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Parts May Be Right Under Your Nose

Don't overlook your local auto parts store for old-car parts. A few years ago, I had a Firesrone store do the brakes on my '53 Pontiac. The manager had just fixed a '65 Mustang and thought it would be as easy to get parts for my Catalina. He was wrong! Eventually I got him new wheel cylinders, new shoes and new hoses. Then he called me and said, "I need new hardware." I didn't know what to do, so I looked in my 1955 Pontiac factory Master Parts Catalog and jotted down the part number listed there. The catalog also gave the color of the correct spring, which was gray. Next, I took the number to a Pontiac dealer. He said the number was obsolete, but his computer listed a cross-reference that was still available from GM. That hardware fits the rear of all large GM rear-wheel-drive vehicles up to the year that ABS brakes became standard. The Pontiac dealer did not have the parts, but said he could order them. I was in a rush. He said the Chevy dealer in the same town should have them. The Chevy dealer didn't have any, but gave me a number for the aftermarket model. I took this to a NAPA store next door and they gave me the hardware. It was even gray. I went back to Firestone and the manager couldn't believe I got the hardware. When I told him where I got it, he was a little mad. "How come they didn't have it when I called?" he asked.

If you're wondering if a currently available part fits your old car, check If they list it, you can get it from them or at least you'll have the part number. If you need brake parts try Brake & Equipment Warehouse at

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