November 18, 2011

Deciding What Parts to Make

It’s that time of the year again.  The weather forces us to put up our cruisers for the winter.  This is also the best time to get at those projects that have been put off because they would have taken our cars off the road for a while.  I don’t know about you, but I seem to accumulate a list of “got to do’s” and “would like to do’s” throughout the summer.  Now the obstacle is getting through the holidays.  By the time I get around to finally getting to the job, it’s spring and I’m rushing to finish.

How many of you are on the same cycle as me?

Now this is not a big problem unless you need something that is not already available and you have to find someone to make it for you.  I get asked a lot about how we decide what to make.  That’s a tough question to answer since there are so many variables that go into making that decision.  I’ll try to answer it in general terms.

There are three categories for new part projects.

  1. A car that we target for making replacement parts.
  2. The contract job where we are making the tooling and production for someone else and they have ownership of that part.
  3. A part that you send in and need for your car.  That’s the one I’d like to address.

Customer Requests 

Many of the parts we make are started from customer requests.

The first step is to contact us, send a photo, drawing or sample and an explanation of what the part fits and does.  Let us know if you have an original.  We will only work with good originals or authentic build drawings.

Next, we inspect it for tooling features, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) number, usage and whether we would like to add it to our catalog.  The more information you can give us on your car (year, make, model, style, what other models it fits, photos of where it’s used, etc.), the quicker we can make a decision and the better chance of it being favorable to you.

If we go ahead with tooling, we will absorb all of the tooling cost and send you the first part made for you to install at no charge and ask for your feedback. We will keep your original in case any issues arise from future parts made.

One key factor to keep in mind is the length of time it takes from the time you contact us to when a part is finished.  It takes an incredible amount of time, usually 6 to 18 months average, depending on complexity, information availability, and tool room load.

So, if you just parked your car and need a part not currently available made, don’t delay.  Hopefully, you’ll have it ready for the next cruising season.

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