Anyone who’s worked on their own car, particularly older models, knows the feeling. There’s a part you need, and you can’t find it anywhere — parts shops haven’t seen it in years, dealers don’t carry it, and the local pick-n-pull just shrugs when you ask. In these times of crisis, where do you go to find those rare parts?
A friend of mine recently purchased a 981-generation Porsche Boxster, and he’s been scouring the internet to find a way to replace the car’s dated, non-CarPlay-compatible head unit. He found a seller that offered conversion harnesses, allowing him to throw a Pioneer in the center stack without losing all the German car data intricacies, but they had closed up shop due to the pandemic — suddenly, that part became very rare indeed.
He found luck with Rennlist, once again proving that car enthusiasts may be the last holdouts of online forum culture. Not only will a forum tell you the exact part you need, it can also tell you when there’s a replacement for that part. When I changed the transmission fluid in my FR-S this past summer, the FT86Club forums showed me twenty-cent washers that could replace the twelve-dollar dealer gaskets I didn’t want to buy.
But forums aren’t the only place to dig up parts. You can find camshafts from Craigslist, radiators from wreckers, or friction modifiers from Facebook Marketplace. With so many options for parts, used or new or Home Depot replacements, where do you go when you’re in the midst of a project? Give us your best sources for those niche parts, and we’ll compile our favorites later in the day.