Gunners Garage

SAVING ON CLASSICS

Is there a way you can stick to your tightening 2009 budget and still get the parts needed to restore your classic?

* Check to see if a car club you belong to arranges group buying discounts for members.

*Some major auto parts chains and car dealers who sell crate engines and factory-approved restoration parts may offer promotional coupons. Check with services like Coupons.com, CouponCabin.com and RetailMeNot.com to find out.

* Suppliers may provide percentage-off discounts or have a frequent buyer points program. Also check for “clearance sale” buttons on their Websites.

* Don’t overlook the simple idea of asking if you can qualify for a special discount. Recently, I purchased some parts from a catalog and was signed up for their “frequent purchaser” plan, which saved me 12 percent.

* Use “car show delivery” services offered by vendors such as the Bumper Boyz who pick bumpers up at one show, re-plate them and return them at another show.

* Take advantage of on-site “installs” that a number of parts suppliers provide at larger collector car events. You can exhaust work, brake upgrades and soft trim work done at some shows.

* At swap meets use those old haggling skills when bargaining with vendors. Many will be anxious to clinch sales for any fair offer.

*Due to higher fees, rising shipping costs and other factors, online auctions are slowing down, but using common sense techniques like “shopping” late at night or looking for listings with misspelled words may net you a bargain.

Good luck sticking to your budget this year. If you have other ideas about saving money on classic car purchases, I’d love to hear about them.

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