When it comes to being classic truck enthusiasts we all have something or some things that really bother us-our pet peeves so to speak. But for me there's one thing above all others that really gets my goat.
For most of us, building or putting together our projects is a labor of love and often a great form of therapy, giving us a mental vacation from the stresses of everyday life in general. You've got to admit, while we're fabricating or installing parts and components we're pretty darn focused, and for the most part thinking of nothing else other than the task at hand. It works well, that is until you get to the point in construction or assembly that requires a few trips to the local auto parts store (versus picking up a catalog or hitting a website for specific components).
Now, I don't know about you, but today's part store chains are nothing even resembling the auto parts stores of days gone by. In the "good old days" you walked up to a well-worn countertop manned by real car/truck guys who more times than not has filled a request with nary a glance at a parts catalog. Heck in those days (not really that long ago when you think about it) computers were items found only at the nearest university-and a 5-foot rack of dog-eared catalogs was the norm. Today, parts stores are for the most part little more than expanded versions of the Wal-Mart automotive isle-filled with Day-Glo dual wiper blades, imitation chrome-plated plastic fender vents, and 1,500 varieties of air fresheners. And, to add insult to injury, the new shiny stainless trimmed parts counters are more often than not manned (or womanned-gotta be PC these days) by a youngster less than half the age of the vehicle we're working on. Now I want to qualify that statement by saying I personally have no ill will toward these youngsters and by no means wish to minimize their devotion to their trade-but guys, just because your computer only goes back to the 1975 model year does not mean that's where it all ends.
Luckily for me (and I truly hope it's true for most), with a bit of searching there are real parts stores still out there. In my case I've been saved by a place called Tops Auto Supply in Anaheim, California, way more than once. Though it's a good 40 miles from home for me, it's been worth the trip every time. Not only have they successfully supplied me with nearly every part I've requested over the past couple of years, up to and including a rebuilt '64 Holley 2100 two-barrel carburetor, but they didn't even give me that parts chain look of confusion when I had the gall to request a 45-year-old carburetor with a straight face. In fact, they had one in stock-and for less than the mail-order carb I'd found online!
So for those who endure endless shrugged shoulders and looks of astonishment when you're in need of a part more than 20 years old, I suggest taking a day and spending a bit of time hunting down those real parts stores that are inevitably located within an acceptable driving distance from your garage. The time and aggravation they'll save you is worth the effort. The folks behind the catalog rack can and oftentimes will be your saving grace in times of need. Support your local mom-and-pop parts store and they'll support you-believe me!
I feel better now that I've gotten this off my chest.