A TRIP BACK THROUGH THE DECADES TO A CHRYCO-AUTOPAR PARTS DEPARTMENT
Most car guys dream about the same "what if" scenario. The one where rare car parts are available, plentiful and inexpensive...that's why this is a dream scenario.
A time machine is another possibility, but the technical side still needs some tweaking, so these hypothetical parts still remain locked decades in the past. Occasionally you find a wormhole in time like this-a place where some old parts are still sitting on the shelf.
This is one of those occasions.
Fred Moore works for Northwest Motors in Red Deer Alberta Canada. Fred's grandfather started the business decades ago and since then it has grown into a major Dodge dealership. This is a family business based on long term ties in the community, and a respect for the way the franchise was built over decades.
They still have a 60-year-old Dodge Power Wagon tow truck in their compound that served the business faithfully for decades. The truck is a piece of the Moore past so it was retired gracefully in lieu of a bleak future as a large metal cube. The parts in the basement are a reflection of this philosophy.
Most car parts eventually become obsolete and dealerships wean themselves off the dwindling supply of replacement parts. The Moores are no different because time marches on, technology advances and eventually you don't need condensers and points for 1968 Dodge Polaras.
The difference is that Northwest Motors had some room in their basement to store some of these obsolete parts, plus some of their long-term customers still own cars originally purchased at the dealership. That's why these parts are still on the shelf.
The first things you notice in the basement are the radios. There are NOS Dodge Colt radios with Mitsubishi stamps, Solid State by Chrysler radios, Dodge Solid State badged Philips radios.
Adding to the period correct ambience are stacks of factory issued 8-track demo tapes to showcase the Mopar stereo sound.
There are other boxes with factory options like speed controls and rear window defrosters that take you back to a time when a buyer agonized over an option that may have added 75.00 to the list price.
There are some boxes with NOS lenses and others with NOS speedometers.
Mechanical parts abound in the basement including factory rebuilt generators and alternators-clearly the generators haven't seen daylight for decades after the upstart AC concept replaced DC in cars.
Brake parts are found in boxes marked Chryco and there are also boxes of Autopar shock absorbers.
Other boxes contain driveline parts and u-joints that clearly won't bolt up to a brand new Charger.
Surprisingly enough, a NOS transmission sits under a staircase.
There are several racks of Chryco tires, highlighted by a set of winter tires that still have factory tire blue on the whitewalls. They used to be called "ground grip" tires and probably still were when they were carried down to the basement at Northwest Motors.
Various sizes and configurations of NOS wheels are found in the basement where they've probably been stacked since the Nixon administration.
There are boxes of cylinder heads, mains, starter motors and a few crankshafts that look like they came out of a Sherman tank.
Fittingly, at the end of the tour Fred opened up a cupboard full of Autopar oil filters and Chryco oil elements.
There's an air of excitement when you are allowed to see automotive history like this in its natural environment-at a dealership.
This is the automotive equivalent of uncovering King Tut's tomb, and to most guys-it's worth a lot more than dusty old mummies sprinkled with anthrax.
A parts cache like this inspires the same feeling in every car guy-hope.
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