pearsons or Pearsonville"

Which is still in business, and "keeps" AMCs, however, they are but a 
minority of places that still do. Most places when approached by a carrot 
offering $200 a ton for a old car, jump on it, as opposed to keeping that 
old car, of which is a slow seller of parts anyhows. Why keep something 
there is little or no demand on the space when you could easily put a high 
demand item in same spot like SUV, import, truck and sell a lot more, and 
make more profit than that, say, 74 Hornet or 69 Javelin, that someone wants 
to buy a part or two a year off of? Why not "turn" it and put something 
there you will recoup 3X-20X the amount of money on in that 10X10 space in 
your yard? After all, you are in business to make money, not for love of a 
certain make or marque of vehicle.

Years ago many of you remember me writing about abandoned AMC dealerships. 
Only a handful of those now exist, forced out by municipalities whose 
leaders changed the laws.

And the recent Supreme Court decision concerning "emiment domain" will only 
hasten some greedy powers to take away people's private property for the 
'better good' of developers and their ilk. I hope states change their laws 
to buff down that ridiculous Supreme Court ruling. But places like Collier 
Motors in NC are like finding a Drive Inn movie nowadays, few exist.

While some of you (and me) look at it a a possible gold mine of parts and 
cars, the bigger problem is how many of those cars are worth any money, and 
that is if the owner(s) are willing to sell? What if, like so many other 
places across this great land, as we celebrate it's 229th birthday today, 
what if Pikevill, NC, suddenly 'rezones' this. Yes, all those cars will 
exist only in photos, hauled off to crusher, to make way for a new McMansion 
or Arby's.

Does it matter?

Why didn't it matter 18 years ago when Chrysler was bulldozing whole 
inventories of AMC stock it mattered, and that was NOS stock. But few people 
were able to do anything about it, although some people did buy up whole 
inventories, which was a risk, then, and now. But the difference now is that 
people could do something about what we have seen in the past 8 years, and 
that is buy parts cars, alert fellow AMC fans, and chapters to the 
vehicle/parts for sale, and hopefully some of this stuff will be saved.

But I fear it is mostly too late. The cannibalism is rampant as people, many 
of them first time AMC owners, scourage for used AMC parts, whether grills, 
glass, or rust free sheetmetal, which is at a premium. Some might end up 
paying for a rustfree fender what their whole car cost originally.

Sure, I can tap on many recent articles in a number of wonderful 
publications nationally like Hemmings Muscle Machines, or a variety of new 
products like aluminum heads, intakes and blocks. But to do so would be 
missing the point. The point is not everyone wants, nor needs those 'new' 
items. I would like to have a new crate aluminum engine, but not in the 
And it STILL won't solve the larger issue of finding used parts, and 
dwindling supply at a alarming rate the past 7 or so years.

No one is going to reproduce steel fenders for any of our cars. You can 
count reproduction grills on one hand, 99% of them are what is out there is 
out there. Same with glass. And other things I have mentioned.

And it won't be far behind where items we took for granted as 'always being 
there' like rebuilt engine components, brakes, suspension items won't be far 
behind as companies, due to low, or zero demand, simply quit making them. 
Wagner, Moog, TRW, Fel Pro, the list is endless.

Is this a death knell for American Motors? No, but a Mike Tyson slap wake up 
call to all those who for whatever reason, have always thought there is some 
sort of magic wishing well of AMC and Rambler parts "that would always be 
there.....whenever THEY were ready" for them. The world changed Dorothy and 
you and Toto ain't in Kansas anymore at Auntie Em's Rambler Dealership.

So if you should come across a old Rambler or AMC anything in a salvage 
yard, and wish to spread the word with others who might benefit from this, 
let me know and I'll put the info on my website, which gets 400-500 hits 
daily. Hopefully the yard will be able to move some AMC inventory, or I can 
direct them to you, who can then make some money for your efforts.

And while it is great that American Motors is, and has, been experiencing a 
wonderful resurgence in popularity and exposure in recent memory, it comes 
at a cost. Don't associate exposure with market value.

If anyone would like to adopt a AMC or Rambler, there are hundreds of them 
for sale on my Shut Up & Drive Lists on my website. Some would make great 
parts cars, others great first time AMC vehicles, others are restored and 
ready to show. Or if you have a car or parts for sale, or wanted, put your 
free ad on my AMC Swap Meet "message boards" section of the website. Free.

And on that note, there are a few places here I would like to point you to 
salvage yard wise that still have older Ramblers and AMC vehicles....for the 
time being.....
Mike 505-443-3400 (NM salvage yard)
Dave's 704-873-8621 or 704-872-0833 (NC salvage yard)
Also, CTC Autoranch in Sanger TX
John's Auto Salvage in Seguin, TX 830-379-2092

And finally......I get asked all the time "what should I pull if something 
found" in a salvage yard. I normally tell people this is stuff they can 
easily sell on ebay, and make a dollar ot two for their time and effort 
pulling, stocking, and listing the items. So this is my personal short list 
of things, should you be luckily enough to come across them, to pull and 
1. radios, especially AM/FM, and any 8 track or cassette type, all with AMC 
logo or emblem.
2. passenger side mirrors, a high demand item
3. accessories, stuff like tissue dispensers, vanity mirrors with Rambler or 
American Motors on it, compasses, tissue holders, ect
4. unusual options such as tilt columns (68-69 AMX/Javelin ones command 
about $450); AC systems in earlier pre-72 models, rally and sport steering 
wheels, rim blow wheels, any tachometers, heated rear windows with junction 
blocks and controls, 15 inch AMC rims, cruise commands pre-72
5. grills, and most headlight surrounds
6. tailights and housings
7. stainless such as window roofrail trim, hood chromes, fender and 1/4 
trim, any vinyl roof trim, especially on pre-72 and on Grem/Pacer series, 
and about any wheelwell trim
8. dash pieces such as upper crash pads, soft interior pieces like sail 
panels, armrests, door panels, and anything the sun can damage, this 
includes hard plastics like upper and especially lower rear window plastics.
9. spoilers, flairs, targa bands, rear window louvers on mid-70s to mid-80s 
10. windshield, especially on pre-70 models, 74-78 Matador coupes, and 67-78 
Reb/Mat/Amb Series, older pre-67 Ramblers
11. any electrical window motors by American Bosch, all years 60s-80s
12. any convertible unique pieces like top frames, interior 1/4 fiberglass 
parts, shorty rear seats, hydralics, motors, and switches pre-69
13. any electric wiper setups, pre-72, any 71-74 AMX/Jav dash switches, any 
74-up wiper switches and delay wiper switches, Grem/Horn/Pac/Mat/AMX, speedo 
clusters 'with' tachometers 78-up, any 70-71 low-fuel gauge setups, and many 
speedometer units pre-74, as the circuit boards behind them are many times 
worth more than the speedo itself or whole unit.; also any rear wiper 
electric setup 79-88.
14. clutch/brake pedal assemblies; V8 crossmembers any 67-up model, ignition 
switches any 65-69 model,
15. emblems, as 90% of them will never be reproduced again
Remember, what "was" common for us in the 80s is obsolete now. What might be 
"common" for you in the mid 00's will be obsolete in 10 years or less.

Happy hunting,
Eddie Stakes
Another comment:

In regards to your comments about AMC parts drying up, I'd like to relate 
another instance.

I work in the automotive industry (we manufacture automotive Instrument 
panels... commonly known as dashboards.... the skin / foam / substrate 
thing you see in the vehicles). A number of months ago, a co-worker 
happened to forward an e-mail from an engineer at another plant, 
desperately looking for info on a heater control clip, they needed to 
fulfill a Service Order of 1,200 parts for a Jeep program, of the 1987 
By chance, I happened to recognize the part as a retention clip which 
holds the wiper/washer knob to the control shaft, on my Gremlin !!!
After checking a supplier catalogue, coming up with a part number, and 
forwarding it for follow-up, I received an e-mail from our engineer.
The clip supplier found the tooling (which usually doesn't happen), quoted 
cost to; refurbish the tooling, produce a minimum volume run of 250,000 
pieces, and charge $ xx . xx per thousand clips..... bottom line, our 
cost..... over $ 21,300. US Dollars, which equates to a cost of over $ 
4,500. (without any markup, handling, etc. by our company) for each of 
the 1,200 vehicles needing the parts !!!!!!!!!
Never heard back from the guy, on how / if they fulfilled the order.... 
although he was sure they wouldn't be buying the clips !
Just an example, reinforcing your statements about parts availability. 
As consumers, we need to commend companies willing to reproduce good 
replacements, and support them, whenever possible.

Personal Note: I sure would like to buy your Sportabout wagon. Has an 
interesting history, and I really like the looks of them. 
About twenty years ago, I talked my uncle (Body Shop owner) into letting 
us put together an '84 (had damaged front end, so we grafted on a '72 
front end, and added a spoiler to the deck hatch), to use as a shop car. 
After I went back to school, it faded away, and ended up in the scrap 
yard... where we originally got it from !
Sure would be cool to refurbish the one you have.... shades of the 
But, the timing's bad. Daughter is going off to University, house needs 
windows, wife wants a deck in the backyard....therefore, me wanting to 
build another car, is way down on the pirority list..... plus, I can't 
justify the shipping costs to get it up here to Canada. 

Now that you've spent all this time reading my nostalgic ramblings, I'm 
looking for an 'X' grille emblem for my Gremlin. Was used on the '74-up 
Do you carry the part ? Would it be worth shipping all the way up here ?

(still hoping.... in Port Hope.)