QotW: What was your most memorable parts hunt?

Every once in a while, we like to hear from our readers about their success stories on finding those much-needed. seemingly impossible-to-find parts. They could be the fruits of a junkyard scour, your reward from a secret eBay snipe, or a gift from an uncle’s neighbor who happened to own an old rally team with some unused Group B custom body panels. Whatever the tale, we want to know:

What was your most memorable parts hunt?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What car should Nissan make next?

Last week, we asked you to take a look at Nissan’s lineup and ponder what Nissan needs to do to get focus back on cars and in our hearts forever.

Mr. Bill kicked off by addressing the elephant in the room. Nissan rocketed to stardom by making enthusiast cars (and trucks) that sported performance with a capital “HP” from the letter “R.” Indeed, I don’t think any of us would shy away even from a full-on tuned RWD Altima or Baja-ready Titan with shocks bigger than a four-year-old.

DanKan goes deep by stating Nissan needs to reinvent the way we see a fun family hauler. The company is no amateur when it comes to funky and neat (hello Pao and Rasheen), but now Nissan needs to look for inspiration in interesting places. Perhaps crack open the “B-sides” of the Pike Factory portfolio to splash some water on today’s dreary car market.

Tim had a pretty in-depth analysis about too much complexity spread too thin. Maybe a back-to-basics approach on the lineup is the ticket. His comment about fielding an EV range with different bodies to suit a range of customer needs sounds like a promising way to do it.

Alvin takes the win this week with an amusing comment and the single, easiest way to get us back in the fast lane: build the Z.

Heritage Edition Nissan Murano Convertible Hybrid Nismo

Seriously though, Nissan you should just build the Z car. The rest will fall into place.

Omedetou! Your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop.

JNC Decal smash

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12 Responses to QotW: What was your most memorable parts hunt?

  1. Ultraman said:

    Let’s see… it was 8 years ago, me and my stepbrother had just pulled out the Cordia from the abandoned parking garage and recently got it running but alas it was missing most of its interior and would like it to be at least presentable , so we decided to hop on the family computer and went asking around on forums,asked some local “potong kereta” folk and workshops if they had a Cordia around or knew someone with one. 2 weeks had passed and welp we were still searching and found nothing until we received a pm from a guy on the forums who was like a 2 hour drive away saying that he had two Cordias with one he was about to scrap as it had a rusted through chassis but the interior was relatively intact. So after a couple of days of begging our dad, he took us there(my mom refused to let us go alone so yeah)

    After taking a few wrong turns and eventually arriving at this workshop out in the sticks we saw two Cordias parked next to each other(you’re more likely to witness a astronaut being struck by lightning right in front of you) and went in and spoke to the foreman(whom had contacted us in the first place) and directed us to this relatively sad looking 85 Cordia in the rare rust and white two tone paint job which even though had a brown interior(ours was grey) we just took basically everything salvageable off of it anyway, payed like 300 bucks and we were on our way grinning from ear to ear being unable to wait to put these rare goodies on our little old box.

  2. Banpei said:

    I have had many parts hunts, but there was only one that really stood out.

    I was looking for a set of rims for my newly acquired Carina TA60. I found out the Carina GT-R in Japan was sold with a set of L-type 15 inch Celica Supra rims and I decided I had to have a set as well. This proved to be quite difficult as most owners and wreckers discarded these “less desirable” rims. When I finally found a set I was convinced I struck gold!

    Upon arrival it turned out that the seller had to clean up his spares and these rims were just a part of it. He showed me his pride and joy parked at his parents house: a fully restored TA22 Celica. So during the small talk I told him I just sold my AE86 because I needed a more sensible family car. He told me he recently acquired one and wondered if I would like to see it. Of course I would!

    So when we arrived at his house it turned out that he owned a pristine purple AE86 that looked amazing. The engine was taken out for a mild tune-up, but he stalled somewhere in the middle of the process. The cherry on top: in his back yard was a lowered and widened Starlet EP71 which in the past received a swap of a second generation Celica 3S-GTE including drive train and brake system. Just mind blowing…

    I met him later at several meetups and he never managed to finish the mild tune-up of the 4A-GE. Instead he installed a BEAMS 3S-GE from an Altezza and mated it to a W58 using the bellhousing from a Carina CA60 (1C engine), which makes this a full circle. 😉

  3. Scotty G said:

    Mine would have been a right-rear strut for a 1986 Nissan M10 Stanza 4WD wagon. It was the only one that was clunking and leaking and there were none anywhere on the planet. Then, in a stroke of luck, someone on a Nissan forum mentioned seeing one on eBay and sure enough, there it was, it had just been posted! I bought it instantly. It’s always nice to change both struts, of course, but in this case, the right-rear was the bad one and now there weren’t any left-rear struts anywhere on the planet. It made all the difference. This NOS gem came in the original factory box still wrapped in plastic. I’m trying to think if I had ever been happier in regards to a parts search for a vehicle, probably not.

  4. jivecom said:

    I dunno if I can play this week. Parts hunting for me, means hunting for the part I can stick in to fix this problem. My Hilux is wearing the leaf springs from a 4×4 Chevy C10 pickup, and its body is made from the flesh and bones of 4 other Hiluxes who are no longer with us. Most of its transmission came from a wrecked A70. Soon even Theseus is going to be like, “bruh chill”

  5. MikeRL411 said:

    I was rebuilding my RL411 engine and had all the parts except the cam shaft. I went to my local dealer and the “red Book” paper parts catalog, found the cam shaft and flipped to a different page and asked about the availability. He went to that part number and gave me the bad news. Out of stock, back ordered with no due in date. I then asked him to research the original, not the updated part number. There were 1000 of them on the shelf in the Gardena warehouse. Every one had been ordering to upgraded [metric engine] part and the originals were neglected. I ordered the original part and it is my car to this day.

  6. Joe Musashi said:

    Prior to owning a 1991 Miata, parts hunting was never a thought with me. There was never any hunting. After the ownership of it, I found that parts for those cars, for the most part involves online shops. Locally, no one just keeps junked Miatas any more or stocks parts for one.
    Turns out looking outside the city (and pretty close to me), yielded a pretty good source. They had a pretty good inventory of anything Miata. All I wanted was a $20 part, and ended up with a $300 bill. I truly felt like a kid at a candy store.
    Sure, online is great, but finding things like glass, bumpers, specific engine parts, diffs, wheels, carpeting, seats, are usually better to see in person rather than through a picture. Helps that you can haggle that little bit.

    I’m glad I found this place, and to think that hunting for a weird $20 part yielded all that.

  7. r100guy said:

    This happened around 28 years ago when my Mazda R100 was in the paint shop needing two front fenders. No internet and with only word of mouth or dumb luck, I was at a loss on how to obtain two good fenders. Only about 5200 R100s were imported so the parts support was always very thin. The local dealer had no parts book so any parts request resulted in calling a dealer in Seattle two states away. NLA was the typical response for most requests, not surprisingly, as was the case for the fenders.

    Being young and undeterred, I fired a letter off to Mazda headquarters in Hiroshima Japan asking for help in obtaining the fenders. I enclosed a few pieces of Mazda memorabilia and photos of the car with the letter (written in long hand, what was I thinking?) and addressed it to the president of Mazda Motors. At that time, the president was Kenichi Yamamoto of Mazda and would be considered the father of the rotary engine.

    Now, I really had no expectations of receiving any response from my letter to Japan, but Damn, not only did I get a response in letter form but I was instructed to “please visit my local Mazda dealer parts department”. I walk in to the dealership and the parts guy has this big grin on his face. He tells me they received a special shipment to be given to me; two brand new fenders!

    Will always be amazed at the support given to me by the folks at Mazda (both in Japan and the States) and truly appreciate their efforts.

  8. Neil Ransley said:

    Found this thread whilst looking for part, but while I’m here….
    I’m in the UK restoring a 1980 Toyota Hiace RH20 camper van; pretty much everything is impossible to find unless it’s basic service items or parts from a donor on ebay, but these things rust badly so there’s not usually much that’s salvageable.
    Having had the body restored, I had started repaired the doors myself but managed to distort the skin whilst welding in my repairs. So I started searching the net for a better door and after many searches found a picture of one on google images. Tracing back the origin of the photo took me to a French classic Toyota forum where a guy had advertised a load of parts 3 years previously.
    Thinking they would be sold by now, I forgot about them and carried on searching.
    When nothing more came up, I decided to chance it and contact him through the forum, which I had to make up a French address in order to join, then cut & paste some google translate messages to him. Turns out the parts were still for sale, and after many email exchanges I managed to get a new driver’s door skin, a brand new front bumper and a new exhaust downpipe, all parts I had spent months hunting for and all genuine Toyota parts; he was even kind enough to package them all up and have them delivered to the UK!
    Still looking for a rear bumper, beginning to think there simply isn’t one left on the planet………

  9. Angelo said:

    Well, ever since owning my Sentra, I’ve been sourcing out parts from my local auto supply, tho rarer parts need to be obtained from “katay” yards, basically a grocery for used parts.

    One time.. while looking for parts for my car, I posted my car online. I ended up meeting some people who incidentally, and luckily, owns the same model as me. They invited me to a late night impromptu meet. I gave in. When I arrived, I got the parts I needed, which were park lights and a pair of wiper arms.

    But here’s the thing. There was something about that night that made me feel home-y. It wasn’t about the parts, but the friendships I obtained and connectiions I built that night.

    Pretty sure everyone here had felt the same as me.

    To this day, I still meet with them, occasionally getting help when something needed to be fixed or for sourcing of parts.

    And about that night… that little meet ended up as a starting point for the founding of our local club.

  10. KFD said:

    I’m a week late to the party, but my most memorable parts hunts was going to Japan, and parts for my ra40 Celica. I came across by accident a little cinder block shack on the top of a rock butted up against the jungle. I was greeted by a smattering of forgotten 86s, Starlets, and a Bellett.

    Kinjo-San was the proprietor and occupant of the cinder block shack. A former rally car driver, he now does repairs on Kei cars and bicycles. Between his limited English, my limited Japanese, and Google translate, he had an appreciation for my passion for these Toyota’s that other Gaijin didn’t have.

    I ended up picking up a set of Watanabe wheels for around four hundred bucks, and a distressed Nardi for $30.

    I found another local shop, called Taki Auto Service. Tetsuya-San knew slightly more English than Kinjo-San, but like the old man in the cinder block shack on top of the rock, he understood my enthusiasm and passion, and would frequently refer to my excitement for these cars with a gesture mimicking a tachometer needle at redline. While Tetsuya had Kenmeri Skylines and twin turbo gx71s and the most amazing wheel collection any JNC fan would drool over at the shop, he had a small lot off-site, with a few other cars, a carcass of an R32 comes to mind. Most notably though, he had an ra40 Carina sedan, that happen to have a pair of fender mirrors dangling by their wires. Tetsuya-San had no use for them, and GAVE THEM TO ME!

    I also happen to find on the Okinawan version of Craigslist, a complete 18rg engine. Luckily, my shop officer-in-charge (remember, military here), is just as big a gear-head as I am, and looks the other way when a contractor dropped off the engine to my small engine repair shop I ran. That engine later got disassembled, and sent home in what is known as a cruise box.

    I found an air cleaner plenum for the RG in Australia, and had it shipped to my shopping Okinawa. I took it over to Tetsuya to paint and do metalwork on. Between our limited knowledge of each other’s language, he had asked me if I had the separate air cleaner housing, which I replied I did not I was going to use one from the later Celica. He then grabbed me and my battle buddy, and tossed us in a tiny Honda van, and sped through these tiny alleyways until we came to a pile of rubble. As it turns out, that was one of his garage is he had used, and it was torn down the day before. He started kicking around in the rubble, and out of the mud pulled the missing air cleaner housing!

    After 9 months of making friends over there, learning basic Japanese, and scouring the island for forgotten Japanese tin, I came back home, to throw all those parts on my little Celica.

    I’ve had muscle cars before, and even 1950s Chryslers. Some of those parts we’re pretty tedious to find, but most of the 70s stuff could be had out of a catalog. But what was memorable, was the creativity and resourcefulness, and the friends I made over on that small island in my quest for finding parts and Rusty treasures that no other gearheads seem to notice or appreciate.

    Tatsuya and Kinjo still receive round-eyed visitors that shared my passion, even after I have left the Seabees. A few of my friends would deploy to Okinawa, continue my old school JDM Hunter antics, and even picked up part-time jobs working for Tetsuya. Kinjo-San eschews any sort of Technology, so he’s not easily recent social media or even a phone call, but my thanks for selling me the Wats and Nardi is still received through JDM fans still in the Seabees. Kinjo-San doesn’t know very many English words, but he does know snake, and whiskey. Every time a new battalion rotates in, Kinjo-San has visitors giving him a bottle of Jack Daniels.

    and prior to my deployment over there, there is no rule against bringing home automobile engines in your luggage- only outboard engines, and motorcycle parts and possibly Wheels, were banned.

    Thanks to making deals with supply officers and embark supervisors over a Craiglisted 18RG, the “Petty Officer Doke Rule” now exists.

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