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Hagerty Employee

Keep, sell, or toss? Thinning the parts stockpile is like prepping for a garage sale

While I resolutely deny that I am a hoarder, I’ll admit that I have certain hoarder-like tendencies. They derive from two events I participated in 32 years ago with my just-restored 1973 BMW 3.0CSi E9 coupe. To aid in that car’s restoration, I bought a wrecked 2800CS parts car and stripped it. Anyone who’s ever done this learns that an assembled car is the perfect vessel to hold its parts, and that when you strip it, the parts explode to a hundred times their original volume.


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Intermediate Driver

Great that you shared your metrics for what is and IS NOT worth the time. I am going through this process right now on a far smaller scale. I was 'blessed' with a crate of random '66 Mustang and ' 69 Shelby GT350 parts from brother and father rebuilds that " you might need for the 64.5 resto". Now I want that crate for the originals I will hoard for the next gen owner of my project. Lots of forensic part ID work and pix and listing to do, but this article will give me more guts to toss things ahead of time (maybe 50% I hope)

Intermediate Driver

I have learned from trying to hold on to parts, that if you save one for later, you will never need that part, but your car will find something else you need that you don't have on spare.


I get it 100%.  I don't think its hoarding.   You can keep something for 30-40 years and the same day you throw it out or recycle it,  you or someone else needs it!  I don't know  how many times I've "cleaned up" and the following day or two after, needed that part for a project.  It will make a person scream out loud!  Will bet it happens to everyone.   If I had more room and didn't live in town, nothing would get tossed.

New Driver

It’s hoarding, bottom line, it’s hoarding. The right time to sell an item, is the day after the day you got it...! 


Guess there's more than one bottom line. Regardless of how many times you repeat, "it's hoarding", situations are often different from what's correct at your house.


I still have parts for cars I haven't had for 30yrs figuring it get to build another, even after changing types.  But some of the engine parts interchanged.

New Driver

Greyhound bus ship large bulky items for very cheap.  It is only from bus station to bus station but I shipped a toyota door from Arizona to Michigan cheap enough to keep my winter beater on the road for another decade.

New Driver

This article is out of date because the parts that were throw-aways a few years ago are needed to complete restorations ans resto-mods now.  The brackets, hood hinges that every car was born with got junked when scrap prices were high several years ago.  Now the people with incomplete cars are searching for those parts and they are hard to find.  This makes them of great value.

Let's say you are restoring a Challenger RT and need an AC part.  Good luck because only 3% of the cars had AC and most of the units were pulled because it wasn't "cool" to have AC.  Now muscle car buyers want AC.

If you are restoring a desirable car like and "E9" and have $80k in it, what is another $60 for a bracket you need to complete the project.

The parts stashes of desirable cars will increase in value faster than the cars themselves.  Don't junk it!


I feel your pain. Wish I had all those hours of collecting, "organizing" and agonizing back😰😜.

Funny how the part you need is usually not in the giant pile of parts and donor cars that have taken over your life! But hey, you never know.

Pit Crew

The irony is that these same hoarders try to sell their stuff for way over market asking price, thinking they are that valuable. Those are the types that stay hoarding because they rarely sell.

New Driver

It’s hoarding, bottom line, it’s hoarding. The right time to sell an item, is the day after the day you got it...! 


A hoarder never throws anything away.  A collector makes regular trips to the dump.  A hoarder has an unrealistic emotional attachment to junk.  A collector understands what's valuable (at least to their car) and what is junk and has no problem getting rid of the junk.  This is at least the hoarder definition that I'm holding on to :).

Pit Crew

Wow! I thought I was hoarding parts because I held onto an LS-6 454 intake manifold in hopes of building a 454 for one of my Corvettes as well as four carburetors. An extra air cleaner or two and a few original suspension parts after an upgrade. Maybe a few engine parts that might be useful.


Reading this story makes me feel I am living a minimalists life. 

Intermediate Driver

In my current project, I needed a donor car -- a late model Corvair convertible.  The coupe was only minimally useful and some of the parts I needed were unique to the drop top model.  Found one in Nampa, Idaho two years ago, and a buddy and I borrowed a trailer and brought it back.  It came with boxes of parts -- some new, some from the car.  Enough to fill the entire box of a 3/4 ton pickup front to back and floor to ceiling.  Few were labeled, but some were.  In the ensuing two years, bits were cut off the body of the donor car, and used to replace corroded pieces on mine.  Some of the parts were useful only to the 1965 Corvairs.   I knew several guys in the club and just mostly gave them to them, no charge.  There remains some 3-4 boxes with parts in them that may or may not be useful as thing to forward.  But at this point, mostly not.  

When this project is done, I do Not want to have boxes of "spare" parts sitting around cluttering up the shop or the barn, recycling themselves into the FeO(2) from which they came.  I have a few things I'm selling at about 60% of what they would cost if someone tried to buy them new.  Right now, a dual master cylinder with brake lines for someone wanting to upgrade a 65-66 to a dual system, or to replace the dual system in a 67-69.  Both are NIB.  Selling them cheap.   But I expect simply to give most of them away n/c, and build up some "personal credit" with other Corvair guys should I be in need of assistance in the future.  Today, for example, a well-known Corvair guy is coming over in a few minutes to discuss how to load my newly painted and pristine convertible body/shell into an enclosed trailer.  The usual sorts of tie-down points need special care to avoid any visible damage -- the car is being restored to concourse condition -- and I don't know the best way to do that.  That service is so valuable to me that he can pretty much pick anything he wants from what is left, and use it on his or someone else's project.  At this point, the money is no longer important.


This is a great article, Rob! I have been there. I am into German cars from the 1980's now, but spent decades restoring A body MOPARs in my less affluent youth. Like you, I dragged parts cars home, scavenged all of the regional pick & pull yards and saved all of the parts that I thought I might someday need. The inevitable day arrived when it was time to thin out the pack. Like you, I spent hours cleaning up and separating the wheat from the chaff. Although old Dart and Barracuda parts aren't as desirable as BMW stuff, I had some very rare and NOS parts. I had NOS front fenders, early disc brake systems, fast ratio steering boxes, four speed transmissions with Hurst shifters, early Formula S and high performance parts galore. I packed it all up in my pick up and U-Haul trailer and drove down to Chryslers at Carlisle. My wife and I spent the weekend in the hot sun and sold what we could. Before heading home, I carried away good used fenders, dropped them off in other booths and ran away.

When I got home, I calculated my take from the sales and subtracted the cost of gas, rental trailer, nasty hotel, tolls and food. I hardly broke even. I would have done better by taking it all to the local junk yard.

Pit Crew

I used to buy every reasonable priced 1968-70 AMC Javelin and AMX I could find. I would strip cars in junkyards, buy obsolete dealer inventories, etc.  I had cars and parts everywhere-but I worked on them every week and moved them to make room for more. And I had memorabilia everywhere as well. It was really out of control until a hoarder worse than me came and bought it all-Steve Juliano the noted MOPAR collector was thrilled to get it all-and all these years later I don't miss it, plus at age 67 would probably not be able to do it again. Ah but what great memories!


Wow, this was painful to read! I have been wanting to buy another 2002 since I sold my last one way back in 1986 ( married a non-car guy ) ( now divorced ) ...

Just seeing all these parts makes me think, am i 'really' going to be able to find one on the east coast that's not totally rotted out? Without spending a ridiculous kings ransom? 2002's are more precious to me than anything, but I still have to be reasonable..

Pit Crew

Haha, this is partly why I love go karts: smaller parts!

Intermediate Driver

The problem is that a month after you throw a part away,you or some friend needs that part.

Intermediate Driver

I feel your pain Rob.  I am finally winding down on project cars and purging parts.  I am being pretty brutal about tossing stuff.  Some stuff that might have value gets one cycle on Craig's list then to the garbage.  I tend to hold onto everything till a project is done.  It's just that it has taken a long time to get the projects done and gone.  I am finding stuff I didn't even know I had or where they came form.  Some of it was brand new still in the box and still worthless.  Sigh.......


Intermediate Driver

I feel your pain! I recently cleaned out a 30 year collection of parts that a friend of mine accumulated while he was a British car mechanic. Sorting through hundreds of SU carburetor needles taxed my 60 year old eyes. In addition the passing of a car club member brought more treasure. A few club members came by to pick through the hoard. Stashing the stuff by the side of my house for future generations is futile. I’m afraid when I’m gone it will be 1-800 Junk. Sad


Great article! I’m fortunate in that my spare parts collection is rather small (for now) and does not take up much room. I have sold a few things though, and like the author I refuse to play the “what’s your best price?” game online. I do my best to research what that part should reasonably cost based on a new one, plus what other used ones sell for. I then usually price mine below any other one that is for sale. So I consider it rude when someone’s very first communication with me is basically “what can you do for me?”

Advanced Driver

Enjoyed your story, as some/most of it applies to me! Currently, I am in the process of purging my garage of accumulated Mopar parts. I stared by selling off cars, and now I need to get rid of parts, some used, some NOS. The realization that age and time wait for no one, and dreams deferred too long simply don't happen should be an eye opener. The time involved in a quest to recoup $$$ spent can delay the process! I feel for my younger brother, who unfortunately fits the description of a hoarder to a "T", (and sadly, doesn't realize it/refuses to accept it)!


The bottom line for me is.... who would ever have the time to go through all of that? I have read many of your stories of your old car adventures, but just reading that article nearly wore me out. Having been in the business for approx 50 years, it is hard for me to understand the "junk yard dog" side of thinking.

We were all about production... fixed correctly and out the door... next!

I do have one old friend who always had a couple big dogs tied to old Harleys or one particular 1962 Vette convertible. We drove that car through a half dozen small block transplants over several years. The dog chains eventually reduced that one to raw fiberglass.

Everyone who ever saw that car would invariably comment about how much it could be worth! Of course they were either not in the car world or just totally delusional.   


Pit Crew

Because I own multiple 1960s Mopars I have a good pile of parts that I do pick at still for the smallest things. I have a few parts car but I have sold parts that are of no use to me cars. I have a parts 66 Charger but I don't have a 66 67 Charger driver so I sold a lot of the body parts and interior because I only need the non specific parts.

Pit Crew

I think about all the (expensive) NOS Sunbeam Alpine parts I bought while I was in Europe in the 90’s- got rid of the car, and dragged the boxes all over for 20 yrs as we moved. Then finally sold them for a small fortune when we returned to the USA. I have this idea in the back of my head that ALL parts are like that. Definitely a problem. 


Ugh - "What's the best you'll do on...." is the worst. It's a lazy way to get a seller to negotiate on the buyer's behalf. For years my response had always been "What's the most you'll give me for it?" but that was a conversation stopper every time. They can't even come up with a figure on their own. Lately I've been responding with "I'd let it go for (honest low-ball price) but you'll still have to come over and explain to me why that's all it's worth." Still too much work for them.

Advanced Driver

The haggling part of it is challenging for both parties. Respect and not wasting people's time is key. If someone drives down from Vermont or up from CT, they've already made a commitment and put time and travel money on the table, which is a different thing from a text message saying "give U $40." 


Just a reminder Rob: if it's worth a drive to Foxboro you'll never have to pay for tire mounting/unmounting/balancing. It'd be a pleasure meeting you and I promise plenty of laughter with a kindred spirit.


I thought I had a problem, collecting "needed" Lotus Elan parts.  Fortunately I have an understanding wife.  Children, not so much. So I have enough original bolt on wheels for several Elans, plus other wonderful parts.  They will probably go in a yard sale, hopefully not too soon.



Pit Crew

Hey out of all those parts do you have a LHS E9 door?  Any condition, just need something to work with..


LOL I kid, I kid

Advanced Driver

Rob...I understand completely your dilemma!  For years, I have bought vintage parts lots to sort and sell.  A lot of work!  The goodies always sell quickly.  Then sales dwindle as stock is depleted and the lesser desirables are left.  I've always tried to keep a constant supply of newly acquired parts in stock.  Now in my 80s, I have ceased buying parts and am attempting to sell what I have left.  And, yes, I even give away parts!  I had one person to ask why I wanted to give away parts.  My reply"  "Because I can!"  There's always a sadness to see the parts go and a wonderment--"What will I do when they're all gone?"  We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, eh, Rob?  jay salser